Season of the Witch
Rating: MA 15+
Release Date: February 24
A supernatural thriller targeted at teen and twenties audiences with swords, witches and suspect monks thrown in.
Nicholas Cage stars as Behman, a crusader knight who returns to his English homeland to find it suffering in the grip of plague. The church believes witchcraft is responsible and charges Behman and his best friend Felson (Ron Perlman) with delivering a suspect woman to an ecclesiastical court for examintion. Behman promises to ensure the woman a fair trial but when the servants of the church prove less than trustworthy he is forced to choose between his religion and his heart.
Season of the Witch is a cross between Robin Hood and an episode of Supernatural. The rating relates to the violence, shocking imagery and supernatural themes so this is not one to take your knight-crazy kids to. That said, the plot may look like a run of the mill attempt to turn the church into the ‘bad guy’ but it actually provides an opportunity to distinguish between obedience to man-made institutions and a standard that sits above all earthly authority. In the end Cage’s character is actually forced to choose a path that follows divinely inspired truth and justice the church should stand for. Sadly, for all the crucifixes and holy quests, God plays a silent role.
The Biggest Loser: Families
Distributor: Network TEN
Release Date: Wednesdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM
The latest version of the anti-fat franchise, The Biggest Loser, has turned its attention to families. Four collections of friends and relatives line up each week to see who has shifted the greatest number of kilos. But is this familiar format likely to produce happier households when five years of this television regimen has resulted in trainers as fragile as their clients?
The Biggest Loser: Families boasts no fewer than four coaches determined to find the perfect form inside of their flabby teams. There is a lot of talk about fitness but the selection of the trainers makes it clear health and beauty go hand in glove. The most informative television so far, though, came in the first week.
Breaking their usual format, the producers of The Biggest Loser required the contestants’ super-trim trainers to spend a week living with their new families, eating what they ate and only exercising when they did. Not surprisingly, viewers discovered large men and women whose self-esteem had plummeted because they had lost control of their eating habits. What was unexpected, though, was how vulnerable the trainers became when someone took their carrot sticks away. Some were physically sick, others hit back with caustic comments. Martial arts trainer Tiffiny Hall suffered a sobbing meltdown when her diet began to undermine her carefully controlled image.
The very people who were modelling the security a healthy body guarantees showed how a short change in diet was enough to destabilise their lives. Separated from their routines, they became as mentally fragile as the people they were supposed to be helping. The lesson to be learned is that self-esteem based on physical image lasts only so long as you can maintain the image both you and others consider to be attractive.