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VANESSA HUDGENS & JAMES EARL JONES IN GIMME SHELTER

year: 2014 rating: **1/2
Most religious films are considered propaganda, and in the past, like thirty, forty years ago, anything against God was highly controversial...

Well times have changed and religion in cinema (regarded positively) is even more controversial than what’s become mainstream and fairly common. Either way the “Church agenda template,” whether Christian or in this case, Catholic, usually consists of a troubled youth with nowhere to turn finding solace in the last place they’d ever expect.

Enter the main character (seeking "Shelter," part of the Rolling Stones song title never played or mentioned or relevant), an androgynous teenager named Agnes, nicknamed Apple, who, from the very beginning, is up to her neck in trouble – but hardly her own...

Mom is a scummy, yellow-toothed, drugged-out hooker, and with so much screaming commotion there’s little time for the viewer to catch their breath when Apple hits the street.

Attempting to bum a ride from a taxi followed by a failed carjacking, she winds up bleeding on the doorstep of an aloof man we eventually learn is her biological father… A multi-millionaire with a house more like a castle where Apple doesn’t fit in… Especially after she finds herself pregnant and, desperately choosing against abortion, meets her saving grace in the form of James Earl Jones as Father McCarthy.

Not surprisingly, Jones plays a likable gentle giant with ease, but his chemistry with the troubled teen, beginning with reluctance on her part, is somewhat forced and contrived. In fact Apple’s entire situation is so morosely dire and painfully melodramatic, we never get to know the real person behind the tattered clothing.

Meanwhile, Rosario Dawson’s villainous mom is quite the heavy but eventually goes way over the top, making Apple’s stint at an all girl’s home, run by a patient and kindhearted Caucasian Mother Teresa of the American ghetto, the only uplifting aspect of a movie that, in trying too hard to be edgy and raw, pays off with an optimistically saccharine yet surprisingly unpredictable conclusion.
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