The sense of place and uniformly superb performances make it worth seeing, and maybe ultimately singing along with.
One question: Sure, the desaturated color is extra-artsy looking in a self-consciously pretty/gritty way, but Clint: Why not just go ahead and have the balls to make the movie in black and white?
I don't know if I'll feel the same way about these movies, but these critics have a way with a memorable phrase. (I didn't read past the first line of Gozalez's review -- quoted here -- because I'm seeing the movie when it opens.) And, yes, I'm also quoting them, on my blog, because something tells me I might be inclined to agree with them. I'll let you know either way...
Nathan Lee on "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning":
"The stink of 'Crash' hovers over 'Flags of Our Fathers.'"
David Edelstein on "Jesus Camp":
"Where did Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) get his flesh mask, and how did he come to select his signature power tool? What’s the back story of Officer Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey), and why does he eat people?
"The answers are beside the point. The movie exists to brutalize. Like 'The Passion of the Christ,' it is an invitation to hard-core sadism. Mel Gibson tried to turn atrocity into spiritual catharsis. The producers of 'The Beginning' merely package it, sell it to the masses and hope they don’t vomit in their nachos. "
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"Although the film tracks several kids—among them the adorable, snub-nosed Rachael and the dapper budding evangelist Levi—its dark heart is preacher Becky Fischer, who tells children that in the Old Testament a warlock like Harry Potter 'would have been put to death.' Oh, sure, she believes in democracy, she says to Air America host Mike Papantonio, but 'we can’t give everyone equal freedom because that’s going to destroy us.' 'Jesus Camp' makes the best case imaginable for atheism."