Opus of an Angel (2018)


A doctor at the end of his rope gets the lesson of a lifetime in this riveting indie drama from Ali Zamani.

Stephen Murphy is at the end of his rope. Reeling from failure of saving a life during his job as a cardiologist to losing his family in an accident, it has been a full year and Stephen decides to go for one last tour of everything he has been through with the thought of ending his own life by the day’s end. However, on this particular day, he will soon experience something and someone he never imagined may make him think twice about his decision.

Early in the morning, things don’t go as planned as he finds himself still reeling from the tragedy that plagued him a year ago. That is, until he notices Maria, a young blind girl who got lost during a class trip. An attempt to call her mother fails and learning she lives in Santa Monica, Stephen decides to reluctantly take Maria with him on his journey and to perhaps find her mother. As the day progresses, a special bond slowly begins to form between the two and as Maria begins to open Stephen’s eyes, he begins to slowly realize that life is precious, making him think twice about doing what he had originally set out to do.

Very rarely does a film become heartwarming to a point where it will both make one, realize the joys of life itself and two, even make the viewer shed a tear by the end. This film succeeds in both and it is all part to the great performances of lead actor William McNamara and the film’s breakout star, Kaylynn Kubeldis.

McNamara’s Stephen is seen as embittered and broken when we first see him. Small flashbacks throughout the film lead up to how the film starts. It answers the question as to why does Stephen want to end his life. In the span of a day, he had gone from a loving family man and successful cardiologist who was given the hand of tragedy both professionally and personally. With the shot of the noose in the opening of the film, it is clear that Stephen’s intentions are well known. However, he does go on what he calls his “final journey” clearly finding only the negative aspects of life coming into his head rather than that of any positivity, including a bickering couple on a bus with threats of domestic violence.

Newcomer Kaylynn Kubeldis, the film’s real breakout star, is terrific in her film debut as blind girl Maria. Kubeldis, who is blind in real life, has such great chemistry with McNamara as we see this “grinch” slowly begin to warm up not only to Maria, but life in general. While things don’t start out great for the duo, it is when Stephen slowly begins to warm up to Maria in the same vein Cindy Lou Who and the spirit of Christmas warmed up the Grinch’s heart a few sizes up. The Macguffin of the film is Maria’s small angel pendant, in which she always fears of losing it, prompting Stephen to help on various occasions.

While there are a few scenes that are mostly filler, it is apparent and noteworthy to say that the film really is about the evolutionary bond between Stephen and Maria to the point where they can be seen as a sort of adopted father-adopted daughter relationship. The kind that should be seen rather than the horror stories you read in the papers. When everything is revealed as to why Stephen has become so embittered, Maria is the conscious if you will that helps him become a better man.

A really feel good film/drama about one man’s final journey becoming a journey of redemption and faith, Opus of an Angel truly stands out and the reason to see this is because of newcomer Kaylynn Kubeldis, who is truly a star on the rise.


An AZ Films Production. Director: Ali Zamani. Producers: Zeus Zamani, Levon Davis, and Naz Tliachez. Writer: Ali Zamani and Shahram Zargari. Cinematography: Brian Vilim. Editing: Sean Horvath.

Cast: William McNamara, Kaylynn Kubeldis, Cindy Pickett, Sofya Skya, Lee Kholafai, Roberto “Lil’ Rob” Flores, Jamison Newlander, Don DiPaolo, Marisa Lopez.


Pilgrimage (2017)

pilgrimage ireland-icon

Two of Marvel’s current heroes star in this meshing of historical epic and road action thriller from director Brendan Muldowney.

The year is 1209. The place is Ireland, which has been under attack by both tribes and Norman invaders. Brother Diarmud is a novice monk who keeps a watchful eye on a mute man who is there not as a monk but as someone who is there for penance. When the monastery learns they are about to be attack, the High Abbot decides that they must send their ancient relic to Rome. The Cisterian, Brother Geraldus, arrives from Rome to help the monks carry the relic to Rome.

Along the way, the group runs into Raymond de Merville, a French soldier who agrees to help the monks bring the relic to Rome. However, as the group continues their journey, they are under attack by a band of tribal warriors, who steal the relic. Having no other alternative but to band together, the monks set a plan to get the relic back but along the way, they encounter not only betrayal, but soon learn a dark secret with their mute brother that could either hinder or help the group succeed in their mission.

A meshing of historical epic revolving around religion meshed with a road action film filled with loads of fighting and violence, director Brendan Muldowney takes Jamie Hannigan’s script and unleashes a film that delivers on both the dramatic and the action. What helps is the breathtaking scenery of Ireland as we see a group of monks who go on the journey to bring a precious relic to Rome in the 13th Century. The film makes good use of using three languages throughout the film to enhance the dramatic effect. In this case, Gaelic, French, and English, are used in the film.

The cast is quite interesting with the focus being on the Novice and the Mute. They are played by two members of today’s Marvel Universe. Tom Holland, who has taken the mantle of Spider-Man, plays Brother Diarmud, the young novice monk while the Mute is played by Jon Bernthal, who plays the current incarnation of The Punisher in both season two of Daredevil and will have his own Netflix series later this year. Marvel shtick aside, the two deliver some intricate performances as they both bring a sense of humanity amongst the monks.

Stanley Weber plays the Italian monk who is hired to lead the envoy of the sacred relic and does have his doubts when it comes to the Gaelic monks when in one scene, they tell the Italian not to take water from a river because they believe an Irish spirit can curse them. Richard Armitage plays a Norman soldier who tends to play out two sides against each other because the Norman invaders want to take over Ireland while he does have a sense of loyalty when it comes to religion, which plays a vital part of the plot.

The action portion of the film is quite brutal. A the pivotal scene in which the audience gets to see shows the more calm Mute show his nature when he helps the monks against Gaelic tribal warriors attempting to steal the relic. To bring that sense of brutality, the Mute unleashes bashing in a warrior’s head so bad that Brother Diarmud rarely stops his new “brother” while there are many bashings, arrows to the head, and even some pretty torturous sequences that fit considering the era the film is set in.

Pilgrimage is actually a pretty decent film that may have more of the drama feature in the middle, but still delivers thanks to the performances of Tom Holland and Jon Bernthal as the novices who must do what it takes to continue a very dangerous journey.


RLJ Entertainment presents an Irish Film Board production in association with XYZ Films, Savage Productions, Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, and Wrong Men Films. Director: Brendan Muldowney. Producers: John Keville, Conor Barry, and Benoit Roland. Writer: Jamie Hannigan. Cinematography: Tom Comerford. Editing: Mairead McIvor.

Cast: Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal, Richard Armitage, Stanley Weber, John Lynch, Ruaidhri Conroy, Hugh O’Conor, Tristan McConnell, Diarmud de Faoite, Eric Godon, Lochlann O’Mearain, Padraig O’Toole, Gaetan Wenders.

RLJ Entertainment will be releasing the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on August 11.

TRAILER: Legend of the Broken Sword Hero

Muay Thai kickboxer turned actor Buakaw Bunchamek gets his lead star debut in this upcoming action epic from director Bin Bhunluerit.

Bunchamek plays Joi, a young man who after being bullied by the son of a city governor, travels to learn the martial art of Muay Thai Boran and the art of swordfighting. His journey will eventually lead him to become the legendary Thai figure known as Lord Pichai.

The film will be released later this year from Sahamongkol Film in its native Thailand.

H/T: Film Combat Syndicate