Archive for June, 2009

Kids Music for July and Beyond

June 30, 2009

Well, The last Car CD has been spinning on repeat in the Cruiser since March. Thus it was time for a new mix. Realising that my daughter knew nothing of our country’s heritage, this CD is very patriotic (as our latest trips to the Library have been as well.) So here is the “July Car CD” (that may last until October!)

My daughter like many types of music, but the Danielson Familie, Joy Electric, Soul Junk and Sandra Boyntn are her favorites. The Cutest Lil’ Dragon and “I Want This Beat” were Specific requests from the lady herself.


  1. Battle of New Orleans  

    Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits

  2. Star Spangled Banner – Barber Shop Quartet Free Patriotic Songs

  3. American Skies – 

    America

    Havalina Rail Co.

  4. (They have a “thing” for giving music away – Check it out)


  5. Head Shoulders knees toes (as U2)

    Mother Goose Rocks! Volume 5

  6. Ephesians 6:1

  7. Cutest Lil’ Dragon 

    Tri-Danielson, Vol. 2

    Danielson Famile

  8. pi = 3.14159265

  9. Galatians 5:22


  10. Fireworks 

    Schoolhouse Rock!

  11. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag – John Wane – Free Patriotic Songs


  12. No More Kings 

    Schoolhouse Rock!


  13. Johnny Freedom 

    Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits


  14. Here in America (The Music video was directed by Steve Taylor!)

    A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band

    Rich Mullins

  15. I’ve Got peace Like A River 

    You Are My Little Bird

    Elizabeth Mitchell

  16. This little Light of Mine as Sting 

    Mother Goose Rocks, Vol. 4

  17. Children, Obey Your Parents 

    The Word & Song Children’s Bible cd SET 


  18. The Modern Church Historical 


    The History of God and Man

    Paul Aldrich


  19. Tricycle 

    Fascinating Creatures

    Frances England

  20. Mr Buechner’s Dream

    Mr. Buechner’s Dream

    Daniel Amos

  21. Tom Bombadil 

    Lord of the Rings At Dawn in Rivendell

  22. Virse of the Ring

    Lord of the Rings At Dawn in Rivendell

  23. In the Hall of the Mountain King

  24. books of the Old Testament Song
  25. books of the  New Testament Song
  26. Psalm 1 

    1959

    Soul-Junk

  27. Psalm 11 

    1959

    Soul-Junk

  28. Psalm 27 

    The Audio Bible Drama. Audio Drama

    Faith comes by hearing


  29. Courage (Someday I’ll Be Heard), Psalms 27:14 

    Five Stars for Failure

    Joy Electric

  30. I want this Beat

    Motion Factory

    Zero

  31. Ill-M-I 

    1956

    Soul-Junk
    (tobyMac got it from THEM – but my Daughter just does not like his versions – This may be her favorite song)

  32. Psalm 7

    1959

    Soul-Junk

  33. The Gettysburg AddressJohnny Cash Free Patriotic Songs

  34. This Land Is Your Land – Woody GuthryFree Patriotic Songs


  35. Star Spangled Banner (live) – Sufjan Stevens

  36. old testement bible dance WTB – Amnesia CD – Old Testament

    Walk Thru the Old Testament

  37. Sweet to My Soul (White Hot Apostle Mix)

    1956

    Soul-Junk

 

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Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow

June 17, 2009

What Is It?

This is a very original homage to Hollywood’s history. A retro-sci-fi set in the 1940’s and made to look like it was made in the 1940’s with today’s technology. The film was shot entirely in front of blue screens with all the actors being real and the locations and robots being computer animated later. The film was then set to black and white and colorized. It’s the story of a spunky female reporter and a dashing pilot as they fight giant robots and try to discover where the robots come from and how they are linked to the disappearance and apparent murder of seven significant scientists.  The Cast includes Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and even a computer enhanced cameo by the late Sir Laurence Olivier. The film even shows you a bit of “The Wizard of Oz” in the beginning, and then makes clever reference to Wizard in the end.

   How Was It?

This is a lot of fun. The stylized “sets” and creatures are fascinating The film is a bit slower than your standard action adventure but this adds to the feel that your watching film from the 40’s with the older pacing. Be that as it is, a rather amazing film from the 40’s.

   Is It Good For Kids?

 Thought the younger audience may not appreciate the “retro” part, I think the visuals and story will keep them hooked. Still we have sci-fi violence, death, some sexual references, and the Lord’s name being taken in vain several times.

 You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

How about Spiritual Issues?

These “Robots” are man made, not alien, which cuts down on a lot of the “sci-fi” issues. Still, Sky Captain and reporter Polly Perkins have an odd relationship that involves deception and cheating.

There are some Old Testament references. They visit a place called “Sangria” that is said to be called “Eden” in Hebrew

The more elaborate Biblical story reference is the ending. (So don’t read this part if you don’t want me to spoil it for you) The robots have been collecting parts for a rocket ship and two of every kind of animal so that, with two vials named Adam and Eve, The evil Dr. Totenkopf can start civilization over in space. The rocket will also destroy the world by setting fire to the atmosphere after launching. There is a quick line pointing out that the Dr. is “Playing God”.  

   What Is Your Recommendation?

As a fun film I would recommend this very original movie and I do look forward to this first time writer/director’s next project. Still, the spiritual issues are very weird. There is not enough either way to recommend or not recommend this film. (Much like the films of the 40’s.) I think I would just say “be mindful of this film.” If you are going to enjoy Sky Captain with your family, you may want to discuss the idea of letting “God be God” as well as issues about relationships afterward.

Star Trek Q&E Review Show

June 16, 2009

ABIGAIL ROONEYs jewelry from http://www.liasophia.com/abigailrooney

One Night With The King

June 16, 2009

What Is It?

Based on the Tommy Tenney , Mark Andrew Olsen novel Hadassah, “One Night With The King”, it is an expansion of the Biblical story of  Esther. The plot is the one you know, with the addition of a political plan to stop Greece and gain vengeance for the Kings murdered father.

How Was It?

It starts off shaky, gets good then drags on it’s way to a satisfying ending. This is an accomplishment considering the screen writer (Stephan Blinn) and the director (Michael O. Sajbel) are separately responsible for some of the absolute worst Christian films ever. The feel of the movie seems a bit like someone jumped a camel from “the Ten Commandments” grabbed “Belle” away from “…the Beast” and dropped her in Middle Earth, where she was to reenact Bible stories, accompanied by a king who shares a make up artist with Captian Jack Sparrow.

LOTR fans will recognize John Rhys-Davies or Gimli, narrating as Mordecai . Furthermore, you will also spot obvious knods to Gandalf’s helpful moth, the flame lit fortress in Mordor, the forging of the Orc’s swords, Saruman’s speeches to the armies, Aragon’s dramatic entrance through the giant doors of Helms Deep, the black riders and even theOne Ring, itself, revealing it’s message by fire.

Though there is lots that we have all seen before, they are emulating some of the best film has to offer and do it with decent actors, solid photography and a very large budget. Little touches like having Haman’s symbol look surprisingly like a swastika, and the evil advisors fearing the Greeks because the will bring democracy (more the American version than the Greek) border between cute and silly but don’t detract from the story. There are a couple holes left unresolved like a “Three’s Company” style misunderstanding and Esther’s questions about Queen Vashti that are never answered. Despite these down falls, it is a very watchable movie.

Is It Good For Kids?

There are some parts that are a bit scary and dark and Queen Vashti shows some cleavage at one point. Other than that, there is some bloodless action to keep the boys interested and some “princess movie” elements for the girls.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete breakdown of the elements presented.

What About Spiritual Issues?

For the most part all the Bible story is here. It’s just “more flushed out.” They incorporate elements from other parts of the Bible as well as retelling of some of the actual stories themselves. There is even the utterance of a Messianic Prophecy.

The only change I found distracting was the kings selection process for a new queen. First the other girls were all so dreadfully silly, that there was no real competition. Second he avoided having his “one night” with any other girl and then asked Esther to be his queen before their evening really started. I found this nod to the American romantic sensibilities more out of place and silly than the democracy comments.

Despite there additions and rewrites, there is nothing that changes the ultimate message of the book and it certainly lines up with the message of the Bible.

What Is Your Recommendation?

It’s a movie you may enjoy. It’s well worth watching, especially if you have friends who are interested in the film.

I always find it fun (especially with kids) to read the Bible story first, talk about what happened, and then watch the movie and compare them.

“One Night with the King” offers plenty to entertain as well as inspire thought.

Still, for my money, I much prefer the 1999 TV movie Esther (now on DVD) that, though not quite as grand, captures the beauty of the story much better while keeping a stricter focus on the original text and giving us a smoother story

One Night With the King DVD

Hadassah

The Bible – Esther

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by MITCH ALBOM

June 9, 2009

What Is It?

The follow up book to his best selling “Tuesdays with Morrie.” In this book we follow the last half hour of Eddies life. He is a matince man an amusement park. Then when he is killed in a random ride accident, we go with him to heaven. We find out that in heaven you meet five people (thus the title…) . Still they are not the people you would think of at first, maybe Peter, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and C.S. Lewis. It turns out that you meet five people who affected you life (or you affected theirs.) And from each one you learn something about your life. They are each in there own personal heaven and you work your way through to your own.

How Was It?

It was very simplistic and fun in it’s style. Eddie died on his birthday. So between sit downs with the next heavenly host, you get flash backs of eddies birth day through the years. It turns out that they are all very significant and thus look very orchestrate.

Then the people he meets. The first is a Blue Skinned man from the freak show followed by an army general. This sets you up for knowing you can go anywhere with this. Not only do you hear about Eddies life, each time you get a character sketch of the hosts life. This is interesting and further points out the interconnectedness that is at the heart of the book.

Is It Good For Kids?

It would be a fairy easy read for even younger kids. The concept are heady. Still there are a lot of dark situations at time. The end of the book even has a moment of down right gruesome. There is also a fair mount of the Lords name in vain.

How about Spiritual Issues?

You can’t get around spiritual issues in a trip to heaven. This is a fictional account, but it is the type of book that, for some reason, people like to hang on to as fact. Hoping that if they believe it enough then maybe they can will it into there existence.

(Though they can’t even will anything good onto TV, I don’t know how they will create a heaven.)

First of all there is no mention at all of Eddie having a relationship with God, but here he is in heaven. There is also no mention of Jesus. John 14:6 Here, sins are sins of disconcerting from other people (witch can be true) and are resolved by asking forgiveness in heaven.

Then we find that people pick there heaven, from something that they liked a lot on earth. This to me seems like a bum deal. This is HEAVEN and the best you could do is something that was good on earth! I’m disappointed with movies like that… forget the ultimate reward.

We are told in the Bible “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I can see what’s here, and I can hear what’s here. I have a prity wild imagination, so my mind can conceive a lot. (It’s also been bolstered by the imaginations of Tolken, Lewis, M. Knight, and many others.) Further more Jesus said, about 2000+ years ago, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 So this book would have you believe that the place Jesus was working on for 2000+ years is just a nock-off of this place that he bumped out in under a week!

All this considered, the tragedy of the book is the information Eddie gets in heaven. He finds out what his life was about and how he should live it. This seem “to little to late.” Sure some people may find this inspiring them to be nicer to others (which is always good) but it also seems to be calling for a rash of laziness. You will find out what the point is later so don’t worry about it now. That just seems like you are paving your path with good intentions.

This is a picture of cruel universe where you are expected to live almost a hundred years with out knowing what you are supposed to be doing. Then you get to heaven and find out “you should have been looking at it this way.”

Then, here is the kicker, after you are dead and find out that you were supposed to be doing… that it’s all about relationships with each other; you are put in your own “personal” place where you sit around enjoying you little bit of earth on heaven and wait for other people to kick off so you can pull the same cruel cosmic joke on them.

We are supposed to believe that this life that is to be lead by investing in others, has been set up by a God that remains distant and then puts you in a pretty little cell for all eternity.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I have three (pick the one that is best for you.)

If you know God – You still may want to read it because I think it will influence the society that we live in, you will better understand where people are coming from and the hopelessness that they are being offered as paradise.

If you don’t know God – Read the book of John instead… see God made flesh, invading our reality now, and offering not only meaning to life, but connectedness in relationships, starting with a real relationship with God.

Finally, if you are MITCH ALBOM – How about a re-write with a twist ending. After the fifth person, Eddie realizes that he should have known this a lot earlier. He finds that he doesn’t have the contentedness to people or to God. So where is he…Not Heaven !

Sort of like Alice Coopers song “It’s Much Too Late”

 

Now it’s much too late

My time has passed away

All my plans and dreams have all ended

Now it’s much too late

To try and plead my case

And I don’t know the God I’ve offended

It’s too late

Dragontown

The Movie “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” was exactly the same.

Spiderman 3

June 5, 2009

What is it?

He has fought the Green Goblin, he stopped Doctor Octavios, he dealt with his own inner conflicts with self sacrifice – now he is back to deal with a handful of bad guys and some new inner demons in what may be the final installment of the series. Spiderman has finally been accepted as a hero and his life is going well. Unfortunately, his girl friend, MJ, is going through a personal crisis, but he can not see through all his new found appreciation, to be there for her. His romantic problems are paralleled by the rise of some more unusual villains, and what is that crawling out of the space rock?

 

How was it?

This is a comic book movie. There is no attempt to make it anything it’s not. Director Sam Raimi just plays it straight and has the most fun he can with the genre. The audience isn’t given anything much deeper or more mysterious than your standard Veggie Tales episode. After we have a long set up for each one of the characters, we jump into some fun plot, then some big action, finally Spiderman’s aunt explains the symbolism and moral to you… repeat. The action is cool. You can occasionally tell its computers, beyond just the fact that “that has to be a computer”. It’s the kind of action that you have to pay attention to in order to follow. It’s often like a rollercoaster, without the track. The best part is watching Spiderman jumping and scrambling over debris as he and parts of a building plummet. Overall, not the most amazing film, but it’s fun.

 

Was it good for kids?

This is a hard one. There are a lot of things to be leery of, but it’s all presented in such a way that may not scare kids. The violence is about action, however, there is some blood, but more often just ripped masks and shirts. There is some black stuff that crawls around and (spoiler) eventually creates the villain Venom, who is a monster version of Spiderman with a big mouth full of teeth. Still they do not show him very much. When he has a close up, the black stuff leaves his face and he is human with a mouth that is somewhere between a dog and a vampire. Beyond that, there are all types of family issues. Peter of course still blames himself for the murder of his uncle, who raised him because his parents died when he was young. Then there is a villain who is estranged from his wife and steals to pay for a medical treatment for his daughter, who we see sleeping with tubes in her nose. The situation may upset children but it’s also a very ambiguous evil. This makes the character more complex, but while it is handled well, may confuse children and make them think that you can do bad things for good reasons. Peter also takes the Lord’s name in vain (prays?) when he thinks he has killed his friend who attacked him.

You can see a break down of all the elements on the screen on screenit.com.

 

What about spiritual elements?

At first I thought the  first Spiderman seemed to hold up Spiderman as the fill-in for an impotent God.  After a closer look I believe God is orcastrating the events and coincidences that allow Peter to serve others. The second makes him out to be a Christ figure (the Freedom Bringer), and in this one he needs forgiveness and it seems to start by going to God. There are two major themes to this movie (that are both spelled out by Aunt May.) The first is that if you are planning on marrying a woman you have to be man enough to put her first, and the second is that revenge in your heart will turn you into something horrible and the solution is forgiveness! We find out that everything comes down to choices. Almost every person on every level, in this film, is paired up with someone else who is in almost the same situation. We get to see one person who chooses correctly and then one who chooses incorrectly. We also get to see the reward or punishment that coincides with their choice. Both line up perfectly with the Bible. In fact (Spoiler) while Peter Parker allows himself to be consumed by revenge, his response to a character’s plea for mercy is “If you want forgiveness, get religion.” which seems like a downer on Christianity, but soon after that Spiderman is at a church (the kind with a cross on top and a crucifix inside). He has come there to rid himself of “revenge” and “aggression” in an interesting “Re-Birth” scene. In that same scene, we see someone come to God, not for forgiveness, but to seek revenge. (Big Spoiler) Of course the one looking for revenge gets afflicted with all that Spiderman has shed. The consequence for harboring revenge turns out to be death. Peter Parker, on the other hand, forgives the man who shot is uncle. (He says “I forgive you” nothing cryptic.) This action leads to freedom for all characters involved.

 

What is your recommendation?

It’s a fun movie, with easy messages and someone to explain them to you along the way. So you can enjoy the action and get the point without a lot of heavy lifting. If your child will not be negatively affected by comic book violence and can handle the moral ambiguity until it’s tied up at the end, I would bring them along. When it’s all over you will have plenty to talk about as far as the problems of revenge and the need for forgiveness, starting with the forgiveness from God. Who know’s you might even be able to use the film to tell another Spiderman Fan about God’s forgiveness.

 

Spider-Man 3

National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets

June 4, 2009

What Is It?

The Di Vinci Code book and movie created a national hunger for historical treasure hunting and a large group of people who didn’t want to see it done “that way”. Disney saw the market and created a “safe” version that still involved Knights Templar and secret societies, but mostly dealt with American History instead of the more controversial religious kind. Then, according to IMDB.com, when the film came back as PG instead of the intended PG-13 they released it under Disney instead of Touchtone and advertised it as a family film.

This product stars Nicolas Cage as an explorer treasure hunter who knows everything about American History. Like Dan Brown‘s hero, Cage’s Ben (Franklin) Gates is caught in espionage that puts his historical knowledge to the test, while inadvertently turning several groups, including the US Government, against him. Thus, we get an Indiana Jones style adventure in America with more archeology and less adventure.

How Was It?

It was what it was. Nowhere near as good as the Di Vinci Code, though not as openly offensive. This is just a formula film that suffers in comparison to everything else it looks like, not to mention everything else Jerry Bruckheimer has done lately. (Pirates of the Caribbean, DeJaVu, all three CSI‘s)

Nicolas Cage is a fun actor and in films like this and Ghost Rider, he gives a “Wink Wink” performance that tells us “Don’t worry, I know it’s silly too.”

Is It Good For Children?

That’s the selling point from Disney’s perspective. Still the three characters that we are supposed to like use the Lord’s name as their cuss word of choice. There is also a long scene of two characters putting lemon juice on the back of the constitution. Obviously this is to dull to take the time it needs for the plot points, so they have the attractive blond woman (Diane Kruger) in a very low cut dress and spend a long time showing her leaning over the table. Younger children may also have problem understanding the “breaking the law because it is the right thing to do” theme. (That is discussed more in the next section.)

What About Spiritual Issues?

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mason organization, but according to this movie it is the best thing going and the true American religion, at least in the minds of all the founding fathers. (I’m not sure if that is good or bad or even noteworthy, but it was strongly presented in this film.)

Other than that, there are a couple of moral issues. First, Ben plans on stealing the constitution to save it. They do make sure he is pushed into a corner and has no other options, but this still may come off as situational ethics. The nice thing about this theft, is that Ben also plans, though he would prefer not to, on going to jail for a long time for what he had done. To some extent that is the attitude of Daniel and Shadrack, Meshack and Ebendigo in the Bible. Still, none of the Bible characters tried to negotiate out of the consequences and none of them got out of paying for what they had done. Ben of course sights the Constitution for justification of his actions and not the Bible story.

More problematic is Ben’s love life. His father (Jon Voight) sees his son with a lady and asks if she’s pregnant, and while she is not, and at that point is not even in a relationship with Ben, the viewer is left not sure if Ben lives his life such that the dad would have a legitimate reason to ask such a question. Later, Ben explains that his dad is a “prude” and and is so because he thinks Ben’s love life has been to “cavalier”, simply because he may have said “I love you” to more than one woman in his life. At the end of the movie (spoiler) Ben is living with the girl, but there is no mention of marriage and no one has a ring.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This silly movie was not made to be a family film and changing the ad campaign did not change the content of the film. With the fuzzy look at stealing and breaking the law, I would be very careful with young children and make sure you talked through the issues. Between the cussing, the possibly inappropriate relationships and a scene spent looking down a girls shirt, this film just is not worth it.

According to Screenit.com, the sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, has Diane Kruger showing “varying amounts of cleavage in various outfits during the film.” and “To distract a White House official…[Kruger’s Character] shows some cleavage and purposefully crawls on all fours in her skirt — pretending to look for a lost earring.”

Screenit.com also reports that they still use God’s name as their cuss word, that the justification’s for breaking the law is even more flimsy and that the girl Ben was living with at the end of the first film is in fact, just his girlfriend.

With the promise of another lackluster adventure with all the same negative themes and visuals amplified, I have decided that this series is mislabeled and I just stayed home.

Angels and Demons Q&E Review Show

June 3, 2009

ABIGAIL ROONEYs jewelry from http://www.liasophia.com/abigailrooney

You can check out our written review of Da Vinci Code

You can also check out the written review of Angels and Demons at Pop Culture Christ

Farm Food and Film

June 1, 2009

Out side the world of entertainment, I have been reading  Holy Cows And Hog Heaven by Joel Salatin.

It is entertaining, (and Joel seems to be an on target Christian) but it’s a guide to become farm friendly food buyer. With this and other similar influences, I have been noticing some “food” movies lately…

You can watch The Future of Food on Hulu

You can watch Ron Howard in Bitter Harvest on Hulu