Archive for January, 2010

Christopher’s Top Picks of the Decade (1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

January 28, 2010

It took all month but here are

Christopher’s Top 20 Picks (with 3 “Ties and an Honorable Mention) of the Decade

(1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

  1. Lord Of The Rings (1 movie in 3 parts)
  2. The Passion of the Christ
  3. Unbreakable
  4. tie – DISTRICT 9 Pride and Prejudice 
  5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose  
  6.  Signs
  7. To End All Wars
  8. The Village
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe 
  10. Lars and the Real Girl 
  11. Luther 
  12. B000JLTR8QM. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water
  13. Napoleon Dynamite
  14. In The Bedroom
    Note: “The Bedroom” in the title refers to a compartment of a Lobster Trap
  15. Man On Fire
  16. I Am Legend
  17. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  18. Phone Booth
  19. tie Nanny McPhee Up
  20. tie Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE) Food Inc

Honorable Mention

Bella theatrical one sheet

Bella

Fireproof

This film was not the best done, or the most moving. Several films not on this list were better films. (The Spider Man films, Inglorious B——-s, Juno, Iron Man and even  Twilight, were all better films.) Still, a church got together and made a good film with a great message, and I think that should be applauded.

Pixar and the Hidden Bad Guy

January 27, 2010

Did you notice,

in the

Movie

    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    But in the movie there is Who is sort of the opposite.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

January 21, 2010

What Is It?

The final chapter of the sea bound series has all the characters reunited and ready to have there loose story ends woven into a still frayed Jolly Roger. The title speaks more of the end of an era than the map, though both are represented. Just as promised in the last film, Norrington (Jack Davenport) has teamed up with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) to destroy all the pirates and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), is leading the crew of the Black Pearl to retrieve Jack Sparrow (please excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow) (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones Locker. As promised in the ads, they save Jack right off and then get to the fighting.

How Was It?

The last installment had a decent story but seemed a bit flat with action and performance. This time around the action and performances are really wonderful, which is almost enough to carry the dismal attempt at a story. The line that summed up this film was “Do you think he plans it all out before hand or do you think he’s just making it up as he goes along?” This could have been directed at the film makers as much as Captain Jack Sparrow.

You begin to wonder if the development of this film was simply eaves dropping on a group of teens saying things such as “dude, it would be, like, so cool if she just grew, like, super huge… oh yah yah yah and then she could, like, turn into, like, a million billion crabs! Dude that’s cool!” but the joke is, they are right, it is very cool. Ideas like two pirate ships, gunning it out from there apposing corners in a whirl pool is just pure big budget brilliance.

Still, the lack of a solid story insures that the journey to next action sequence is now just a dull tour through a thematic wasteland. And where the supernatural in the other films was used as posts to hang slightly veiled commentaries on human greed and lust, they are now little more than make shift mooring rings to keep the convoluted plot from going to far a drift. The only time the super natural elements even matter to the story (spoiler) is when the film makers kill off major characters for the shock value and then bring them back to life for the sole purpose of keeping the wide eyed spectator happy.

(Then there was just some nonsense about Jack talking to imaginary versions of himself. I think one Johnny Deep performance is more than enough to fill the screen.)

Is It Good For Kids?

I think there was another meeting where some one said “This is the last one, so we no longer have to make it so that families feel comfortable enough to come back to another one.” This then gives way to things like a crusty Jack removing and licking his own brain and (spoiler) a marriage consummation where we see the lady in a long shirt and one boot and the gentleman kissing her knee. (Ok, that would not be that bad, they are married, except the sensuality of the kiss coupled with the lady’s “pleased” reaction make it something that many parents will be uncomfortable sharing with their children.)

I don’t think there is anything “sinful” about the violence or the sexuality in this film, but even if the other two installments were perfectly fine for your children, you will still want to examine this one and judge it on it’s own merits.

You can get a complete break down of what is on the screen at screenit.com.

What about Spiritual issues.

This is the biggest down fall of this installment. Where the others gave quite Biblical explanations of the make believe supernatural, this one just plays with the elements with no thought to their meanings. Then death is played with to the point where it becomes a non-issue. Death is the point where you meet your final judgement, to be welcomed in or sent away. The last two movies held onto that, even when judgement was preceded by a 100 year stint before the mast of the flying Dutchman. The new “he’s dead, no he isn’t” story line, not only creates spiritual confusion, it takes away all the punch and importance of a human life ending.

Then there are the pirates themselves. The other movies seemed to suggest that maybe some one learned something about honor and right and wrong. Here debauchery is celebrated at the end instead of Honor causing even pirates to rise above it all.

(Spoiler) The other sad message in the film is the romanticizing of a marriage that at the end literally amounts to the husband and wife only seeing each other once every 10 years. Though it is moving to see a woman who is willing to accept so little of her husband to be able to get any of him, it seems just cruel of him to take advantage of such emotion. Marriage here is reduced to a one day in 10 year rendezvous. Though the movie seems to imply this will go on forever, only one character is immortal, thus he will get, at most, a weeks worth of time with this woman, while he is demanding the sacrifice of her entire life for his pleasure.

What is your recommendation?

There are the building blocks of a fun summer movie here, though they are teetering on one another. This is not “Return of the King” where we have had two films to build a plot and are now able to have the final battle for the whole film. This story is autonomous of the other two and simply the further adventures of the same characters. If you have a big screen and a decent sound system, there is nothing here that can’t wait for DVD, but still it’s not the brilliantly acted movie fun, with a touch of real meaning, that the first film was. As much as I longed to see these characters again, I wish they had stopped while they were ahead.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Q&E Review Show

January 21, 2010

Wolverine mp3

The Anatomy of a Monster CDs

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

January 16, 2010

What Is It?

The sequel to the very popular supernatural swashbuckler featuring the power house heart throb duo of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. The first film was fairly entertaining pushed over the edge to very entertaining by the over the top avant-garde performance of Depp.

Here Will (Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) have there wedding postponed when both are arrested for there helping Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) escape in end of the last film. Through a bunch of odd events, the three are re-united running from Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. Thus, inviting you to strap yourself in for another amusement park ride of a summer movie.

How Was It?

It’s fun. Not as good as the original, but why? The story is not as well developed as the original. The character development is not there, you know the characters and there is nothing different from the first. But there biggest cinematic sin; not just putting the camera on Johnny Depp and letting him go. Here he’s more of a garnish than the main flavoring, as he was in the first one. (Did no one read the 8 billion reviews saying “Depp made the movie”?) Here the special effects are more prominent. Anytime Johnny begins to get going, they move on to monsters.

Is it good for Kids?

There are a couple of things to watch out for. First there are a couple of dresses that are a bit to low cut. However, the big problem is the gross monster factor. The beasties here are not as cool as the skeletons from the first film, but they are much more monsters. I would be careful showing this to your child even if they were ok with the first film.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete breakdown of what’s on the screen.

You may want to also look for some images of the monsters as well.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This is the nice part of it all. In the first film there were references to God being sovereign over the weirdo spirituality of the story. The pirates had been cursed by the heathen gods and it’s commented that they will fight until the final judgment. The pirates curse itself even went well with the Bible. They had gold and power, but the pleasures of there ill-gotten gain were unattainable. There are also lines from Captain Jack Sparrow that go perfectly along with the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34.

Here the story itself does not lend as well to any meaning. Still there are even more explicit references to God. One of the pirates from the last film is now looking into the Bible because now that they are not immortal they need to think about there mortal souls. Then there is service on the Flying Dutchman. Davie Jones offers people to serve on his ship for 100 years to postpone God’s judgment and punishment of your deeds. (As Bono says, art about “running from God” puts God at the center.) While making this offer one sailor who is praying and clutching a crucifix thinks it’s better to take his chances with God.

There is also some plot points with Jack’s compass that move back to the earlier mentioned Bible passages.

What is your recommendation?

If you are going, realize it’s not going to be as good as the first one. Plan to stay through the credits. Talk to your kids about the afore mentioned “Treasure” and the good and bad actions of the characters, as well as, the idea of trying to escape from God, at best, only postpones the inevitable.

Have fun, and some good conversation.

ps

Stay for the end of the credits.

#30 – Top Money Makers of the Decade – Kung Fu Panda

January 9, 2010

If Celluloid Was Toilet Paper: I Would Understand Where These Films Came From.

January 4, 2010

What Are They?

The Picture of Dorian Gray  was based on the intellectual supernatural page turner by Oscar Wild. To Kill a King was a historical war film based on the puritan reformation under Oliver Cromwell with Rupert Everett as King Charles IThe Spiderwick Chronicles was a family fantasy that came with many personal recommendations. The The Wager is a loose modernisation of the book of Job staring Randy Travis as an action start with a family friendly edge who has God and Satan betting that he can not live by the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5 ) Finally, First Sunday is a a crime comedy starring Ice Cube as a down and out man who, with his friend, try to rob a church.

How were they?

Doren Grey turned out to be a “made for TV” mistake. The genus of the book was crushed under an avalanche of smults with in the first 10 min. So we moved on “To Kill A King.” As the movie went on they kept giving hints that it was about to become a good movie at any moment. After an hour of being teased in this manor, the grave of the eject button set us free. As this disappointment dissipated, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” conquered it all back. As the story rolled out, I occasionally wished they would steal enough for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to make it good, but they continued to get just enough to make it irritating.The Wager sucked in that special way only a Christian movie can. It never could figure out what movie it was trying to be (or steal from) as the main character fluctuated between seemingly differed personalities and all was summed up with an ending that had nothing to do with the main conflict of the film.  So I started writing this while we were watching “First Sunday.”  As the men rob a church full of Tyler Perry cast off characters, we at least are given the dignity of having the obligatory actor in drag leave right away. Oddly enough, it was occasionally funny.

Were they good for Kids?

Dorien, was unfit for me. To Kill A King kept showing every one’s wife half undressed and then people bleeding.  Spiderwick used God as a cuss word but cut off something starting with “Sh”. The Wager is the kind of schlock that may just give your kids a bad taste for Christian film, unless they like it and then it will just give your kids bad taste in film.  And Lastly “First Sunday” had a bunch of minor cuss words and several shots of a church woman in a revealing outfit. (So I just keep typing.)

What About Spiritual Issues?

Read Dorien Grey, it’s does have some great ideas. To Kill A King kept showing Christians as Jerks on both sides. Spiderwick gave us a bunch of fantasy drivel with no discernment between it and the real world, lined up with telling us that we need to believe the problem kid for no reason. It brightens up by letting us know that it is wrong for a man to leave his family and kids for something else, but then darkens again as you realise that leaving is the only thing every adult man can do because, being an adult man, he is a looser making this bad choice. Finally one of the absent fathers becomes a God figure for no real reason. The wager talks about God in a convoluted way that may not be blasphemy but is not interesting or inspiring either. First Sunday offers redemption and forgiveness but is oddly hazy about why or how  the redemption is given, making it unsure if it’s Christian or Humanism.

What Is Your Recommendation?

Why beat the dead horse?

GI JOE THE RISE OF COBRA: Question Entertainment Christian movie review

January 2, 2010

Director Stephen Sommers said “this is not a George Bush movie — it’s an Obama world. Right from the writing stage we said to ourselves, this can’t be about beefy guys on steroids who all met each other in the Vietnam War, but an elite organization that’s made up of the best of the best from around the world.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_of_Cobra