Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

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.

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

January 9, 2010

#31 – Top Money Makers of the Decade – The Incredibles

December 21, 2009

We have taken the list of the Top Money Makers of the Decade and we are doing the “Question Entertainment Lightning Round”
I hope you like it. Let us know your thoughts.

See them all at http://www.youtube.com/user/1ThessFIVE21and22#p/c/A4E6B15329949FF4

The Incredibles

Flushed Away

December 20, 2009

What Is It?

This is the first computer animated outing for the Aardman Animations, the English animation group, who have been doing Claymation for years, including Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit. Headman Nick Park was not involved (though he does the voice a slug) in this American made film. It was instead, overseen by his partner Peter Lord.

Flushed Away is the story of a well-to-do mouse (Hugh Jackman) who is flushed right out of his plush lifestyle and into the buzzing dirty metropolis of sewer rat existence. (It is all very “Bug’s life” “Flintstones”.) He then has a run in with the Frog Mob Boss (Ian McKellen) running the town…. adventure and antics ensue.

How Was It?

This was fun. It was the same kind of English humor you are used to from Aardman Animations but with the American pacing your used to from every other* kids movie. (*At least the well done films, like those from Pixar.)

Odd Note: I think this is the first Aardman Animations film where some one eats meat.

Was It Good For Kids?

For the most part it is fine, though they will probably pick up on lines like “the booty is in the booty” and that could become annoying. Two characters are on a “zip line”, with the girl grabs holding line and the boy holding on to her pants, that expectedly give way. Still nothing is “Sexy” it’s just silly and is followed by the line, “that’s something else I didn’t want to see.” There is also a Tom Jones parody where a grandma screams with delight and then “Tom” is hit in the face with a large pair of underwear.

For a break down of everything on the screen look at Screenit.com.

What about Spiritual Issues?

This film does have some solid Christian tie-ins (Which made it even more odd to me to find out that Nick Park was not really involved.) There is a “Doom’s Day Prophet”  (Sam Fell) letting people know that the flood is coming. It is played for laughs. (Slight Spoiler) Though he looks silly, he turns out to be exactly right. (Big Spoiler) At the end he prophesied that help would come, in a way that points out Roddy’s (Hugh Jackman) self sacrifice. This points to Jesus. (Roddy is a freedom bringer.)

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is more fun with less problems than most kids films. Add a connection to Christ and you have the value of your rental and some great conversations about family, “stuff” vs relationships and self sacrifice.

Flushed Away

#33 – Top Money Makers of the Decade – Ratatouille

December 19, 2009

 

We have taken the list of the Top Money Makers of the Decade and we are doing the “Question Entertainment Lightning Round”
I hope you like it. Let us know your thoughts.

See them all at

 http://www.youtube.com/user/1ThessFIVE21and22#p/c/A4E6B15329949FF4

What Is It?

This is the second collaboration between Pixar and writer/director Brian Byrd. Their first outing, The Incredibles, lived up to it’s name. Now Ratatouille… um… does not easily lend itself to pithy comments.

It is the story of a rat (Patton Oswalt)who wants to be a gourmet cook, a boy (Lou Romano) who does not know how to cook, nor does he know that he is the heir to a restaurant dynasty, and finally the evil, short chef (Ian Holm)who wants to simply cash in on his late mentor’s reputation.

How Was It?

This was not the achievement that the Incredibles was, but it is much better than Byrd’s early film, The Iron Giant. The movie is altogether fun to watch with enjoyable characters, whimsical story twists, and great visuals. I especially liked Anton Ego’s (Peter O’Toole) house. To complement his corps like presents, his hall is coffin shaped and you can see the smile of a skull in his old typewriter. I also appreciate the fact that they have someone who they say is a great writer, and instead of just leaving it at that and showing people’s reaction to his writing, we actually hear his entire article. It is at the climax of the film, making it even more daring a move.

Is It Good For Kids?

There is no cussing (other than the line “welcome to hell” referring to work), violence in minimal and slapstick and no one is shown inappropriately. The rats occasionally “Steal” food, but every time the action is condemned in explicit terms with negative consequences following directly. There is also an Aladdin style racism, where they are in a foreign country, all the evil characters and comic relief people have thick accents and the two hero’s have the American TV “No-accent”

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

What About Spiritual Issues?

Stealing is show throughout the film but, as I said, always with a verbal rebuke and eventually with negative consequences. This movie is very careful to explain itself at many points. Similarly, Remy the Rat (Patton Oswalt) talks with Gusteau (Brad Garrett) a dead chef. Gusteau has lots of lines pointing out that he is not a ghost but only imagined by Remy. He even goes so far to state that Gusteau only knows what Remy already knows himself, because Remy is making him up. I appreciated the distinction, because it is one distinction people often do not understand.

Gusteau is not the only brush with death we have. When we meet Linguini for the first time, his mother has just died. When explaining this, he tells the kitchen staff that she “believed in Heaven” so she is all set, as far as an afterlife is concerned. This line caught me off guard. On one hand, it was great to see the concept of heaven and that death is not to be looked at as an ending but a new beginning. Still the idea simply believing in the concept of heaven will ensure you go there is a frighteningly simplistic one. Jesus said, in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Also look at James 2:19.

There is also an odd undercurrent of sexual immorality. Linguini’s mother had been the girlfriend of Gusteau when they were both alive. Linguini and Gusteau did not know it, but Gusteau was Linguini’s father. This concept is tossed around in those terms throughout the film, without moral comment. This is stands out, considering they go out of their way to explain other actions as being wrong.

What Is Your Recommendation?

It’s a fun and well made film, which is the norm for Pixar. Still, there are pitfalls within the plot. If you are going to enjoy this cinematic dish with your family, you will want to talk about ghosts, Heaven, true salvation, stealing, and “love”.

I would instead look to any other Pixar film free of fishy-automotives or the other CG rodent themed  film “Flushed Away

Flushed Away

Hoodwinked

December 17, 2009

What Is It?

A computer animated cross between a Shrek-style twisting of faerie tales and a Pulp Fiction-style story line. Each character tells their story completely, then, we start over from another perspective. Each story is different, but intersects with the other characters and their stories. It’s fun to see things that didn’t make sense before explained later.

The story line is simple. The cops show up to find a tied up grandmother, (Glenn Close) a wolf (one of my favorite voice actors, Patrick Warburton) dressed in her clothes, a little girl in a red hood (Anne Hathaway of the Princess Diaries) and a woodsman (James Belushi) who has recently burst on the sceen with ax in hand. The police think that this mess of fairytale endings will be the key to discover who has been stealing the secret recipe books from all the good ie shops in the wood. Chief Grizzly ( rapper Xzibit , in a part that has nothing to do with hip-hop) just wants to book the wolf, but the frog (David Ogden Stiers) wants to get the real story.

How Was It?

I expected to find this movie lame. The ads did it no favors. I don’t know if this was helped by my lowered expectations, but I found it entertaining. The animation is nothing special (especially with Pixar running around) but the story is creative. I really enjoyed the interacting story lines. The pop culture references were good but not so overwhelming that it bogs down the plot . They more use popular movie/tv short hand in ways you would not expect to see it in a faerie tales. The plot is predictable, but fun.

Is It Good For Kids?

It is made for kids to enjoy with enough other things going on that adults will be ok ay (or have fun), too. There is never a moment where the joke is such that you will just hope your child will “miss it”. There is no cussing and all violence is very much good vs.bad or accidental and very cartoony. (Spoiler) We do find out that the grandmother has lied to her granddaughter about parts of her life. This is shown to hurt the relationship, but they do work it out. Beyond that, Red seems to be a “teen” character. She is updated to be hip Still yet , her shirt MAKES IT ALL THE WAY TO HER PANTS !!! Not only that, she’s going for the ultra hip – and ultra modest – bell

bottom jeans with a denim skirt.(Hopefully Red will be a good influence on Jasmine, Ariel, and those “Bratz” dolls.)

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com.

How about Spiritual Issues?

The wolf makes the statement “With God as my witness, you will learn to speak ” to the fast talking chipmunk. There is also a character who claims a witch has put a spell on him, but he then does something that proves there is no spell, but pretends not to notice so he can continue with his funny quirk .

The real lesson is “don’t judge a book by its cover” wh ich can have a spiritual application, especially if you bring up verses like John 7:24 .

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you have kids who would want a fun, bright film, or teens who are up late with alot of soda, this would be a good one to rent.

Hey , I was looking at the credits and noticed that the soundtrack was done by John Mark Painter. He’s from the band Christian band Fleming and John. This made me pay more attention. The Goat is voiced by Benjy Gaither (son of gospel singer Bill Gaither ) and the brothers who wrote and directed this film also hosted and edited (respectively ) CCM-TV, the short lived Christian music video show based on the magazine. It’s always great to see Christians put out something that does not make you want to gag.

I have since bought the Sound Track. It’s a lot of fun. 

Fleming and John’s Myspace page says:

 You can download a bootleg of their Awesome “Hoodwinked” Soundtrack here

PS

Did you know that Hercules Goes Bananas was the original title for Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s first film where they dubbed his voice to take care of his accent . I never thought I would see a movie with a HGB joke!

Hoodwinked DVD

Hoodwinked CD

Delusions of Grandeur

by Fleming & John

Juno

December 9, 2009

What is it?

This seems that someone put “Ghost World”, “Napoleon Dynamite” and an after school special in a blender with just a touch of “The Gilmore Girls” and came out with the kind of delectable diner treat you wish your local 5 star restaurant would serve.

Juno (Ellen Page) is a 16 year old girl living with her dad and step mom. With all the other problems of being a middle of the social ladder teen aged girl, Juno is pregnant. As all public high school educated teens are taught, she first considers abortion. She then decides to give it up for adoption to a couple who are unable to have children of their own.

Whatever this character driven, dialog heavy style of movie making is, I believe Juno makes it an official genre and someone with more clout than me will need to name it. (And once it’s named it can be beat into the ground until we all long for the days when we were not sure how to describe films like “Trust” and “Napoleon Dynamite”).

How was it?

With small town feel, quick witty dialogue, and a track team of maroon and gold clad skinny guys that just all run by every once and a while, this film has great texture and superb story telling.

It is rare to find something fun to watch, though still very emotional. I was unaware that Jason Batman was making a comeback. (I have not seen him since “Teen Wolf Too”) but he is excellent as the cool half of the adoptive yuppie couple (with Jennifer Gardner as his better half). There is a lot here that just seems like general silliness, but has big plot and symbolic payoff, later in the film. Each part is played superbly, the light banter never trivializes, and a cast of odd ball characters never seem distant or made up.

Was it good for Kids?

I did not find this film offensive for the sake of being racy, but no one bothers to take the edge off any of subject matter or the word choice. There is a lot of cussing, though it doesn’t “feel” like “that kind of film”. The consummation scene is very tastefully done and never shows any images that are in themselves wrong to look at. Still it is quite clear what is going on and in what state of dress the characters are in. If, by some chance, you missed it, characters explain it repeatedly later on.

If you are considering this film for your kids, please read what Screenit.com has to say about the content.

What about Spiritual Issues.

When Juno tells her parents that she is pregnant and going to give her baby up for adoption, her step mother (Allison Janney) says that the baby, for this family, will be a miracle “from Jesus”. It may be just thrown in to make her seem odd, but by this point in the film, we are so comfortable with the idea of taking these characters seriously, the line seems to just mean what it says.

When going for an abortion, Juno is met by a fellow student (Valerie Tian) who, in broken English, explains that God does not want her to kill the baby. It all seems silly on the way in, but after she realizes that what is inside of her is alive, all the warnings move from quirky banter to a poignant cry for life.

There is also a joke about adoption and Mosses. They use Mosses as an example of a closed adoption though technically it was accidentally open.

Other than that, there is no direct reference to spirituality, but there are many themes that should make Christians and moralist very happy.

The major theme here, seems to be, responsibility and understanding of your roll in your phase of life. When you add up everything they show us –  sex is fun and has a lot of emotional results, but it’s for married adults and makes babies. Abortion and condoms are shown as pathetic solutions that only trivialize the issue and could only truly be endorsed by the “far gone” among the teen population. Juno does act maturely in dealing with the situation, but this is not “Papa Don’t Preach”. Juno even tells her dad (J.K. Simmons) that she has spent the day, “Dealing with things way beyond my maturity level.” So she looks for loving adults to raise her baby. She goes to her parents for advice. The one time she blows off her step mom’s warning she finds that it was a mistake not to listen.

If all this was not amazing enough, we also find that adults who decide that they want to revert back and act like teenagers are likewise in the wrong, and may do even more damage than kids who mess up by trying to take on adult life to early.

I cannot remember the last time I left a movie theater having been told that if you are a kid messing with sex is not good for you and if you are a married adult it is your responsibility to stay with your spouse even when it is hard because you are acting like a spoiled child to run out when the going gets tough. OK, I cannot think of any movie that had all that.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a great movie that is hard to recommend. Though all the messages I talked about are there, I question whether the intended audience will pick up on it and clearly see the values it promotes. On top of that there is a lot of crudities and unsavory language to get through to get to the amazing message. Though most of the language comes from teens who are supposed to be shown as immature, will kids and teens be able to make that leap?

My recommendation is to know that this is not the “family” film that some are touting it as, but if you do chose to follow Juno for 9 months in only 92 minutes, you will have plenty to talk about, and a lot of great things to discover starting with a nice example of a family that talks to each other.

Elf

December 4, 2009

 501829elf-posters

What Is It?

This is a take off of every claymation Christmas special from the 60’s – 80’s with heavy emphasis on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Will Ferrell plays Buddy The Elf. He is a very tall human who, much like Steve Martins “The Jerk”, did not notice that he was different from the hoard of Santa’s 3 foot elf’s who raised him. So taking all the attitude of said Christmas Specials and the three rules of an elf, Buddy travels to New York to meet his Dad (James Caan) even though Dad is a tough business man on the “Naughty List.”

 

How Was It?

 

It was funny. Will Ferrell manages to seem natural in this over the top character. My favorite part though is the introduction to elves and the north pole stammeringly narrated by Bob Newhart as Papa Elf. The other great thing is the sheer nuttiness of all the other characters. Well acted side characters all have there own quirks that help Buddy move seamlessly through New York. I think you will find this movie to be a series of very funny vinyets with just enough story and garland to string them together.

 

Is It Good For Kids?

 

Kids of the age for the original claymation will find a lot of fun and familier gags. Older kids will understand more of the juxtaposition of “Real Life” and “Elf Life”. There are a couple of jokes involving Buddy not understanding “adult” things, such as sending sexy women’s sleepwear to his father because the sign said it was perfect for “Someone Special” or following music to the woman’s locker room where a young lady is singing in the shower. It is very clear Buddy just wanted to sing along as in all his other whimsical misunderstandings. Buddy also uses God as a cuss word when he gets excited.

 

You can check Screenit.com for a break down of the elements on the screen.

 

What About Spiritual Issues?

 

First off this is all about Christmas and has not one reference to Christ. Luckily we do not get a “this is the meaning of Christmas” line to tell us it’s not Him, but just family or life or presents.

 

The odd thing here is the talk about Belief and Christmas Spirit. There is an easily made connection between Santa in this movie and God. (Spoiler) The end of the movie involves Santa (Edward Asner)crashed down in Central Park. In a Tinkerbell style conundrum, he can not fly because there is no more Christmas Spirit. Most likely the lack of Christmas spirit comes from a lack in belief in Santa, but it may just be a lack of belief in the concepts of love and magical generosity that Santa represents. He can not show himself because that would take away the correct type of Faith. A boy steals his gift list and reads it on TV. People are shocked at the accuracy where he even knows personal desires not just the one’s that kids wrote in their letters.

 

Spiritually we are left with some interesting questions.

Should Santa have attributes of God?

Faith is the evidence of things unseen, But is that faith based on wishful thinking?

Does prof destroy faith?

 

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a funny light hearted movie. This does not destroy of de-mythologize fairytale but shows that they help us to live fuller more beautiful lives in the “real world”. In that light it is almost the kids version of “Lady in the Water”. Still the absence of God except as a cuss word and the notion of faith in Santa should give you something to think about when deciding if this film is right for you and your family and something to talk about if you do invite Buddy the Elf into your Christmas.

 

PS

If you do watch it. Keep your eyes open for a great re-do of the original big-foot “sighting” .

Elf

Q&E Extra: What Do YOU Think of A Christmas Carol

November 22, 2009