Archive for the ‘Comic Book’ 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.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine Q&E Review Show

January 21, 2010

Wolverine mp3

The Anatomy of a Monster CDs

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

Constantine

November 12, 2009

What Is It?

Based on a comic book called “Hellblazer,” this is the story of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves). John is a chain smoking, exorcist. He has never repented but tries to drive out demons to earn his way to heaven. Lately the demons are doing something new. As he searches for answers, his friends and confidants all get killed. He also meets a woman cop (Rachel Weisz) who’s twin sister (same actress) has just killed herself. The cop and Constantine go on a quest through our world and the unseen spiritual world (which both of them can see) to restore a balance and keep us alive.

How Was It?

There is a very high “Hipness” factor here. The angel Gabrielle  (Tilda Swinton)is super cool, and most of the special effects are good. Still when he “kills” a boss demon, it looked like a kid animated the scene with his Nintendo.

The plot does not go anywhere. Characters either do not change, or switch sides for absolutely no reason. (Some then switch back with just as much explanation.) The movie makes up rules for the way the supernatural works. It often has to stop to tell us all of them. Unfortunately most of the “spiritual” stuff seems like they are making it up as they go along. Then the movie does not even follow its own rules.

It would be a lot better if no one spoke, so you never had to deal with there poor attempt at a plot.

Is It Good For Kids?

This film is very intense. It takes you to hell a couple of times. It also introduces you to demons, and often has lots of monsters just coming out of nowhere. The language isn’t good and there is no pervasive nudity, but the attractive woman cop often ends up completely wet.

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

Also, as you will see in the next question, the information about God and the spiritual world is at best confusing and at worst heresy.

How about Spiritual Issues?

Religion, as my wife pointed out, is a prop in this film. If it works they use it and if it doesn’t they use what ever else.

At points the theology seems to be going well. The Angel Gabriel answers John’s accusation of God being unfair with “you are going to die because you have smoked 3 packs a day since you were 15 and you are going to hell because of the life you took, so your ****ed” She then explains that he can’t buy his way into heaven, but could just repent and believe in God so he can be saved. It even goes as far as explaining the difference between “knowing” God is there and “Believing” in him.

Still all this goes out the window and is contradicted through out the film. Then the rest is just sad.

John explains that God and Satan have a bet to see who can get the most followers just by influence and never by actual action. (Though there is evidence of both sides acting on people all the time.) He later says that God doesn’t care; he’s just a “Kid with an ant farm.”

Suicide is looked at as a one way ticket to Hell. The two suicides we see in the film are both rejections of God.

The Roman Catholic Church is the only church shown. We only meet 2 priests. The first is only there to tell the surviving twin that her sister’s suicide makes it so she can not have a Catholic funeral.

The other (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is a scary looking fat guy who drinks like mad to avoid having to think about the demons. He finally drinks himself to death during a rampage in a liquor store.

(This is where I spoil the end)

Later Gabriel switches sides and tries to help Satan’s son come into the world. After Satan (Peter Stormare) stops her (he doesn’t want Jr. taking over), she is punished and becomes human. (This is an odd punishment because earlier she pointed out, very Biblically, that she was jealous of humans because they can repent and become children of God.)

John uses suicide to trick Satan into letting him go to heaven. Then Satan chooses to heal John so he doesn’t die. Biblically God is the only one who can heal or has power over who lives and who dies.

What Is Your Recommendation?

Nope.

 

The film is not good and the script is bad and the theology is terrible. I guess if you’re just in the mood to play “find the heresy”, maybe…. Or if you have a friend who wanted to talk to you about “Is that true?”

Even the totally un-theological “Roger Ebert” said the film was just silly because he spends the whole time trying to earn his way into heaven when “You don’t have to kill these demons to earn your way into heaven because any sin can be forgiven..” Amen

Question Entertainment Extra: Watchman Revisited – Christian Movie Review

July 30, 2009

SUPERMAN RETURNS

April 24, 2009

 

What Is It?

If comic books are America’s mythology, then Superman is our Zeus. He has been immortalized in every medium imaginable, but none so memorable as the films of Christopher Reeve. Now, Director Brian Singer takes his team that made X Men 1 and 2 so great, and brings back the Man Of Steel.

Here we find out that after Superman 2, our hero (Brandon Routh) went into space for years looking for remains of his home planet Krypton. This doesn’t matter at all, the point is, he was gone in the story like he has been gone in our lives, and our theaters, and now he is back. Of course the timing is great, because Lex Luther has also returned from his latest stint in jail. Now, in this tribute to all things great about the first 2 films (including a couple of plot references, the John Williams Theme music, a borrowed line, and borrowed footage to bring the late Marlon Brando back as Superman’s deceased Father) it’s once again time to “Look! Up in the sky….”

How Super Was It?

When the opening credits started, accompanied by that music, I was transported back to 5 years old. I remember all the grandeur and magic that was the Superman Mythos. Here it was again, and without losing one ounce of power from what I remember. If you have seen the original, and fear that it is more built up in your mind, they have compensate for that here. If you haven’t seen Superman before, this movie will make you wonder why you waited so long.

Beyond looking great, it flowed very well. It is interesting enough to keep going without having to blow something up every 5 seconds. It reminded me a lot of the “Incredibles” in this aspect. The acting? Kevin Spacey as Lex Luther seemed to have walked through the comic book on his way to the set. I would have liked to see more of him, but it wasn’t over done the way every comic book movie tries to recapture the Jack NickelsonJoker Experience“.

Yes, some of the best parts are in the trailer (especially the Lex Luther “come on, say it” line) But if you like the trailers, you will not be disappointed by the full product.

With all this great packaging you also get some ideas to think about that go a bit deeper than “Good vs. Evil” and “I wish I could Fly.”

As summer movies go, this has it all.

Is it Super for kids?

If your child is not scared by people in bloodless danger and is not prone to tie a bed sheet around his neck and jump from the second story window, then the visuals should be no problem. They do cut off the phrase “Holly Sh…” with a gun going off. (And yes, the big gun gets aimed at the big S on his chest.) Sadly, there were no explosions when Jimmy Olson took the Lord’s name in vain upon seeing Clark for the first time.

You can check the Super web page Screenit.com for a break down of everything that is on the screen.

There are some themes that may be harder to deal with. Lois Lane  (Kate Bosworth) has a son,  (Tristan Lake Leabu) and is only engaged to the dad. (James Marsden) This is not presented as even an issue. It also seems, despite her new relationship, she is actually still in love with Superman.

A bit weirder than that (BIG TIME SPOILER) the kid is found to be Superman’s son. Though it is never stated in this movie, it is alluded to that their relationship in the first 2 films brought forth this child. In Superman 2, Clark Kent gives up all his power to marry Lois. Then after realizing that the world needs him, he gives up his selfishness and dons his tights once more, using a Super kiss to make Lois forget there nuptials. I’m not sure that this explanation is better than the kid being a super love child.

Then….

What about Super Spiritual Issues?

If you have seen the ads, you have been prepared for this too. It has often been pointed out that Superman is the only son of his father in the sky who has come to save us. His fathers name is Jor-El (in Hebrew – Jor – the awe of El-God) and the name of the son is Kal-el, which in Hebrew means “voice of God.” He is then raised by a family that is not his own. All of this has been talked about and speculated upon, (in Godspell , Jesus himself wears a Superman shirt.) But here the movie brings the idea to the forefront.

First Lex Luther explains that he wants to be Prometheus, the Greek myth who brought fire to man, thus giving them technology. He leaves out the fact that Permethius “stole” the fire, which he also emulates. When it is pointed out that Lex is not a god, he retorts “Gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don’t share their power with mankind.”

We find out that the Article Lois Lane is winning the Pulitzer prize for is entitled “Why the world doesn’t need Superman.” The discussion around the article all explicitly surrounds the idea that the world does not need a “Savior”. (Superman’s answer to this could be equated a bit to a heavenly vision of the workings of God. Paul, John and now Lois.)

If this was not obvious enough, Superman flies through the sky remembering the words of his father “Even though you have been raised as a human being you are not one of them. They can be a great people Kal-el, they wish to be, they only lack the light to show them the way. For this reason above all, there capacity for good, I have sent them you, My only son.”

(Do we have a capacity for good? Do we want to be good? Do we need to be given an example of good to be good, or do we need to have our evil removed by sacrifice to provide for Jesus to indwell us and be good through us? Romans 3:10-12 & 8:6-7 or just read all of Romans.)

Toward the end (Spoiler) Lex Luther attacks Superman with a shard of Kryptonite, stabbing him in the side.

Of course (Bigger Spoiler) when Superman chooses to throw the Kryptonite laden land mass into space, thus saving America, he does it knowing it will kill him. As he drifts away from the land mass, his legs fall and his arms extend in the pose so familiar to church and movie goers.

Though at the time, it is unclear how it will end (Huge Spoiler) Lois finds the empty room that once housed the dead son of Jor-el.

What Is Your Super Recommendation?

Well, the movie is great, but there is more to a movie than how well done it is and how much fun it is to watch.

This film does continually raise the question “Do you need a savior?” and that is a question that more people need to be asking. In the film, those who say “no” are either homicidal men focused on greed, or Lois trying to hide her own need from herself.

Now, I don’t think it is offering a literal man in blue tights as a savior, and it does use a lot of Jesus symbolism. So the question becomes, are they pointing back to Jesus, or are they using Jesus and Superman to tell you to keep your eyes open for the next savior to come around. I don’t think that it goes far enough in either direction to give you anything more than to say “you need some sort of savior.”

I would be just fine with this if (spoiler) we were not dealing with this bazaar love triangle and pseudo divorce/dead beat dad thing.

Yes, Christ used the story of Jonah as pointing to His own death and resurrection, but Jonah’s negative actions are condemned in the story. The hardest thing about this movie is the morally ambiguous actions of Superman when everything else he does is categorically “good.”

Then there is the idea that we could be good, not by dealing with sin, but simply by being inspired by some one who is good.

If you are going to bring your kids, I would read the “spoilers” or see it first, and be prepared to discuss the issues this film raises and only sometimes resolves.

Still, if one of your friends have seen it, maybe he will have a question that you can answer with the Answer Himself. For that reason I would welcome this return.

The Watchmen Q&E Review Show

March 13, 2009

Transformers

March 7, 2009

transformers_movie_poster_optimus_prime

What Is It?

Transformers, of course, is a movie based on the Hasbro toys (and subsequent Comic Book, Cartoon Show, and animated movie) from the 80’s. They are simply the coolest toys for boys, ever. Now that all the little boys who saw these “robots in disguise” as the testosterone filled ‘Holy Grail” of Toys’R’Us are in their 30’s*, Director Michael Bay and producer Steven Spielberg are aiding the Transformers in their own journey into adulthood.

Where the original story line had Earth as the last place to harvest “Energon”, the power source to keep their world going. This one has Earth as the hiding place of the “All Spark” which can be used by the Autobots (good guys) to rebuild their planet or the Decepticons (Bad Guys) to power their army for intergalactic domination. With the plot out of the way, this is a movie about vehicles that turn into giant robots and fight each other. What cooler toy could any grown up little boy hope for.

How Was It?

Transformers is simply the most incredible special effects film I have ever seen. You know that you are looking at a special effect only because reason tells you that alien robots do not exist and do not change into your car. Other than that, the effects are seamless. Added to the realism is the camera work, which sways toward “documentary style.” The fight scenes are wonderful, and they give you the feel that the World’s Greatest Camera Man happened to see giant robots fighting, grabbed his gear and yelled “I’m getting this!” If you have time to think during the onslaught, you will no doubt think things like “I have never seen anything like this.” The action is so good you will not notice the near complete lack of plot or even the glaring problems with it’s logic. Still the movie makes no pretenses about things like that. Like the little boys with their action figures, they come up with enough of a plot to get to a couple of hours of fighting, it’s all you need.

If you have been part of the fad in the past, you will be thrilled to know that , Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, reprises his role for this movie. Autobots have blue eyes and Decepticons have purple. The first transformation has the sound effect that you remember, people say “More that meets the eye”, Megatron, while being voiced by Hugo Weaving, tells off a whiny Starscream, guilty of failing again, and finally the Megatron vs Optimus Prime battle starts with the declaration “One shall stand, one shall fall”

Is It Good For Kids?

The violence is almost non-stop once it gets going. Though there is nothing too horrible, humans are threatened and you have to assume casualties, though none are shown. The violence is always bad guys attack because they are evil and good guys protect because they are good. Beyond that, parents may be concerned about the language. They use all the tradition swears, but seem to find the most fitting to be taking the Lord’s name in vain.

There is also emphasis on teen sexuality. Our human hero Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is a teen boy who would like to date the hot girl Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox). Mikaela is unable to find a shirt that covers her and thus the camera man actually holds still, prior to panning, on a couple of occasions. There are also several comments that range from a robot determining Sam’s choice of activities based on his pheromone level, a banter scene where Sam is so flustered he can not say anything that is not a double entendre , and a bizarre scene where Sam’s Donna Reed style mom (Julie White) gives her theory on why Sam would lock the door to be alone in his room. She then comes up with cute code’s like “Sam’s happy time” because the boy and his father (Kevin Dunn) seem uncomfortable with the technical word. She finally excuses herself by explaining that she had been drinking. The reason the door was locked was to keep his parents from realizing that he was finding clues for alien robots. The consummation of the scene is when Mikaela pops up from her hiding place. Mom tells Sam that she is beautiful and gleefully believing that he was simply locking himself in his room with a girl he snuck in, the parents are properly satisfied and leave.

The movie ends (Spoiler?) With a shot of Sam laying on the hood of his car with Mikaela on top of him. (This is all just a little creepy when you realize his car is one of the personified characters.)

What About Spiritual Issues?

This film starts off with an explanation of the “All Spark” which is the inanimate object that created their planet and brought them to life.It is later shown as giving life to a cell phone. This gives a bizarre version of evolutionary creationism. Like “The Force” the “All Spark”  allows the story to have a spiritual dimension and power in a totally godless version of reality. With the “All Spark” as creator, God is used only as a substitute word for supposedly more offensive cussing and Jesus himself is simply the punch line to Sam begging his teacher to raise his grade.

The idea of self sacrifice is pointed out in the dialog with the oft said mantra “Without sacrifice there is no victory” and though a good Pastor could use this to start his sermon next week, it’s not enough to put the movie on strong footing.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a movie about vehicles that turn into robots and fight. To that end it is excellent. To that end I want to revive my 20 year old semi-dormant obsession and put on my Autobot t-shirt while I listen to the sound track, get myself a tie-in lunch box, see the film a couple more times in the theaters and wait patiently for it to come out on DVD.  Unfortunately the thin plot is spiced with anti-God spirituality and glorified teen sexuality. Thus I will instead leave the shirt dormant and move on.

* of whome I am the chief

Pictures of Jesus in Film and Literature PART 3 a Question Entertainment Extra

February 23, 2009

New and Improved “Nothing New”

February 12, 2009

OK, we went to the same theater last night and seriously….

 

 

 

 

 

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