Archive for the ‘Documentary’ 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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(Why You Should Go See) DISTRICT 9 – Question Entertainment Christian Movie REVIEW (spoilers)

September 28, 2009

 

district9_poster-689x1024

District 9 

Signs

The Boy vs. The Cynic

John Reuben

Did you see the District 9 Tribute over at “Lunch Bag Art“?

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

Walk The Line

January 19, 2009

What Is It?

The long awaited (at least by me) bio-pic of Johnny Cash and his rocky relationships and eventual redemption. The story starts with him as a child, where we meet his hymn loving mother and alcoholic father. We follow him through his early years and his rocket to success, all leading him to June Carter.

How Was It?

The story was intricate and interesting. The acting was superb. There are a lot of people calling for Oscar nominations, and I have to agree. These people become the historical figures that they are portraying. They will take you on a sometimes fun, sometimes tragic, always emotionally engaging ride, with a whole lot of great music along the way.

Was It Good For Kids?

This would be very hard for kids to follow. Younger people may find the story “boring” for that reason. (Though, they could be hooked by the fabulous music). I think the main problem is that we are shown Mr. Cash springing down into depravity. It is shown as bad, but he is still the likable hero. Most children will not be able to separate the “value judgments” made about his actions from the actions themselves.

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

What About Spiritual Issues?

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Bono of U2 said that the songs that most “get him going” are the ones about people running toward God or running away from God, because both “put God at the center”. I kept thinking about that throughout this film. God seems to be a constant looming presence in all the activities. His brother wants to be a preacher, his mother gives him a hymnal, and Johnny is running, either moving away or toward God.

On the way to a concert, Jerry Lee Lewis says something to the effect of (I can’t remember verbatim): “We are all going to Hell. We are not supposed to eat the forbidden fruit, we are not supposed to touch it, come near it or sing about it. (It was much better worded in the film.). This idea permeates the film. Most of the characters (or people portrayed in the film) come out of a church culture. They see what they are doing as sinful, but then handle it differently. Some feel separated; others are still looking for something. Johnny suffers from a feeling of inferiority, that he cannot do any good, because he is not good enough.

The other great thing about this film is that they show sinful behavior, but only enough to make the point, not enough to be tantalizing. Particularly with his extramarital affairs, they show you that they are happening, or have happened, but we never need to see the actions themselves. They also show that it was “fun” but that the joy of the sin is fleeting. It was one of the best depictions of sin I have seen in a long time.

The problem is the dichotomy between salvation from God and salvation from finding human love and morals. It may be that they are saying that the God thing was a part of his life, but it was more about morals and June Carter. Though Johnny, in real life, never strayed away from the darker side (hey, he was the Man In Black), after his conversion/ re-dedication his faith was always a constant part of his life and music. They seem to have taken a lot of the emphasis off his spirituality (especially in the short portion they showed of his Folsome Prison show).

When he was alive, he and producer Rick Ruben came out with a 3 disc retrospective of his life. The discs were called “Love, Murder, God” because they felt that all of his music could be categorized in those three. It seems the producers of this film lost there third disc.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a very, very good movie. Brian Godawa charges the filmmakers with “raping the story of its spiritual content”. I would have to see it again to agree or not, but he does make a lot of great points.

The movie defiantly puts less emphasis on his spiritual life than was there (from what I know of the man). Though, the way the spirituality is there, brooding under the surface, reminds me of one of Johnny Cash’s own albums.

I’m not sure if it is a positive movie. I don’t know what Mr. Cash would have thought himself, but this movie defiantly brings up a lot of issues surrounding God and grace. This movie could spark some great thoughts and great conversation. If you go, you will be very entertained. You’ll also get a lot more out of it if you go with someone willing to talk it through afterward.

B000E8QVWY Walk the Line

P.S. If you see it, and then are scrambling for some of the music, I suggest “The Legend Of Johnny Cash*” “American IV: The Man Comes Around” and “My Mother’s Hymn Book” After that, if you need more, just start with his Final album and work your way back.

*You will want to shield your kids from the photo under the disc and the song “Delia”.

P.S.

When he was alive, Mr. Cash did make his own movie about life, sin and redemption.

B000E8N8SE The Gospel Road

Ok, This may be unrelated, but here are his last two music videos:

and this was my take on “Hurt”

Top Picks from the 2008 Pile

December 31, 2008

Looking at all the issues – Film Making – Acting – Message – Etc. These are my 08 picks for best films of 2008

(Check back, reviews are on the way for all of these films.)

  1. C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian 
  2. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
  3. Cult of Sincerity 
  4. The Day The Earth Stood Still
  5. Fireproof 
  6. Twilight *
  7. Iron Man *
  8. The Picture of Dorian Gray 

Most of these movies were fun and entertaining with good messages. The only one here to make my list of Must See Movie Recommendations was The Picture of Dorian Gray and that movie was released in 1945 but was finally released on DVD in 2008. Since the pickings are so shallow this year, and this movie is so good, I’m deciding that the DVD release makes it eligible if only to raise the quality of this list! (I did have Kit Kittredge: An American Girl  in at one point, but I nixed it to make room for Fireproof.)

* Twilight and Iron Man are movies I like now but am fearful that the sequels will make me regret putting them on this list.

Give us YOUR PICKS in the COMENETS!

(Check back, reviews are on the way for all of these films.)

  1. B001EDOC5Q The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  2. B001BYLFFS Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
  3. B001MBTT3U Cult Of Sincerity
  4. B001KZIRK4 The Day the Earth Stood Still
  5. B001KEHAFI Fireproof
  6. B0018CERHQ Twilight
  7. B001C08RHA Iron Man
  8. B000OHBCI8 The Picture of Dorian Gray

honorable mention

B000WGVEAC Kit Kittredge – An American Girl

Blockbuster On Line Links

December 26, 2008

blockbuster_logo3

I just wanted to let you know that I have updated the movie recommendation page.

It now has buttons to add the movies directly to your Queue.

There are already links to Amazon.com as well.

Let me know what you think.

(I will be getting Netflix links up soon)

Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE)

November 18, 2008

danielson1

What Is It?

The Danielson Familie (No, it’s not spelled family) is an avante-folk band from New Jersey. They started  utting albums out in the 90’s on, the then new, “Tooth n Nail” label. They put out some of the most odd, yet catchy, music I have ever heard. This movie is a documentary, of sorts, on the band, which also highlights non-family “Familie” member, Sufjan Stevens (a brilliant singer songwriter in his own right). Still, that is not really what this is about. While the movie is a documentary, and the segments seem to run: Concert footage, interview with a family member, musings from Daniel Smith (head of the band) and then interviews with people after concerts. This movie is about more, it’s about trying to do something that is truly original, in a world where there is “nothing new under the sun”, and still have it be honest, relevant and point people to Jesus.

How Was It?

I loved it. At times it definitely has the “Napoleon Dynomite” feel going on. There is a great section that has family outsider, band member, Chris telling his story. The sequence is animated by Tom Eaton. This movie feels like you are hanging out with some off- kilter (in a fun way) people who seem unintentionally, or more unobtrusively, inspirational.

Is it Good for Kids?

It’s not fast passed enough for most younger children who are used to cartoons, but it is great. The only caution is that two of the interviewed concert attendees use 1 bad word each. (a woman quotes a review
that said “If you like this band you’re an …..” and a man who says he’s in a metal band uses the F word. No one uses the Lord’s name as a cuss word.)

What About Spiritual Issues?

This is one of the happiest parts of the film. These people live their lives recognizing that God is real. They use their gifts to glorify Him and point others to him. They are not your typical “Rah Rah Jesus” band, but they do not hide anything. It makes you want to be who you are, just more so and to His glory.

What is your recommendation?

I hope everyone gets a chance to know the “Familie”. They are fun and encouraging and may even challenge your taste in music, the way you live your life and your thoughts on Jesus in your day to day.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

May 24, 2008

 

What Is It?

This is a theatrically released documentary about the tension between Evolution and Intelligent Design, as well as Free speech. Ben Stein (“Win Ben Stein’s Money,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“) goes on a Michael Moorestyle quest to understand why the science community and others are out to stop any exploration into the idea that the world was not an accident, but instead shows traces of Design and thus a Designer.

 

How Was It?

It is a documentary that follows the standard story arc of narrative film. This will make it a lot more accessible to viewers not tantalized by a “Good Documentary.” It starts off well and gets a little slow with the rising action. We get interviews often inter cut with ironic music and old movie and news reel clips. We then find out about large groups of scientists, and media people, circling the wagons and “expelling” those who even bring up “Intelligent Design” as an option.  This is interesting for a while. As I started to drift, remembering how the Muppet Baby’s TV show used to also spike it’s dialog with bursts of old black and whites, the movie suddenly jolts us back to the subject at hand. Ben travels to Germany to see how the Nazi interpretation of Darwin was carried out in concentration camps. From here on in, the movie is more gripping and emotional. (Slight Spoiler) And like all good American Narrative film, it comes down to a man vs. man final confrontation as Ben Stein interviews a leading evolutionist/atheist, Richard Dawkins. 

Some of the evolutionists have complained about the film. They have said that they would not have done it, if they fully understood the theme of the film, and they were insulted that some of their interviews were inter cut or linked to archive footage of Nazis. The great thing is that, so far, no one has said that they were misrepresented or that the footage was edited to make them say something that they did not say. Likewise, no one has said that that had done an interview that was cut because it didn’t go with the bias of the film. (Both of these have been complaints with Michael Moore Films.)

 

There is one scene where they are kicked out of the Smithsonian. I could be wrong, but they do not say anything about getting an appointment. This is presented in the tone of “they wouldn’t even talk to us.” I do not think anyone would be allowed to walk into a place like that with a full camera crew and just start doing there shtick. Other than this, they defiantly have a bias but seem to be genuine about the information they present. 

Was it Good for Kids?

 

Though the presentation is well done, there is archive footage of dead bodies in concentration camps and police being rough with people.

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

What About Spiritual Issues?

 

This movie deals with Spirituality but in a very “Scientific” way. They are very clear that I.D. is not promoting the creation story of any one religion. In one interview we find that a prominent ID research group employs Christians, Muslim’s, Jews, Agnostics, and others. A woman Journalist identifies herself as non-religious Jewish. It is also made clear (with a short list) that the ID research group has taken no money from prominent fundamental Christian leaders (such as Pat Robinson) and is not fighting for “prayer in school” among other things.

 

This movie also has a large section that shows the hopelessness, and subsequent moral decline, that follows a rejection of the idea of a deity existing.  

The issue is freedom of speech and allowing scientists to do research and have their work in the same forum. This is a wonderful message, it is just not evangelical or specifically “Christian.” With that said, most Christians will be excited to hear the points made in this film.

 

What has been the Reaction?

This movie accused Academia, the scientific community, and the media, of joining forces to suppress the free speech of people who believe in Intelligent Design, as a legitimate scientific inquiry, by loudly proclaiming that ID scientists are not real scientists, that they have no legitimate data and are only trying to force a religion on the country.

 

So far the media has been reporting that the scientific community and Academia have seen this film. They tell us that the movie is not worth watching because the scientific community has found that this movie is just a subversive attempt to force a religion on the country by using fake science with no legitimate data… Hummmm…. 

What Is Your Recommendation?

Check out the web page and the tailor, , and if you have a chance, go see the film. This will give you a lot to talk about. The unfortunate thing about this film is that most people who see it will already agree with the final points and just be left thinking “I wish my friend So and So would see this, but they never would.” Still, if you can get So and So to come with you, I’m sure you will have a great discussion afterward.