Archive for the ‘Musical’ Category

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

April 14, 2010

What Is It?

The book by the odd and talented Roald Dahl brought to the big screen by odd and talented Tim Burten with odd and talented Johnny Deep in the lead. You can see where this is going….

It’s a surreal version of our world going on a journey into the hyper odd world of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

This movie seems to go out of it’s way to avoid any line that was used in the first adaptation starting Gean Wilder. Out side of the name and occupation, theses do not seem to be the same characters and are not in the same movie. In fact this film has much more in common with the first Burten/Deep film, Edward Scissorhands, than Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Here Willy is an insecure recluse who is bulled by the children he has invited into his world. He is mocked for the very eccentricity that makes him the spectacle they came to see. The tour reveilles the wonder of the factory, the headstrong nature of the children, and the inner struggle of Willy who is plagued by childhood flashbacks.

How Was It?

My expectations were so wrong for this movie, it took some time to adjust. Despite the resumes of the big name’s involved, this is not a dark movie. It is a fun weird film that looks at the idea of parent – child interaction.

An example of the deft social criticism is the introduction to Mike Teavee. He spurts off a bunch of info about video games and there technical workings, which are then balanced by a nerves father saying that sometimes they don’t understand what he is saying. Mike, now playing his game, cries out “Die! Die! Die!” As his parents desperately try to hang on to the delusion that they don’t understand.

From the over indulgent, to the overly competitive, there is a lot for people to see in this mirror held up to modern parenting.

We find out that “candy isn’t supposed to have a point” but that is not life, there are things that are important in reality and in this film..

Is It Good For Kids?

The kids here are often nasty and bad examples. Still you see there negative traits leading directly to there demise (figuratively).

Parents are either shown as sportive and protective producing good kids, or destructive by letting there kids get “what they want.”

Once, when Grandpa goes on a cussing rant, we are protected with Charlie as the audio is that of his mother’s hands muffling his ears.

Check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

How about Spiritual Issues?

In almost every Tim Burten film I have seen, there is usually some slam against Christians. Thankfully this film seem void of such open hostility.

Halloween is shown in a flashback, but it is just used as a device to introduce Willy’s dad , an uptight candy phobic dentist. All the candy is raped in paper with skulls and spiders, echoing Dr. Wonka’s sentiment on the subject.

The major theme of this film (and this may be a spoiler, it took me totally by surprise) was the need for properly working, loving, healthy families. This is a fantastic idea, it’s just to bad that the thing most able to bring this about is the faith Burton rejects in his other films.

What Is Your Recommendation?

First: Tell your self that this is NOT the book or the Gean Wilder Movie. (and does not have the unfounded character change at the end.)

Second: Go and enjoy a colorful film with a enlightening back story that may remind you of things in your past but…

Third: Have a great conversation with the people you see it with about the need for family and the examples of parenting put forth as well as there dramatic results.

….Annasophia Robb playes Violet Beauregarde. She was also Opal in Becasue of Winn Dixie. She’s 2 for 2 so far!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Danny Elfman

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory …

Gene Wilder,

Because of Winn-Dixie

Advertisements

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.

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

April 7, 2009

What Is It?

Another dark fairy tail from the man who created “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Extremely stylistic characters, all with a Gothic cartoon edge, play out a tail of love life and death. The Van Dort family has a plan to marry there son into a rich family to raise there status. The Everglot family have been pretending to be rich even though they have lost there fortune. They plan to marry there daughter to anyone in an attempt to create another family to support their own. Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) and Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) become the unwitting pawns in this Jane Austin-Esq social experiment which is simply the “Sub Plot”!

After the towering ghoul of a pastor berates Victor with the booming yet eary voice of Christopher Lee, Victor stumbles through the woods trying to get his vows right. Upon the exact restoration of his entire vow he excitedly places his ring on a finger like tree proclaiming “With this ring, I ask you to be mine.”

Learning that you have to be careful with such declarations, the corps of Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) takes shape. With the ring on her finger and her dress in place (though showing a bit more of her decomposing ribs than she had once intended) Emily gratefully accepts Victor’s offer. Now stuck between two women and two worlds Victor’s world becomes much more complicated, and a lot weirder.

How Was It?

Now the animation in “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was stunning. Not only is the look of the whole thing macob ly beautiful, the technical advances are huge. To do a camera move in stop frame is near impossible. With that being said… “Corpse Bride” improves on “Nightmare“s stylistic and technical brilliance at least 10 fold. Even the difference in the color schemes between the two worlds is amazing. Not only that but “Corpse Bride” adds elements totally alien to “Nightmare” like a plot that makes it all the way to the end and, while we are there, an ending that actually makes sense. Though, with some characters you are supposed to see what is coming, I did not know which bride or state of being Victor would have been linked to until it was revealed.

Though this is an animated musical, it’s main audience is not little kids, but teens who buy shirts at Hot Topic. This parody of a children’s movie uses almost every line to deliver a clever pun linked to a visual joke. The music is great. (Danny Elfman is wonderful.) The song to introduce are decomposing bride is a bit like the Boogie Man’s theme, but it’s still all wonderful. To top everything off, Emily has her own Jiminy Cricket equivalent; The Maggot that lives in her head.. Waite, it gets better… The Maggot is a perfect rendition of late actor “Peter Lorie!” (How great is that?)

Is It Good For Kids?

This would depend on your kids. Like I said this may be advertised to kids but it was made of teens. I would think lots of children would be disturbed by the constant jump scenes and dead creatures showing off there demise. (There is a man who we realize was cut in half, the long way, when he splits reveling all his organs.) Many characters have knives and swards still in them, and disembodied limbs and eyes are not uncommon.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete break down of what is on the screen.

Still even if you child can handle such visuals with out nightmares or dark obsessions, The spiritual content is still worth considering.

What About Spiritual Issues?

First of all this wedding party gets many points right. There is a desire among the adult children to honer there parents even though there parents have poor motives. Love and Marriage are held up as good things. (Slight Spoiler) Victor even offers to give up what he actually wants to keep a promise!

Still the ideas around the afterlife are very contrary to Biblical descriptions. There is a slight chance the ending implies a “heaven” other than the lower world, but purgatory isn’t that appealing a belief either. For “the Corps Bride” The world of the dead is an odd combination of the Greek underworld, a Shanty Town, and a friendly local bar. None of this is very unlike Burton’s original look at how the other side lives, “Beetle Juice .”

Though all that would be enough to be leery of, Burton throws in one of his favorite archetypes… the evil Christian. There are 4 major baddies in this film. Not the least of them is Pastor Galswells. He is first seen being just horrible to the like-able Victor. Later when Victoria discovers the state of things, she goes to the pastor for council. He tells her he can help, then forcibly delivered her to her family telling them to keep her locked up. Finlay (spoiler) when the Pastor is faced with an assemblage of the dead coming to his church, The Pastor commands “Back, ye demons from Hell!” but is quickly proven powerless as the ghost pass him by simply commenting “Keep it down, will yer? We’re in a church.” So, Pastor’s are here shown as mean, creepy, incorrect, and spirituality impotent.

Once again, Burton holds forth lofty ideals of love, honesty, chivalry, and self sacrifice, but then denies the power to actually do any of it. In this case I think it would be wise to head the advise of 2 Timothy 3:5.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I would steer your children in another direction. Unless they at the point intellectually to be able to separate the thrill of the art from it’s message, so that the movie could be used as a spring board for understanding opposing views and prejudices against Christians as well as there ideas… I don’t see any value in exposing some one to this film.

You are much better off with the family friendlier Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Where Burton, Depp, Lee, and Bonham Carter all stick to ideals that we agree on with out inserting the “evil Christian” character to muddy the waters.

Though if you are going to see this film, do so with discussion and discernment, and rent the Maltese Falcon first so everyone knows who Peter Lorie is…

High School Musical 3 on DVD

February 16, 2009

If you have been anywhere with advertising the last couple of weeks, you know that the latest High School Musical is about to hit DVD. Check out our analysis of the mega popular franchise (Which will return to TV with a “New Class” 4) and let us know what YOU think of HSM!

  • High School Musical
  • High School Musical 3 Q&E Review Show
  • 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”

    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)

    What we have brewing here at Q&E

    December 4, 2008

    I just wanted to give you an update as to what we are working on.

    Right now we are getting ready to do Q&E Review shows on: Twilight, The Incredible Hulk, and Price Caspian as well as a special look at the artistic merits and spiritual messages from the films of M. Night Shyamalan.

    Please leave comments with the names of movies (in theaters or not) that you would like to see us discuss.

    Also I put up my personal list of recommended movies. If you do a movie night once a week, this could keep you going for almost a year. It also might help with fun by meaningful Christmas ideas.  (Also great if you are looking to fill out your Netflix/Blockbuster Queue,) You can see the full list here. Movie Recommendations

    Thanks for helping us build a better Q&E.

    inCHRIST

    christopher

    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.

    High School Musical 3 Q&E Review Show

    November 17, 2008

    The Review LOADED with Special Features!

    Great extras like:

    B000F2BNW2 High School Musical

    B000VAPZM2 High School Musical 2

    B00104JONO High School Musical 3 [Theatrical Release]

     

    Alvin and The Chipmunks

    May 24, 2008

    What Is It?

    First it was the Witch Doctor song. Then the little voice in the chorus was expanded to three characters and the Chipmunks Christmas song introduced the world to Alvin, Simon and Theodore and the problems David Sivil would have reeling in Alvin. From here there were records and cover songs. In the 60’s there was a Cartoon and it re-emerged in the 80’s and 90’s. Now they are back running though a live action world in all their computer animated glory. The songs are updated with guitar driven riffs and Maria Carry style vocal arrangements but the general themes are all still here. Down and out song writer makes it big when he finds singing chipmunks to sing his songs.

    How Was It?

    The idea of combining horror movies to make them scarier is not new. Frankenstein met the Wolf man in 1943. Recently Alien vs Predator covered outer space while earthly monster Freddie and Jason teamed up. Of course when executives decided to combining the stomach churning “Garfield the Movie” with the nerve destroying “High school Musical.” The result is here. This is the type of “Schlock and Awe” bubble gum garbage that will make parents wounder if they can hear there children’s brain shriveling up over the high pitched music .Of course David Sivil has been changed into the modern noncommittal song righter with the “Generic” label still showing a bit. The thing that has remained is that all action and comedy hangs on Alvin extracting his name as a frustrated explosion from David’s tormented vocal chords. When this new David breaks loose with “ALVIN!” the disappointment is complete when it sounds more like a little kid pretending to scream in a place where he’s not aloud.

    (If that’s not enough, we get to listen to a record executive define all real music as “Justin Timberlake”.)

    The best part of the movie was when we got to the “Chase everyone around and have people get hurt in comical ways scene” it abruptly ended long before I though it would. Then, in an act of mercy, the entire movie ended in the next scene.

    Is It Good For Children?

    This is not the largest moral disaster but there are cautions to be aware of. There are some odd sexual references. While David is on a date, Alvin tries to make things romantic. This not only includes low lights and a fire, but a Barry White style song with a guy saying he wants to do something “Freaky” to the girl. The term is used when Alvin sings “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?” Not only should kids not be hearing about it in that context, but the choice of terms makes is upsetting. There is also a reference to Dave’s “Ex-Mate” that could go ether way.

    Though it’s not focused on, there are background dancers and some other women dressed inappropriately and shown in a positive light. During a “Photo Shoot” A man recommends, and demonstrates, how Theodor should spank his own but. Theodor then follows the instructions. It’s the kind of obnoxious gag that will surly show up again in the actions of the younger viewers.

     

    You should check Screenit.com for a breakdown of everything on the screen.

    What about spiritual issues?

    There is not much happening in this arena. There is much made of Christmas with nothing made of Christ. The only time we hear God’s name is when David uses it as a cuss word.

    What is your Recommendation?

    There are much better things to show kids. If they are going to spend almost two hours watching a movie it seems that there are much better things to see.
    If you can not avoid Alvin and the Gang, you will want to talk about issues of family and commitment. You may also have to field a question or two about being “freaky” and watch out for stray but slaping.

     

     Movie
    Reviews

    ChristopherOuellette.com