Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

Bella

December 28, 2009

 

What Is It?

Bella is the simple story of a man who walks out on his job for a day to comfort a waitress who has just been fired. While they go one a trip through the city they also explore their own souls.

How Was It?

Many people like independent films because they go places that Hollywood can not. Places that are not obviously marketable but are instead real, emotional, beautiful, and gripping. Bella charts it’s course too slowly but beautifully though issues of life and death, love and family. I enjoyed Eduardo Verástegui as Jose the main character who serves as the shuttle in this movie’s weaving loom of a story.  His performance helps bring out all the other characters. It’s wonderful to get to know these people (and wounder what the soccer players have to do with it all.)

Is It Good For Kids?

The thing that will mostly alienate younger viewers is simply the maturity of the story and the issues they are dealing with.

There is no cussing or sexuality shown, though the waitress (Tammy Blanchard) is pregnant and talks about here boyfriend not wanting it. The “option” of abortion seems to be her only choice. Still, the cause for kids would be

SPOILER

a seen where a little girl is run over by a car and killed in front of her mother. It is not gory. In Fact it is quite tasteful in its presentation. Even with that, it is as emotional as that subject matter should be. I think some adults will have a hard time with this scene, some kids will definitely have a hard time with it.

What About Spiritual Issues.

This film does slowly reveal it’s correct Christian world view.  Not only in word but in dead. This is not a fluffy “I have Jesus, now everything is as shiny as a Lisa Frank  sticker.” Instead we see real people make hard choices because they trust in what is right and more important than their circumstances.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This film will require your attention but will not arrest it like films on a higher scale. Still I think you will be richly rewarded for your time with this deep emotional film.

Bella

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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.

(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“?

Steve Taylor Movies – The Second Chance and Blue Like Jazz

February 6, 2009

Here is one of the most exciting bits of movie news I have heard in a while.

This means that I will be reading Blue Like Jazz as soon as I’m done with Kronos!

0785263705 Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

1935142011 Kronos

 

For those of you not up on Steve Taylor’s film career, his last film was

second_chance

What Is It?

See a bit of it here!

After doing a direct to video comedy, “Newsboys: Down Under The Big Top” rumors were flying about a full length feature from rocker turned movie maker, Steve Taylor.  After its limited theatrical release, Steve’s independent film, picked up by Sony, is now on DVD.

Michel W. Smith plays Ethan Jenkins, a charismatic* Associate Pastor with a book deal, being groomed to take over at his father’s mega church. The board thinks the best way to “clip his wings” is to send him down to work under the Pastor of “The Second Chance.” This is a struggling inner-city church that his father ( J. Don Ferguson ) founded and is now run by Pastor Jake Sanders (Jeff Obafemi Carr). So, the squeaky clean preppy boy needs to learn to put his faith into action in a place that does not welcome him.

*charismatic personality, not theology 

How Was It?

This is not going to blow the doors off Hollywood , but it is a good film. This is a Christian film and the message is for Christians. Despite the usual Christian fare, this film is Cheese free! (God Not Gouda) I don’t know if Michel W. Smith can act outside of this, but if nothing else, he was type cast well enough that it works. The movie is clever and interesting all the way through. It doesn’t resort to clichés, nor does it feel like they are doing something just for the sake of avoiding a cliché.

Is It Good For Kids?

This is a Christian film, which does not make it a Family Film. Though it is discussed that “God doesn’t like it” there is cussing (but never the Lord’s name). Sub plots deal with gang violence, drugs, as well as references to Abortion, genocide, and children taken from their family. It is all handled very well. There are biblical perspectives communicated about all of these issues, but they are there.

(I’m trying to “list” a little more because this movie is not on screenit.com.)

What about Spiritual Issues?

That is what this movie is about. The big question posed here is “If you are going to follow God, are you willing to take it all they way?”

This film is not here to challenge what you believe, but to challenge what you do with what you believe. James 2:17

What Is Your Recommendation?

Go rent it. You will definitely get the value of your rental fee out of this film. This would also be a good thing to kick off talks in your church about service or missions.

And if you don’t know Steve Taylor, check him out.

www.onfritz.com

 

ps

The Music that did not make it on the Sound Track CD is from the L.A. Symphony!

B000FIHNA2 The Second Chance DVD

6304252447 Newsboys: Down Under The Big Top VHS

B000CC1TRY The Second Chance CD

B000B66POI Disappear Here CD

And Steve Tayler was a Solo artist himself

clone-front-cover1I want to be a clone

 B001B3PCYE Meltdown

B0002Q5ZT8 On the Fritz

cgChagall Guevara

B000VI1352 Squint

B000SR6BBW Steve Taylor, Now the Truth Can Be Told

 (Best of Steve Taylor covering everything before Squint)