Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

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

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

X-Men III (and a bit of I and II)

December 31, 2008

What Is It?

This is the third installment of the comic book movie series that revived the comic book genre in theaters. The X-men are people who have the Mutant X gene and thus have varying ranges of powers (oddly akin to Greek gods and heroes). An overly-conservative society has labeled these scary people a threat. With the world against them, two factions build up. The first is lead by Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) – an actor who will never get the respect he deserves because he pours his talent into Sci-Fi.) Professor X believes that the people of the earth are to co-exist and take care of each other. He runs a school for the “gifted” where he teaches mutants how to use their power wisely and be productive members of the world. The other faction is lead by Magneto (Shakespearean actor Ian McKellen), a mutant who has survived a Nazi concentration camp. Seeing current mutant opposition as the next wave of racial cleansing, he rebels in the other direction, planning to unite mutants to take over and crush the humans.

The first movie opened the story with Logan ( Hugh Jackman), nicknamed Wolverine, one of the most popular comic book characters greatly in part to his bad attitude and retractable blade claws. The plot revolves around his discovery of the school for mutants and his own place in the mutant community – a place without the option of neutrality. In the second installment, X-Men United, legislation is brought about to stop the mutants while a small military faction comes up with a plausible plan to destroy them all. This leaves both factions with the choice to work together or die apart.

Here, in number three, society is starting to accept mutant-kind. But a research firm has come up with a “cure” for the Mutant X gene. When the military decides to use it as a weapon to defend themselves against mutants, Magneto finds the fodder for propaganda. Translating the horrors of Nazi Germany into the current situation, he rallies the disfranchised mutants to destroy the less desirable sub-species so that they can live in peace and their evolution can continue.

How Was It?

It was big, bad, brutal, and entertaining. With all that, it was also the worst of the series. This seems to be a transitional movie, with the importance resting on realigning the factions and killing off (or radically changing) characters. (I am usually impressed by stories gutsy enough to kill off major characters, but in a comic book world where everyone can come back… who cares?)

The other films were deeper and more fun. Here you get Wolverine mowing down hundreds of random mutants, and though that’s kind of cool, it’s not as fascinating as watching him square off again Sabertooth or Mystique. I really wanted to see a good one-on-one battle between two bizarre people with weird powers. In a nutshell – Body Count: Way Up; Action Excitement: Down.

The other problem with the film was that you really didn’t get to know anyone. Reportedly Halle Berry , who plays Storm, wanted to leave because her character didn’t progress. Here they keep her by saying “We can’t give you a raise, but we can give you a title!” Kelsey Grammer was a brilliant choice to play the Beast, but instead of developing him, they just tell you it’s a Kelsey Grammer character (refined taste, suits, high brow job) who happens to be a big blue mutant. Wolverine is still learning the same lesson about team work vs. vigilantism that he had to learn in the last two films, and it’s starting to seem like a ritual formality.

Furthermore more there are no plans that I know of for an X-men 4, but Hugh Jackman’s production company (who did this film) has managed to hire Hugh Jackman for the upcoming film “Wolverine“. (There is also a “Magneto” movie in the works for next year, thus moving the movies the way of the comic books and giving the team their own individual stories.)

I think this movie will be liked by fans and acquire new ones. Despite that, though, it reminded me of the gifted child who gets a B+ on a project. Sure, it’s not bad, but it’s definitely not living up to its potential.

Is It Good For Kids?

This movie is very violent, even compared to the others. There are also 3 cuss words are said as insults to others and were “cool” because they were cuss words. In other words, I think it would encourage kids to say them. Then there was the almost sex scene between Wolverine and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). and (spoiler) when Mystique ( Rebecca Romijn) is shot with the “mutant cure.” She WAS a naked blue lady with scales for a bikini. After being cured she is lying naked and human on the floor with just enough of the fetal position to prevent an R rating. Amy said that it went on for far longer then necessary to get the point across.

I also saw something good for kids that I haven’t seen in the other two (or any other film for that matter). As Wolverine and Jean started at each other, a mom with two boys (under 4th grade is my guess) left the theater, and didn’t come back. If you know the woman who took her boys to see the beginning of X-men in Concord , pass along my congratulations.

You can check Screenit.com so you know if you would want to leave before you go.

-or before you rent X-men or X2

What About Spiritual Issues?

The first movie had the conservative uptight congressman saying that God hated the perversion of mutants and Magneto explaining that God is love, and thus couldn’t hate anything.

The second included a Catholic character that apparently missed the day they discussed Jesus sacrifice on the cross in CCD, because he gave himself tattoo/branding marks every time he sinned to make amends for it.

And in each installment, especially this one, evolution is the key to it all. The people are mutating or evolving (depending on your view of it). In this film Magneto reaffirms that we are evolving into gods. This is a common evolutionally idea, that homo-sapiens are the “transitional species” between monkeys and gods.

The other issue is homosexuality. (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) There are no openly gay characters in the X-men movies. Still, it has been a popular comic book of people who believe they were born different and society should just accept it.

In the second movie they had a scene where Ice Man (Shawn Ashmore ) has to “come out of the closet” to his parents… about being a mutant. There is nothing as blatant in this film, but there is a lot of rhetoric for the homosexual community to hang their hat on. The unfortunate thing about this link is two fold. One, the fictional mutations shown in the x-Men movies are always helpful to the mutated (though in nature mutations always debilitate) where homosexuality is forbidden by God because it will hurt you and your loved ones, regardless of the world’s acceptance of you. Secondly, it reinforces that anyone who thinks its “bad” is a bigot who hates you. It does not leave any room for the biblical model of love – wanting to help people who are in destructive sinful lifestyles because it will hurt them. Once again we miss the point of Jesus sacrifice on the cross. He thought your sin (including homosexuality) was hell worthy; therefore, out of love for you, he died on the cross to pay for your sins so you could have a relationship with him. It’s so sad to see this struggle for acceptance at the cost of perfect love.

What is your Recommendation?

If you are thinking about it for your kids, as with all the modern comic  book movies, I would be very careful. They are designed for adults knowing the kids are locked in anyway.

Outside of that, it is what it is. The X-men are there, you get to meet new mutants and be hit with their philosophies

If you do go, stay for the credits and remember Professor X’s class. Also, Look for X-Men creator Stan Lee, he does cameo’s in all the movies based on his characters. (See what he looks like here.)

I think the irony of all this was that many churches were thrilled to see this movie push the DaVinci Code out of the top spot, while this series has philosophies equally destructive to faith – but is presented in a way that will not get peoples guard up.

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening Q&E Review Show

November 30, 2008

B001DZOC6Y

 The Happening

Expelled on DVD Today

October 21, 2008

I just wanted to let you know that:

Comes out on DVD Today!

You can read our full review here.

Let us know what you think.

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.