Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

After much of the reaction against the macabre violence of The Hunger Games, Winston Smith here offers what I think Christian interaction with pop culture should look like.  Rather than denouncing immorality that exists in the storyline (if that’s your aim, the book of Judges needs some critics), Smith looks at what in the popular book and movie appeals to us as humans, created in the image of God and fallen.

Recently, as I approached the breakfast table I caught the tail end of a conversation my teenagers were having that ended with my son explaining to one of his younger sisters, “I would definitely kill you first if we were selected as tribute.” I was only mildly relieved to find that they were talking about The Hunger Games, the novel by Suzanne Collins and recent blockbuster movie. I’d heard mention of it, but given the way it had ruined my breakfast, I thought I should investigate further…  Enjoy the rest here

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Are cartoons more mature than movies aimed at adults?

Posted: November 30, 2009 by limabean03 in Current Issues, Film

One of my favorite memories growing up is heading off to the movies with my Dad on Saturday’s.  I recently tried to do this with my son David and was trying to figure out what movie we might go see.  I really wanted to see “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” a Roald Dahl children’s novel set to the big screen by the very talented director Wes Anderson.  I was unsure if “Mr. Fox” would be a film suitable for David.  I was more concerned about any scary scenes frightening him than anything else.  I typed in “Is the Fantastic Mr. Fox suitable for children,” in the Google search bar and came up with this review.  Long story short, we didn’t go see the film, although I still want to.  But I did find this interesting quote in the review that I thought I’d share with you:

“A colleague remarked to me, as we were leaving the theater, that what we’d just seen isn’t a children’s movie—not so much because it’s crass but because its themes and humor aren’t on a kid’s level. If you remember, I opened this review with an allusion to midlife crises. And that’s something no 8-year-old can begin to understand. (Or care about.)

Which brings me to an interesting trend I’ve been seeing in movies of late: Children’s movies are often more mature, more thoughtful and more responsible than some of the adult-targeted flicks I see.

What I mean is that R-rated romps are often infantile in their composition and lack of intelligent nuance, trumpeting only perpetual (and irresponsible) adolescence. The likes of Fantastic Mr. Fox, meanwhile, laud moral compunctions, responsibility, cooperation and familial unity.”

I enjoy movies so I see quite a few of them and I have to agree with the writer’s point.  I recently saw a film called “Up”, which was probably one of the finest movies I’ve seen in years.  It is a children’s cartoon from Pixar, however the film dealt with incredibly complex material such as infertility, growing old, broken families, friendship and responsibility.  It was escapist on one hand (it is a cartoon after all!), but rather than remaining in escapist territory it actually caused you to return and reassess the complexities and confusion of life.  Contrast that with say, the recent string of comic book films that are marketed not to teenagers but to adult men.  In a well documented phenomenon called “delayed adolescence,” it seems as if Hollywood and a great deal of other commercial forces are helping to prolong a man’s teenage years well into his thirties.  Ironic isn’t it, that a theatre will be full of grown men watching the latest Spiderman as they engage the unfulfilled vigilante fantasies of their teenage years while eight year olds will be watching cartoons learning how to be responsible men and raise families.  Seems kind of backwards to me.  Oh well. 

For a preview of “Up” click below. 

This article, written by Beth Spraul was featured on the Capital Hill Baptist website. Because I’m a guy and watch a lot of action movies, I would never event think of deconstructing a chick flick. However, Beth does and her insights are quite provoking. The excerpt posted believe boldly and powerfully explains that the source of joy and happiness in a marriage is actually not the spouse, but Jesus Christ. Really good stuff. Enjoy!

It is good and right for women to desire marriage and a godly husband, but we must realize that all husbands will hurt us in some way eventually and that marriage is hard work as two sinners rely on Christ in the work of dying to their selfishness and growing their relationship.

Consider this last but most important point in contrast with this lie. Although marriage will certainly provide tremendous joy in your life, it will fall significantly short of making all things right. There are parts of this life in a fallen world that will remain difficult and broken, simply because of the presence of sin, regardless of when or whom you marry. Even the commitment, love and romance between a faithful husband and wife cannot answer all of this life’s longings. We need to remember that there is someone who will make all things right, but he isn’t your husband or husband-to-be, but rather Jesus Christ, the One who was crushed for your transgressions (Isa. 53) and bridged the infinite gap between you and your Creator by his death on the cross (Col 2:13-14). Being united to him in his death and resurrection will ultimately make all things right not in this life, but in the life to come.

If we as women approach our husbands with expectations that he will be the primary source that takes away all our loneliness, insecurities, fears and longings for love, we hold him to a standard no human being is able to meet in this life. We set ourselves up for great disappointment through these unreasonable expectations. When our husband doesn’t deliver such total sweeping happiness to our lives, we can be tempted to blame him when it is our own worldly and idolatrous expectations that are to blame! Such expectations can even lead us to be discontented wives who are unsatisfied with the day to day realities of life and responsibility in marriage. We
can become unsatisfied with our husband’s love.

read it all here

This scene from “I Heart Huckabees” shows two, lost, wandering “un-believers” in a “Christian” home.  Unfortunately, the Christians have so capitulated to American culture that they have nothing prophetic to say to their visitors.  Both the Christians and the “un-believers” are equally lost.  In my mind, the conversation culminates with a girl at the dinner table exclaiming “Jesus can never be mad at us if we live with him in our hearts!”  Fast forward to 1 min 10 sec for the good stuff to begin in earnest.  Check it out below. 

In this excerpt from the comedy “Talladega Nights” Will Ferrel’s character “Ricky Bobby” is asked to say the grace.  He prayers to the “little 8lb 6 oz. perfect newborn baby Jesus, in his perfect golden fleece diapers”.  It is an amusing clip that says loads about contemporary Christianity in North America.  Check it out!

For my take why not (more…)

Heth Ledgers stunning Joker
Heth Ledger’s stunning “Joker”

 

The first Batman film under the helm of new leadership released in the summer of 2005 was a welcome addition to the franchise after the laughable direction that it was taken in by director Joel Schumacher.  These films, dark and gritty, are far superior to the outrageous camp that the films turned to after director Tim Burton pulled out in 1992.

Having said that however, I’m almost afraid that this film will do more harm than good to any future sequels.  Why?  It was just too darn good.  It will be hard to top, or even get close enough to this film to please future audiences whose appetites have been whetted by the “The Dark Knight”. 

 

The film is a melee of mutilation, explosions, stunning action sequences, and quality performances by Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane, and of course Heth Ledger, who far outshines the rest of the cast as the Joker.  I would look for him to be nominated for best supporting actor come Oscar time.  He was a talented actor who will certainly be missed. 

 

If the film were simply violence and explosions, then we would have a fun summer flick, but nothing worth remembering past five minutes from leaving the movie theatre (think Transformers). What pushes this film through the shallow waters of most summer fun flicks and into the depths of great story telling is its bold stare deep into the resolve of human morality.  This is, at the same time, the very thing that makes the film so disturbing.  The message of the film (and it clearly has one) is the fickleness of human morality (more…)