Tag Archives: Movies

The Hobbit Trilogy

On Monday this week Peter Jackson dropped a bomb shell on the world with the announcement that there would be a third  “Hobbit” film. While there have been a ton of thoughts and articles about what this means – along with lots of accusations of him wanting more money – folks have forgotten what this news really means within and without the film industry.

Consider this for a moment, movie studies are huge corporations with business plans, marketing teams, and stock holder to please. Adding a third Hobbit film means radical shifts in the licensing, marketing and publicity arms of each of the studies involved (there are three of them). As senior TheOneRing.net staff member Larry D. Curtis wrote, the ground has “shifted under the feet of hundreds and maybe thousands of people.

Consider also WHEN the announcement was made (i.e. July 30th).  There are now approximately 90-days left before the world premiere of the first Hobbit film in November. So yeah, this is not really the best time to tell one’s investors that you want to scrap all the current plans and add a third firm, which, by the way, will require a few more months of shooting…

In a nutshell, the decision to add a third film was not an easy nor a very wise political move.  To quote Larry Curtis again,

“This change is not only bold and daring, it is coming from the right place. This isn’t a money grab. This isn’t the studio stretching out a franchise. This is team Jackson feeling that a story, a complicated one with multiple threads and characters, needed more time to tell.”

Cowboys and Aliens

This was a great movie!

It was fun getting to see Harrison Ford back at the top of his game hanging with Daniel Craig and having adventures. Defiantly NOTHING like Indiana 4!!! This film actually had a plausible plot line (well, assuming aliens exist) that drew you into it.

Jon Favreau sure knows how to make a film.

Trailer:

Of Gods and Men

Shortly before War World II in 1938 a small band of Trappist monks started a monastery in the Algerian desert near Tibhirine. The next five, almost six, decades were fairly uneventful for these monks despite being located in the middle of an Islamic country.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Armed men entered the monastery during the night of March 26-27, 1996 and kidnapped seven of the nine monks currently stationed there. Over the next two months these men were made a pawn in the Algerian Civil War till finally they were killed and decapitated.

The 2010 French independent film “Of Gods and Men” seeks to tell the story of why these monks stayed at the monastery even when they had multiple chances to flee.

And to that end, the film does it a good job.

Moving at a slow pace (almost too slow in places) the director shows the simple life lived by these monks. They were the confidants of the villages – providing medical help to poor, sharing in the heartache of farming the desert land, celebrating the coming of age of the children, mentoring both young and old – in short they were part of the community despite the religious difference between them and their fellow villagers.

As the movie progressed, we see the confused villagers wrestling with their peaceful view of Islam and the radical extremists who killed anyone who did not follow their interpretation. This I believe is one of the most powerful parts of the film as it shows that not every Muslim is an extremist – in fact, as the movie shows, the extremists are killing their own people in an effort to cause fear and to force people to obey their view of Islam.

Christians and Muslims can and do live peacefully side by side. People are people no matter where they live or what their religion may be. We, the followers of Jesus, have been called to love and bless everyone – our neighbors and our enemies.

In a world of fear and propaganda, I would suggest prayerfully watching this film as it shows another side to the news – the real, on the ground, everyday side of life.

Do We Need to ‘Protect’ the Bible?

After hearing positive reviews about the film “The Book of Eli” over the last year, I finally decided to watch it. And it was good.  Very good – abet it did earn the “R” ranking…

However, this post is not a full movie review…instead I want to focus on one comment in the film that I believe caries a ton of weight in today’s world. Yet, before I can talk about the comment, I guess I should give you guys an overview real quick (with one spoiler…which really won’t affect things too much…)

The earth’s ozone has been destroyed by war – turning the planet into one big desert. Survivors are making due the best they can with limited resources…

The protagonist of the film, Eli, is traveling west looking for a safe place to deliver the last remaining copy of the Bible.  He has been on this journey for 30 years – moving slowly across North America and protecting the book from folks who would either destroy it or use it for evil (i.e. twist the message it contains).

Near the end, Eli makes the following comment:

“In all these years I’ve been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.”

Wow! Powerful… simply powerful….and heart piercing…

How many of us get caught up in trying to ‘protect’ the Bible? Fighting battles of Biblical inerrancy…. trying to prove the scientific and historical accuracy of the Bible….or fighting to keep it in public eye through posting Bible verses in court rooms, street corners, schools, etc…

Continue reading Do We Need to ‘Protect’ the Bible?

Avatar

Avatar-Teaser-PosterReleased in mid-Dec, Avatar rocked the box-office – becoming the second highest-grossing film of all time worldwide as well as the top 2009 movie. All within a few short weeks.

Yet, is it all that? Or is it just a bunch of hype and fluff?

Knowing that you, the reader, would be asking those questions (hmm…assuming that you haven’t seen it….which is probably a mistake seeing how almost everyone in the country as seen it…well, at least all those with funds) – I decided to check out Avatar and see what deal was.

Hmm….ok….the little brightly colored avatar on my shoulder is tell me to confuse the true reason I went to the movies… I WANTED to – and it was a chance to hang out with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. There! You happy?  Now I just eliminated my last two readers! Sigh. 😕

I will now write my review to all the ones and zeros still out there…way out there….way out there, like me…..way out there…. Continue reading Avatar

WALL-E, The Beatles, and The Implications On Life

In a closed system, all it takes is one foreign object to bring it crashing down and to change everything.

If anything, that is the message of Wall-E (the Pixar film). You miss it at first – especially if you are captured by the love story or caught up in the plight to restore life to earth.

But through out the movie you have this small robot, Wall-E, who enters into a closed system (the ship) and bring it crashing down. It wasn’t that he was trying to cause chaos – he was just being himself….

The day after re-watching Wall-E, I was browsing the BBC World News website and noticed an article about the Beatles behind the Iron Wall in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Over and over again the article quoted folks who lived during the Communist era as saying:

"The Beatles did more to undermine the system than the most anti-Soviet literature for which people went to jail” – Moscow leading journalist Vladimir Pozner

[@more@]Immediately I thought of Wall-E and the parallels:

  • The Soviet Union was a closed system – similar to the space ship.
  • The communist rulers tried to forbid the Beatles music – the ship’s auto-pilot tried to kill Wall-E
  • The music changed the hearts of the people – the simple acts of kindness by Wall-E awoke the humans to their plight (as well as some robots)
  • People began to think about freedom – the humans begin to think for themselves while some of the robots became independent thinkers
  • The Iron Curtin fell – the auto-pilot was deactivate

What does this mean for us?

There are people around us every day that are living in a “closed system” of abuse and death. We need to remember the impact that a simple gesture of love can have upon a person in this closed system.

It may not “destroy” it at once – but just like the Beatles music and Wall-E himself, a foreign object inserted into a close system will bring about change.

Star Trek: 11

I finally got the chance to watch the newest Star Trek movie – and it is sweet!

The way they introduced the characters while keeping the basic personality of each one was awesome. By the end of the movie I was jumping up and down in my seat trying to maintain a Vulcan like appearance (which didn’t happen…)

There was one sad part about the film: my mential lack of Star Trek trivia…..

Sigh…there used to be a day when I could of rattled off all the captains of the Enterprise in order along with what ship they served on…but sadly, that day has long past. Undecided

This lose of memory meant that I had to look up the finer points of the Star Trek cannon in order to figure out if this movie created a new timeline or if it maintained the old one. The short answer is that Star Trek: 11 re-creates the entire franchise.

The writers are no longer tried to the timeline of the TV shows or the pervious movies. This can be good as they are now free to make more movies within the Star Trek universe (which would be cool!). However, this new timeline also marks a change in the franchise as previous time travel episodes did not change history (at least this dramatically). Undecided

Oh well, the fact still remains that the newest Star Trek movie rocked!  If you haven’t seen it yet, do so ‘cause you will not be disappointed. Cool

Casino Royale: A Film Review

Continuing with my recent 007 kick – we recently watched the 2006 film Casino Royale.

It was a great movie. It’s the kind of movie that makes you want to find some Netent casinos not blocked and pretend to be James Bond while playing for stakes not quite as large as 007 is in the film.

Granted, we kind of messed up in that we watched sequel – Quantum of Solace – first… but even though we knew the ending, it was still a fun film to watch.

In fact, I think Daniel Craig is the best James Bond on film yet – beating Sean Connery in that Craig’s Bond is more gritty and real then Connery’s 007….

Of course, part of that is the shift in culture where people, myself in included, tend to like our film heroes a little more “real” – meaning that they have to deal with internal struggles just as much as external.  [@more@]

Hmm……I guess it would be the differentness between John Wayne and Jason Bourne. One is solid as a rock while the other is…well…anything but solid.

But, back to Bond. In watching the extras there was several comments about the depth and complex character created by Ian Fleming in the book Casino Royale (which was the first Bond book). This took me by surprise as the Bond of Diamonds Are Forever was fairly flat.

It makes me wonder if Fleming didn’t tone down the character of James Bond in his later books as the fame of series was able to carry the book sales…. I guess I will have to read Casino Royale. Smile

Movie Review: Ned Kelly

The 2003 movie “Ned Kelly” starting Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom tells the story of the Australian outlaw and folk hero Ned Kelly (hence the movie name…)

Ned Kelly was a young man born to Irish immigrants – well, actually his father was sent to Australian by the British for various crimes committed in Ireland (which was ruled by Britain at the time – who ends up fighting the entire British army in Australian along with a few friends.

He also was a “Robin Hood” figure who robed banks and gave the funs to the poor Irish workers of the area.

While I am not sure about what happened in real life, the movie version shows a man who broke under the harsh culture injustices of the age. What injustices? Mainly the stark hierarchy between the wealthy British settlers and the Irish workers. [@more@]

In that vain, the movie does do a great job at exploring the mental shift that one takes as they run from the law. For example, at the beginning of the film, Ned Kelly and this “gang” were hesitant to kill anyone. Near the end – after being chased by the army for a while and robbing several banks – one of the members shoots an old friend who informed on the actions of the group.  As the character of Ned Kelly said at one time (my paraphrase), “Let us start acting like the outlaws they call us.”

In ending, I really enjoyed the film. It did a great job at looking at the motivations behind some of the world’s folk heroes and freedom fighters. The injustices are real and need to be looked at even if we don’t agree with the way they choose to fight back.

I guess that is why it is important for Church to stand up against injustices of all kinds….

Australia: A Film Review

I have been hearing about the film Australia for a while now – but I was unable to watch it until this week.

In a nutshell, it is a great flick.

It is a little long – so be ready to pause it for bathroom breaks. But it is well worth the time commitment.

For those who have not heard of the movie, Australia is about an upper-class British lady who goes to Australia to try to liquate some land holdings. Similar to life, things did not go as planned as her husband is murdered and War World 2 starts.

I will warn you that the film is really not an "epic romance film" – it is commonly billed. Yeah – there is a love story plot line in the movie…but it is secondary.

The REAL point of the movie is the little Aborigine boy who is telling the story. The movie is about him and the screwed-up culture ethnocentric idiots who tried to train the "black" out of the Aboriginal children. [@more@]

This dumb idea lead to the real life Australian Stolen Generation in which thousands of Aboriginal children where taken from their families and raised "white". The good old folks in the USA tried the same thing, only to fail crash and burn as well. Real genius.

The film Australia does a great job showing the value of race equality, family, love, loyalty, faith and knowing one's culture. On the negative side, the film did spend a lot of time highlighting the Aboriginal folk religion (which the movie refers to as "magic").

All and all, I really enjoyed the movie as it is not often I get to see a romantic culture enhancing and eye open movie at the same time.