Earlier this week, I posted a list of films that I am eager to see over the coming few months. But what I didn’t note, at the time of my original posting, however, is a trend that I spotted as I was busy compiling the list. In a Western world that is largely built upon the cultural foundations of the Enlightenment Project – in world that purports to believe in the essential goodness of humanity and its inevitable progress towards a technologically fueled utopian future – why are so many of our films and movies apocalyptic and/or dystopian tales of a future gone horribly wrong? Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: film
When Henry, Maria and their three sons touch down on the stunning shores of Thailand, they see nothing more than the raw beauty of the tropical paradise that awaits them. But on the morning of December 26th, 2004, their whole world changes in a matter of moments. For as the family laughs and plays in the deceptive comfort of their resort surroundings, a deep and guttural sound rises up, as if the earth itself has been shaken loose of its moorings. And as Maria looks on in horror, an enormous, surging wall of pitch-black water comes crashing across the well-manicured grounds, engulfing the family in a swirling vortex of death and destruction. Read the rest of this entry »
While some films aim for nothing more than popular appeal and a massive return on initial investment (e.g. Transformers), other films set their sites on something entirely different, something more lofty, even transcendent perhaps. Without question, Beasts of the Southern Wild is firmly entrenched in the later camp, as it is a small, offbeat and yet visually arresting film, complete with a break-out performance by an unknown child actor. Add to that a storyline that is simultaneously gritty and yet fantastical at the same time, it almost seems as if Beasts was intentionally designed to actively court the Oscars. But the question is: does the film have anything to actually say? Read the rest of this entry »
Last year, in the early days of May, I put together a short list of upcoming films that I expected to shine. Looking back upon it now, it seems quite clear that 2012 was not a great year for films. Not only did many of these movies fall short of my expectations, not a single film stood out as a game-changer. There was no Tree of Life, or The Mill and the Cross like there was in 2011. Instead, there was a steady slate of good films that were often quite entertaining, even if they ultimately fell short of being truly memorable. So without further adieu, I give you my final grades for the films I most wanted to see in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past few weeks, the mainstream media has been abuzz with talk of Zero Dark Thirty. Heavily marketed as an Oscar front-runner and as an “insider” account of the quest to kill Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty has been besieged by a group of critics, who have openly challenged the film’s depiction of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques employed by agents of the CIA. Indeed, the outcry has become so persistent, that the acting head of the CIA, himself, has actually taken the unprecedented step of releasing a press statement discussing the film. So what is Zero Dark Thirty? Is it an action-packed thriller offering us a rare glimpse into the inner working of the intelligence community? Or is it reckless filmmaking of a dangerous variety? Read the rest of this entry »
Two films were recently released dealing with the subject of slavery in the history of the United States. The first was made by a Steven Spielberg; and as expected, it has performed very well. After nine weeks in wide release, it has brought in just under $150 million dollars in its domestic distribution, even as it continues to garner nominations for prestigious awards. The second film, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, has also been a solid box office hit, earning just over $100 million in two weeks time. One film has been widely embraced and praised by Evangelical Christians, while the other film has been roundly condemned as “too offensive, disgusting and demeaning” to even consider. The question is: which of these two films is really worth our critical attention? Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s be honest. The Grey wasn’t ever going to be a movie that was marketed towards Christian audiences. The use of raw, guttural language is only slightly less pervasive than that found in your average Tarantino film. And as for the violence? Well, how many Christians typically revel in a film in which the main characters are brutally eliminated in often grotesque fashion by a pack of ravenous wolves? No. This is most certainly not Fireproof and it is definitely not Courageous. This is not filmmaking that is methodically geared to sentimentally reinforce everything a Christian already believes to be true. This is filmmaking on the level of Roland Joffe’s The Mission or Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. And for Christians that love the medium of film and for Christians that long for a film to seriously explore the theological problem of pain, The Grey is exactly the kind of movie that you are looking to see. It’s a film that refuses to offer overly-simplistic answers; and it’s a film that gives equal voice to both the faithful and the atheist alike. Consider the words of writer/director Joe Carnahan:
“If an atheist sees this film, they say, ‘There’s no way [Liam Neeson’s character] believes in God.’ [But when] the most hardcore Christian sees this film, they say, ‘Absolutely he believes in God!’ … This is the way of the universe and certainly it’s the way of nature. Nothing is given. Nothing is certain. And I think that as you get older you start to think about things … There are things that start to occur to you where you go, ‘What’s out there? What’s waiting for me? What’s the afterlife look like? Is there an afterlife?’” 
If that kind of mentality doesn’t excite you as a Christian fan of film, than this is not likely the movie for you to see. But if you appreciate harrowing survivalist tales in which man must not only face the demons of nature, but his fragile belief in the existence and goodness of the divine, The Grey is is a must-see. Raw, uncompromising, and built with a fine-tuned precision towards a beautifully executed smash-cut ending, The Grey should rightfully take its place alongside the very best films of 2012.
This film has been rated R by the MPAA for for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language
The scene is almost as classic as the film in which it is found. Having just discovered the brutally burned remains of his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker has agreed to travel off-planet with Obi-wan Kenobi on a desperate mission to deliver two droids that contain vital information to finally putting an end to Vader’s Empire. But upon arriving at the Mos Eisley Spaceport, they are confronted by imperial stormtroopers hunting for the droids. Just at this moment, when all seems lost, the mysterious Kenobi, in his first real display of power, simply waves his hand and says the iconic words: “These are not the droids you are looking for.” And just like that, the befuddled stormtroopers parrot his words and numbly allow the heroes to continue forward on their fateful journey.
Several weeks ago, Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) attempted his own “Jedi mind trick” of sorts, as he sought to convince his congregation that they need not listen to the external critics of his ministry, in spite of the evidence that was right before their eyes. Listen closely to what he says in this sermon based loosely upon John 2:13-22. Read the rest of this entry »
After a less than stellar 2011, it looks as if 2012 is shaping up to be a fine, potentially spectacular, year for movie going audiences. With a few genuinely solid films already released in the doldrums of the winter/early spring season, things are set to kick into high gear today with the release of Marvel Comics, The Avengers.
Bear in mind, this is not a complete list of everything film geeks are anticipating, nor is it merely a list of films that others have loved. For instance, you will not find the too-soon-to-be-necessary (or even remotely interesting) Amazing Spiderman on this list, nor will you find the marginally efficient, yet-intensely-over-rated Hunger Games. This is simply a list of films that I am excited to see, some large, some small, yet all filled with promise for one reason or another. Read the rest of this entry »