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: review
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 »
Over the past few weeks, Pastor Louie Giglio’s name has risen to the forefront of the cultural mainstream, as many of the talking heads on the political left and right have sought to interpret his intended involvement with the inaugural activities of President Obama. Initially selected by the President’s team for his ongoing efforts to address human trafficking, Giglio quickly came under heavy scrutiny for a sermon he had once preached on the subject of homosexuality. Acting quickly and of his own accord, Giglio attempted to squelch the expanding brush fire by electing to withdraw himself from the planned activities.
For these reasons and more, I recently decided to read and review Louie Giglio’s I Am Not, But I Know I Am. For in these days where one’s understanding of homosexuality has become the new litmus test for one’s fitness to engage in the national discussion, it seems to me that we would all benefit from a conscious decision to spend some time with the debatable subject before we carelessly (and perhaps needlessly) jettison him or her overboard as some kind of cultural jetsam. 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 »
For many fans of music that have grown weary of the auto-tuned tedium of the current pop scene, the unexpected rise of Mumford and Sons has come as a much-needed and welcome breath of fresh air. Bursting onto the scene in 2009, their debut album, Sigh No More, was a gritty, literate and yet oddly jubilant affair that quickly climbed the charts and earned the band a passionate and devoted following. All at once, Marcus Mumford and his neo-folk bandmates were different from everything else that was happening in popular music. And because of this, many saw fit to straddle them with the unenviable task of saving popular music from the likes of Lady Gaga and her image-first peers.
In that way, it is not terribly unfair to say that Mumford and Sons occupies a similar ground to that which was held by Nirvana in the early 1990s. For just as Nirvana rode the raw, underground success of Bleach to the studio-crafted heights of Nevermind, so too does it appear that Mumford will be following the unpolished Sigh No More with a more finely tuned, and carefully crafted Babel.
The question is: does this move serve them well? Read the rest of this entry »