Archives for category: Movies

I just watched the movie Correspondence (2016) with my wife.

I doubt most people will like.

I suggest you don’t look it up. Don’t read reviews. Don’t look up the trailer. Go with your gut. Watch, or don’t. It is about a love affair with a star, with the universe, but it is supposed to be about a love affair of a middle-aged astrophysics (Jeremy Irons) and a young PhD candidate (Olga Kurylenko).

If you decide to watch it, forget everything. Don’t think. Just feel. It might do for you what it did for me.

Some say I’m too emotional. At times like these, I’m glad of it.

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My wife and my sons were able to go to Hidden Figures tonight.

Go see this movie!

Excellent movie. I figure they played a bit fast and loose with the factual history, but I think they got what it meant. I think they portrayed the meaning right. Perhaps some day I will try to figure out the historical details. Regardless, the movie makes the main point quite well.

One of the important aspects was encapsulated in a clip of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explaining that the civil rights movement aimed to save the American soul. We are still working to accomplish it, and we will get to the promised land.

We, each of us, individually, must face every person as unique and worthwhile. We each must resolve to never allow such prejudice as depicted in the movie to arise again, and we must work it every day because it isn’t gone.

I resolve to live giving every person the benefit of the doubt. I have always tried to live that way, and this movie redoubles my resolve. We must judge every individual only by the content of his character (or her character, character knows no male nor female, no gender at all). We must judge only character, ever supposing the best until proven the less. We must always give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Aside from being a good backstory for the early space history, the movie treats well the basics of life.

We all mostly just want to get along. We all have our dreams and aspirations. We should be able to pursue our aims without restrictions imposed by prejudice.

The movie captures a lot of the emotion of the routine as well as the extraordinary. We all know the results of the early manned flights, but no one knew as each occurred. The movie captures some of that quite well, at least it did for me. It also captured some of those little things, the personal things, the basics of life and love.

Determination is well portrayed as well.

Overall, quite a good movie with a message we all must remember and take to heart in every interaction we have with one another.

Each of us must be mindful that we are all in this together. For nearly all of us want the exact same things, chief of which are the love of family and friends, and the satisfaction of an honorably lived life with work well done.

I enjoyed the movie, and I learned. I expect most everyone else will too.

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” Theodore Parker

Of course, those words inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decades later to say, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Each of us is personally responsible to help the bend toward justice, liberty, respect, and genuine love. No matter how far we ever manage to reach out into the stars, we must take these truths with us and live them.

 

 

Risen is a good movie.

It is getting some good reviews, but more mediocre ones.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3231054/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/risen_2016/

This is from Rotten Tomatoes, “Risen benefits from a lighter tone than many faith-based productions, as well as a unique take on the Greatest Story Ever Told and a terrific turn from star Joseph Fiennes.”

Fair assessment.

My assessment is that this was a good movie, a well done movie, and most of all, a movie.

I suspect the mediocre reviews are based largely on the religious theme, but it isn’t a particularly religious movie. The movie depicts Christ’s resurrection, but it keeps leaving room. It tells the story a certain way, and given the telling, it plays fair. It gives a moving and impactful story.

It was my impression that nearly all the audience was affected.

It is a personal telling, and it takes the view that this story, above all others, is personal. I think it did it well.

This isn’t the biblical story, but it is obviously based on it, around it, similar to it.

Mostly, I think those responsible for the telling of this story and the movie making of it, took it seriously, and they wanted to leave each member of the audience with something. If you go in with certain expectations, you will perhaps be disappointed. If you go in to see what you can find and keep, I think you will find something you are glad to have.

If you are deeply religious, you may have to overlook some things here and there.

If you are not religious, you will probably not find cause for offense. You will probably find a story that speaks to you, at least a little. I expect it will make you think. I suspect it won’t be something that changes your mind one way or another. Things that deepen our thinking are good.

Stories like this are usually called historical fiction. With my limited history of the period, it seems some pains were taken to get it right, at least close enough to avoid distraction.

The military aspects and some of the details fit and were engaging.

Overall, it was a movie I felt was of more value than my ticket price. I felt it was worth my time. I enjoyed it, at times it moved me, and it made me think.

 

I went to see Woodlawn tonight on a date with my wife.

Excellent movie. I greatly enjoyed it.

It is a movie I encourage all to see. Watch it online or rent it. It is worthwhile.

It was a great story. It is also something we must remember. We must remember what happened and not let the bad parts happen again, and we must remember those who had the courage to do right and to stand against intimidation. That part, standing for what is right, we will have to do again. Be ready to speak up and stand up. Be ready.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/arts/woodlawn-documents-former-dolphins-player-tony-nathans-true-story-7893827

A man and events worth honoring. I think the movie did it well.

Like it or not, ready or not, nuclear fission will provide most of the power for society in the future, fairly near future, for a very long time.

Too many factors to forecast the timeframe, but it is inevitable. It is certain.

Forbes ran this article about the movie, Blackhat.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/02/20/hollywood-versus-reality-nuclear-thrills-in-blackhat/

I don’t think I’ll ever bother seeing the movie. I sure didn’t get the nuclear bit of it in the trailer.

I doubt I could stomach the bad science and tech.

For as bad a Chernobyl was, it was tiny as disasters go. Russia and Ukraine had and continue to have far worse problems.

As bad as Fukushima was hit, it turned out trivial. An inconsequential blip in the sad devastation of the overall catastrophe.

Nuclear power plants, even intentionally, cannot result in catastrophes. Chernobyl was a one-off. It was a bad design that only the Soviets would use. It was their baby. They had pride involved. Not only was it their idea, but they had confidence in their engineering ability to control it. Props. They did a good job for a long time. It was hard. The design was bad and inherently unsafe. It was good engineers and scientists that kept it from killing many times. It was political hubris that caused it once it did happen.

Anyway, all of the nuclear power plants running cannot do what Chernobyl did. Even the Soviets abandoned the idea and replaced them as fast as they practically could.

Nuclear fission power is the safest option we have. It is the most sustainable too. We can reasonably expect to power all our needs with nuclear fission for many centuries, even with optimistic estimates of growth and development. Even if we get to 10 billion people. We almost certainly will not get to that many people. Given a bit of prosperity and good odds that children will make it to adulthood, people don’t have too many children.

Of course, we could roll back the clock just a few centuries, when half of all people died before their eighth birthday. Sad isn’t it. Let’s not go back. Windmills are a sad and harmful attempt at. Let’s quit with the windmills. Windmills suck.

My sons are into robots. They are working with a robot club for competitions.

Mom suggested we take the icy day to go see the movie about the robot team, Spare Parts.

It was done very well. I highly recommend it.

The movie tracks four high school boys as they try to start achieving the American dream in their own small Arizona town, in their own beleaguered high school, with almost no money, almost no support, and a half-willing temporary substitute science teacher. (Who isn’t a teacher, but an engineer, fallen on hard times.) Their sponsor works through issues, but being a good engineer, he can help them effectively. They keep overcoming obstacles.

One of their big obstacles is that all are from immigrant families, families who came into the USA from Mexico, without going through proper channels. Thus, I.C.E. is after them, well, one of them. Still, they are all in danger of deportation.

I suppose I need to write some about immigration. I don’t have it worked out. What I know for sure is that we must trust people.

I know not everyone is trustworthy, but we must trust people first. We must give the freedom and room for people to be what God has created them to be.

I seem to keep finding more and more that I am libertarian to the bone, just as I am Wesleyan. God made us free. We err when we make people less free than God has.

The movie is fun, informative, and well made. It deals well with some of the issues involved. Sure, it is a bit shallow, but it deals with hardships of public schools and hardships of being an illegal alien, and with some of the joys of family and triumphs of accomplishment.

It is worth taking your family to see.

I hear bad things about the Noah movie. (Mostly the same as what was worried about before it was out.)

It is kinda disappointing. My expectations were quite low. I figured it would be an environmentalists movie rather than anything resembling the biblical account. Still, I figured it would be a worthwhile movie, but from what little I’ve read, it looks like it probably isn’t even worth the time to watch on video.

I’m a metallurgical engineer, and I have a thorough understanding of metals. I suspected I’d have to have my “suspension of disbelief” set to maximum just from the movie poster where Crowe stands with an iron ax in his hand. Per traditional biblical dating, Noah was a full millenia before anyone had iron tools, Tubal-Cain not withstanding. (And “brass”? That alone should eliminate any “KJV-only” assertions.)

I’ll probably still see it. I suspect at least Nathan will want to as well, but I sure ain’t spending good money on it. A buck will be my limit for something like this.

I don’t fully endorse these reviews, but they are representative of what I was reading. One I read written by a Lutheran Pastor thought it would be okay to go, that is–not sinful, but he couldn’t get over how horrid it was from a biblical perspective and how poor it was as a movie. It does sound like it will have some big-screen moments, but I suspect I’d be unable to get in to it for all the nonsense going on.

http://godawa.com/movieblog/deconstructing-noahs-arc-godawful-storytelling/

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/noah-2014

Somehow it was movie weekend. Just worked out that way. My wife and I saw Nonstop. (“Non” is a prefix in English. Hyphens are not required for prefixes.)

Nonstop was as good as expected. It is a relatively decent even-paced thriller that gave good twists and turns. Overall, recommended.

Then we saw Divergent. My daughter says the book is much better than the movie, but she thought the movie did well enough. She agrees it was good and recommended as well. Note that Divergent is a romance at the core. It is a dystopian thriller, yes, but mostly it is about the triumph of love. Quite enjoyable. The backstory was too superficial for me to ignore, but it wasn’t very distracting. Being an engineer is not conducive to movie watching. Oh well. Overall good show. Well acted.

Finally, we took the boys to see God’s Not Dead. Joseph is a fan of the Newsboys, particularly the God’s Not Dead song, and the movie promises to be talked about enough to think it worth watching just to know what is being talked about.

I think if this wasn’t such an openly religious movie, the headlines would include, “Feel-good hit of the year!” Really. It was excellent all around.

I am confident that those who want to throw stones will find plenty to work with. Still, I don’t find anything objectionable. The theology was sound, at least from my Wesleyan perspective, though it sure didn’t appear there was any effort to be Wesleyan. I suspect there was an effort to be nonsectarian. The main story was simple faith and providence. I’ll refrain from details because I don’t want to give anything away.

It pulled in several modern difficulties and dealt with none of them deeply but all of them well! It was a word-to-the-wise type of approach. The overall effect could hardly have been better.

It was quite intricate. One does have to pay attention. No one moved when the movie ended. Part of it was that it was not obvious that it ended. The credit screen immediately started listing the legal cases that influenced the content of movie, and it was obviously a composite of some number of such cases, and probably some good invention.

The other factor that obviously kept everyone seated at the end was that it was quite emotional. It seemed no one wanted to move. I suppose the bits that affected me most will not be the same for others, but I truly believe everyone will find scenes that speak to them and touch their emotions. I don’t mind admitting I cried some. I wasn’t the only one.

I honestly expect this is the kind of movie that everyone can go and enjoy. Sure, it will make some uncomfortable, but it is not preachy. It takes an honest look within. If you aren’t intentionally running from God, you should find this to be the kind of movie that reaffirms you. It deals with sadness and bad things straight up. It shows that among the hard things in life, God is there.

The bottom line of the movie was close to my own bottom line. There is much evidence that supports belief in God, but even the Bible says that faith is required, that one must believe. There are no easy answers, and this movie didn’t pretend to offer any. It left a lot of questions unanswered, but it offered hope and encouragement.

Belief is a choice. The movie set that down simply. Believe or don’t. It is your choice. Everyman must make the choice. No one can do it for him, and no one must be allowed to coerce the choice in any direction. Even though I am a Christian and truly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I am certain that God alone is the judge, and no heart answers to anyone but God, the judge. CS Lewis put a scene in the Last Battle that allegorizes it for me. Jesus is the way, but who am I to judge how anyone but me might come to Him and follow in that way?

I recommend this movie to everyone. It really is that good. It will encourage you and help you if you let it.

We saw the movie, Son of God, today. I guess my bottom line up front is that if you are looking for an emotional ride, you should be satisfied. Other than that, well, I just don’t see serious bible believers finding much in it. I don’t see much value as an evangelistic tool either.

I didn’t take time to read reviews beforehand, but a quick perusal of such at this point indicates mostly similar to my on review at the summary level.

The bible is hardly taken serious in telling the story. It is a story, plain and simple. It is almost dreamlike in flow, cutting from scene to scene, depending on audience familiarity with the basics. I’ll say the dreamlike characteristics flowed back and forth from magical fantasy, in a good sense, to nearly nightmarish at times.

With regard to scripture, much is put in, but altered, some left out, other details jumbled around for the impact of the moment. Nothing highly objectionable, but notable–too much to ignore.

My wife pointed out to the children that movies based on books are almost never the same. She found it satisfying in looking at the story in a new way. She admitted that knowing the story well from the bible was essential to her enjoyment of it. Having sound knowledge and deep faith let her appreciate the differences and ignore the discrepancies. (I do that a lot with SciFi.)

I had been forwarded information that objected to the movie doctrinally. Well, having gone in to it looking for such, I missed it if there was anything that orthodox or evangelical Christians should object to with any force.

I will say there was a strong sense of magic and mysticism to Jesus and the miracles. Jesus called Peter by reaching down into the water from Peter’s boat. Not objectionable, but it was presented mystically, as though Jesus simply had that magnetic attraction for fish, by simply swishing his hand in the water for a bit. There was generally no attempt to depict the power or awe of God.

I was quite disappointed in the depiction of two of the miracles. While the overall scene of Jesus walking on the water was a fair retelling, the Peter part was pathetic. Sorry. I hated it. Likewise the raising of Lazarus. I cannot declaim that scene strongly enough. No adherence to scripture, and no impression of the point of the event, other than to tie it into the fears of the Jewish authorities. Mystic, simplistic, and fully unscriptural.

The feeding of the 5,000 was in between for me. That magic factor detracted. The overall telling of the event was reasonable, and the emphasis was on God’s provision and the inappropriate response of the masses, but it just didn’t fit well. I suspect those who are not thoroughly familiar with the actual texts in the Gospels will find the scene rather bewildering.

I am comfortable with women among Jesus’ disciples. I thought the treatment of Mary Magdalene quite appropriate. Some will object as it was, others will decry it went not far enough.

Again, some of the emotional aspects of the movie worked quite well, and I suspect most movie goers will appreciate it, religious or not.

There were a couple of scenes early that worked this way for me, but the epitome was Simon of Cyrene. The scene was well written, and was superbly acted. Cyrene is in Libya. Good choice of actor.

Overall, I appreciated the entire cross sequence. It was entirely different from The Passion of The Christ. Passion focused on the power, the awesomeness of what our Lord did for us, the sacrifice of The Father, the compassion and terror of Mary. This rendition in Son of God focused on the poetic. It was beautiful in a sense, a harsh sense, but beautiful none the less. The flogging and actual crucifixion were rather glossed over. Oh well. It is Hollywood after all. The stabbing with the spear was simply lame. It seemed included just because someone insisted on being that much closer to scripture.

I must say I did not appreciate the extreme closeups. Aside from just not working, I also found it unnerving, like an IMax aerial acrobatics scene. Bad choice. I also found the makeup inconsistencies distracting. Further, I didn’t appreciate the scenery. There were some lovely shots here and there, but the handful of followers spread on the rocks seemed odd at best, and some of the other scenes seemed contrived, seemed to be going for an effect that was simply missed.

An extraneous note: contemporary Christian music is contemporary with me. I know many songs that depict many of the events of the movie more meaningfully for me.

Some may object to the depiction of Judas. Well, Judas is difficult. I’m okay with how they worked his character and his part of the story. Likewise Peter’s betrayal. It worked emotionally. It was human, though it just didn’t square with the scriptural details.

For a relatively long movie, they dealt with much rather quickly, giving only a shallow rendering of many of the events dealt with in the story, and much was left out. Compromises of a storyteller, I suppose. Again, it seemed the audience was expected to already know the basics of the story.

The ending was weak overall. The resurrection scenes were pedantic, merely gotten through. The meeting with Thomas was unsatisfying. The hole in the hand was shaped like an eye. The device seemed trite. Likewise the closing scene with John. It seemed just stuck on for a closing. It seemed someone was impressed with the hole-in-the-hand special effect.

So, overall, I was happy to have seen the movie. Though, I wasn’t impressed. As I said, if all you are looking for is an emotional ride, you should be satisfied. If you are looking for much else, I suspect you will still be looking afterward.

I find it somewhat of a concern that churches seem to have enthusiastically jumped on board with this movie. Perhaps I’m making more of it than I should, but I really don’t see most denominations squaring well with at least some aspects of this movie. While I’ve already stated I see no grounds for objections from doctrine, I do not see it as sound teaching. It is a well told emotional story. It is not really a representation of Jesus as reveled in the Gospels.

It no longer amazes me what I can find on the internet. It is more common for me to be amazed when I cannot find something on the internet.

When thinking about writing something about the Monuments Men movie, I recalled the mixed to poor reviews I’d noticed beforehand. My first thought was it was nothing like the second Highlander movie. TJW of Pitt.edu summed it up best in his email signature file all those years ago. I wondered if I could let him say it himself, so I looked it up. Wah-lah!

"There can be only one!"   - The Highlander
"There should have been only one. I want my money back!"  - Terry

I found the quote in Esther’s Massive Signature File Collection of DOOOM! here: http://linuxmafia.com/humour/sigs

Anyway, I thought it was an enjoyable movie that made a lot of good points well. Not great, and apparently it muddles the facts a little, especially since the British role in it all was significant and preceded US efforts by about two years.

So, if you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to watch it. Expect some sentimentality. It was low on violence. Relatively family friendly. Mostly, it is a story that needs to be remembered.

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