Archives for posts with tag: movie review

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.



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.

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.

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