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Movie Reviews

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sherlock HolmesUsing any credible measures for assessing the quality of a movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows scores an A plus across the board. Action-packed, full of the type of wit the English are famous for, compelling cinematography that puts you convincingly in the London of the late 1800's, and a cast of actors that never remind you they are acting. But for a guy like me it is the seemingly unintended message that moves me most deeply.

The power of logic is too seldomly lifted up as the virtue that it is. People of faith often believe the lie that logic (and by extension truth) is incompatible with faith. That God is orderly and has ordered the world as a means to show himself wise and magnificent is not spoken of so much.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 14:21:30

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Benjamin ButtonThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button is worth seeing for several reasons. Beyond strong performances from Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchette this tale, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, leaves you with a great deal to ponder. The main character Benjamin Button, is born with an horrific condition whereby his body at birth ressembled that of an eighty five year old man. If this premise wasn't unlikely enough, the additional twist that Benjamin Button does not age with the passage of time but instead grows younger, sets up the audience for this truly amazing story. The fact that it somehow remains plausible is a testement to the wonderful writing and memorable chemistry between these two fine actors.

I found myself at various points in this film wondering how a story like this might really play out if it were to happen. Finally it occurred to me that what attracted me to Benjamin Button's story was the continuing sense of discovery and joy that seemed to animate almost every point of his life. Unlike people who as they age become, to one degree or another, weary of life's ups and downs; Benjamin Button seemed to meet the implausible challenges of his own life with a quiet sense of amazement and wonder at how special the experience of life really is.

It may be more than a stretch for most of us to superimpose our own lives into the character of Benjamin Button. However the inexplicable circumstances that led to his abnormal birth should not be entirely strange to a people who have themselves been reborn, which is itself a most unlikely circumstance.


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Monday, February 23, 2009 - 13:51:23

Horton Hears A Who
Horton_Hears_a_Who.jpgBefore you fall out laughing on account of this animated movie, seemingly directed toward children, being selected for review, let me begin by saying I found this movie to be profoundly spiritual. As one not inclined to favor contemporary arts more than their usually superior predecessors I will also say forthright that I do believe this 2008 remake of a Dr. Seuss’ classic was preferable to the original especially because of its spiritual angle.

In Horton Hears a Who, Horton is an elephant who one day hears a yelp coming from a small speck floating in the wind. Upon investigation he learns that this speck is actually a small world inhabited by microscopic people called “Who’s.” Horton vows to protect this speck and its inhabitants and adopts the mantra “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Initially, Horton is the only one who can hear the “Who’s”. Consequently, he is persecuted by his society who claims “if a thing can’t be seen or touched it does not exist.” Horton is a lone voice crying in the wild; a role many of us former drug users who now speak unpopular truths are acquainted with. The story shows the pressures of the majority trying to force one to deny truth. There are many other spiritual lessons in this story, which I will not spoil for future viewers, but rather will strongly encourage you to discover for yourself.

The movie is extremely funny from beginning to end. The genius of it is that, it is a movie children are bound to love, making it a perfect opportunity for parents to be reminded of some truths and teach these to their own kids or even their Sunday school students.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009 - 21:08:55

City Of God (2002)

CityofgodLike cinematic dynamite, City of God lights a fuse under its squalid Brazilian ghetto, and we're a captive audience to its violent explosion. The titular favela is home to a seething army of impoverished children who grow, over the film's ambitious 20-year timeframe, into cutthroat killers, drug lords, and feral survivors. In the vortex of this maelstrom is L'il Z (Leandro Firmino da Hora--like most of the cast, a nonprofessional actor), self-appointed king of the dealers, determined to eliminate all competition at the expense of his corrupted soul.  

With enough visual vitality and provocative substance to spark heated debate (and box-office gold) in Brazil, codirectors Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund tackle their subject head on, creating a portrait of youthful anarchy so appalling--and so authentically immediate--that City of God prompted reforms in socioeconomic policy. It's a bracing feat of stylistic audacity, borrowing from a dozen other films to form its own unique identity. You'll flinch, but you can't look away. --Jeff Shannon -- Amazon.com

Our Take ~- The movie did an effective job of showing how crime and drugs go hand in hand. There is a very realistic progression of crime and drug use in the movie. It starts out with small robberies and getting high. Then, to a bigger and better robbery scheme, that goes terribly wrong. This changes the course of all their lives.

The movie also does a good job of depicting the strong desire younger kids have to fit in and be accepted, and how easily this can lead to a life of drugs and crime. Once they realize it, they are in so deep that it's almost impossible to get out. Another realistic part of the movie is how the dealer can start out for the money. They don't want to live a life of poverty, but soon discover the powerlessness of the addict and the power they have over them.

Although I believe dealers are in it for the money, I also believe that after a period of time it can be more of a power trip. The dealer begins to feel invincible. The movie does a good job of portraying this other aspect of insanity involved in the drug world. This, then contributes to more deaths, more recruits and more drug gangs speeding across the nation. Due to this power trip, no matter how hard officials fight the drug lords, someone is always willing to step in and fill the void.

Finally, the movie shows that no matter how poor or how rough your circumstances are, there is always a way out. Addicts can sometimes feel hopeless and sorry for themselves, but it is ultimately the addicts' decision whether or not they want to continue in the insanity that is their life. How badly do they want to get out. Therefore, I think this was a realistic depiction of drug addiction and how it leads to crime, shame and pain for all who are close to the addict.

WARNING This movie contains violence, brief nudity and strong language.

Buy this movie


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Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 00:35:00

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