Archive for the ‘ Movie Review ’ Category

Genesis: Paradise Lost in 3-D … My Review

If you have followed my blog long, searched through my all of my posts, and/or know me personally, you know I do not subscribe to the modern teaching of evolution.

I have many reasons.

Therefore, it probably should not surprise anyone that last night my wife and I went to see the movie Genesis: Part 1 – Paradise Lost in 3-D.

Do I need to mention spoilers? I mean, if you have read Genesis chapter 1, you know how it goes. If you have ever looked into Answers in Genesis, you probably know what they think about Creation. And AiG supplied many of their scientists and speakers for this film.

The Film

Genesis: Paradise Lost in 3-D was created largely on a computer to show an idea of what the creation of everything looked like based on the Bible – specifically Genesis 1. The stylized rendition was punctuated with “live commentary” of scientists and speakers about what the Bible and science have to say about the origins of everything and, especially, us – humans. Much of this cast consisted of people who work for AiG, but it included other scientists, professors, evangelists, and pastors. While focused on Genesis chapter one, other passages were included, and a lot of science was included throughout.

And, yes, dinosaurs make appearances!

My thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed the film. The imagery was awe inspiring, and the science was clearly explained mixed in with good theology.

I do not completely agree with everything that AiG teaches (I differ slightly on the age of the Earth and therefore the historical timeline of humanity, but only slightly), but by and large the science and logic seems reasonable from them and those associated with this film.

They make fairly solid arguments against evolutionary theory, with some humor and compassion thrown in, and it is presented in a compelling way.

My biggest complaint against the film is with the 3-D. There are times that effect is not as accurately applied, causing some blurriness and/or ghosting (double-imaging). On a smaller screen, it might not be as noticeable, but when 30 feet tall it is jarring.

However, when you consider that this was not a James Cameron or major Disney production (the filmmaker, Ralph Strean, did work for Disney at one time, though) with a relatively small, crowdsourced budget, and only a few dozen people working on it, it is amazing what they did accomplish.

There are many elements of this film that the 3-D makes amazingly beautiful and engaging. At one point, I even felt the impulse to attempt to wipe water off of my glasses! And when you consider that

Therefore, if you easily suffer from motion sickness or get headaches from 3-D movies, avoid the 3-D showing.

That being said, I would suggest checking this movie out, if you get the chance.

Even if you completely disagree with their premise, the imagery alone makes it worth it.

An #OldFashionedMovie Review

It may be old fashioned, but God’s wisdom is always the best. Get some at Proverbial Thought!

This past weekend was St. Valentines’ Day. A couple movies were released just in time: 50 Shades of Grey, and what I call the Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey, Old Fashioned. I saw one of these. I saw it twice, actually: once as a triple date and once with our youth group.

Obviously I am talking about 50 Shades … no … wait …

Old Fashioned poster

Just Old Fashioned, I guess …

In the movie, Clay Walsh (played by writer/director/producer Rik Swartzwelder) owns the antique shop “Old Fashioned Antiques” that has an apartment upstairs. Clay used to be the epitome of the college partying frat boy, including having a successful “Girls Gone Wild” type of business. Then his life changed, and he became known more as a legalistic Christian who has rules and theories about life and love, including not being in a room alone with a woman who is not his wife (within reason, of course).

Enter Amber Hewson (played by Elizabeth Roberts), a bit of a free spirit who stays in a town until she fills her jar with enough money to fill her car with enough gas to get away. She then drives until she runs out of gas, and where that happens she stays. You probably guessed, she runs out in Clay’s town and rents his apartment. To pay for it, she gets a job at the local florist.

She makes friends with her coworkers, one a disillusioned three-times divorcee, the other a young fun-living woman. His best friends are two of his old frat brothers who stuck with him, one who lives with his longtime girlfriend and their daughter, and the other a womanizing, chauvinistic DJ. In other words, their friends do not share Clay’s views on traditional marriage and love.

Needless to say, she helps him to loosen up a little (while respecting his beliefs and values) while he shows her that chivalry is not dead. And they fall in love.

The Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey

My wife and me doing what we do ...

My wife and me doing what we do …

One reason I love this film: It is as if the makers looked at how my wife and I started out and made a “based on a true story” adaptation. (Remember, you only need 7% of the story to be “based on” a story.)

Now for the actual review:

Many people tend to think, “Oh. A Christian film. That means cheesy acting and an in-your-face “believe this right now!” gospel presentation.” In the first 15 minutes, there are a few (maybe three or four) “that could have been acted better” moments, but not cheesy. If I had to complain, it would be that the gospel could have been clearer.

I do not see that as a real problem, though. It simply leaves the door open for Christians to do their job as Christ followers. This movie can just make that job easier.

Some dangerous things:

I have no issue with dangerous. Christ warned us of dangers (John 16:33), and He, Peter, and Paul (as well as several others) demonstrated how conversations and standing up for what is right and godly can be dangerous. (I mean, come on, The Parable of the Good Samaritan? So many Jews would have killed Him for that alone!)

  • Amber is not necessarily a Christian
  • Clay has not attended church for a while (due to the “hypocrisy show”)
  • There are several scenes of alcoholic drinking
  • It deals with issues of “frat boy carousing,” one night stands, divorce, and non-believing friends

For the record: I would not change a thing! (It is PG-13, and I agree with that!)

Some of the goodness (even though I have seen it twice, I might miss a bit):

  • Out of dirty backstory comes something many can relate to: real life. As I said above, I like the movie because of how closely it hits home (both with my past and how my wife and I met and began our relationship).
  • It has many natural conversations (as in, they do not feel scripted). As the gospel is presented, it is done in bits and pieces over the course of the film, much like happens so often in real life.
  • As the story progresses, we see how choices affect others, both in good and bad ways. There are times that both of their pasts come back to haunt them. There are times when . . . morals and chivalry  the minds of others.
  • The need for a savior is made evident.
  • The Christians are not perfect! In fact, the Christian lead overcomes some of his own shortcomings.
  • God’s “mysterious ways” are shown through many characters (especially his great aunt Zella!)

Old Fashioned puts grace, mercy, and biblical love on full display. Two of my (many) favorite quotes are:

  1. “There is no goodness … without mercy.”
  2. “When did treating women with respect become the joke?” (or as my wife re-phrased it, “When did treating [anyone, men or women] with respect become the joke?”)
This is a great movie, and everyone should see this. My suggestion: only mature junior highers and older should watch this movie. It is rated PG-13, after all.

Unsound … and Okay

Make sure your soul is okay and find some wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

My wife and I recently watched a movie about the battle between good and evil. Angels and demons fought over the lives of humans, and what could have been purely a love story was about more of the battle for our souls.

They included the basic elements of good versus evil, grace, forgiveness, and the power of love. These were masterfully portrayed.

However, I must say, I disagreed with so much of the theology of the film. They twisted basic understanding of good and evil and the character of God. They elevated the importance of angels and demons. They made the Universe out to be God.

That being said, I still liked the movie, overall.

It may have been theologically unsound with un-biblical ideas, but I thought it was okay.

There was this overarching theme of how important it is to love unconditionally and that we play important roles in each other’s lives.

I can hear all of the voices in the Christian realm complaining about its New Age-y messages and dangerous ideas, and all I can think of is “Would these people have reacted the same way as the Pharisees did to Jesus’ parables?”

I am in no way comparing a modern movie (with clear theological issues) to Jesus’ words, except to point out that Jesus told wild stories to get important messages to people … if they were willing to listen.

And [Jesus] was teaching them many things in parables . . . And he said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mark 4:2-9

Christ-like? A “Man of Steel” Review (FotF)

Be a superhero to your mind and soul and get wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

The latest Superman movie came out this past weekend.

Yes. I was excited. (I have seen it twice, already.)

I wanted to write this amazing review that looks into how the gospel could be presented through this movie (such as when I wrote about “The Gospel According to Bill & Ted”).

Instead, I think Focus on the Family did a great job. Also, seeing as I am on a youth summer retreat taking teens down a river, through caves, across hiking trails, and deep into God’s Word when this posts to the world wide web, I do not have a great amount of time to devote to this!

Therefore, head over the site by clicking here to read their entire Man of Steel movie review.

Spiritual Content

The Superman stories have over the years developed a significant spiritual standing, with the man of steel serving as an analog for our heavenly Savior. He’s an only son sent to Earth to be a shining light in our darkness and an all-powerful paragon of truth and justice. As a baby he’s adopted by Martha and Jonathan, and he grows into someone who can defy the laws of physics in grand ways while championing the weak in nearly every way. He’s a superhero who sets out to save a humanity in desperate need. It’s never a perfect allegory, of course, but it’s generated countless conversations, articles, sermons and books that explore the rich subtext inherent in this once humble comic book tale.

With that as a backdrop, it’s quite remarkable to note that this Man of Steel movie is one of the most spiritually symbolic and Messianic-image-packed treatments made about this character. Here, Clark Kent even comes to understand—at the age of 33, no less—his responsibility to step up, face off with and destroy an ultimate evil that threatens all mankind.

But that’s at the end. At the climax. All through this film, dialogue and images hint at connections between Superman and Jesus. Several people, from Jor-El to Jonathan to Zod’s female second, Faora-Ul, talk to Clark about his ability (or lack of ability) to save the people on his adopted planet. Superman levitates with his arms spread in a cross-like form on several occasions. When he goes to church to ask a priest for advice, the camera’s eye frames a stained-glass representation of Christ over the young Clark’s shoulder. The priest tells him, “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.”
After Clark rescues a bus full of children, a kid’s mother states, “This was an act of God!” Clark asks his dad, “Did God do this to me?” When Lara worries about her infant son’s safety on Earth, Jor-El assures her, “He’ll be a god to them.” Bad guy Kryptonians tell Superman that “the fact that you possess a sense of morality and we do not” gives them an advantage. “Evolution always wins,” they say.

Also: We learn that most Kryptonians were engineered, essentially, for whatever their lot in life was to be. In other (spiritual) words, they have no free will. Superman is the exception. He was born naturally—the first natural birth on that planet in centuries—and he is therefore free to “choose” his own destiny.

http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/man-of-steel.aspx

Seeing Courageous

As I mentioned on Sunday …

YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Courageous is the fourth movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures of Sherwood Baptist Church. It has the theme of men taking a stand as fathers and husbands to raise up strong families and prepare the next generation for life and faithfulness to God.

Four police officers are also close friends. Javier Martinez, a latino struggling to provide for his wife and two children, becomes one of their friends as well. After tragedy strikes one of them, it results in the Resolution: a promise before God and family to everything they can to live godly lives to impact the next generation (to sum it up very poorly).

This movie is full of action, romance, violence, and camaraderie. It will make you laugh, pull at your heart-strings (those jerks!), knock you down emotionally, lift you back up, and encourage and embolden you. It is rated PG-13 for violence (chasing bad guys, a shoot-out, a gang initiation) and drug content (seeing baggies with powder and pills). I would suggest many more mature children can see this movie, but I would also suggest parents use wisdom and see it first to decide for yourself.

Courageous is by far the greatest movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures to date, and it is now one of my favorite movies. (The other three, if you are unaware, are Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof) The Kendrick brothers are great at working the Gospel message into these films, the acting gets better all the time, and they definitely had a larger budget with which to work this time! This movie is sure to punch you in the gut and then dust you off and lift you up. I laughed, laughed until I cried, cried for sorrow, cried for joy, and wanted to cheer and praise by the end of the movie.

I will say it again …

GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

And like I asked last week, see where your heart is and how important God is in your life. This movie will help!