Hope Springs film review

“Hope Springs” is the real life sequel to every romantic film ever.  That’s because romantic films focus on the meeting of the couple, a conflict that threatens to separate them, followed by a rapturous reunion filled with sweeping music and the end credits.  But what happens to the couple 32 years later?  “Hope Springs” is a movie that everyone who is seriously considering marriage, or is currently married, should see.  It’s great for many reasons, but above all, it’s simply a great movie.

“Hope Springs” is about Kay (Meryl Streep) a woman who is fed up with her lifeless marriage of 32 years with her husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones).  She is confronted with a dilemma – Keep a passionless, yet barely functional marriage, or see if it can change.  That change comes in the form of an intensive couple’s therapy with Dr. Feld (Steve Carrell) in Maine that lasts a week and costs $4000.00.  For Kay, the huge cost of therapy is worth every penny if it means it could breathe life into something that once was great.  Naturally, Arnold is none enthused with the idea and protests all the way.  Yet, it’s Kay’s curiosity and hope of change that drives her to see if maybe it is possible to have a great marriage again.  One gets the sense that she may be happy with just a good marriage.  Enter Dr. Feld and his matter of fact questions about the lack of intimacy their marriage has grown lazily accustomed to.  The question the film leaves us with is simple: Can marriages change?

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New Images From Aranofsky's Noah Film

Wondering about how Russell Crowe is going to look as Noah?  Wonder no further, thanks to our friends at Grace Hill media who provided us with this image from the set!



Also, don't forget to check out this image from the set of the Ark that Hollywood built:



What do you think?  Can Aranofsky pull off a good adaptation of the classic Bible story?  I'm eager to find out!


The Campaign film review

Will Ferrell probably has the easiest time making me laugh of all actors and comedians.  His sense of timing and line delivery usually have me belly laughing, even if the source material is weak.  I even think “Land of the Lost” is hysterical thanks to his performance.  Zach Galifianakis is also incredibly funny.  In spite of his Mitch Hedberg influenced joke structure feeling borrowed, I still laugh at his style of comedy on a consistent basis.  When I first saw “The Campaign” trailer, I was thrilled.  It looked hilarious - I rewatched the trailer dozens of times and laughed just as hard with each viewing.  So it’s with total disappointment that “The Campaign” ends up being one of the worst films I’ve seen in years.

“The Campaign” is sort of like that super inappropriate friend who thinks they’re hilarious, but doesn’t get that everyone else in the room isn’t laughing at their stupid jokes.

Suspending My Disbelief

When I was a little kid, my brothers and I used to play “Raft.” Raft was a simple game, something we probably made up on a boring, nondescript afternoon. We would all jump on our parents’ king-size bed and pretend that our ship had sank, and we were the lone survivors on a small, inflatable raft. In our minds, we could taste the salt water, feel the waves bob us about, hear the lonely cry of a sea gull in the distance. And then, as always, my older brother would quietly announce that he could see sharks in the water. He would explain that the only way the sharks would leave us alone would be if they had some food to eat. And then we would look at one another for one brief, adrenalized moment. And then we would suddenly lunge at one another, frantically throwing each other off the bed.
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Those Other People, Outside the Chosen Ones (Book Review)

(a review of chapter 13 for A Theology of Luke and Acts by Darrell Bock in the Zondervan series ‘A Biblical Theology of the New Testament)

Reviewing a theology text can be tricky as people come with different filters and lenses through which their own world makes sense. With that said, Bock’s volume serves to help the reader connect the big dots when reading the Biblical texts of Luke and Acts. Why is this important? Because in our world of tweets and sound bites, we can lose sight of some pretty important ideas in an ocean of details.

The second reason Bock’s volume is important is not just that it connects the dots, but that it does in two of the New Testament’s most pivotal books. The gospel of Luke, with the Christmas narratives, the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and the Crucifixion account stands as one of the most quoted and referenced books in the Bible as well as world history. Think about the impact of the Good Samaritan which has even influenced the passing of laws mandating that first responders stop at the scene of an accident. And think about how many times a parent has rehearsed the story of the Prodigal Son, praying that their wayward child would return. Bock, in chapter 13, takes on an amazing subject entitled, “Gentiles and Nations in the Gospel of Luke”. In other words, it’s Luke’s account of ‘those other people’ who are not Jews and who are not chosen.

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The Dark Knight Rises review

The Dark Knight Rises is amazing.  

I’m tempted to leave that as my review...really, I am.  I restrained myself from indulging in trailers, pre-release photos, articles, and all manner of promotion (save for when it was front-page news and I couldn’t avert my eyes in time) because I knew going into it that I wanted to just be surprised.  Nolan had my trust after Batman Begins without hesitation, then The Dark Knight upped that trust even further.  He took his characters seriously, crafted exhilarating action sequences, and made me believe some of this mythical world could be real.  The Dark Knight Rises may not be the clear winner of his trilogy of films, but it ends the 3 film story arc fittingly with only a few minor shortcomings.

The story picks up right after The Dark Knight.  Harvey Dent’s war on crime kept Gotham relatively quiet for 8 long years.  Batman has since been chased out of town.  But a new threat emerges to carry out what Ra’s Al Ghul began 2 long movies ago.  The Batman must decide how to respond amongst a new cast of characters that include famous and infamous characters within the Batman mythos, as well as a few returners.

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Brave Review

Teenagers.  The years of the teen are fraught with difficulty and fear for many a good-hearted parent.  Conflict is inevitable, often to the bewilderment of the parent, and the teen usually feels like no one “gets” them.  Perhaps the worst of the conflict seems to come in the form of the relationship with Mom.  “Brave,” Pixar’s latest film, plays on this dynamic to tell the story of a Princess and her Queen.

Merida is a Princess against type.  She prefers her bow and arrows to the latest in fashion.  She and her Mother Elinor fight constantly.  Elinor is raising her to be the Princess, which has led to the day of her being courted by a future Prince.  This angers Merida, as she sees her life going much differently.  Meanwhile Dad (Fergus) is delicately in the middle of his wife and daughter, while awaiting revenge on a bear that left a permanent mark on his body.  And then there are the triplet siblings who never cease to make us laugh.  After an encounter with a mysterious woman, things change.  People struggle thanks to this encounter, but as a result they learn things about themselves and each other…like any good movie would have them do.

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Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson’s films are my event films.  Some people wait all year for their favorite superhero film (spoiler alert – the good guys win EVERY TIME), but for me it’s all about The Anderson’s (Wes and P.T.), Coen’s, and Scorsese’s.  I can wait for a lot of home releases, but these guys make day 1 films for me.  While Wes Anderson has made consistently fun, stylized trips into carefully articulated visual and aural worlds, it often offsets the heavier emotional themes about family and relationships Anderson often attempts to portray.

In Moonrise Kingdom, two kids plot to meet and go on a wild adventure together.  The boy, a scout who knows the ropes of survival but is disliked by his peers, helps set the plan into motion.  The girl, an emotionally disturbed kid looking for a way out from her family, goes along without hesitation.  As the plan unfolds and the children are reported missing, panic from the adults sets in and search parties are formed. Thus, the scouts, rangers, cops, and the Department of Social Services engage in the little-man hunt.

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Aronofsky's Ark

How's this for fun?

Darren Aronofsky - the guy who made Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, and other great films - is making a film version of Noah's Ark.  I for one am eager to see his take on the classic Bible story.  In the meantime, check out this photo provided to us by our friends at Grace Hill of the Ark.  I'm pretty sure its size is big enough to actually carry everything two by two with legroom to spare.

We REALLY need your support with Dan's new film, Hit Man to Hero.

We REALLY need your support with Dan's new film, Hit Man to Hero.

1st step: Checkout the IndieGoGo fundraising page http://www.indiegogo.com/hitmantohero

2nd step: Consider giving a donation to support Dan's next project. It’s super easy and will take almost no time at all.

3rd step: Like the Hit Man to Hero Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/HitMantoHero)

4th step: Spread the word! Use your voice via your Social Networking outlets  and then share your thoughts on the topic and feelings about the trailer.

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