The Lone Ranger - Film Review

Please enjoy this guest contribution from my Father, Bill Faris.  Bill is a Pastor, Pastoral Counselor, and all around Renaissance Man.  You can see more of what he's up to by clicking here


The “human element”: it’s what makes a movie more than a series of car crashes, mad dashes from danger, romantic interludes, and other goings-on that carry us away until the Big Finish lets us walk back into the night air.  The human element puts us behind the makeup and inside the costumes to encounter the character’s head and heart.  It is the human element, and not merely “special effects” that truly rivet us to the screen. It is a film’s people that make it compelling: their hopes, dreams, visions, struggles, conflicts, courage, wisdom, tears, smiles, tests and victories (or failures!).  The human element makes the kiss magical, the leap from the bridge breathtaking, and the comic interlude, well, comic.  And, amazingly, it is the human element that escaped the reach of the purported $250 million budget in the bloated epic that is The Lone Ranger. 

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"The Lion King" Roars On BluRay!

Coming so quickly on the heels of the "Dumbo" bluray (our review of which you can read by clicking here:, Disney is back again with “The Lion King” on Diamond Edition BluRay and DVD.  There are several ways to see the film – Digital Copy, DVD, BluRay, and in 3D BluRay.  Here at Conversant Life, we have been generously provided with an advance review copy of the film on BluRay.

If you haven’t seen “The Lion King” then you may need to check your pulse.  It is Disney’s highest grossing animated feature ever (recently being #1 again for its 3D release for the past 2 weeks), has Academy Award winning music featuring the likes of Elton John and Hans Zimmer, and has been fantastically adapted to the stage on Broadway by Julie Taymor (Titus, Across the Universe).  The film has been parodied many times over (generally a sign of respect), and has sequences that are cemented into the collective consciousness of storytellers and film lovers the world over. 

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Dumbo BluRay Review

Disney has visualized the collective imagination of so much of our culture.  The way images, fantasy, and sound have been brought together by Disney studios has left an imprint on our consciousness that is unmistakable.  They have sculpted what many of us associate with childhood joy, evoking nostalgia like few others can.  Watching Disney films congruently makes for a fantastic journey through the history of one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.  So, I can’t help but be a little excited whenever their classic films come out of the “vault” looking and sounding as pristine as possible. 

On Tuesday, September 20th, Disney is releasing “Dumbo” into the digital wild.  Here is why this is exciting: Disney rarely approaches their classics with anything less than sheer reverence for the original source material.  Each film – be it "Sleeping Beauty," "Pinnochio," "Bambi" (etc) – get meticulous visual and aural restorations so the classics can continue to shine in their original state.  The BluRay format is another step towards the ultimate in sonic and visual integrity.

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Our Reaction When Life Changes Tracks

Last week was our kids’ Spring Break so, Mark and I took the week off and we all headed to Disneyland. Now to some this may sound more like torture than a vacation – especially when you consider that we drove there from Boise, ID (Yep…15 hours in the car each way!) But it was a great time.

I love Disney – it is the land of adventure but it’s also the land of meltdowns for both parent and child. Thousands of people corralled through a handful of entry points who then walk miles, only to wait in line for hours (in all kinds of weather), for a 30 second ride.

Expectations are high. Kids are over excited. All it takes is one little kink for one’s patience to implode and we’re over reacting and saying things we don’t really mean.

Talk about highs and lows of emotions.

More Brothers

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, contrary to what its advertising campaign would have you believe, is significantly more than an paean to the Magic of Disney—it’s an instructive example of how art can be created under tumultuous circumstances. And the multi-decade collaboration between two personable but behaviorally incompatible brothers, Robert B. (a romantic) and Richard M. Sherman (a sentimentalist), saw its fair share of tumult. Immensely popular in their day, the Shermans were the only fulltime songwriters at Disney throughout the ‘60s, scoring such cherishables as Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Though the issue isn’t pressed as far as you’d like, various divergent tensions led to the brothers disbanding and leading separate lives for a number of years, even keeping their respective families secreted from each other.
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Looking "Up"


Have you seen “Up” yet?  I just came back from my second viewing and just in case you are wondering if all the glowing reviews you’ve been hearing are true, well, the answer is an unequivocal yes.  This film works is enjoyable on so many levels, it is sure to become a Disney/Pixar classic.  


What struck be watching this movie the second time around are the many layers present in this movie.  It’s an adventure movie that (mini spoiler alert ahead) touches on themes of life, death, loneliness, companionship, abandonment, greed, friendship, perspective, and priorities.  Not bad for a film that features talking dogs!

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Narnia and Fox

Some thoughts on the latest developments on the next Narnia film.

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