Fantasia THX

All I can say is “Amen!” to today’s comic from Jessica Hagy over at Indexed entitled Why did he do that?. Too many of today’s blockbusters are less about story and more about (1) special effects; (2) “star power” names; and increasingly (3) “star power” soundtracks, all with little consideration to whether or not any of the three actually serve the story. AI was the first one I recall thinking this about. Oh, there are exceptions. But they are just that: exceptions.

¡Muy Interesante!

My friend is a high school foreign language teacher and a couple of her students came up with a brilliant movie for an assignment on the Carribean (or something like that.) It takes a while for the movie to download, and I understand the gag reel at the end is filled with a fair amount of English swearing. Still… you should check it out. (Here’s a direct link to the movie as well.)

I love the Benny Hill bit!

(If you aren’t interested in the gag reel, which I haven’t seen, stop when they get to the COPS inspired bust on the country road.)

Thanksgiving 2006: For the Dayton Metro Library

One crappy big budget movie, a jumbo popcorn (It’s only 50¢ more!), Junior Mints, and two soft drinks: $30

Two 5-night new releases and one nearly new release: $5.50

Three documentaries, a dozen kids movies, and more than two dozen books on sundry topics all for three weeks: FREE!

I’m thankful for the Dayton Metro Library.

I Like Musicals

There. I said it. I’m out of the closet. I like musicals. Particularly musicals adapted to film. The Sound of Music? Love it! Chicago? Moulin Rouge? Yes and yes. Jesus Christ Superstar? One of my top three all time films.

So, last night Kerri and I watched Rent, and I quite enjoyed it. Good songs. Good stories. And who wouldn’t want to see Detective Greene pirouette? I missed the firestorm when Rent first arrived, and it’s probably a good thing. I doubt that I would have given it a fair shot. Today, however, I’m glad to have seen it. It’ll be one I keep my eye out for should a touring company come through Dayton. If I’m forced to complain, I’ll say the vocals could have been a little stronger over the music is some places. There were times where I found it hard to understand the lyrics.

Rent’s central question remains: “How do you measure a year in the life?” Perspective is a theme I often find myself revisiting. (Warning: Brutal honesty and unfocused rambling ahead!) Late last night Kerri and I sat on the back porch listening to the drunken idiot with the megaphone lead his fellow morons through an orgy of mud wrestling and pyrotechnics. In the depression of the moment, my thoughts vaccilated between wanting them to blow off a few fingers and die of alcohol poisoning to lamenting the fact I had to live in a neighborhood where this, or something similar, occurred nearly every 4th of July. At some point, Kerri said, “It could be worse,” and as usual she’s right. I’ll take fireworks over car bombs any day… though I’d rather there be neither.

But then, what is the real problem? It is that there are destructive idiots in the world? Or is it that there are destructive idiots near me and my family? My how easy it is to recast everything in terms of the second question. Out of sight, out of mind, right? A big part of life is striving to maintain the right perspective, one that sees the larger world and not just the one that exists within the walls of my home, my job, my car. That’s the challenge I face. That’s the challenge we all face.

How do you measure a year in the life? How about love?

Seems like a good standard for measurement to me.

21 Grams

21grams.jpgSaw 21 Grams last night after putting the kids to bed. I quite enjoyed the movie. From an artistic standpoint, I thought it was very well done. Superb performances from Penn, Watts, and del Toro. I enjoyed the non-linear progression; it’s a freedom the genre easily allows unlike, say, in live theater. When combined with the acting and the hand-held camera work, the feelings of confusion, struggle, and searching are conveyed powerfully.

The theme of grace and divine sovereignty is powerfully addressed. The language and nudity is unfortunately a bit much to be used in most church settings, otherwise this film could easily be a springboard to conversation. Del Toro’s character sets up the film’s exploration early on, admonishing a teen, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He knows when even a single hair on your head moves.” With this in mind, the narrative unfolds, and we watch as the characters struggle to understand. Why does one live while another die? Does merit – getting what we deserve – have anything at all to do with it?

I won’t say more. Instead, I’ll give it my recommendation.