Friday, April 18, 2014

God is in the Movies!

I’m going to be honest with you all.  I started this blogathon for one really dumb reason; I liked the name of it.  I felt clever for once and was like “that sounds like it would be a cool blogathon” and then I felt almost instantly in over my head.  I tried this blogathon thing once before, and it was kind of an embarrassing failure, but try and try and try again, right?  So, without thinking too much about it I put it all out there. 

Come, be my follower!

All that hesitation and skepticism and trepidation aside, the more I thought about what this blogathon could bring to the surface the more I was really, really glad I just went for it.  Faith, religion, God…these are all so personal and present us all with so many conflicting and passionate feelings.  You want to know a surefire way to make someone angry, and I mean ‘throw a tantrum, call you a heathen, wish death upon your entire family’ kind of mad?  Debate their religious beliefs with them.  I’ve always found this aspect of human nature alarming in a few ways.  First, why are we so savage when it comes to ideas about a God who is supposed to be so kind and loving?  I mean, do we really think that God is smiling down at us while we are seething with anger and berating someone for their personal beliefs in him?  I’ve never understood how someone can be so tactless and so vile when speaking about a symbol of love.  I wasn’t brought up that way.  It doesn’t mean I agree with you, but I’m not going to cast down fire from the heavens to swallow you up either.  The other reason I find this alarming is because I feel like this passion alone makes the subject so valid.  I mean, we don’t get fired up about things that don’t matter.

I’ve often said this to my wife, when we have one of those stupid arguments that ends with us wanted to scream “I hate you, I want a divorce”; you can’t have love without hate.  You can’t really love something if it doesn’t affect you so deeply to the point where you absolutely HATE it from time to time.  In line with that, I guess that real passion, real love for something as complex as God can give us those same explosive feelings.

It really only makes sense then that film would discuss God in so many different ways.  Film is essentially a medium for passion, and what isn’t more passion driven than faith?  So I put it to my fellow bloggers to find a film or a specific avenue of depicted faith that moved them the most and that made them want to keep watching.  I results were as varied as they were interesting.

But before we get to them, I guess I should answer my own question.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Fistful of Links...

I know that it's not Friday, but I have something else planned for tomorrow (God is in the Movies!) and so I'll be linking more posts for that, and I didn't want to go overboard in a singular day with link after link after link, and then again, I just started my 'Fistful of Links' last week and didn't want to skip a week already,'s here a day early.

But, since when is that a bad thing?

Following a similar format:

Posts That Made Me...

I hate that Bruce Willis is an afterthought for so many when it comes to Pulp Fiction.  His segments in the film are probably my favorite, and he really deserved an Oscar nomination!  Thankfully, The Film Experience chose to highlight him this week.

I love anything relating to Vertigo, and Rambling Film chose it for her Blind Spot this month!  I know she'll get a link elsewhere at the end of the month for this, but I love how honest Britt is with her Blind Spot reviews.  Who cares what the rest of the world thinks...SPEAK YOUR TRUTH GIRL!

jdbrecords is always so kind as to highlight the work of others, and this week is no exception.  He has the most eclectic taste in music and art, and it shows in this post regarding the work of Jeremy Olson.

Surrender to the Void pens a beautiful (and accurate) review of the 2004 Best Picture winner.  Finally, someone else who loves this as much as I do!  WHY is this film so berated?

Film Actually reviews a film I haven't seen but think I aught to!

I know that this post is technically from last week, but I really wanted to highlight a Kickstarter campaign for a special cause.  Please check out the work The Matinee's wife is doing.

The two Andersons (the ones that matter) are up for debate over at Keith & the Movies!  Love this post and love this discussion!

Another Oscar Oddity from The Cinematic Spectacle!  

Who doesn't love a great dual role?  I mean, when an actor you know and love can tackle TWO characters in a single film and make it work, it's heaven!  And So It Begins breaks down his top ten.  Do you agree?

I don't have the highest esteem for Denzel Washington.  It's not that I don't think he's talented, but I do find him severely overrated.  That being said, he exudes such charisma and I often forget that.  Serious Film reminded me of that this week.

Speaking of someone I'm not as keen on as the rest of the world, I also find Jessica Chastain incredibly overrated, but My New Plaid Pants gushes a little over her, and over a performance that I particularly found bland.  Should I give it another watch?

I've written my thoughts on The Broken Circle Breakdown (I didn't really care for it), but Defiant Success really did, so take a gander at their post regarding the deeply emotional and controversial movie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It all falls flat in the Amazon…

I didn’t watch the original ‘Rio’ until earlier this year, and the only reason I did that was because my kids really wanted to see ‘Rio 2’ and I refuse to see a sequel without first seeing the original (or something like that).  I don’t know.  ‘Rio’ was playing on the Disney Channel or something like that and so I decided to give it a go despite not being interested in seeing it at all.

So, I rather hated the original.  It’s not that the film is bad, it’s just so dull.  How can something so bright and cheery and colorful be so unexciting?

Sadly, I had the same question while watching ‘Rio 2’.

For a film that has so much going on, so many different characters, so many side plots, so many voices and, like I mentioned, so many colors, there is something so incredibly mundane and uninteresting about ‘Rio 2’ that it winds up being a complete bore of a film.  I know that this is not the consensus (or is it?) but I can’t help but be completely bewildered by all the praise that this film, and the original, received from my friends and family.

You liked this?

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Letter

Procrastination is a bitch.  I mean, I seriously sit on things for too long, or maybe it is just that I have so much I want to do that I forget to prioritize.  Either way, when Nate over at The Film Experience announced his lineup for upcoming 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' entries, I knew that I wanted to participate, especially for this one.  As soon as I saw 'The Letter' in the lineup I knew the shot I wanted to choose.  So I guess, in this case, procrastination didn't hit me too hard since it was a VERY easy choice.

Before I unveil that pic (and yes, I'm going to stick to rules and not even show any other pics) I just want to note something.  'The Letter' may have the single best bookends to any film ever made in the history of forever, and I know that that is pretty intense hyperbole, but it is richly deserved.  While censorship demanding the ending the film received, it is one of the rare times when that censorship actually works to the benefit of the film and leaves the viewer with such a haunting and lingering feeling.  The film just blares into existence and then leaves us in a very similar yet contrasted way (similar actions, contrasted tones) that it feels so alive and so unbridled.  

I will always have a soft spot for this film.  It was one of the first classics that my wife actually watched with me.  All too often I find myself alone at midnight watching TCM and wishing I has someone to share it all with (thank GOD for the cinematic blogging community), but one rainy night my wife said "I'll watch one of your black and white movies with you" and we settled on this one.


A Fistful of Thoughts...about King David, angry rappers, and some Oscar snubbies!

I'm writing too many reviews.  Well, not really, but I don't want this blog to basically turn into one long feed of review after review.  That wasn't the only intention I had when starting this blog.  I wanted to talk about all aspects of film!  I know, I do that, but lately I've been catching up on so many films that it feels like I only have time to post one review after the other.  In fact, I'll probably post a review for Rio 2 this afternoon.

So let's take a few minutes to just shoot the shit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Let's Review Something: The Book Thief

This may make me sound really stupid, but it always takes me aback when I realize that the atrocities of the Holocaust and Hitler’s regime took place during the 1900’s.  Seeing dates that took place in the late 30’s and early 40’s splash onto the screen while watching this film made my stomach curl a little more because it made these events feel so recent, and in my mind they aren’t.  I guess that is the horror of real life, the realization that these things do happen and happen in the lifetimes of those we know, love and hold dear.  It isn’t that I didn’t know they took place so recently, because I did, but it isn’t a reality that I acknowledge enough for it to not be shocking.

Am I making sense?

Anyways, that was the first thing that struck me about ‘The Book Thief’.  These events, while harrowing in their historical relevance, are still relevant today because they are much closer to home than we often realize. 

Sadly, the second thing I noticed was not as endearing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Fistful of Links...

I just want all of my blogging friends to know that, yes, I do read your blogs.  I love you guys all so much and love this little community that we have created here (truth be told, it was established well before I started this blog, but I'm so privileged to be a part of it) and I think that it is important to let each other know that.  I know that when I first started writing reviews for films, about ten years ago, it was all about me.  I just wanted to write everything down because film really became ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT.  That really hasn't changed.  I think about film about 17 hours of the 24 in the day, and the only reason I don't think about it for 24 consecutive hours is because I have to sleep...but when I wind up awake in the middle of the night with a teething baby or a sick child, I'm usually on the couch watching...a MOVIE!

Anyways, when I first started this journey into the world of movie critique, I didn't even bother with what anyone else had to say.  I just wrote and posted (on Amazon) and then wrote and posted some more.  Then I stumbled onto a little site called AwardsDaily and found their forums and I realized that writing and posting without any sort of conversation, communication, debate...whatever...was just so incomplete.  How can you love something or grow in that love for something unless you talk with other people who love it too?

Those forums are now AwardsWatch, and they also have their own site now (separate from the forums) and they are pretty much my home away from home.

From that forum spurned the desire to have my own blog, a place where I could just talk and talk and talk and hopefully find more people who share my love that I can communicate with on the regular (wow, that was an outdated phrase).  It was a slow start, but this blog has grown and my personal community has grown and I just love you all so much (did I say that already?).  

So, in ode to my fellow bloggers, I have decided to make my Fridays a linktastic day of the week (unless, you know, I'm on vacation) and have 'A Fistful of Links' to close out the end of the week and highlight the posts that have caught my eye and made me think, smile, question or debate over the course of the week.  A number of you already do this, and I have to tell you that receiving a link form you is one of the best feelings I have as a blogger.  I honestly have a very Sally Field moment each and every time.  "You love really love me!"  I tell myself almost every Friday that I'm going to do this and then the day gets away from me and I forget.


So, going back to the opening comment, I want you all to know that I do read your posts.  I don't always get the chance to comment, and sometimes I actually forget to even though I have something I really want to say, but I am constantly visiting your blogs and reading through and even going back and seeing where you started from, what you were thinking months ago, because for me getting to know you is what makes blogging and being part of your blogging family so special.  

Now, don't go digging here, since the first few posts on this site are a true embarrassment.

So, enough talking already!  Get to the links!