Wednesday, March 28, 2012

October Baby (Movie Review)

I admit I'm a little tough on "Faith Based" films, can "October Baby" live up to the challenge?



I almost recused myself from this one because I actually kind of know some of the people involved in the film October Baby.  But if you’re going to be honest and critique movies about people you don’t know, then I probably should do the same with including movies of people that I might know.

This is a faith based film, October Baby, about a young woman and her discovery of her life story and how that relates to the topic of abortion.  This is very much a movie that deals with that topic.  

Right off the bat, why not give it some love, give it some praise just for dealing with a topic that is difficult to deal with.  The abortion topic is one that most people would rather just kinda be “hands off” on.  Because it’s so divisive on both sides.  I think our culture is about ready to take this one head-on again.  I really think this culture is coming to a point where people will begin to discuss what abortion is, whether it is immoral or moral or what the consequences are in human rights, and the rights of the unborn child. ALl that kind of stuff I think is really going to come to a head in the next few years.  It won’t be easy! but it will start to happen and I think this movie deserves praise for at least addressing some of those topics.

Now, does it fall into a lot of the other traps that faith based films have fallen into? Yes. This is not a wonderfully made movie. Each baby, the Bible says, is beautifully and wonderfully made in their mother’s womb.  This movie, unfortunately, is not.  It is... the acting is sub-par at best.  It really hurts in the editing department.  It just feels clunky, and poorly put together.  The pacing seems very much off. The sound editing feels very much off and normally I wouldn’t mention something like that. Except that in this movie there’s that thing that happens when you can tell that two shots are shot on different, you know, settings or with different noises nearby.  Because when it cuts from one shot to another the background noise changes.  It just feels very clunky and put together in a very slipshod way, in a lot of ways.  And that is not untypical for these faith based films.  

The way these films make it is because they deal with topics in a way that a certain group of people want them dealt with.  and that is how this movie will succeed, if it succeeds, because people believe in what it says and what the message is.  And very much a message in this movie about finding who you are, about what that means and really about being wanted.

The overall theme of this movie is are you wanted, who wants you and what does that mean in your life.

October Baby is a movie that goes for a lot of emotion. It really kind of goes for those heartfelt things. Unfortunately, maybe because of the way I watch movies, I couldn’t feel it and couldn’t get into it. I believed in a lot of what they were saying but I couldn't buy in emotionally because of how distracting the movie was.  Now i watch movies with a critical eye, and in fact when I watch a faith based film because I am a Christian, I probably watch it with a MORE critical eye.  And that’s probably not fair, but it’s real, it’s legitimate, I do that.  And this was one, in my opinion, that didn’t stand up to that critical eye.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Awake (TV Review)

Is a brilliant concept enough to keep me tuned into Awake?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Games (Movie Review)

The biggest non summer film in the history of mankind paints a very dark picture, but is it painted well?



Some weekends movies come out, other weekends movie events happen.  That is this weekend as HG debuts. A big time movie event. Seems like everybody is talking about it and everbody is seeing it and I’m sure the box office numbers will back that up.

Hunger Games is based on a young adult novel, like so many of the big hits of the last several years have been.

In this one, it tells the story, a very disturbing premise of a world in the future where bc of a war that has happened certain colonies have to “elect”, “pull out of a hat” for a “lottery”, kids. Yes children, anywhere from younger ages up to teenagers, to go and compete in a last man standing, winner take all, battle to the death. Yes, at its core, HG is about children killing other children. That’s the premise of this movie. A very deeply disturbing premise.

Does that mean this movie is a bad move? No.  In fact, having went into Hunger Games kinda expecting it to be another Twilight I am actually really surprised at how good of a movie they ended up making.  This is a really well done film. The acting in this movie is really top notch considering the amount of kids that are in it, and the unknowns that are in it. So that plays very well.  It is structured well. You always feel that you understand what is going on.   The action is done very well. All of that adds to a movie that is really done well.

In fact, there are messages in this movie that are also very good.  There’s messages about how love is more powerful than war, about what true self-sacrifice looks like, and what friendship looks like and what to do in the midst of an awful situation. There are solid messages in that.

The problem is; if you can’t get past the disturbing premise you’ll be in for a long ride.  I think that’s probably the key to whether or not you’ll like this movie. If the premise disturbs you to the point where you won’t be able to handle it, don’t go. Maybe checking out the books and kind of figuring out from the books is a way to go on that, to know if it’s something you can stand.
My understanding is that the movie also faithfully follows the books pretty well, although I’ve never read them.  So I wouldn’t technically know that for sure.

I can say on the down side with this movie, I did feel that there were parts of this movie that suffered from “book to movie” syndrome.   What I mean when I say that is, it felt a little “compact”, a little “crushed”.  You can tell there’s so much of this world in this story that has to be left out for time purposes.  I understand that as a movie goer but as somebody who’s never read the books, I felt there were missing pieces in moments.  I understood what was going on but kinda felt the loss of that depth for these characters.

Overall the Hunger Games is a really well made movie, and an enjoyable movie experience *if* you can get past the fact that its foundated on children killing other children.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drive (Movie Review)

Shockingly brutal and undeniably beautiful, is the unique vision of Drive worth the trip?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scramble with Friends (Game Review)

Zynga conitnues its attempt to take over the app gaming world with Scramble Free. Is it worth the thumb workout?


Monday, March 19, 2012

21 Jump Street (Movie Review)

It takes a keen talent to balance paying homage to an old TV show with making a modern movie. Does 21 Jump Street find it?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Midnight in Paris (Movie Review)

Would you rather live in the past or the future? Woody Allen takes us to Paris to ask that question with time travel and Owen Wilson.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Silent House (Movie Review)

Elizabeth Olson takes center stage for 90 minutes of "one shot" real time suspense. The camera never looks away, but will you?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Thousand Words (Movie Review)

Eddie Murphy channels Jim Carrey in this physical morality comedy. Is this a type of movie we still want to see?


Monday, March 12, 2012

John Carter (Movie Review)

There is a high level of difficulty in delivering a complex sci-fi world to the screen. Did Andrew Stanton stick the landing with John Carter?


Friday, March 9, 2012

Kony 2012 (Thoughts on Thoughts)

The Kony 2012 video has proved that Invisible Children are great movie makers and marketers, but what does our response say about us? (further links and thoughts after the video)


The Kony 2012 video

A critical view

IC response

A thoughtful and well reasoned response

The last of these links is the most well-founded argument against support of IC, in my opinion.  I especially agree with the part about "civil" disobedience.  Does it change my mind about this video being a good thing to spread to as many people as possible?  Not at all.

People use the word "awareness" in regards to this cause and that cause.  Whether it's football players wearing pink on any given Sunday or Christian's putting a fish on their car, it's usually a symbolic and often impotent way to garner attention.  But here in 30 minutes this group is raising not only awareness, but passion towards injustice.  Because I saw the video, I also found out about this: Watoto and this: Amazima. The Watoto link even has a local connection and has two African children's choir concerts coming up in the next couple of weeks that I can attend and donate.  An effort like this reverberates beyond a single organization as people are moved to compassion and to action both to help in Uganda and even in the hurt and injustice in our own cities.  And I'll take that over some lame Facebook game where women post vague and suggestive status updates any day.

This is true "awareness", and it's a good thing, what we do after we are aware is where the world begins to change.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Smash (TV Review)

You know how people say nobody breaks out into song in real life like in musicals? Yeah, I kinda do that.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This Means War (Movie Review)

I've enjoyed Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy in other projects, but how well do they perform together?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project X (Movie Review)

Is it a comedy or a horror movie? Project X takes a more brutal look at anarchy than any slasher film ever has.


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Lorax (Movie Review)

Dr. Suess's book "The Lorax" has been a childrens' favorite for years. Can the movie live up to it?


Friday, March 2, 2012

Tyler Perry's Good Deeds (Movie Review)

Tyler Perry liked his movie so much he put his name right in the title. I'm not sure I would have been so confident.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gone (Movie Review)

If you are going to present me with a mystery, shouldn't you also give me some clues? Apparently not if you are the makers of "Gone".