Film Review: Noah

Like most Christians my curiosity was piqued months ago when I first saw the trailer for Noah. You could almost hear the collective “Hallelujah!” as many were excited at the mere thought of Hollywood producing a Bible story. Finally! We’ll have something to watch other than the Passion of the Christ.

Then the controversy started which, by the way, will always exist; that’s why we have denominations after all. Apparently some people weren’t so excited about a non-Christian telling a Bible story. Some say it promotes evolution. Some say Darren Aronofsky is an atheist or agnostic. Some boycotted the film (without seeing it) for any number of personal, religious convictions. Personally I was even more intrigued and eager to see it because of the controversy. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

A note to my Christian friends: If you plan to see it, go this weekend. There is no other factor that influences Hollywood more than the success or failure of a film’s opening weekend. Hollywood is not interested in your opinion; they’re interested in your money. Vote with your wallet and tell them there is a huge market willing to see more films like this.

To those who are opposed to the film I respect you for sticking to your convictions, yet I challenge you to follow the advice of Michelangelo: “Criticize by creating.” Perhaps then you’ll understand why Noah is a film to be celebrated for it’s accomplishments, rather than degraded for it’s shortcomings.

SPOILER ALERT: Everybody dies.

More details after the jump… Continue reading

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Movie Review: The Avengers

Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of comic book movies, but when I first saw the trailer for The Avengers I couldn’t help but get excited. …really excited, in fact. It’s a little hard to manage expectations when you put that many awesome characters into the same film, so for better or worse I knew I had to see it.

SPOILER ALERT – I don’t think that anything I’ve written below will actually spoil the movie for you, but just to be safe you’ll have to click below to see the rest. Continue reading

What “The Hunger Games” Taught Me About Screen Writing

My goal here is simply to share my opinion as someone who has read the books, watched the movie, and wants to be a filmmaker some day.

I don’t know if a spoiler alert is necessary in this case because I suspect that everybody reading this post has already read the books. Nevertheless, if you want to hear the rest of my thoughts you’re gonna have to click to see more below.

Turns out I had more to say about this film than I anticipated, so I’ll start with the bullet point list, and then let you decide to read the rest of my thoughts below… Continue reading

Avatar [film review]

I saw Avatar on opening night. The fact that I managed to avoid all reviews and opinions about the film before seeing it made me simultaneously glad and depressed.  Glad, because I don’t like to poison the well before seeing a film, and depressed because it reminded me that I don’t actually have a pulse on the film (and special fx) industry any more…

Nevertheless, I walked out of the theater and couldn’t seem to stop making notes about it (which have now been polished into the blog post that follows).

SPOILER ALERT! Enter at your own risk… Continue reading

Movie Review: 500 Days of Summer

Two nights in a row I have successfully made it to the theater without having heard a word about either film I was about to see.  In keeping with this “unpoisoned well” mentality I will refrain from commenting.  …until after the link below.

SPOILER ALERT!! For realz, if you haven’t seen the movie then you shouldn’t read this one yet. Continue reading

Movie Review: Away We Go

I had been looking forward to seeing Away We Go since I first saw the trailer a few months back.  It seemed like it would be an enjoyable and simple story; and I fell in love with the song “All My Days” by Alexi Murdoch that is featured in it.  Last night I finally saw the film, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to write down what I gleaned from it.  More thoughts after the jump.

SPOILER ALERT!  I’m just sayin’… Continue reading

Movie Review: Transformers 2

It’s not that there is a shortage of opinions about any given movie (particularly this one), and it’s not that I have any special insight; I just want to make a point to ruminate on the images that flashed before me in hopes that I can learn from them.  Hopefully I will be a better storyteller because of it.

Spoiler Alert! Enter at your own risk. Continue reading

The Corroded Compass

I saw The Golden Compass last Friday in spite of all the warnings I heard telling me not to see it. I came away with a few thoughts –mostly from a filmmaking perspective– so I figured I’d channel them here.

I’m just gonna come out and say it: the film blows. Visually speaking, it’s quite impressive –it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, but still, the guys who did the effects and animation deserve a round of applause. However, that’s all the credit I think it deserves.

If this movie succeeds at the box office it’s only because of its advertising. Even then I suspect the DVD sales will be rather pathetic. If last weekend’s box office numbers are any indication (a mere $25.7 million), the movie is far from being a success.

Based on what I’ve heard about the books, it’s an atheistic fantasy targeted at children. A sort of counterattack to Narnia, if you will. The first thing I noticed is that it was too broad and too shallow. They tried to create a rich fantasy world on par with Lord of the Rings or at least Narnia, but in doing so it felt too forced and superficial. This caused me to disconnect myself from the story at a couple points. I became disinterested and bored once I realized how shallow and illogical everything felt.

I thought maybe it was just me who didn’t “get it” until the movie was over. The music swells into something triumphant as the screen fades to black. In that moment before the credits began to roll I found myself wondering, “Is it really over? I feel like I’m missing something?” Then I heard about half a dozen people within earshot of me saying, “That’s it??” It leaves you hanging not in suspense but in confusion.

Granted, the movie is part of a trilogy. The story really isn’t finished yet, so in that regard it makes sense that it didn’t feel complete. However, a good storyteller (say, Tolkien or JK Rowling) knows how to lead an audience through parts of a story in such a way that they can stand on their own. That’s simply not the case with TGC.

My confusion about the film led me down another rabbit trail. “If this is aimed at children, then why am I having such a hard time understanding it?” Children’s stories need to be simple. There’s nothing simple about this movie.

As humans we have an inherent perception of the “story” built into us; this is especially true with children. You’ve got hero, the villain, and the reward. The hero must defeat the villain to get the reward. It’s good vs bad. Black and white. Simple.

However, the message behind TGC is atheism. Children are not naturally atheists; that’s just not how we’re wired. Atheism is complicated. When you take God out of the picture you’re left with a lot of explaining to do. That’s exactly the case with this movie. In order for it to make sense, it must be terribly complicated. And it is just that: terrible and complicated.

Film for Thought

Last night I saw the film Into the Wild.  If you plan to see the movie, then I suggest you stop reading now. Though this is not a review of the film, it does give away a few details… Continue reading