Archive for November, 2013

Tangled up in Law and Grace

Posted: November 28, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure, Animation, Family, Uncategorized
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tangledposterTangled has become a Perritt household favorite. There is no telling how many movies nights have featured this soon-to-be Disney classic.

There are many themes to explore in this film, but one scene that resonates with me is when Rapunzel (whom we got to meet at Disney world…not to rub it in) first leaves the tower. If you remember, her “mother-knows-best” Mother Gothel had confined poor Rapunzel to a tower, because of the evil that lurks outside. Of course we understand that Gothel has kidnapped Rapunzel to use her for her anti-aging powers and tells tales of evil to horde this secret. However, Rapunzel’s persistent questioning of “when will her life begin” were too much for the tower’s walls – and Gothel’s wishes – so she uses Flynn Rider, a.k.a. Eugene, to escape.

Once she escapes, she exudes jubilation. She runs. She dances. She sings…until she feels guilt. She feels guilt from disobeying her “mother”. Confinement to the tower was all she ever knew to be right, so while there is joy, it is fleeting because of the confused sense of right and wrong. This got me to thinking about the Christian’s misconceptions about the gospel.

In a sense we are just like Rapunzel, confused over our confinement and freedom. The gospel frees us from our legalistic ways of law-reliance. Prior to our understanding of the gospel, we think we need to observe a bunch of rules, do a lot of good, and abstain from this world to earn our salvation, however, all this does is enslave us further. Yet, this was the “gospel” Mother Gothel was preaching.

It isn’t until Rapunzel breaks free from the walls of legalism, that she sees the freedom she’s been blind to. But, just like all Christians, we go back to our legalistic lifestyle. We doubt our freedom. We feel guilt over the life Christ purchased for us. At times we desire to go back to our tower and just work out our own freedom by adhering to man-made laws.

What we need to be reminded of is the fact that all the law has been fulfilled in Christ’s righteous life. He lived the life we could not life and died the death that we deserved. This, of course, does not purchase a life of license to sin, rather it gives us freedom to obey. We do not strive to obey the law to get us right with God, we obey because we are right with God based on faith in Jesus’ perfect obedience.

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Trailer Tuesdays – Son of God

Posted: November 26, 2013 by jperritt in Biblical, Drama
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Snapshots

Posted: November 25, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized

snap·shot – a brief appraisal, summary, or profile.

Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here.

Frozen – Ann and Kristoff team up with a snowman named Olaf, to save a kingdom trapped in winter.  Genre – family, comedy, animation; content – mild rude humor.

Oldboy – After a man escapes from 20 years of solitary confinement, he seeks revenge and explanation for his kidnapping.  Genre – action, drama, mystery; content – brutal violence, disturbing images, graphic sexuality/nudity, and language.

Homefront – A former DEA agent fights a local druglord.  Genre – action, thriller; content – strong violence, language, drug content, and sexuality.

Black Nativity – A teenager take a trip to visit his estranged relatives and embarks on an inspirational journey.  Genre – drama, musical; content – language.

Warrior

Posted: November 21, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Drama
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Warrior-2011-Movie-Poster-0When I first saw the preview for Warrior I thought, this looks like a cheap imitation of David O. Russell’s, The Fighter. Not only did this bother me, but the preview seemed to leave very little of the story untold.

While I am still bothered by those revealing previews (not to mention the posters that reveal too much of the story), I did enjoy Warrior. The ending was a bit of a disappointment – too abrupt and lacked the creativity the rest of the film seemed to possess – nonetheless, there was much to appreciate.

One aspect that surprised me was Nick Nolte’s character, Paddy Conlon. I’ve never been much of a Nolte fan and was surprised to hear Oscar-buzz associated with this performance, but I must say that he did an excellent job. Many of his scenes were among the most powerful.

When you meet Paddy you discover that his alcoholism has isolated himself from his sons. The movie picks up, however, with a victory over this lifestyle when Paddy exclaims that he is almost a thousand days sober. Paddy seems to show repentance for his past and has a love for God that has fed that repentance.

One particularly heartbreaking scene is when Paddy shows up at his eldest son’s house, Brendan (Joel Edgerton). Brendan is bothered by the apparent restraining order issued to Paddy. While we aren’t told, we can gather that Paddy’s alcoholism rose to a threatening level for Brendan and his young family. As Brendan’s less-than-warm welcome to his estranged father remains in the front lawn, Brendan’s wife and two children come to the door. Paddy has never met Brendan’s youngest daughter. He is overcome with emotion and pleads for forgiveness, as well as, an opportunity to meet his grandchild for the first time. His requests, however, are met with coldness and the closing of the front door.

This scene is exceedingly sad, because of the truthfulness of it. We see the realities of addictions played out in Paddy’s life. As I have stated before (and I borrow this from Dr. Ed Welch) an addiction is ultimately a worship disorder. Every human being has been commanded to worship God, but our sin redirects our worship to everything else, alcohol in this case. The bottle had become Paddy’s god and any false god requires sacrifice. Paddy’s sacrifice? His family.

Because false gods aren’t the True God, the can’t defend themselves; therefore, they require the addict to defend them. Paddy stood up and fought for his alcohol and ended up paying a great price for that. And, this is how false gods always work, they promise you what only God can give you and end up leaving you empty. This was one aspect of the film I truly appreciated. Although these scenes were devastating, they accurately illustrated the powerful destruction our idols bring about in our lives.

The sadness of Paddy’s life was only magnified by the fact that forgiveness was never granted. Yes, there is a touching moment between Paddy and his younger son, Tommy (Tom Hardy), but the audience is left to wonder how the story ends. The refreshing truth is, those who believe in Jesus Christ do know how the story ends. Warrior not only helped to illustrate the consequences of our idolatry, but the damage of unforgiveness and the freedom offered through a forgiving heart. Forgiveness that is offered through the true Warrior of our salvation.

Trailer Tuesdays – Noah

Posted: November 19, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure, Biblical, Drama, True Story
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“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of  his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

Snapshots

Posted: November 18, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized

snap·shot – a brief appraisal, summary, or profile.

Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – After their victory at the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta discover that their battle is just beginning. Genre – drama, action, sci-fi; content – violence, language, and frightening images.

Delivery Man – A slacker discovers that he’s fathered 533 children through his donations to a fertility clinic. Genre – comedy; content – language, drug content, and sexual content.

after-earth-final-posterI know I’m very late to comment on this movie, but I just recently got around to seeing it. Many people bashed this film and said it was horrible. Critics and fans alike were more than disappointed in M. Knight Shyamalan’s work. And, after seeing the film, I would have to agree. I really like Will Smith and I really like Shyamalan.  Even though Shyamalan’s last several movies haven’t been up-to-par, he still has made some excellent films.  He’s just in a bit of a slump right now, and I think we can continue to show him some more grace.

That being said, there was a very interesting quote in the movie.  And, the filmmakers were very aware that it was an interesting quote, because it became the tagline of the movie and was also featured in the trailers.  The tagline reads, Danger is real. Fear is a choice.  This is taken from a lengthier quote Cypher Raige [Will Smith] says to his son:

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.

Now, I need to go ahead and say that I don’t fully agree with this quote.  Fear is very real.  Fear is in our DNA and it is valid. God continually tells us in his Word that we are to fear Him.  Psalm 2:11 commands us to, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”  The Bible also tells us that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge [Proverbs 1:7].  The fear of the Lord is better than great treasures [Proverbs 15:16]. So, we can see that the Bible affirms fear is a very real thing, not just part of our imagination as Cypher states.

I think the distinction here is between godly fear and worldly fear. From the quote above, it seems that it is describing worry or anxiety, not the fear God is commanding us to.  “The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future”, sounds very similar to what Christ said about worry and anxiety, “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” [Matt. 6:34a] Worry is often stress or anxiety about something that hasn’t even happened and, most likely, won’t happen – as Cypher says; therefore, Cypher’s quote is very accurate in some ways.

Our worldly fears are often the result of these false stories we make up in our minds.  Stories that may never come to exist. When Cypher states that he began telling himself another story, he is referencing something referred to as “ghosting”. Cypher discovered how to stop fearing the future. This was important to the story because aliens called Ursa were attacking their planet.  These ursa were blind but could smell fear. Once Cypher learned to ghost, he could fight and defend himself without being attacked.  So, telling himself this different story, allowed him to ghost and fight his enemies.

This is very similar to the Christian life. We are all telling ourselves a story. Often times the stories we are telling ourselves produce worldly fear. Fear of others – what if they don’t like me, what will people think if I wear this, how do I look in other’s eyes when I say or do this – we feed these fears by telling ourselves stories. However, God has graciously given us his Spirit to tell ourselves another story. When we listen to the story accomplished through Jesus Christ, the story that tells us we are loved and accepted by the Father based on the finished work of his Son, it dispels our fear. So the Spirit (or for the sake of this post) the Holy Ghost gives us another story that indeed makes fear a choice.

In case you missed it, check out the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Snapshots

Posted: November 11, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized

snap·shot – a brief appraisal, summary, or profile.

Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here.

The Best Man Holiday – College friends reunite after 15 years to discover that their sexual passions haven’t matured all that much. Genre – comedy, drama; content – language, sexual content, and brief nudity.

20131025-161655.jpg

I realize I was one of the few who actually really liked this movie. I think most people didn’t care for it, because it’s difficult for them to categorize. People often want to lump this movie into the action/adventure/sci-fi genre and just move on. However, this movie is just as much a drama as it is an adventure tale.

Many critiques of the 2005 version of the film were in reference to the length. Those who paid money to see an action/adventure film were disappointed that the film had depth of character and plot. They wanted to see Kong destroy a bunch of stuff, but didn’t care about the emotional level Jackson created. Jackson has stated that King Kong was his all-time favorite film, and you can see that he told it with care. He paid homage to the classic film by recreating some of the exact scenes, but he gave the 1933 film a needed revamping.

An alternate title of this film could be, A Tale of Two Islands – Skull Island and Manhattan Island. The question I want to raise today is, which Island was more evil?

I understand that Skull Island might appear scarier. It had dinosaurs, bugs the size of a Mini Cooper, scary tribal people (not to mention the little tribal girl that made you think you had stumbled into a horror film) and a giant ape. You may even say that many people died on Skull Island, so that makes it more evil. Before we jump to any conclusions, however, let’s take a look at Manhattan Island.

Why were these group of people setting sail for Skull Island? Vanity, money, & fame. Carl Denham [Jack Black] and Bruce Baxter [Kyle Chandler] can’t wait to see their names in lights, as well as, the paycheck that accompanies it. There’s lying and cheating among the men of the ship. Denham uses the ship and crew for his selfish gain, ending up bringing about death and destruction all for the sake of money.

I understand that the creatures of Skull Island were vicious and destructive, but they are animals that act on instinct. They need food for survival, they need to fight for survival and they do not intentionally betray their own for survival – people do, though. While one can say that Carl Denham begins to question his motives, he stills proves to be quite selfish throughout the film.

One still might want to assert that humans aren’t near as destructive as Kong was, however, the humans did kill Kong. Yes, by that point in the film Kong had killed his fair share of humans, but there was no beast that was able to destroy Kong on Skull Island. It isn’t until Kong makes his journey to Manhattan that he finally meets his match.

While some might desire to assert that humans are naturally good, I think King Kong makes a pretty good case for those who make the opposite assertion. And, it’s a helpful reminder that Jesus also made assertions about the evil of mankind. He said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” [Mark 7:21-23] King Kong may be pretty vicious, but his heart ain’t got nothing on mankind’s.