Archive for September, 2014

Trailer Tuesday – Predestination

Posted: September 30, 2014 by jperritt in Uncategorized

So, this film looks a bit recycled – in terms of storyline.  However, it’s hard for us to pass up a trailer on a film entitled, Predestination.

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Facing The Impossible

Posted: September 29, 2014 by jperritt in Drama, True Story
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impossible-posterI avoided watching this movie for a while, because a few people told me it was terrible.  However, they did not mean it was terrible artistically, or stylistically.  They would affirm that the acting was good, the story was good (it is based on a true story…even though we know how those often go).  They informed me that the movie was terrible, because of the pain that was depicted on-screen.

The Impossible follows the story of a family traveling to Thailand.  While the family is in Thailand, they become one of the thousands of people afflicted by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.  The film’s depiction of this disaster is remarkable.  The acting and special effects marry in such a way that will be deeply moving for most movie-goers.

At many times this movie is very hard to watch, but I would say it’s a necessary movie for Christians to watch.  Why would I say it’s necessary?  At least two reasons:

We Hate Pain

Now, this is an understandable reality.  No one in their right mind enjoys pain.  Pain is a result of the Fall, so mankind understands that something abnormal is happening when we experience pain.  However, pain is now a common part of life that is unavoidable until the return of King Jesus.  Even though Christians will hate pain, we must expect it, prepare for it, and know that God uses pain to grow us into the image of His Son.

Even though Christians understand that God uses pain to grow us, most Christians do everything in their power to avoid it.  Often times this is seen through our idolatry of comfort and pleasure.  Without a doubt, we are commanded to have joy, because of Christ’s finished work.  But, we must know that any comfort or pleasure we have is fleeting.  That is why I say this is a necessary film to watch – it assaults our idol of comfort.

Sharing in Suffering

Secondly, I think a film like The Impossible teaches us what it means to bear each other’s burdens.  As Christians we are called to share in Christ’s sufferings as we also share in his comfort (2 Cor. 1:5).  Instead of simply sharing an apathetic, I’m sorry to hear that, I’ll pray for you.  We must share one another’s burdens and seek to feel the pain they feel – true empathy.

You know, when the Tsunami of 2004 hit, I’m pretty sure I didn’t pray once…maybe it was just once.  But, I can almost guarantee you it wasn’t heartfelt.  Watching The Impossible was deeply convicting.  It was a movie that exposed the selfishness of my own heart.  Why didn’t I pay more attention to those suffering from the tsunami?  Why wasn’t my heart moved to consider families that lost loved ones?  I was too fixated on my little kingdom and my little concerns to stop and consider what people around the world were going through.

The Impossible, however, grabbed my heart and mind and wouldn’t allow my mind to trivially consider the pain these people experienced – it brutally depicted it on-screen.  It was this brutality that convicted me of my prayer life.  Why didn’t I stop to consider what these people were going through?  What else was vying for my attention?  If I went through this, I would want others praying for me.

Something else struck me as I watched this movie on a Saturday night.  We typically don’t watch movies on Saturday, because they can sometimes distract us the following morning during worship.  However, it occurred to me that most people are watching/attending football on Saturdays.  I had watched some football earlier that day and football is often a great time of fun and fellowship.  But, I couldn’t escape the excessive indulgence often surrounded by football with the contrast of what I was watching.  At football there’s so much food at tailgating it’s often tossed in the garbage.  At football we gather to pour so much time, money, and energy into a game.

Please don’t misunderstand me, we don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying something like football – I enjoy football.  However, I couldn’t ignore the suffering in the film, just like I couldn’t ignore how much of our life we spend on trivialities in the midst of so much suffering.

So, I do think The Impossible is a film Christians would do well to watch.  It will assault your comfort, it will assault the pain-free life we often seek, it will convict, but it will encourage at the same time.  You see, the film gets its name because of the joy one family experiences in the midst of such tragedy.  However, when great tragedy strikes any of us we can often think, Why me?  I can’t believe this is happening.  In other words, this is impossible!  Frequently reminding ourselves that we don’t live in a pain-free world can assist us whenever we face the impossible.

 

Weekend Reading Roundup

Posted: September 27, 2014 by jperritt in Uncategorized

Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies of the Fall/Winter  – Check out John’s list.

Boyhood and Father Hunger “The story of Boyhood is, in fact, quite sad. Sure, there are plenty of moments where you will feel overwhelmed by the the film’s uniqueness and breathtaking scope, but Boyhood will break your heart; it will make you grieve and mourn. Why, you ask? Because Boyhood shows you what fatherlessness looks like. And it is devastating.”

Is U2 secretly Christian? Here’s what The New Yorker missed In this article, Jonathan Merritt raises some good thoughts about the sacred and secular.  Although this article discusses music, there are applications for movies.

Snapshots

Posted: September 26, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Snapshots
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This Friday 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. Sound off in the comments, letting us know what you’ll be seeing this weekend.

The Equalizer is about a dangerous man (Denzel Washington) with a dangerous past who comes out of retirement when the Russian mafia messes with his friend.

Genre: Action/Thriller

Content: violence (a lot of it), language, and sexual content

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The Boxtrolls is a clay-mation movie (aimed at younger audiences) about an orphan who is raised by Boxtrolls—quirky, underground creatures.

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy

Content: perilous situations and crude humor

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Boyhood and Father Hunger

Posted: September 25, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Drama, Uncategorized
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MV5BMTYzNDc2MDc0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwMDQ5MTE@._V1__SX626_SY660_Every once in a great while, a film will come along that changes the way we see the medium—or at least frees us from Michael Bay’s death grip and makes us aware that cinema isn’t an entirely useless affair. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is that kind of movie. For those of you who haven’t heard, it chronicles the childhood of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and was filmed over the course of 12 years. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to complete such a project, and Linklater’s passion shines throughout this film. Lest this post seem like an enthusiastic endorsement of a feel-good movie, however, allow me to add a word of caution. The story of Boyhood is, in fact, quite sad. Sure, there are plenty of moments where you will feel overwhelmed by the the film’s uniqueness and breathtaking scope, but Boyhood will break your heart; it will make you grieve and mourn. Why, you ask? Because Boyhood shows you what fatherlessness looks like. And it is devastating.

When we first meet Mason (at the age of 5), we learn that his parents are divorced. We watch as Mason’s mother (Patricia Arquette) struggles to get him and Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), his sister, through school while working to support the family. The family is clearly in need of the loving, Christ-like leadership of a man. The primary male influence in Mason and Samantha’s life at that point, however, is their mother’s overbearing and controlling boyfriend. In an early scene we sit with Mason and Samantha in their room late one night as mom and boyfriend fight, the screams and curses pouring into the room through the walls.

Mason and Samantha do get to spend time with their father (Ethan Hawke) on occasion, but sadly it often appears that he is more childish than his children. Instead of raising his children, Mason Sr. spends his days journeying to Alaska in search of some mystical sense of self-fulfillment, or hanging out with his wannabe musician buddies trying to re-live the so-called glory days. In short, he is the type of father who loves to be with his kids when it fits into his schedule. Sadly, the other father figures that come into Mason and Samantha’s life have little to offer—other than abuse and drunkenness.

This picture of father hunger—the aching spiritual and emotional void left in families wherein the father is not present—painted in Boyhood is painful to watch precisely because it is so close to reality. God instituted the family—put the man and woman in the garden and said, “be fruitful and multiply.” He told the man to lead; instead, the man chose to forsake his family and his God and call his own shots. The pattern has been set, the sin inherited, the family marginalized and devalued. This wretched plague of fatherless families has many discernible effects, but it is an unmistakably and fundamentally spiritual problem. Consider the words of pastor and author Doug Wilson:

Father hunger causes loneliness, aggression, rebellion against authority, hatred of kindness, lack of self-control, legalistic pietism, religion based on fear instead of love, and much, much more. But the Incarnation of the Christ deals with this in the only way possible. Jesus brings us to the Father. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but through Him. If we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. He teaches us to pray to our Father in heaven. This is the Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives its name (Eph. 3:15).[1]

Fathers and husbands, now is the time for you to live up to your God-given calling. Today is the day of salvation—the time to turn from your sins and trust in Christ. Please, men, flee from your selfishness and love your wives and children. Serve them. Humble yourself. Follow the example set by our Lord. At one point in Boyhood, Mason is given a Bible as a gift. He and his dad laugh and joke about it. Don’t be fooled; Linklater’s worldview is decidedly non-Christian, but he is nevertheless making a very valid observation in this scene. There is a tragic sort of irony as Mason and Mason Sr. scoff at the idea that they need God, while their lives are broken and marred by sin. Sadly, this is the attitude adopted by many in the present age. I think Linklater senses that irony. And while he is fully capable of recognizing these inconsistencies and asking the right questions, he is not able to see that what we really need is a good dose of biblical fatherhood. After all, “[i]n order to deal with the plague of fatherlessness, we have to return first to the worship of God the Father.” [2]

 


[1] http://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/father-hunger-2.html

[2] Wilson, Douglas. Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families (Nashville Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 26.

 

 

Wednesday’s Weekday Poll

Posted: September 24, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized, Wednesday's Weekend Poll
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Recently, we posted our top 5 most-anticipated movies for the rest of 2014, which you can read by clicking here and here. Now it’s your turn! Let us know what you’re looking forward to seeing by voting in our poll.

Trailer Tuesday: The Homesman

Posted: September 23, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Action, Drama, True Story
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The Oscar season is upon us, and we here at Reel Thinking want to take the time to highlight some of the films being released this fall and winter. Blaine listed his last week (in no particular order), and John’s top 5 are listed below. Also, sound off in the comments, letting us know what movies you’re looking forward to this fall.  And yes, we do have a few of the same movies listed, but John tried to branch out a bit and list some other notable forth-coming titles.

John’s Top 5:

Interstellar: Okay, so Blaine and I seem to disagree on Christopher Nolan (it’s okay, friends can disagree).  I’ve really enjoyed most of what he’s directed since I was first exposed to his filmmaking in Memento.  In my opinion, Nolan can make a film that’s appealing to the masses without sacrificing quality work.  He has been a master at mixing genres, and it appears that he’s doing it again – a heartfelt sci-fi/drama.

Unbroken:  If I had to pick one movie to watch this year, it would be this one.  Simply watching the trailer makes me think they should go ahead and give it the Oscar for Best Picture.  While I’m not crazy about Angelina Jolie directing, I am crazy-excited about the Coen Brothers writing the screenplay.

 

Foxcatcher: So, this story sounds too insane to be true, but it is.  I admit that I’m just a little curious to see Michael Scott…I mean, Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum pull off roles that seem to go against their normal characters.  Will we be seeing Oscar noms for these two?

 

The Imitation Game: I’m with Blaine on this one!

 

 

Exodus: Gods and Kings:  I’m not sure if we’ve got another Noah on our hands, but I am curious to see what Ridley Scott does with this film.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of Scott’s previous work, and although I’m unsure if I will be seeing this, I am a bit intrigued.  Not to mention that I am a fan of Christian Bale and Aaron Paul.

 

Weekend Reading Roundup

Posted: September 20, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized

Snapshots

Posted: September 19, 2014 by Blaine Grimes in Snapshots

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

This Friday 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.

[Note: There are quite a few movies opening this weekend, and we’re only highlighting a few.]

 

• The Maze Runner is the latest entry into the ever-increasing population of young-adult, dystopian science fiction films. This time, they have to escape from a maze.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Content: Violence and intense action sequences

• In A Walk Among The Tombstones, Liam Neeson reprises his role as an old tough dude (a la Taken) who is hired to investigate a murder. You can bet that no matter who they are, he will find them and . . .

Genre: Action/Thriller

Content: Strong violence, language, and sexuality

• Tusk is a horror movie and black comedy about a man who is kidnapped and slowly turned into a walrus. No, I’m not kidding.

Genre: Horror

Content: Violence, language, and sexual content

• This is Where I leave You is about a dysfunctional family that is brought together by the passing of a relative and must learn to settle their differences. Hey, this sounds a lot like August: Osage County.

Genre: Comedy

Content: There will probably be a lot of language and sexual content.

• In Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem a man tries to find the meaning of life.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Content: Nudity, sex, and language