Archives For Movies

Gimme Shelter is an upcoming motion picture from Roadside Attractions. Based on the true story of Kathy DiFiore, founder of Several Sources Shelters, it stars Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, James Earl Jones, and Brendan Frasier.

Tomorrow, I will be interviewing the film’s director, Ron Krauss, and founder Kathy DiFiore. If you have any questions about crisis pregnancy shelters, about how this movie came to be made, about Several Sources Shelters, or for Mr. Krauss, or Ms. DiFiore, please share them in the comments below.

Thanks!

Shh! I need to tell you something. It’s a secret. No, not here. Come around the corner… Where it’s a bit darker.

I’m a fan of horror fiction. I grew up reading Stephen King. I still read his work. Now, I’m not a fan of horror for horror’s sake, or the buckets of gore served up ad infinitum in so-called torture porn. That said, even the Saw movies present a kind of twisted “what would you do” scenario: do you sacrifice, or save, yourself. (I’ve not seen them).

The best horror stories are always morality plays. The darker the darkness, the starker, the brighter, the light is in contrast. It’s good vs. evil on grand scale, where the forces of evil always seem on the cusp of winning, but then good overcomes. Characters–regular people, like you and me–are placed in these insane situations, and we get to see: will they rise to the occasion, or be overcome?

Fiction in general, and horror fiction in particular, helps us to make sense of a seemingly senseless world. It often does so by invoking the supernatural. This, I think, is really what explains our ongoing fascination–as a culture, as a species–with the things that go bump in the night. Whether we are atheists, agnostics, rationalists, scientists, and whether want to acknowledge it, or not, in our inmost selves we know that there is more to the world than what we experience with our senses.

Horror takes this intrinsic understanding, and makes it tacit reality: the monsters are real, the unseen exists. There really is more to this world than meets the eye.

We who are Christians of course know this: there is a God, a devil, and a war for the souls of every person who has ever lived. Horror, in a sense, shows the world as it really is: a battleground between the forces of light and dark. Because that’s the stark truth: we were, all of us, born into a world at war.

We who are Christians also know something else: in the end, we win. In the end, good will ultimately triumph over evil (although it’s bloody battle now). The devil is not, nor has he ever been, God’s equal. He will lose.

Which is why I get excited when a movie comes out that acknowledges the fundamental nature of reality: good, and evil, are real. The world is often a scary, confusing place, and there are sinister forces at work that we can’t comprehend.

What movie is this? That marries two things I love? A good scare, and the overcoming goodness of God?

The Conjuring.

What do you think? Are you going to see it?

Yesterday was a busy day for me; as such, I didn’t get my regular writing time. So instead of a standard post, I thought I’d ask you about summer movies.

I don’t often weigh in on pop culture, but here are some the movies I’m looking forward to this summer:

Prometheus

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Dark Knight Rises

Movies are, of course, expensive to attend–so I don’t know if I’ll be seeing all of the above in the theater. (If you were me, which ones would you see in theater, and which would you wait to rent?).

Movie I’ll be seeing because I have a five year-old:

Madagascar 3

What are you looking forward to?

What aren’t you going to see–even if your life depended on it?

Do you think we’re going to see another big blockbuster like The Avengers? Will The Dark Knight Rises surpass it?

What are you going to see this summer?

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This past Thursday evening, my wife and had the privilege of seeing Blue Like Jazz on the closing night of the Phoenix Film Festival. I have written before of the impact Donald Miller’s work has had on me: How Blue Like Jazz ‘Saved’ Me.

So to say I was anxious to see the finished film is an understatement roughly the size of Shatner’s ego.

I was psyched!

So how did they do?

1) The picture didn’t look like it was filmed on a shoestring budget. The colors were lush, the cinematography outstanding.

2) The acting was crisp, and believable. These were real people. Like life, the funny parts were funny, and dramatic parts powerful.

3) The crisis in you v Don’s life felt real. You will believe the inciting incident, for sure. (How many of us have been there?)

4) The screenplay–adapted from Miller’s book by himself, Steve Taylor, and Ben Pearson–captured the intersection of clashing cultures perfectly.

5) Taylor has grown immensely as a director since The Second Chance–he knows how to elicit the best performances from his actors.

6) As I learned in recovery several years ago, I need to “accept this sinful world as it is–as Jesus did–not as I would have it to be.” This seems to be the principal thesis of the film, namely what does it look like when a person of faith crashes down in a world whose problems (sins) are greater than merely being, say, an inattentive dad? How does that person relate, fit in–does he hide? Where is God in this?

7) The ending, without being mawkish, is one of the most poignant, and powerful, I’ve ever seen.

Truly the movie, like the book before it, is about the intersection of life and grace.

Blue Like Jazz is, like, for real, man.

When the movie comes out this Friday (April 13th), be there. Don’t hide your kids, wife, or your husband–go! (Well, maybe get a babysitter for the kids–this film earns its PG-13 rating).

What are you waiting for?

Go!

20120331-225839.jpg Hey, Random Readers! I have the extreme honor to bring you a guest post today from the witty, hard-working Knox McCoy. Knox is known for his brilliant, hilarious recaps of the Bachelor/ette and the Walking Dead. He has also recently launched The My Bad Project as a way for Christians to apologize for the way(s) we’ve douched up our witness. He lives in a Tennessee with his wife and two young children.

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You guys! What with the Killer Tribes conference this week, and all, I almost didn’t get this post writ. But a promise is a promise, right? Least I could do for blogging buddy, Chad. How I roll.

You know how I wrote about my my only thing with The Hunger Games? Well, I’ve got one thing about that new Tarsem Singh movie, I LOVED it! For serious. It was visually stunning (remember Immortals from last Fall? Same guy directed this fresh take on the Snow White story).

Everything from the dialogue to the set direction to the visuals were just lush. And stunning.

DURR!!! DURR!!!

Gotcha, didn’t I?

April Fool’s!

The movie was terrible. It was the cinematic equivalent of a high colonic, but the thing is–the thing is–somehow you don’t feel cleaned out after. How does that happen?

It’s style over substance, people.

You almost get the sense that Singh’s vision–whatever that was–was, shall we say, a little hampered by the studio. Or a lot. You decide. Or don’t. Remember, I went there for you.

Impactful it was not.

Anyway, Julia Roberts was in it. At least I think she was. Either that, or someone that looked just like her somnambulated through the movie. Can we say “paycheck player” three times fast?

Ditto for Nathan Lane. I haven’t liked him since Mousetrap. Ok, that’s not true–since ever. (Best part of his “performance?” He got turned into a cockroach, and was “violated” by a grasshopper!) <--too bad that was off-camera. You guys, YOU GUYS! Remember 80's Bratpacker Mare Winningham. She's in this movie--as "Baker Lady." Boy, has she gone out to pasture. Nuff said. Anybody remember that great show on Animal Planet, Pit Boss? The one about the dude, Shorty, who has a soft spot for pit bulls? Well, two of his former crew have bit parts in this movie. That’s right–Sebastian and Ronald are Chuckles, and Wolf, respectively. Yep, they play dwarves. Must be method acting–because I believed them. They filled out those parts nicely.

I know, I know–you’re asking yourself: “What about the leads? What about Lily Collins and Armie Hammer?”

I’ll you what: after seeing Armie in The Social Network as the Winklevoss twins (that’s right, he played two parts), I was willing to forgive his ridiculous name. But not anymore. In this turgid turd he turns in the performance of a box of baking soda. (Seriously, what were his parents thinking, naming him “Armand Hammer?” “Arm & Hammer.” Get it?).

And then there’s poor Lily Collins. She of the unstoppable brows. Seriously, those things could give Jon Acuff’s uni a serious, serious run. They don’t quit! They must be why there was no palpable chemistry between her and baking soda boy. In my head, I could hear her dad’s (Phil Collins) song, In The Air Tonight: “I can hear it growing in the air tonight…”

Speaking of: the ending of course occurred in the night: a dark forest. And the beast? The scary creature, who we’d see glimpses of? Looked like nothing so much as an overgrown kitty cat in need of a tummy rub.

Turns out, that wasn’t far wrong:

The big twist was befanged, and betailed, kitty was none other than the long-thought-dead king, Sean Bean. Poor Sean, he looked befuddled. So confused–maybe concussed. I guess being turned into a kitty cat for eighteen years will do that to a man. Anyway, he sure looked like he would much rather have been anywhere else (what with those eyebrows practically stabbing him in his eyes). In fact:

He looked like he would much rather have been back in Westeros, getting his head chopped off all over again.

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Somewhere in there, I think we were supposed so see some sort of feminist coming of age tale, but I couldn’t see past the brows. Or the forest for the trees. Whatever. I went there for you, people.

I went there for you.

You can follow Knox’s blog at KnoxMcCoy.com, and catch him on Twitter @knoxmccoy