Tag Archive: movie


There Will Be Blood and The Golden Compass show that religion is a touchy subject in film. The religious and parental banning of books and films has been a constant battle against artistic integrity. There really is no art without politics.blbig.jpg

There Will Be Blood features an outstanding performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as an pioneer oilman in the 1920s. The film assimilates Daniel’s growing business to the budding career of a fanatical televangelist-like preacher, Eli. I think this article got the message half right. It pits Eli and Plainview on opposite ends of the spectrum, one a self-serving atheist and the other a radical Christian. A few characters, like Plainview’s son H.W. , manage a middle road of virtue.

The movie upset a small percentage of movie-goers because of its negative display of Eli as a religious figure. Essentially the message is that evil exists on both sides of the spectrum. H.W. and his wife are morally sound people who chose to live a moderate life. The couple are involved in a church which appears from the short clip of their wedding to be Catholic.

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Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series and an “outspoken British atheist”, is accused of being “anti-God, anti-religion, or anti-Christians”. The story, The Golden Compass, follows a young girl, Lyra Belzqua, as she attempts to save her kidnapped friend and unravels the corruption of the Magistrium. The movie did not fare too well in theaters, which Christian fundamentalist like to take credit for. The protest centered around the idea that children may not have the cognitive capacity to recognize the difference between the corrupt “Magistrate” and its connection with the Vatican leaders.

Critics feared the possibility of a sequel because the last install The Amber Spyglass evidently kills a character named God. The author claimed the intention was to show the corruption of religious groups when they gain absolute political control. The character God in the book is supposed to represent a false deity.

I love this quote from comedian Jim Gaffigan, “Have you ever read a book that changed your life? -Neither have I.” Movies have the same idea.

The point of film is to see a new perspective of an issue, not completely change everyone’s mind. If a person’s opinion can be swayed by a two hour presentation, namely a film, it was not that important to them in the first place.

Edit: A lot of readers seem to be looking for Daniel Day-Lewis’s personal religion. He was born Jewish according to this thorough biography. I am not sure if that is merely his heritage or his religion. There was no mention of whether he practiced the faith or not. He lives quite a turbulent life with a diverse dating record and a avid hatred of the press.

I decided to further investigate into his life and religious affiliation in an updated post, Daniel Day-Lewis On Religion.

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There has been an onslaught of 3D films; it is hard to Nightmaredifferentiate whether 3D films are suppose to make films interactive or merely fill seats. A complete list of 3D movies track the first movie back to 1915 entitled Jim the Penman. Since then it has been a mix of theme park attractions and theatre special releases.

Since then a select few of classics have been featured using the technology including the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Jaws and Tim Burton Nightmare Before Christmas. Most of the time it happens after the original release or simultaneously with normal runs at select theaters.

A few movies like Neil Gaiman’s Beowulf were specifically made for 3D. The story was well written but I have to admit the graphics and the 3D made it a lot more appealing than any other run of the mill action film.

Hannah Montana Miley Ray CyrusThere are two concerts Hannah Montana and U2 that have had huge box office success this month. Part of Hannah Montana’s concert success may be because tickets range from 15 to 18 dollars. It did have a lot of sold out crowds the first week though at least in my area.

U2 has lesser success except among his fan base. He has an excellent message of peace and a strong presence. Viewers may get the sense that he is seconds from ruling the world when they see how the audience receives him at the concert.

These movies really have nothing to them if it were not for the appeal of 3D. 3D has made some improvements since I saw the Thriller 3D experience as a kid; that scared the crap out of me.

It is easy to debate whether 3D is the future of the cinema. The answer is flat out no until they fix a number of problems. First lose the glasses. Some theaters are no long stuck using the paper blue and red monstrousities but still no one can feel that cool sitting in a theater with thick sunglasses. Second make a viable home theater option.

The trend of turning classics into 3D movies makes for a great experience. The film should have something to offer besides just being in 3D. I am looking out for the masses by avoiding another Shark Boy and Lava Girl.

Meet the Spartans is a perfect example of why there are no new ideas in the media or entertainment industry. Even the most innovative ideas have some source. Creatures from horror movies, romantic comedies and twist endings may seem new but are only modernized classics. It is no surprise that there is now an entire chain of movies that relies on that concept.

Most people over the age of 13 think that spoofs are a bad concept. They have a few “ha” moments, if they get lucky, but taking something a lot of people have seen and tearing it apart only appeals to a select few. Why would I have any interest in watching 300, to begin with, if I am just going to watch a spoof? Not every movie has to be intellectually stimulating or some timeless classic but nobody is going to sit through a movie if it isn’t appealing or entertaining.

Meet the Spartans

The latest installment of the spoof genre, Meet the Spartans, is no exception. Its predecessors, Scary Movie, Date Movie and Epic Movie, became a competition to see which filmmaker can be more obscene. There were no attempts at scriptwriting, with the movie being a word-for-word copy of 300 with a stupid gay joke, sexual reference or celebrity appearance added every third line.

I really don’t think I need to state much evidence to my argument that spoofs are social commentary at its worse. They pretty much speak for themselves. As a society, we indulge in a lot of silly obsessions: celebrity watching and a cruel sense of humor including dick and fart jokes. I am not saying those don’t have their place, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith has made quite an entertaining career out of the latter, but I am saying these jokes are more enjoyable with some kind of plot behind the movie, even to a twelve-year old boy. Half an hour or more of dick and fart jokes is painful for any self-respecting person to sit through.

I am not saying it is wrong to make fun of trends or celebrities. Britney, K Fed and Paris all deserve some heckling. It isn’t smart to give them more attention than the opening line on late night show, however.

Speaking of spoofs, I read this article on censorship and thought it was quite entertaining.

Movies may need to boost their effects in order to keep up with changing displays. The movie The Bucket List opened to mixed reviews. The movie had fine acting, a sentimental yet comedic, tearjerker plot, and an underdeveloped look into the struggle of cancer patients. The message was good and I don’t believe there is a critic that can argue that.

There was a bigger problem than the script for me. I watched the film in a theater with Digital projection. The biggest difference is there are no scratches, or burns. Generally it make for a slightly improved experience. It is just an overall clearer picture. A simplistic technical explaination is a movie can either come on a film reel or a harddrive.

Green Screen

The Bucket List used superimposed backgrounds in a lot of its scenes or green/blue screen. Essentially two images are combined or layered to look like one scene. I have come to associate this with campy television or reporting. The effect looked horrible. I am looking for responses from DV-Forums to see how the new formats change their output. I am really interested in what can be improved and what effects if anything are being abandoned.

 

The best example I could find

This image of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson from The Bucket List is the best example I could find. This is an attempt to make it look like Nicholson and Freeman are sitting atop a desert pyramid in Egypt. There are much more blantant examples of flaws in the actual film. The director tried to cram in a bunch of backgrounds to look like Nicholson and Freeman traveled the world but the settings looked cheap.

Maybe the technology is not to blame here by how this one film utilized it. I am not against the tool it has been used many times and worked well. I am saying if the technology is skewing it, it maybe time to upgrade.