Changing the Culture

There is a lot of talk (probably too much talk) about Christians "changing the culture". As Christians look out over an increasing secular culture controlled by people who seem less interested in informing the population than celebrating their own loins, many are searching for ways to turn the culture around before it becomes completely useless.

John Seel has a fantastic article on Christians and cultural change. His views on the subject are not only carefully crafted but also simply dead-on. Click here to read his post over at the Trinity Forum

HT: Phil Cooke at The Change Revolution.

Falling Down (1993)

Should I see it?No.

Michael Douglas plays an unemployed defense worker who snaps and goes on a rambling shooting spree. He offers a pretty good performance, but his hard work is undermined by poor dialog and a fumbling script. In its desire to show the main character's moral confusion in a morally empty world, the film winds up completely without a point. A film without a point is a film worth ignoring.

Click on the scared white guy to see the trailer

Related Reviews:
Michael Douglas movies
Basic Instinct (1992)
The Sentinel (2006)

Other Critic's Reviews:
The Stop Button
Beyond Hollywood

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

Should I see it?
Of course not.

Sylvester Stallone runs around in the jungle glistening in baby oil while he slaughters an untold number of faceless Vietnamese looking extras. Providing a level of needless violence that is more unintentionally funny than thrilling, this follow up to First Blood shows that the words "good" and "successful" don't necessarily go together. If you haven't seen this, don't - if you have, then you hopefully know better than to watch it again.

Related Reviews:Rambo Movies
First Blood (1982)
Rambo III (1988)

Other Critic's Reviews:

Blogcritics (Matt Paprocki)
The Movie Hamlet
Popcorn Pictures Reviews

First Blood (1982)

Should I see it?

Its a guy movie - in other words: it's stupid, useless, brute and bloody. While it was well received when it was released, time, not to mention the ridiculous sequels, has not been kind to this flick. Its only saving grace is that out of all of the Rambo movies, this is the "serious" one. Which is like saying, this pile of garbage stinks least.

Related Reviews:
Rambo movies
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Rambo III (1988)

Other Critic's Reviews:
The Z Review

Rambo III (1988)

Should I see it?

The answer to all of you who sat through Rambo: First Blood Part II and asked "How could this get any worse". I'd write more of a review but that pretty much sums it up - it's actually dumber than its predecessor.

Related Reviews:Rambo movies
First Blood (1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)


Qwipster's Movie Reviews
DVD Verdict

Movie Trailer: 10,000 B.C.

Independence Day director Roland Emmerich is back and he's swapped out the aliens for some Woolly Mammoths. This production looks relatively interesting, but given Emmerich is also responsible for ridiculous brainkillers like The Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla, chances are it will be dumb.


Return to the Movie Trailer Page

Screenwriters: Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser
Director: Roland Emmerich
Actors: Cliff Curtis (Sunshine), Camilla Belle (The Chumscrubber) and Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago)

The Carnival of Cinema: Episode 59 - Bloggerfield

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of Cinema, a weekly display of the web’s best film related posts.

This week is stuffed full of cinematic goodness so let’s jump right in.

A big dumb monster is taking Manhattan.

After months and months of Internet marketing Cloverfield has finally hit theaters. This week, it hits the Carnival.

MCF kicks off the monster fest with his look at the movie. Click over to MCF'S NEXUS OF IMPROBABILITY to find out if this beast is best. Be warned, MCF does have some minor spoilers.

Ah, I love the smell of spoilers in the morning.

Next up is Andy Gates. Guest blogging on a site called THE CONSUMER’S CORNER, Gates, offers a barebones review of JJ Abrams latest.

Wanna go see Cloverfield? Don’t forget to bring a barf bag.

JD does things so you don’t have to. How do I know? Because JD has a site named I DO THINGS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO. This time JD has sat through Cloverfield without puking. Hey, not everyone puked during the recent smash hit monster movie Cloverfield. JD made it through, and so can you, if you read this post. Contains a few spoilers, but it won't ruin the movie for anyone out there who hasn't seen it.

You sat through Cloverfield and want to know where those monsters came from? Sure you do! Head over to ANONYMOUS_X and read what the not-so-anonymous Thomas has written about the origin of the monster(s).

Not everyone is cheery about the Godzilla redeux kicking the crap out of the Statue of Liberty. Phil for Humanity of PHIL FOR HUMANITY has written a post titled “5 Reasons Why Hype Sucks” in reaction to the monster movie.

Summing up most reviews, our final Cloverfield reviewer Darrell says “the darn thing was actually pretty good.” That’s the polite way of saying “Hey, I thought it would suck but it kinda didn’t!” Click over to THE SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVE to see read his opinion.

While you’re there, you can also check out Darrell brutally beating up Rob Zombie’s stupid remake of a film that just didn’t need to be redone, Halloween.

Cloverfield isn’t the biggest thing in film right now, Sundance is. It’s time for media folks and movie makers to head to the snowy streets of Park City, Utah to see the latest of independent film.

ZOOM IN ONLINE has boots on the ground. Todd Howard had the honor to attend the premiere screening of Towelhead at Sundance with the author of the novel, Alicia Erian. He then interviewed Alan Ball, Summer Bashil and Peter Macdissi this morning for ZOOM IN ONLINE’S On The Circuit podcast series.

Need more Sundance, get more ZOOM IN ONLINE. They have this thing covered. They have a 360 degree approach with filmmaker interviews, audience reactions, “Background Buzz” and their usual professional critiques. Here’s a list of the movie reviews they have waiting for you:

U2 3D
The Merry Gentleman
Trouble The Water
Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?
Diary of the Dead
Otto; or Up With Dead People
Funny Games (talk about a movie that didn’t need to get remade!)
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Need more reviews? Don’t worry, we got plenty of reviews.

Sing a-long throat cutting has hit the UK! Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street gets the business over at DARKMATTERS – THE MIND OF MATT. Matt Adcock can always be counted on to provide interesting reviews of the latest releases.

Keeping with the fresh releases, General Disdain takes a crack at First Sunday. He gives this dismal cinematic slop its due. Rush over to THE CRITICAL CRITICS to read more and to find a plethora of to-the-point reviews.

Loved the film Atonement? MANNY THE MOVIE GUY has what you need. Head over for an unedited interview with Keira Knightley, as well as, James McAvoy, and Vanessa Redgrave. The stars talked about the film. Manny also reviews the film.

Looking for the guy who saw Dan In Real Life?...Y’know, Dan In Real Life? The movie with Steve Carell - he’s Dan…you don’t remember? No really, Carell released this thing and it was in theaters and everything. Doug Boude of DOUG BOUDE (RHYMES WITH 'LOUD') is the guy who’s seen the movie and he’s also the guy who’s reviewed it.

More reviews coming your way.

ERIC FREY DOT COM’S Eric Frey has his own collection of spoilers. Go read his review of Will Smith’s zombie flick I am Legend but watch out for the plot points.

From horror movie to horrible movie.

Flyboy, the war movie about boys who fly, is the focus of Mike Blitz’s post over at the great KABOOM REVIEW.

“After his last two rather mainstream films, Nagesh Kukunoor gets back to his indie roots and sticks to his good old strategy of subverting the formula from within. Bombay to Bangkok is a hilarious film that could alternatively be gruesomely persecuting if you fail to get into its grooves in the first ten minutes.” For more on Bombay to Bangkok click over to Moveye’s site DEARCINEMA: MOVIEBUFF'S PARADISE.

Man, the reviews just don’t let up. We’ve got plenty more where these came from.

And on the topic of plenty of reviews, CELLULOID HEROES Paul McElligott is the king of reviews. He is a font of opinion. This week he drops in with his views on the latest Robert De Niro embarrassment Stardust and his eighth podcast entitled “Harrison Ford’s Chin. With a name like that it has to be good.

With a director like Michael Bay, it’s gotta stink.

Find out if Lindsey agrees, she has a review of Bay’s The Island over at her site ZEE SAYS=FILM ADDICT + TEEN LIBRARIAN.

Things are a little different this week at the carnival. Sure, we have a massive amount of reviews this week – but it is what’s being reviewed that’s changed. Carnival regular Grachii always comes up with intelligent reviews of classic and artsy flicks like his post about the classic film Gaslight. This week however, he joins the rest of us in this century and actually talks about a recent film. You heard me right, head over to WESTMINSTER WISDOM and see what he’s saying about No Country for Old Men.

Thinking we’ve hit all of the reviews we can possible hit? WRONG

Rickey of RIDING WITH RICKEY finishes this review revue with a collection of his reviews of movies you may have missed from 2007.

Alright, Rickey you got a problem – in your post you talk about the New York/New England Superbowl and say about the Green Bay Packer fans “Rickey doesn’t really care what fat cheese munching f%&@s from the Midwest landlocked red state residents think about an all-northeast Superbowl — it’s a welcome reminder of precisely where the corridors of power reside in this great country of ours.

Coming from someone who was raised in Wisconsin, there are no hard feelings, man. I love people from the outskirts of the country (meaning the East Coast.) You guys work yourselves to death so those in the Midwest can sit back on our porches and enjoy our quiet, clean, crime-free towns. Thanks for the effort, enjoy the ballgame.

Moving on, there’s an interesting interview with Judyth Piazza over at MARKETSAW - 3D MOVIES AND TECHNOLOGY. Piazza talks to Jim Dorey about all things 3D and what the future might hold for the technology and 3D movie goers.

Ending this week’s edition we have Raptor’s List of 25 quotes from The Shawshank Redemption over at LISTOSAURUS REX’S.

…and CUT!…and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions! The Carnival of Cinema is ongoing with submissions being taken through each Wednesday and posting every Friday.

Have an opinion or article about the film industry? Have you reviewed a film or DVD? Have any tips on breaking into the biz? Send submissions HERE!

Other carnival editions:The Carnival of Cinema: Episode V
The Carnival of Cinema: Episode VII

Movie Review Link: Prince of Darkness

One of the great things about being online are those times when you find someone who just nails a subject.

It's even better when that subject is completely obscure and relatively irrelevant to more than a few dozen people worldwide.

I love LOVE a review for John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness written by EegahInc over at one of brand new favorite sites The B-Movie Catechism.

I have to respect anyone who has the tagline "One man's desperate attempt to reconcile his love of his Catholic faith with his passion for really, really bad movies." We're doing the same thing over here brother. Different denomination however - I'm one of those pesky evangelicals (I have the ugly sweaters and big hair to prove it.)

Click on the group of bad actors if you want to suffer through the trailer
I watched this film in my youth many times. It is an unmitigated piece of crap but there was always something about the film that intrigued me. The nearly incoherent plot combined with the striking visuals always drew me in. It's always been one of those films I've known better than to consider but did anyway.

Head on over to read the review and check what else he has going on. Looks like I have a new link for my blogroll.

Please note that my support of this review and my positive tone about the film DOES NOT translate to me recommending this film to anyone. Just because I'm stupid enough to sit through this doesn't mean you are. This is a horrible movie. One of the reasons I think this film is named Prince of Darkness is because this is the kind of movie you'll find playing down in Hell.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Should I see it?

Short Review:
Incoherent ramblings were never so interesting

This is the greatest bad movies of all time. It is a distracted, unkempt heap. Director Francis Ford Coppola's epic ode to Vietnam is one of the grand shams of world cinema. The script by Coppola (The Godfather) and John Milius (Clear and Present Danger) is a ludicrous string of haphazard scenes that lead nowhere. By the time the wandering narrative stumbles into the final act, the film has descended into an incoherent rant.
I mean every word I’ve written. This is a bad movie. On the other hand I also love this movie.

Honestly looking at this film, one has to admit that it is indeed a horrible wreck. It lacks a basic structure and it suffers from numerous flaws. The film also offers some of the most striking moments from its generation of American cinema and is one of the rare moments where the parts are greater than the whole.

For the uninitiated, Coppola’s view of Vietnam is widely considered to be one of the greatest war movies. It is a reworking of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness takes place in Vietnam. Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) is assigned to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has gone insane and is waging his own war in Cambodia. Willard takes a U.S. Navy boat up the winding river to Kurtz’s last known location. Following Willard on his trip we experience the violent and surreal world of Vietnam. The film became famous not only for its stark expression of war but also for the legendary behind-the-scenes mishaps. From Sheen’s heart attack to Coppola’s near mental breakdown, the making of the film is often more interesting than the piece it produced (for more on this I suggest watching Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse which is a chronicle of the film’s creation).

Willard’s Homeric journey is handled in episodic fashion with each of his stops on the river being a separate piece of the collective whole. This leads to a mixed bag of scenes where some work and others simply fall flat. This disjointed storytelling saps the coherency from the piece but adds an element of uncertainty which works to enhance the chaotic hell Willard finds himself in. When this approach works it works brilliantly and makes the film worth every second. The problems settle in when the film has to resolve itself.
The final act when Willard confronts Kurtz is a ridiculous piece of film making. Marlon Brando in all of his bloated, mumbling glory is a laughable disaster. Coppola, unable to control the actor allowed the man to ramble whatever came to his crooked mind instead of his scripted lines. The result is long segments of a man who looks like the devil’s version of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man slurring nonsense in the dark. On top of this we are asked to struggle through a cameo of Dennis Hopper as a frantic photojournalist who is a John the Baptist to Marlon’s doughy anti-Christ.
This is not a film for everyone, although I haven’t met a guy who doesn’t absolutely love the Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) air cavalry/Flight of the Valkyries scene. Non-film geeks will probably end up looking at their watches during the final half hour. The trip up the river before the fat man sings offers some of the most exhilarating film work from the seventies and is worth the effort. If you haven’t seen this film, there’s no better day than today to give it a shot.

Click on the evil Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to view the trailer

Other critic's reviews:
The Phantom Tollbooth
Celluloid Heroes

Movie Trailer: Cidade dos Homens "City of Men"

Screenwriter: Elena Soarez (Redeemer)
Director: Paulo Morelli
Actors: Camila Monteiro, Rodrigo dos Santos, Jonathan Haagensen

Click here to return to the Movie Trailer Page

Movie Trailer: The Spiderwick Chronicles


Screenwriters: Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run), David Berenbaum (Zoom), and John Sayles (Lone Star)
Director: Mark Waters (Mean Girls)
Actor: Freddie Highmore (The Golden Compass), Mary-Louise Parker (Saved!), Nick Nolte (Hotel Rwanda), and Joan Plowright (I am David)

Click here to return to the Movie Trailer Page

Movie Trailer: El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

Click below to view the trailer The Orphanage, a film produced by Guillermo Del Toro (El Laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)).


Return to the Movie Trailer Page

Screenwriter: Sergio G. Sánchez
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Actors: Belén Rueda (Mar adentro), Fernando Cayo (Concursante), Roger Príncep

3:10 To Yuma (1957)

Should I see it?

An interesting movie about a rancher who is given the job of hiding a sly criminal until the train arrives to take the villain to the gallows.

Glenn Ford (Gilda) offers a charismatic and memorable performance. Van Heflin (Shane) is perfectly cast as the capable rancher who has stepped into a situation top big for him to control. While the script is missing the detailed characterization of the 2007 remake the film still delivers good drama. Helfin and Ford are well matched, Ford's relaxed smirk against Heflin's weary mug. The two play off one another and enhance the other's performance.

This is a good film if you’re a patient audience. If you’re looking for wall to wall action you’ll do better elsewhere. This is a good back up pick if you need one.

Related Reviews:
Another Glenn Ford movie
Gilda (1946)

Other Critic's Reviews:

Click here to buy your copy of Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews
You Are What You See and learn
to change the world from your couch

Movie Trailer: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian


Screenwriters: Andrew Adamson (Shrek), Christopher Markus (The Life & Death of Peter Sellers)
Director: Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe)
Actors: Liam Neeson (Batman Begins), Ben Barnes (Stardust), Warwick Davis (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), Peter Dinklage (Find Me Guilty)

Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)

Short Review: Depressing, haunting, extremely hard to watch – loved it.

The box cover for this DVD boldly displays Roger Ebert’s announcement "One of the best films you’ll ever see!" Normally, I find Ebert’s taste in film to be lacking. He’s a bright enough guy but his political and social agenda are too obtuse for my political and social agenda to withstand. While his exclamation is a tad overdone, this is a very potent film on many levels. The acting alone is worth the price of admission. The actors are so strong, I often felt as if I were watching a documentary, not a film.

However, I do strongly advise you to see this movie. It is a harsh film about the trails of a young man named Rocket growing up in the toilet that is The City of God (found about fifteen miles outside of Rio de Janeiro.) The City of God is ironically named since if there were hell on Earth, it would be a place like this. We are shown this brutal world and its hellish soap opera in all of its lurid details. This film goes on for over two hours and I couldn’t keep my eyes from it. The richness of the story and the honesty in which the events are presented is brilliant. The structure of the film is masked by clever narrative tricks such as briefly introducing a character, only to tell us he will be more important later. This sets a character up when it is most convenient to the story. We then wait for the character’s reintroduction so we can find out about who they are. The narrator does this a few times and it works wonderfully. It gives exposition without being intrusive in addition to infusing the narration with a human flavor (he seems to get ahead of himself while telling the story and has to backtrack.)

The content of this film is hard to watch. I strongly warn you about this. Children are shot and killed. Women are raped. Men are gunned down. This is not for the faint of heart. It is a film for those who need a dose of realism. If nothing else, this film will make you feel gratitude for your station in life, if you do not live in a situation even close to the one presented in this film.

Click below to view the trailer

Cautions: As I mentioned, there's rape, beatings, shootings - a variety of violent acts. This is liberally mixed with sexual content and harsh language. This is a film for adults - discerning adults. None of the rough content is gratuitous however. This is an important distinction to make. It is a natural development of the plot and the environment. Violence is a part of the story because violence is a part of the lives of the characters - you can't have one without the other.

Worldview: The film doesn't take a strong theological stand but it did raise some issues, at least for me, when I viewed it.

Most Christian thinking (at least in the West) I describe as "suburban Christianity". This means ideas and concerns are developed from the point of view of a bunch of puffy suburbanites sitting comfortably and safely in their homes. Only the most affluent Christians would sit around and seriously discuss whether it is healthy to watch PG-13 Rated movies or not - we are so blessed to have such stupid concerns. While I have nothing against the Western middle class, it seems to me that much of our theology has been weakened by our casual lifestyles. Films such as this can wake us up from their comfy naps and remind us that the power of the Word is there for people in far dire circumstances, who seem to have nothing to save them. Hope - God - still lives in the darkest of places, no matter how deep the well we fall, his grace is still there.

Another Troubled Youth Movies:
Tsotsi (2005)

Other Critic's Reviews:
Film Critics United

The Carnival of Cinema: Episode 58 – There Will Be Blogs

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Carnival of Cinema. Every week we bring you the best of the web in regards to movie reviews, industry advice, and cinematic commentary.
This week we see one of the biggest things (literally) to hit New York’s cinematic image since the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

JJ Abrams’ Cloverfield has finally hit screens. Across the Internet you can hear a sign of relief. The marketing campaign can finally come to an end. Xavier has seen the film and has a review over at his site TYPING IS NOT ACTIVISM.

Click to see the trailer

We go from a destroyed skyline to a receding hairline.

Nicholas Cage has a new movie in theatres and Ved of VED'S 70MM-MOVIES & ENTERTAINMENT has the review. See if Cage’s release du jour National Treasure: Book of Secrets is any good.

Hey, if you’ve been paying attention to “film news” online (read paid marketing disguised as legitimate news) there’s been one topic more talked about and pushed than Abrams’ monster movie – Diablo Cody.

There hasn’t been hype like this since Tarantino rose to prominence with his strangely large head in the early 90’s.
Cody penned the snarky script for the hit film Juno. Want to know if the film is as good as the hype? Click over to THE CRITICAL CRITICS and find out what General Disdain has to say on the subject.
Speaking of Tarantino’s massive gourd – Gracchi has a post this week delving into the political theory of Reservoir Dogs. Follow the link over to WESTMINSTER WISDOM to read all about it.

From a British brainiac to a Norwegian heartthrob.

Michael Leahy from SCREENPLAY EUROPE has a look back to Natural Born Star, a film about Norwegian heartthrob Fred Robsahm who shot to megastardom in Italian B-movies in the sixties.

Sticking with the international flavor let’s head over to India.

Ved is back and this time he’s looking at Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par. Go over to VED'S 70MM-MOVIES & ENTERTAINMENT for more.

And now Africa…

Laurent Salgues’ Rêves de poussière (Dreams of Dust) was showcased at the Pan African Film Festival in Ouagadougou this year and has made some waves on the international scene. Sokari Ekine of BLACK LOOKS rejoins the Carnival this week with a quick look at this film as well as a quick post about The Naked Option: A Last Resort, which is a “feature documentary highlighting the struggle by women of the Niger Delta against the multinational oil companies and military occupation by the Nigerian Federal Government.”

Heading over to Seattle…
THE SEATTLE TRAVELER Mary Jo Manzanares writes this week about the Seattle Children’s Film Festival.

Okay, let’s go in a completely different direction for a moment.

HD is everywhere and you’ve heard about it and seen it all over the place. That said, do you know what it actually is? Well, you do now . Sutoco handles the question of “What is high definition video?” over at HOME THEATER POINT.

Looking for more technology? How about the development of 3D films?

MARKETSAW - 3D MOVIES AND TECHNOLOGY is always a good spot to visit for some interesting posts. This week, Jim Dorey writes about Dreamworks’ 3D flick Puss N’ Boots (coming in a few years).

Okay, here they come – you’re weekly roundup of movie reviews.

We’ll start this week’s bevy of opinion with the return of CELLULOID HEROES. Paul McElligott wants to tell you what he thinks. Head over to his site today and get his thoughts on The Bourne Ultimatum.

Next up we have Missy who has seen P.S. I Love You. She compares the book to the movie. Go find out how they stack up over at INCURABLE DISEASE OF WRITING.

Deb Serani is writing about Folie A Deux in response to seeing Willian Friedkins’ Bug. Don’t have a clue what Folie A Deux is? Well, go over to Dr. Deb’s site DR. DEB to find the cure for your ignorance.

Looking to the classics, we have a few of reviews of oldies but goodies.

You haven’t enjoyed cinema until you’ve forced yourself to sit through Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. It’s a little like saying you can’t really know what a good wine is until you’ve tasted a bad one. Rich and the rest of the RANDOM MOVIE CLUB have made their way through this cinematic parfait of poo. Head over and see what he has to say.


The Graduate gets a viewing over at JOYOUS FILM REVIEW. Joe Ewens gives Mrs. Robinson and poor deluded Benjamin Braddock the business.

This week’s final movie review comes from KABOOM REVIEW. Mike Blitz tackles the Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me.

The trade show must go on.

The Oscars will go on regardless of the strike (at least it appears that way). If you’re looking to hold an Oscar night party, Host Bee has some advice for you on the site BUSY BEE LIFESTYLE.

Let’s end this week with a collection of lists.

Raptor of LISTOSAURUS REX returns this week with a look at's picks for fifty greatest movie endings.

The greatest of all time wasn’t actually used. The "happy" ending for To Live and Die in L.A. would have been the best ending of all time simply because it would have been the worst of all time.

To close things up…

MANNY THE MOVIE GUY gives his favorite films of 2007.


Matt OConnor of CULT MOVIE NEWS gives a preview of what films are sure to be favorites in 2008.

…and CUT!…and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions. Another great week of posts. Do you have an opinion or article about the film industry? Have you reviewed a film or DVD? Have any tips on breaking into the biz? Send submissions HERE for next week’s edition.

Be the first blog on your street to post in the
Carnival of Cinema.
Some other Carnival editions:
Carnival of Cinema Episode VIII
Carnival of Cinema Episode IV
Carnival of Cinema Episode X Carnival of Cinema Episode XII

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

Should I see it?

Short Review:
…and neither does the plot.

I’ll get the family portion of this review out of the way up front. The main question most parents want answered is “Will my kid like this movie?” The answer is yes, most likely your little urchin will like this movie. It is bright, colorful and silly. It doesn’t contain any harmful content, it is completely benign. Mothers will like this movie as well, provided they keep their standards medium low.
Alright, now on to the film geek stuff.
You’ll hear plenty of pleasant things from Christian and family sites extolling the wonderful virtues of this little movie and of Veggie Tales in general. It’s cute and it promotes good values, and it avoids almost all of the pitfalls of modern children’s faire (sex jokes, scatological humor, questionable morality, etc.) While these things are true, it is also true that this film just isn’t very good. Like its predecessor Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie, this production is poorly constructed and shockingly low on cleverness. Like with Jonah, screenwriter (and Veggie Tales co-creator) Phil Vischer strangely decided that his period piece story couldn’t exist on its own but required a modern day jumping off point. This leaves the story with an obtuse and wholly unnecessary modern day introduction and a forced time travel scheme to get his narrative moving. We saw this with Jonah as well, and like that previous piece the modern day setting unbalances the whole story. This bad structure may be the result of a down time in his writing career since the scripts for production reportedly originated near the same time. Regardless of the timeline, this poor writing judgment is evidence that Vischer may simply not be capable of writing larger pieces for his beloved characters.

Defenders of Veggie Tales may respond by pointing out that this is a kid’s movie and shouldn’t be dissected. I disagree. Children’s films should be held to the same standards as films made for adults in regards to quality and artistic achievement. I certainly understand that Veggie Tales is little more than a puppet show. It’s a bunch of vegetables with some guys making silly voices – I get it. Unlike other children’s entertainment, Vischer and company specifically market their work as being “Christian” – with the announced intent of teaching Biblical truths. As far as “Christian” children’s entertainment is concerned, Veggie
Tales is the central brand and effectively defines its genre (even though Christ is rarely directly mentioned – the series tends to rely mostly on the Old Testament). While their work has never been high quality stuff, this movie is notably hollow even by the brand’s standards. For a brand that assumes the role of glorifying God – I don’t think mediocre cuts it.

What’s notable is that this film doesn’t have the same overtly Biblical message of the usual Veggie Tales lot. Those days appear to be over following the bankruptcy and sale of Big Ideas. Now the Veggie Tales brand appears to have traded in open Biblical faith for a move pluralistic tone where the message is more hidden – or in this case of this piece fully buried. I normally highly support, filmmakers who make pieces where Biblical messages are interwoven in the narrative instead of being overtly tacked on. In this case, where the makers of the film have actually distinguish
ed themselves by being open about their Biblical messages, it seems a little shallow when they mask their message. Again, with the larger corporate goals of the Veggie Tales brand on display, it is clear this will be something we may have to get used to.

Alright, stepping away from the film geek stuff.

So, to wrap this up, kids will enjoy this film. Most people will find it to be harmless and cute. If you have any knowledge of narrative, or filmmaking you’ll probably find this piece to be yet another poorly made and irritating kids movie that has little to offer other than its’ not trying to corrupt your kids.

Click here to view the trailer

Related Reviews:
Animated movies
The Incredibles (2004)
Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Other Critic's Reviews:
The Critical Critics

Carnival of Cinema: Episode 57 – Return of the Blogger

…and we’re back.

Following a brief sabbatical, the Carnival of Cinema proudly returns to weekly publication. Every week we offer you the best in movie reviews, cinema commentary and industry advice.
Thank you to everyone who e-mailed wanting to know when we’d return.

Let’s blow the dust off and get this thing fired up.

There’s no better way to make a comeback than to talk about things that may or may not happen.
Kicking off this edition is Carnival regular and all around good guy Conan Stevens of TALL STUNT ACTOR – CONAN STEVENS. Conan, unlike most actors, has made a number of movies. He has a few movies that haven’t seen release even though they’ve been filmed a couple of years ago. This actually is pretty common. Conan lists the reasons why he believes these films haven’t hit the market and gives you a look at how things really go down behind the scenes. For an honest look at what it takes to make movies, visit Conan’s blog.

Over to what has happened.

It’s a new year so that means we all gotta turn right back around and look at what just went down. Mon Macutay of GMTRISTAN.COM - GIRLS, GAMES AND GADGETS lists the Yahoo’s top ten movies of 2007.

Wild Hogs
is number 10.

Wild Hogs

No Amazing Grace…no American Gangster

John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and Tim Allen in leather.

I assume Mr. Woodcock must have been number 11.

Moving on, we have another list.
Raptor has reactions to The New York Times’ 1,000 best films of all time…well, from 1927 to 2002. Click over to LISTOSAURUS REX to read more.

Wild Hogs
didn’t make the NYT list.
Neither did Mr. Woodcock. I checked.

What’s worse than Travolta in leather? Travolta in drag.

Head over to JOYOUS FILM REVIEW where Joe Ewens has a look at the tepid remake of the John Waters musical Hairspray.

Honestly, Wild Hogs Number 10? Yahoo – geez!

Alright, I’m starting to obsess. Let’s press on.

Get serious now and look at what’s going down over at the FILM/VIDEO CONTENT DISTRIBUTION, LICENSING, AND RIGHTS ACQUISITION BLOG. Daniel Lafleche has the first edition in a series of interviews with one of the founders of This undiscovered indie web gem, looks at ways passionate film fans are making the much ballyhooed “indie film web revolution” more than just hype. It’s a good interview head on over and read away.

What would a Carnival of Cinema edition be without a bunch of movie reviews?

Time to take a big dip in lake “Let me tell you what I think”.

First up with the opinion is Carnival staple Mike Blitz with his look at the Robert De Niro fantasy film Stardust. Blitz has this and a ton of other great reviews on his site KABOOM REVIEW. Mike’s a friend of the Carnival and a darn good blogger.

A Robert De Niro fantasy film? A fantasy film for De Niro these days is the one that doesn’t stink. It’s like the man is taking project selection advice from Dan Aykroyd.

Since we're on the subject of aged actors…

The Bucket List
is out there for you see. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are near death and they want you to watch. THE CRITICAL CRITICS' General Disdain has the review. Head on over and see if the bucket is more like a bedpan.

From movies for geezers to movies for girls.

Who doesn’t just love a mindless, pointless chick flick – and one with Hilary Swank no less? P.S. I Love You is still in theatres (for now). Missy over at OBSERVATIONS FROM MISSY'S WINDOW has seen the film and has the review. Thank you Missy for reviewing this film so the rest of us don’t have to.

Ah, chick flicks, gimme more…

Let’s go with the queen of all chick flicks - SINGLESENTENCEMOVIEREVIEW.COM has a single sentence on the movie Steel Magnolias. Read what Clay Mabbitt has to say about the film by clicking here.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh and follow Christine’s example and take more time out for softer films like romantic comedies. Find out why on her site ME, MY KID AND LIFE: AN AMERICAN SINGLE MOM LIVING IN FRANCE.

Or perhaps I should just stick with the romance and read more Sonja Foust. Romance writer Foust has an interesting post titled Shooting Stars at Sunset Boulevard over at her blog SONJA FOUST ROMANCE WRITER.

Like Kate Hepburn? Who doesn’t? She was a talent. Jon has a fitting ode to the actress at his site THE DC TRAVELER – WASHINGTON DC TRAVEL & TOURISM INFORMATION. Jon says,

From comedy to drama, romance to action, Katherine Hepburn could do it all and did it successfully for over 6 decades. See some of her movie memorabelia and her 4 Oscars at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Alright, that’s enough of the girly stuff. Let’s talk superheroes.

Frank Johnson the ENTERTAINMENT BUFF asks question all comic and film geeks have been wondering. – Will the new Joker be better than the rest? Can Heath Ledger go from bronco rider rider and slip into the green hair and white makeup of The Joker?

C’mon, they handed the franchise over to adults - smart adults – it should be great.

If you’re more interested in a film you KNOW is going to be great, give a second look at There Will Be Blood. Andrew Newman thinks that it is "a near-masterpiece, thanks in no small part to Day-Lewis's career-defining performance". The review is over at NEWMAN’S OWN MOVIE CORNER.

Want brains? We got brains.

Gracchi is back. This week from WESTMINSTER WISDOM, Gracchi takes a look at Wojciech Has’ film The Saragossa Manuscript. You can always trust Gracchi to deliver two things – obscure films and smart reviews of obscure films.

The word classic is a broad term.
Proving this is Chris Coleman. Coleman runs APPRECIATING GREAT TRASH. Not only is this one of the best blog names of all time, it is also a fascinating site for any film geek. This week Coleman dissects Lucio Fulci’s E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'aldilà (And You Will Live in Terror: The Beyond).

Just because something isn’t great doesn’t mean it’s not worth talking about.

Looking for more trashiness?

Get this, Big Top PeeWee is twenty years old.
For those of you who need it, I will stop now so you can reflect on just how OLD YOU ARE GETTING. Yeah, that’s right, high school graduates this year were born well after this movie hit theatres. Face it, you’re old. Look to Sarah’s site SARAHSPY for a post celebrating this anniversary.

For this next post, I’ll let the author speak for himself.

On my blog on David Fincher I have so much new stuff, it's getting hard to count. A highlight certainly is the attached link that has exclusive interviews and video downloads for "Zodiac", but on the site there is a ton of new material, such as a fan special for FIGHT CLUB lovers, about a half a dozen new interviews with David Fincher (partly as downloadable mp3 files) and the latest buzz on newly announced Fincher projects.” – Andreas, THE WORKS AND GENIUS OF DAVID FINCHER

Now that’s how you talk about your blog, people – with enthusiasm. Its always great to see someone so excited about what they’re doing.

BlueSkeleton is enthusiastic about an early trailer and press release for an animated version of The Terminator series that set for release in 2009. You can count on BlueSkeleton to bring you the goods over at PRODUCTION BLOG.

For another trailer – or a ton of movie trailers - look to MOVIE TRAILERS. There, Mike has a trailer and review of the critically acclaimed film Crash.

To close up the shop this week, we have John Crenshaw. Crenshaw talks about Will Smith. As Crenshaw says,

You may or may not have heard of the recent comments Will Smith made about Adolf Hitler in an interview with The Daily Record in the U.K., in which he said, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today. I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming.

Click over to DOMINATE YOUR LIFE for more.

…and CUT!…and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions and welcome to all of the new faces this week.

Other carnival editions:
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 29
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 39
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 43
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 56

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