Movie Poster: Citizen Kane

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Movie Trailer: The Kids Are All Right

There is so much social marketing going on in this trailer I am at a loss to being pointing it all out.

Lesbian moms, both attractive of course, because lesbians tend to look a lot like Julianne Moore and less like Madeline Albright, have two embarrassed and wanting children. They are doing just fine and then the slacker guy who donated his sperm comes into their lives and attempts to become the paterfamilias.

The New York Times blurbs "a generous, nearly note-perfect portrait of a modern family"

You see, its the modern family. One would have to assume if your house is based in a stable fashion, y'know, one with a mom and dad who are married and refrain from making jokes about fellatio over dinner with their children present, you aren't modern - you're out of step.

This is social marketing through and through. If you don't know what social marketing is, its what people used to call propaganda. I don't mind movies with homosexual characters or references, I hate movies that presume to tell me its no different than heterosexuality.




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Movie Trailer: Grown Ups

The reason they have to put the actor's names on screen with the arrows pointing to them is because they think you're too stupid to figure out who they are.

Granted, people who think this looks funny may actually be that dumb...I guess it's probably a good idea. While they're at it, they better put in a laugh track too so their audience knows when to laugh.




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Movie Trailer: Get Low

Now this is a trailer. It sets up the premise, shows the personality of the film and promises a pay off. It baits the line perfectly.

I saw this was coming and didn't give it too much thought.

I'm sure thinking about it now.

If this doesn't get your interest, I don't know what to do for you.




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RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

For Burton...


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Movie Quote: Dumb and Dumber

Lloyd
What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?

Mary
Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...

Lloyd
Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary
Not good.

Lloyd
You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary
I'd say more like one out of a million.

[pause]

Lloyd
So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*







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Defiance (2008)

Should I see it?
Sure.


Short Review: At 137 minutes, you'll start to think you've sat in front of this movie longer than the refugees in the film were hiding from the Nazis.


Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell portray the Bielski Brothers who lead a group of upward of 1,000 Jewish refugees in Nazi-occupied Europe. They survive by hiding in the Belorussian forests living meekly and constantly worried about being discovered. They eventually hook up with the Russian resistance and then there's lots of guns and fire and stuff.

This should be a great movie and it isn't.

Daniel Craig, while perfectly fine in many roles involving brooding, violent men, doesn't work here. He can look convincing when he hits a man, he looks like he can put some stank on it. However, he shows here he has a little trouble hitting a man and making us care he's done so. His James Bond physical presence has its place and he's great at it. It simply has no place in a film about Jews scraping a living in a freezing forest.

Opposite Craig is Lev Schreiber who offers what I think is perhaps his best performance. He strikes the right tone for dramatic action. Throughout the film it occurred to me that he should have been cast in Craig's role. This should have been his chance to graduate from supporting to lead role.

The film as a whole is far too long and often too concerned with punching up conflicts. The audience is asked to hop from one crisis to the next, always preoccupied with a moment of peril or someone screaming at someone else that it is hard to settle down enough to really care about the proceedings. By the third act, my interest was exhausted.

Director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond) not only drags the production out too long, he fails to provide a useful villain. If that wasn't bad enough, he never brings the audience into the living conditions of the refugees. We are told and shown that it stinks to be hiding out in the woods in the dead of winter - we know this. We are never asked to feel how terrible the conditions were, to really have any understanding of their predicament.

Put simply, this is a missed opportunity.




Related Reviews:
Daniel Craig movies
Layer Cake (2003)
Casino Royale (2006)


Other Critic’s Reviews:
Critical Mass Film House
ReelFilm Reviews





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Movie Poster: Taste the Blood of Dracula

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It's like the Da Vinci Code but without the lies and bigotry and it has nothing to do with any of that Jesus' kid stuff

I just received word from my publisher regarding the book:

"Mr Nehring, I have the pleasure to inform you that one copy of You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens will reside with His Holiness in the Vatican archives"

Not bad for something I wrote in my basement.



Interested in joining my Facebook page? C'mon, you know you want to. The book will be on presale soon. Facebook folks will get a little extra thrown in for good measure.

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Movie Poster: Rio Bravo

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Movie Trailer: Toy Story 3

This should be a slam dunk. The premise is simple, Andy, the boy from the original movies is now grown and going back to college. The toys of his childhood are dumped off at a daycare center. To the toys, the daycare center is little more than a retirement community.

One catch, apparently the twist is that the toys become dissatisfied with daycare and plot to return "home" to where Andy can be found. Here's the kicker: ANDY CONCURS WITH THEIR CHOICE BECAUSE HE WANTS THE TOYS BACK.

The guy is in college and he wants his toys? So, do they actually show him smoking pot or is it just inferred?

UPDATE: I've seen the film and the description of the movie I was provided was bunk. Andy does not desire his toys back in an overt fashion. He attempts to store them in the attic and they are accidentally donated to the daycare. Andy is then irritated by this but gets on with his life. Hardly the "pining for his toys" concept I was given.

There you are kids, proof you have to be careful which sources you cite.




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Movie Quote: Lake Placid

Sheriff Hank Keough
I... I... I never heard of a crocodile crossing an ocean.

Hector Cyr
Well, they conceal information like that in books.










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Doubt (2008)

Should I see it?
Yes.


Short Review: A Hollywood movie about a priest homosexual/pedophile sex scandal. The only doubt I had was whether this was going to be fair. It was.


The persistent issue of homosexual pedophiles in the priesthood has been a devastating blight on the Catholic Church. To be fair, there are plenty of pedophiles in the clergy across all faiths and denominations. The rest of the denominations tend to get a pass on these crimes (in term of the media attention). It is the lurid acts of gay priests that really gets the attention of the press and activists.

The film industry, despite all of its self-created marketing to claim otherwise, is generally not a hot bed of gentleness and deep thought. A subject like a scandal involving a priest raping a boy is hardly something one would expect to be treated calmly with any measure of fairness. John Patrick Shanley, who wrote and directed this film, offers a careful film centered on such a sex scandal.

Father Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), runs a Catholic school. Father Flynn's collar is a bit loose and he tends to flaunt the tight rules of the institution in favor of a more personable approach to his mission. Countering him is Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep). She is wound tighter than an obsessive-compulsive's shoelaces. She is a law and order nun, down the line, who lords over her fiefdom with a scowl and iron fist. Beneath Beauvier is Sister James (Amy Adams) a mousy young nun who leans more towards Flynn's approach.

Beauvier comes to suspect that Flynn has been sexually abusing a student. She confronts him only to be rebuffed by his outraged denials. Lacking irrefutable proof, but knowing in her bones she is right to convict the man, Beauvier presses to have him removed. Flynn, not a completely innocent man outside of the accusations, tries to deny her moves.

Shanley wisely avoids digging too deeply into the sexual aspects of the charges and focuses on the subjects of pride, authoritarianism and justice. The rape accusation isn't pushed aside but it isn't the point. It is there to raise the stakes and give the conflict urgency.

Streep and Hoffman are a strong pairing and play off one another with impressive results. Streep's other partner, Amy Adams also work well. Adams is not of the same caliber, or at least doesn't appear to be, as her cast mates. She can play the doe-eyed innocent however and in contrast to Streep's sneering maternal figure, she fades into the background at times.
If you had been avoiding this film due to the assumption that it was little more than a strike against Catholics or Christianity in general, you can put those fears aside. The overall film has less to do with the clergy and more to do with the flawed people who hold the roles.


Related Reviews:
Meryl Streep movies
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Julie and Julia (2009)


Other Critic’s Reviews:
The Austin Chronicle
J&C's Movie Reviews




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Movie Poster: The Kingdom

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Movie Trailer: Paper Man

Let me make sure I got this right.

The film centers on a loser fifty-odd-year-old man who lures a twenty-year-old to his lonely shack in the woods. Oh, and he's insane because he hallucinates a kinda creepy looking, presumptively gay superhero.

That's the movie.

I got that right?

How could this ever lose?




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The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

***Thanks to Burton from Burtonia for his guest review. He must think this is great stuff, his words to me "I have never written a review because I wanted more people to see something, until today."***


Should I see it?

Absolutely.



Twenty-four years ago, an Iranian wife and mother was falsely accused by her husband of adultery, in order that he might marry a fourteen year-old girl without having to support two families or return a dowry. The local pederast Mullah collaborated in fabricating evidence and railroading a conviction. She was buried to the waist, then stoned to a bloody pulp by the village's men, including her sons and father.

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a movie about this brutal crime. It can be difficult to tell a story in which the ending is vividly telegraphed in the title, but the filmmakers nonetheless relentlessly draw the audience in. The setting is misogynistic and claustrophobic. The characters are desperate and sympathetic. The framing device (a journalist stumbling on the facts) perfectly heightens the drama.

But this is hardly entertainment. Most scenes are filmed in bright sunlight, but it is the camera that shines a blinding light on male prejudice, evil religion, and black motives. Muslim women, trapped between the misogyny of their religion's founder and the selfish privilege of sick cultures, have found a worthy advocate in this film.

Nearly as sad as the Soraya's fate, however, has been this film's obscurity. Its entire domestic gross equaled approximately fifteen minutes worth of Avatar's opening weekend. I am writing this review in the hopes that at least one person will watch this painful movie, and be moved by it.

Rated R for a realistic portray of stoning, which is a ridiculous commentary on the rating system, as this film is actually beneficial for teenagers, in contradistinction to the soul-destroying toxins in most PG-13 movies.


Related Reviews:
Osama (2003)
The Syrian Bride (2004)


Other Critic's Reviews:

Big Hollywood (Joe Bendel)
The Huffington Post (Chip Hanlon)





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Be the first kid on your block to join my new Facebook Page.

Why join my Facebook page? Because all the cool kids are doing it. That's why.

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If that doesn't float your boat, then why not join my Facebook page for my upcoming book You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens. Get the latest news, insight and promotional stuff! Besides, it will feed my tender ego.

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Movie Trailer: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

A great subject for a documentary - if it's on the level.

Given that the trailer drags out ol' Tricky Dick and Kissinger as the villains attempting to hide something, while ignoring the scope of what the Pentagon Papers revealed, indicates this probably is slanted.

The "Pentagon Papers" are actually United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense. 1945-1967...what is it about that span of time? hmm...

President Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
President Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961
President John F. Kennedy 1961-1963
Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969

Oh, that's it, for the whole 22 years, 8 were under a Republican administration. 14 years of Democratic control ignored and the thing is hung on Nixon.

I wonder if the film bothers explaining LBJ's flagrant lies and misdirections about Vietnam? What of JFK's involvement in the region? If not, its a crock.




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Directors: Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich





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Movie Poster: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

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Non-Film Related Post of the Day: Beekeeping

Wanna know what I do when I'm not suffering through the latest heap of cinematic trash or whining about it here?

Well, as of today, I do this:




I guess I need to start a bee blog now.





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Movie Trailer: Season of the Witch

Deliver us from crappy movies.

Ironic that he says "Finish it!" at the end. I was thinking the exact same thing about the trailer. Phew, this one goes on a while. Then again, that could just be because watching Nicholas Cage do his tired drawl...hey, shouldn't he have an accent?




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Screenwriter: Bragi F. Schut
Director: Dominic Sena (Whiteout)
Actors: Nicholas Cage (Bangkok Dangerous), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Robert Sheehan, Stephen Campbell and Christopher Lee (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)






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Friday Rewind: Faith Like Potatoes (2006)

***Originally posted May 12, 2009***


Should I see it?

Sure.


Short Review: Film Like Paint Drying.


Faith Like Potatoes

First things first - nice title. Faith Like Potatoes? Yeah, that will get the DVDs flying off the shelves.

"Hey Honey, do you want to watch Bolt, The Wrestler or Yes Man?"

"I don't know...is there anything with a nonsensical title that sounds like an immigrant confusing a metaphor?"

Faith Like Potatoes. Nice title.

Okay, on with the movie.

Outstanding cinematography, notable performances, good story...all stretched out to make it all go on and on longer than it needs to.

Angus, a quick tempered Scotsman farmer is forced to leave his Zambian farm because of the racist land claim by the government - white farmers were getting their lands taken from them. He relocates his family in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and starts fresh. He begins with nothing but a tractor and a small plot of land. He fails, has trouble and a deeply transforming tragedy which leads him to give his life to God. He changes his focus which changes his life and the lives of those around him. The story is positive, meaningful and interesting. The film doesn't fully live up to the story but it does give a valiant effort.

Director Regardt van den Bergh clearly knows what he's doing but in this instance it appears the story gets away from him from time to time. He has trouble smoothing out the transitions and Angus' emotional arcs. He flips from one scene to the next with the gentleness of yanking on someone's collar. The scenes don't quite fit, or at least they don't pass to one another organically. The transitions have a television feeling, rather than those from a film.

Frank Rautenbach, who is South African, gives an impressive performance. The man is a good lead. However, his accent may be too thick for some American viewers. There are times where the South African doing a Scottish accent can be a bit trying. If you can grapple with the accent you will find a surprisingly strong actor in his first big role.

Again, the film does drag in many scenes. I don't think one can accurately review this film without mentioning the dry spots. Admitting this, the film does still have quite a bit to offer. It takes place in a part of the country that's largely ignored. It shows the chaotic life and the awkward race relations in Africa in a honest manner. It also deals with the issues of faith and the redemptive power of God to change people. The spiritual aspects aren't overwhelming and handled with respect but also with some delicacy. Angus is an ass, but he redeems himself and the transformation makes for some good drama. Luckily, the film manages to avoid the preachy, hollow vibes of other faith-based films.

But, phew, there are some scenes that are so dry I expected a tumbleweed to blow by in the background.


Christian Films:
Heart of Texas (2008)
The Visitation (2006)


Other Critic's Reviews:
DVD Verdict
DVD Reviews





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Movie Poster: The Brain that Wouldn't Die

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Comment of the Day: Mom, I'll Get to My Homework After I Finish This Needless Comment on an Obscure Christian Blog!

I love my readers. Even the ones who like to comment or e-mail me offline to tell me I'm an ignoramus. Heck, I even love Tessa who once suggested that I should be raped and contract A.I.D.S. because of my review of The Constant Gardener. God bless her. I don't think I've ever been that passionate about anything.

I had a child comment today on my review of The Invention of Lying. He complained about my moral concerns with the movie and my stating that the main character attempted to rape another character. I read his comment and then gave it the attention it deserved. Another way of putting it is that I read his comment, found it lacking in substance and brimming with misplaced indignation and then rejected it.

Yes, I reject comments.

The teen took a break from popping zits and figuring out how he's going to ask Molly in Study Hall if she likes him or not to write the following AN HOUR AFTER POSTING HIS FIRST COMMENT:

Oh, so you need to approve these comments? Just so you know, if you don't approve my previous comment, it will only prove that you are unable to formulate a response and cannot deal with criticism. I would appreciate a refutation in response, if you even choose to show my comment.

I get nonsensical, overly defensive claptrap like this all the time. It usually takes a day rather than an hour, but the above is pretty stock "pay attention to me" stuff.

Well, our pubescent pal has prompted me to offer this brief explanation of my comment policy. I don't believe in all of my years that I have laid out my policy before, so I'm due.

  • I monitor all comments thanks to spammers and foul-mouthed ninnies.
  • I monitor all comments thanks to morons who have comprehension issues.
  • I monitor all comments because I pay the bills here.
  • I do not accept all comments because not all comments are acceptable.
  • If your point is to tell me that I am an ass, don't bother. I'm married. I have a full-time staff to handle that job.
  • Just because you comment doesn't mean you get to be on my site. If I feel I have your point and don' t think its going to add to any discussion on or offline, then it hits the trash.
  • I love comments correcting me, but only when they actually correct something.
  • I had a long argument with a man once, on an Australian site I used to write for, whether it was acceptable for a father to allow his son to have sex with a dog. I fronted the "no sex with dogs" brigade. Since that horrible experience, I am not in favor of arguing with strangers if they clearly are amoral nincompoops. Please don't argue against common decency. While you think you're being open-minded, you're just being a dink.
  • Finally, I reserve the right to reject your comment if I get the feeling it will irk you. I find that funny.
There we are. That should clear things up. Oh, and to my teeny-bop reader - thanks for stopping in. I appreciate your comment and hope you come back.






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Movie Trailer: The Exploding Girl

For all the praise blurbs they spatter on the screen, there is precious little happening in the trailer. As far as ads go, this stinks. What is the call to see here? Two teens may or may not be dating and the chick may or may not be having seizures. Sounds like a barn burner.

This may be the most touching film ever made, with a trailer like this it wouldn't matter because no one will see it.






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Screenwriter: Bradley Rust Gray
Director: Bradley Rust Gray
Actors: Mark Rendall (30 Days of Night), Zoe Kazan, Hunter Canning and Maryann Urbano





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