Movie Poster: Re-Animator

Re-Animator movie poster



Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: The Shock Labyrinth 3D

From Takashi Shimizu the director of Ju-on (The Grudge), a.k.a. the poor-man's Ringu (The Ring), comes yet another dark "creepy girl haunts and kills everybody" flick.  Expect a nihilistic worldview mashed with disorientating visuals which aren't meant to frighten teenagers.

This could be the next The Exorcist for all I know.  Based on this trailer, I'm not holding out too much hope.

 

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About Schmidt (2002)

Reviewer: Scott Nehring


Short Review: Even the most mundane life is beautiful, full of blessing and purpose...except for the portion dropped on watching this movie.


Boo-hoo life is meaningless! Sniffle-sniffle American life is drab and soulless. Waah! We’re all alone in the universe and we’re all going to die!

I loathe existentialists. What a bunch of navel-gazing crybabies. American existentialists are the worst. Their relentless carping about the horrors of American life makes me fume. At least European existentialists have funny accents when they whine. I like funny accents.

PhotobucketThe story follows the exploits of Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) a freshly retiree who is facing the end of life alone after his controlling wife passes away unexpectedly.  Schmidt's daughter is planning on marrying a man he doesn't think is worthy of her hand.  As he deal with these stressful life events, he comes to the realization that he has wasted his life and searches for the ability to find meaning in his closing years.

Sounds like fun doesn't it?

Like American Beauty and Sideways this film complains that American life is shallow, meaningless and cruel. Get your brain around the irony that Hollywood is complaining about people being shallow, meaningless and cruel.

Nicholson gives a rather nuanced performance and mixes well with the material.  His supporting case, including Hope Davis, Kathy Bates and June Squibb help give this production a sense of verisimilitude.  The problem is that you can have a production with great actors delivering detailed performances, you can toss in sharp dialog and a full budget, but if you're selling that your main audience is living meaningless lives your product is still insulting, misleading and wrong.

When I see productions such as this I see one thing, a disrespect for the audience at the basest level.  Here we have people of privilege, the elite class if you will, displaying the common folk as misguided, meaninglessness and lost.

No thank you.

The truth is that you and your life is unique and worth living.  Even if it seems mundane and unimportant.  You have no idea who your life impact those around you and the good that comes from your presence.  Productions like this are a lie.  You are loved, your life is vital and you are worth more than what is given to you like in films like this.

Life is too short for people who want to tell you your life stinks.



Other Critic's Reviews:
Cinematheque
San Francisco Chronicle


Getting Into "Into the Void"

PhotobucketGood News Film Reviews' very own Wayne Johnson has a new film in the works.  Into the Void tells the story of the last Christian in the universe who gets stranded in space.  He is picked up by a salvage ship, which is actually a slave ship.  The ship's captain is a brutal existentialist.  Which worldview will win out?

It may sound esoteric and heady, but this write up of the film over at Examiner.com will straighten that misconception out for you.


If you're interested in helping fund the film you can do so here.



The Scarlet Letter "R" - Conservatives in Hollywood

She [Morgan Brittany] said that while a starlet in her 20s she met with the late Jay Bernstein, who managed the careers of Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Somers back in the day, but the meeting went awry after Bernstein noticed the cross Brittany wore around her neck.She said Bernstein told her: "You're going to have to lose that, honey.

PhotobucketThere is a political bias in the entertainment industry.  There is also a religious bias.  I've seen it personally and so have all of the other conservatives and Christians I know who deal with the industry.

Here is a brief but telling article about Conservatives in Hollywood.

If you are young and you are Christian and/or politically conservative the best thing you can do is learn which battles to fight and when to fight them.  Unlike our liberal brethren, don't take offense to every slur and rant you come across.  The only way to overturn the intolerance of the industry is from the inside.  Expect to run into liberal jack-wagons along the way who will act like liberals act - like spoiled, unhappy children.

Get into positions of power, then stake your ground.

That's my advice.  Coming out of the political closet marks you and makes it dang near impossible to get anywhere.



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You Are What You See and learn
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Movie Poster: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride movie poster



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You Are What You See:
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Movie Trailer: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Okay before you press play, make sure to turn the volume up as high as it will go.  This trailer reminds me of a line from Dumb and Dumber: "Do you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?"






Don't you love how they have the summation at the end?  Just in case you didn't have the brain cells to put the sequental statements together, let's give it to you all at once.




Screen Shot: Bram Stoker's Dracula


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Movie Quote: 127 Hours (2010)

Aron Ralston
You know, I've been thinking. Everything is... just comes together. It's me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock... this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It's entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It's been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I've been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I've taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.




Movie Trailer: Daniel's Lot

As a Christian, I am extra sensitive to films which are created to promote, explain or explore my faith.  As I have stated numerous times, people who are making "Christian films" need to put their best foot forward, bring in the best talent available and deliver the strongest works.  We do not glorify God by making lousy movies.

What I see here is a low-budget Christian film that seems to be a tad blunt in its presentation.  I don't mean the actual film, I haven't seen it and can't speak to its value.  The trailer hints at on-the-nose dialog however.  I also see some early filmmaker errors such as unnecessary, obtuse camera angles such as the Dutch Angle used in the office and the breaking of the 180 degree rule.  These are not good signs.





Movie Poster: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame movie poster



Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Screen Shot: Dr. No


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All the President’s Men (1976)

Should I see it?
No.


This is a great example of a film that was once considered important but has been faded over the years. This portrayal of the team of Woodward/Bernstein working to bring down the Nixon Administration is interesting but heavy-handed even by today's standards.

If for no other reason it is because of the mystique that surrounds Woodward and Bernstein which gave birth to the activist journalist, which we now simply call "journalists". It is because of agitprop like this film that we have generations of journalists who claim they "want to change the world" instead of doing their job - telling the public what actually happened.

The film was made in the heat of the controversy of Watergate, before the implications of the scandal were fully known. A clear case of attempting to write history as it happens instead of letting time settle the facts.  I will dare to claim that had Nixon been a Democrat this film would have never been made.  This is not a biography or document of facts as much as it is a simple character assassination.  I'm certainly not an apologist for Nixon, but I'm not prone to be told what to think of him either. 


Related Reviews:
Political movies
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)


Other Critic's Reviews:
Celluloid Heroes
The Fresh Film Reviews


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You Are What You See:
Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens

Movie Trailer: Another Year

If this is anything like Happy-Go-Lucky it will be a wandering, odd waste of time.

This trailer sets up the film's tone. It fails to delve into the plot however which reduces the urgency to see the film. What is the call to see? Why shouldn't we just wait for the DVD? The ad fails to lay out why this is worth leaving the couch.





Movie Poster: Black Dynamite

Black Dynamite movie poster



Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Quote: The American (2010)

Father Benedetto
A man can be rich, if he has God in his heart.
 
Jack
I don't think God is very interested in me, Father.






Weekend DVD Recommendation: Paris, Texas (1984)

Reviewer: Scott Nehring


This week I have a serious treat for you.  Quite simply, this is one of the best movies ever made. 


 Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) comes stumbling out of the Texas desert worn, weak and delirious.  His brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) drops his successful life to come to his brother's aid.  He helps Travis regain his strength only to find Travis still is wounded.  He has to find and try to his estranged wife Jane (Natassja Kinski) and make amends for his sins against her.

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The screenplay was co-written by playwright (you know him as an actor) Sam Shepard.  If you are familiar with Shepard's stage plays you understand he has a strong, individual style and has a penchant for broken, hungry characters.  Director Win Wenders works perfectly with Shepard's writing and nails his tone and distinct voice. The empty feeling to the dialog and the natural sparseness to the scenes combined with the slide-guitar score by Ry Cooder make this a unique cinematic experience. 


The cast also delivers the goods.  The cast of Harry Dean Stanton and Dean Stockwell as brothers is a brilliant choice.  The two actors have rather direct deliveries and work off one another.  These aren't easy chunks of dialog and emotions to make work on film.  This is a theater piece through and through and one written by a master of the stage - not screen.  The pair handle the material and quickly draw the audience into their relationship.


The real gem of the film - the reason this isn't just good, it's important - is due to a monologue at the end of the film.  Harry Dean Stanton unleashes a gripping, gut wrenching, emotional explanation of his decimated marriage.  Stanton's delivery is Oscar-worthy and stands as the best monologue scene in the history of film.  Wender's plays some camera tricks that I won't spoil for you here, that are absolutely perfect.  The final confrontation scenes of the film are a true masterwork all of which leads to build up the final quiet moments.

This is a perfect movie for film buffs, theater geeks or anyone who enjoys quiet, well made cinema. 


Other DVD Recommendations:
Moon (2009)
In Bruges (2007)



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You Are What You See:
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Friday Rewind: Death Race (2008)

Reviewer: Scott Nehring


***Originally posted on January 2, 2009***


Should I see it?
Its called Death Race. What do you think?



Short Review: Again, its called Death Race. What do you think?




Actual Review: Listen, the stupid thing is called Death Race. What do you think?


Related Reviews:
Jason Statham movies
The Bank Job (2007)
The Transporter (2002)


Other Critic’s Reviews:
Oh My News
Popcorn Junkies



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You Are What You See: 

Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens


Movie Poster: Mad Max

Mad Max movie poster



Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Screen Shot: Sleuth


RoboChrist

In my book You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens I have an aside titled The Christ Posers where I discuss the use of the "Christ Pose" in film.  I begin the segment with this:

The Christ Posers
We all know the indelible image of  Jesus on the cross.  His arms outstretched, his hands elevated higher than his shoulders.  His legs crossed at the ankles, wrapped tightly in a straight line.  His head tilted in repose.  The image of Christ on the cross is a haunting, painful recollection of the horrors of His death and yet an awe inspiring reminder of His gracious gift to all how accept it. 

At Golgotha, Jesus was offered in ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind.  At that moment He exampled to each of us the ideals of sacrifice, duty and selfless love.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that film directors and producers constantly use this image of Christ for their own artistic and/or financial gain.

As if to make my point, Paul Verhoeven director of such cinematic gems as Showgirls, Starship Troopers and Basic Instinct, freely admits to utilizing the Christ pose in his film Robocop.  Moreover, he sees Robocop as a Christ-figure, which he is in the context of the film, because he is crucified, is resurrected and comes to save humanity.  Verhoeven went as far to have his hero literally walk on water specifically to make him replicate Christ.



Notice how he casually tosses out that the perversion of the Christ figure into a revenge seeking killing machine is his "American Christ".  He is using the model of Chris as a means to deliver a political message.  

In Verhoeven's mind, America is synonymous with violence, revenge and a lack of forgiveness.  One wonders if he believes if these traits are inherently and exclusively American?  If not, then what is saying?  If his hero is the American Christ then he must be conflating the term "American" with all manner of immoral acts.  

America is as much an idea as it is a country.  Early on, the American cinema would use the idea of America as a bucket into which they would put all of our society's dreams, hopes and positive attributes.  Today's cinema uses the idea of America as a spittoon they dump in all kinds of misery, brutality and corruption.  Verhoeven's rather simple view of America isn't a representation of the real country and its people as much as it is a take on the perception of the idea of America - perception, an notion, that has been warped by cynical directors just like Verhoeven himself.  Effectively, he is saying"American is such a violent and perverted society, I should make films that promote violence and perversion to show my disgust".  Another example of Hollywood serving a bowl of their own vomit and then complaining that dinner tastes bitter.

Just because someone models a character after Christ doesn't mean they are acting on His behalf.  The Christ post isn't Christ Himself.  It is a image of Him - our collective icon of his sacrifice.  Christ Himself cannot be altered or torn down.  Our perceptions of Him can be swayed however.  Whether in film, books or in discussion, referencing Christ alone does not equate Christian faith or thinking.





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Anthony Hopkins Talks About His Role in The Rite

Angela Walker of ChristianCinema.com has an interesting interview with Anthony Hopkins about his role as Father in the new film The Rite.

PhotobucketHopkins openly admits his uncertain faith, but unlike many of his contemporaires has the sense and class to respect other's beliefs.

"I think we all want certainty, but there is no certainty, and I think the thing that makes us very uncomfortable is that there is no certainty. I don't know what I believe at all, really, but I certainly hope I wouldn't be arrogant to doubt anyone's religion or belief."

Pointing to the strong belief of Einstein in a non-personal God as a mathematical intelligence who backed the cosmos and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others who sacrificed their lives in Nazi concentration camps for their church, he shrugs his shoulders and wonders aloud, "Who am I to refute anything?"

Click here for the full article.


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Movie Poster: Murders in the Rue Morgue

Murders in the Rue Morgue movie poster



Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Captain America Loses "America"

According to the LA Times, producers of the upcoming superhero movie Captain America: The First Avenger will get a name change for international audiences and it will simply be titled The First Avenger.
How do you sell a movie called “Captain America” to an overseas market? In South Korea, Russia and the Ukraine, apparently, the answer is you don’t even try.

The film “Captain America: The First Avenger” will have its title truncated to, simply, “The First Avenger” in those three overseas markets, according to Marvel Studios insiders. The choice was made by Marvel, Paramount Pictures’ international team and distributors in those three countries based on market research results. Those involved in the decision are being careful to frame the move as a matter of brand management and consumer awareness and not as a decision tilted by cultural or political winds.
Makes complete sense.  You see, people who aren't American are so unbelievably stupid that seeing the guy below just seems like your average yokel with no national identity.  Heck, they can just translate his name to Evil Kinevel and the poor illiterate dopes won't even know. 

Captain America The First Avenger

This sort of corporate cowardice has happened before.  If you recall back in 2006, Superman Returns changed the famous line to "Truth, justice and all that stuff." We can't have those precious foreign markets hearing the scary "A" word now can we? They may just start conflating that evil embarrassment America with positive heroic figures.


Has anyone thought that one of the reasons why marketers are forced to be so wimpy about displaying American is because of the forty years of America bashing by Hollywood producers? Nah, it has to be a coincidence.



Scott Nehring Christian Movie Reviews
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