Film · James Bond · Movie Review · Movies · Podcasts · Trek.fm

The 602 Club: Personal El Guapo

tsc-055-th-square-1440SPECTRE.

When one of the longest running and most revered movie franchises releases a new film it’s no question that expectations are going to be high as fans eagerly anticipate what is next for their favorite character, a Bond movie is no exception, especially with a name like SPECTRE and the possibilities brings.

In this episode of The 602 Club host M is joined by OO agents John Champion and Norman Lao talk about SPECTRE. We discuss our first impressions, continuing Bond, it’s all connected, an interesting question, under siege, new characters, Bond in love, the one ring, theme and music, if their were too many spy movies this year, mission evaluation, rankings and listener feedback.

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Film · James Bond · Movie Review · Movies

The 602 Club: Bottom of a Macallan Bottle

tsc-054-th-square-1440Skyfall.

There are few icons that find themselves still going as strongly as James Bond after being in pop culture for over 50 years. His stock skyrocketed on his 50th anniversary with the release of the 23rd film in the series. Bolstered by Sam Mendes as director, Roger Deakins as director of photography and a theme song by Adele that became a monster hit in it’s own right, Skyfall has become one of the most beloved movies in the James Bond saga.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by 00 agents John Champion and Norman Lao to talk about Skyfall. We discuss continuing Bond, the 50th anniversary, the shadows, new characters, an enemy that was once on the inside, the music and theme, wrapping up with our ratings.

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Listen here or on iTunes.

Film · James Bond · Kingsman · Movie Review · Movies · Podcasts · Trek.fm

The 602 Club 18: Mr. Darcy Kicks Ass

tsc-018-th-squareKingsman.

In 1962 Dr. No hit the big screen and James Bond became the gold standard for spy movies. Throughout the years many films have parodied or paid homage to the spy genre Austin Powers, In Like Flint, Never Say Never Again are just a few examples. Spy movies have continued to be some of the most successful film franchises with The Bourne series as well as Bond still going strong and upcoming sequels are currently the works.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Norman Lao to talk about the latest spy movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service based loosely on Mark Miller’c comic, The Secret Service. We discuss Matthew Vaughn choosing to direct Kingsman over Days of Future Past, being back in the spy game, the idea of a sequel, the themes of the film, the cast, whether seriousness ruins spy movies, plus a few things that just didn’t work.

Film · James Bond · Movies · Podcasts · The 602 Club · Trek.fm

The 602 Club 8: Here’s Your Next Dossier

tsc-008-th-squareJames Bond

The British secret service agent has been thrilling audiences with his adventures and conquests for over 50 years. Ranked number three in total franchise dollars, Bond continues to be one of Hollywoods longest running series.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by John Champion and Norman Lao discuss their love these films. From favorite Bonds, to movies and girls, we dive in to what makes Bond special to us, as well as speculate about the latest film, Bond 24. Listen Here

Film · James Bond · Movie Review · Movies · The Dark Knight Rises · Tolkien · Uncategorized

Best Movies of 2012

We are at the end of the year, so I thought I would go back over the list of movies that I have seen and give a quick rundown of my favorites. There is still one from this year that I would like to see and I may not have time to squeeze them in, Zero Dark Thirty. Unfortunately, Zero Dark Thirty is playing in limited release and is not in Dallas, so I will have to wait to see it in January when it goes national.

salmon-fishing-in-the-yemen-poster10. Salmon Fishing in Yemen 

I was won over by the performances in this film. I really enjoyed Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor together. This is one of those movies that is not afraid to have a happy ending and I like that. There is so much to enjoy here so I recommend this; it’s perfect for any weekend.

 

MV5BMzgwODk3ODA1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjU3NjQ0Nw@@._V1._SY317_CR0,0,214,317_9. Brave

I have been critical of Pixar in the past. I did not enjoy Ratatouille, Cars or Cars 2. Because of this I was extremely pleased with Brave. The animation is gorgeous and being set in Scotland won me over immediately. Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson are perfect as a mother and daughter that just can’t seem to see things from each other’s point of view. There are not a lot of children’s movies about mothers and daughters and Brave finally gives us a film about that dynamic. It is also refreshing to see a movie for kids about a nuclear family, since this is also a rarity. Well done Pixar; this is fun for anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale. For more on Brave go here.

The-Avengers-Movie8. Avengers

Even thought this is on the list at seven, it does not mean that I did not like this film. This is one of the best comic book romps ever. The casting is perfect and it all works, no matter how silly the story might be. This film will leave you excited to see the next time the Avengers assemble. My full review can be found here.

 

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7. Moonrise Kingdom

I enjoy Wes Anderson movies yet I am different than a lot of people in that I do not love The Royal Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic. This year I could not wait to see Moonrise Kingdom because, from the moment I saw the trailer I knew I was going to love it. I did not get to see it in the theaters, but that is the beauty of Netflix. This is a melancholy masterpiece. The story of identity, love and acceptance will leave you in tears if you let it; and as predicted, I loved this movie.

MV5BMTc3MjI0MjM0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTYxMTQ1OA@@._V1._SY317_CR0,0,214,317_6. Argo

Ben Affleck has been making a name for himself as a world-class director over the last few years. First he gave us Gone Baby Gone, then The Town and now he has branched out with his political thriller Argo. Affleck has not only directed but stared in this movie and everything he does works for me here. His casting is perfect and the story could not me more timely. Argo is a wonderful adult film that will leave your heart racing and your mind thinking long after it is over.

The-Hobbit-Part-1-An-Unexpected-Journey-2012-Movie-Poster-e13483392812555. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

There is not a movie that has had greater scrutiny this year than The Hobbit. So many critics gave this movie dismal reviews and yet the public has responded in droves. This movie lives up to it’s predecessors. The moment it starts you are back in Middle Earth. There could have been some editing down and there are a few moments that I did not love (Rock people and the last bit in the cave with the goblins), but over all it is worthy to stand alongside the other Lord of the Rings films. The messages of love holding back evil in the little things that people do every day is a powerful reminder. The Hobbit is fun from start to finish and will leave you longing for part 2 and 3. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on The Hobbit check out, The Observation Lounge episode, Wizards and Dwarves and Hobbits and Orcs and Goblins Oh My!.

220px-Dark_knight_rises_poster4. The Dark Knight Rises

This was the film I was most worried about. Ending a film franchise is one of the hardest things to do. Many have complained about Nolan’s last Batman film, but I am not one of them. I believe this is the best film in the group. This is a film about Bruce Wayne and the coming to terms with the consequences of creating the symbol of Batman. The questions of truth and living a lie come to the forefront, leaving each character grappling with the choices they have made in the previous two films. This was the end that surpassed every expectation I had for Batman’s final chapter. My full review is here.

220px-Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster3. Silver Linings Playbook

I have just gotten a chance to see this film and everything that I have heard about it is true. This is an amazing film. The acting is superb. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are spot on as people going through intense emotional and psychological issues. I was not sure how I they would work together on screen since he is 15 years her senior, yet she never for a moment lets you believe that she is not his equal.

This movie portrays so well the truth that putting our faith in the wrong thing always leads to heartache and disappointment. The things that we put our faith in need to be secure enough and big enough to withstand that faith. The answer of the film is partially correct, putting our love, trust and faith in the right person. What is missing is that it cannot be a human being. No human can ever fully or completely love another and not disappoint them in some way. There is only one thing that can fully sustain our full trust and faith, the immutable and unchanging God. Only he can full know and love us as the way our hearts desire.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

MV5BMjM1MzMzOTA3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTE3NzA1OA@@._V1._SY317_2. Skyfall

The Craig era of Bond has been the closest we have ever come to seeing the origin story of the most famous spy in the world. Sam Mendes has created one of the best Bond films ever. From the opening shot to the closing credits this film is gorgeous! This is Bond at his best; very few gadgets, spectacularly maniacal villain and supporting characters that truly have a place to shine. Mendes should be praised for giving Dame Judy Dench so much to do, she is truly the Bond girl of this film. Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are all welcome additions to the cast and will be great assets to the future films. This works not just as Bond movie, but also as a movie that has something to say about our world. It asks tough questions about how we respond to the scary, shadowy world we live in and because of this it deserves to be on every top ten list out there.

lincoln-poster_743x11001. Lincoln

No movie this year was more moving or more timely than this one. Coming out right after the election it was a painful reminder of how far politics has fallen in the United States. Lincoln was not afraid to use the power of the presidency to make this country better for the people, all the people. Daniel Day-Lewis is outstanding as Lincoln, showcasing home-spun wisdom while at the same time not being afraid to use ruthless political acumen in passing the 13th amendment, Lewis is perfect. Steven Speilberg has created a American masterpiece. My full review is here.

What where your favorite movies of the year? Leave me comment and let me know so I can make sure to see it!

Books · C.S. Lewis · Catching Fire · Christianity · Disney · Doctor Who · Faith · Film · James Bond · Movies · Star Wars · Tolkien

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Director Sam Mendes explains how Casino Royale saved James Bond:

On the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films, director Sam Mendes strives to make Bond brand new again — and his new movie,Skyfall, is so self-aware that the clash between old and new is at the center of it. Can an old-school agent like James Bond still exist in today’s world? What’s the point of a Cold War secret service in the 21st century?

Thinking About Aslan and Jesus with C. S. Lewis:

As an English professor, I have spent the last two decades guiding college students through the great books of the Western intellectual tradition. And yet, though I have taught (and loved) the works of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Dickens, I do not hesitate to assert that Aslan is one of the supreme characters in all of literature. Though many readers assume that Aslan, the lion king of Narnia who dies and rises again, is an allegory for Christ, Lewis himself disagreed.

New ‘Star Wars’ Will Be ‘Biggest Event Movie Ever,’ Says ‘Lost’ Co-Creator:

Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof remembers exactly where he was when he heard that Disney had bought LucasFilm. “I was in a production meeting next to Brad Bird for a movie we’re working on together,” he says. “A bunch of guys at the table started passing notes to each other. Suddenly I’m like the teacher at the front of the class. I was like, ‘Is there something you’d care to share with the rest of the class?’ I grabbed a napkin, and someone had written on it, ‘Disney bought Lucas Film!'”  

Catching Fire: Cruciform Heroes, Unconventional Villains and Breaking the Closed Circle of the Modern Bestseller:

A brief recap: in The Hunger Games piece, we examined a two-level voyeuristic scaffolding built by Suzanne Collins as the book meditates on our attraction to violence and suffering. The Gamemakers create a brutal world into which teenagers are plunged to fight to the death for the amusement of thousands in the fictional dystopia of Panem and, simultaneously, Collins herself is constructing that world as the author for the amusement of, by now, over a million contemporary readers. In our indignation against the Gamemakers for the horrors they perpetrate, we are ultimately drawn into a split between our own enjoyment of and demand for violent literature, on the one hand, and our moral outrage against its interior reflection in Panem, on the other. These sides of our nature clash (Romans 7), producing introspection and godly sorrow (2 Cor). The Hunger Games, at its conclusion, leaves two crucial questions unanswered: (1) why are we humans so attracted to violence and (2) what do we do about it? These set the thematic stage for Collins’s brilliant sequel, Catching Fire.

Doctor Who, Vincent van Gogh, and the Limits of Future Hope:

With the recent wave of BBC programs appearing on PBS (Downton Abbey, The Hour, Mr. Bean) it’s somewhat surprising that the 49 year old mainstay Doctor Who hasn’t enjoyed the same popularity. With time travel, aliens, and revisiting historical events, what’s not to like? Either way, this is a major oversight.

But I digress… a quick summary of the show’s premise and plot. The Doctor is a time traveler who has made it his mission to protect Earth from the multitude of extraterrestrials who threaten humanity, both in the past and future. Helping him in this quest is his the adventurous assistant Amy Pond. In Vincent and the Doctor, the Doctor notices a sinister, alien grimace within one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. He and Amy set off for 1890 Paris to investigate. What they find is a van Gogh who is the laughing stock of the entire town of Auvers-sur-Oise. Suffering from extreme depression, he has no money, friends, or family, and no one will buy his paintings. On top of all that, van Gogh is “hallucinating” to see a deadly alien lurking around town. Enter the Doctor and Amy to save the day (spoiler!).

Batman · Books · Christianity · James Bond · mbird.com · Movies · The Dark Knight Rises

Owl Post 7-30-12

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The Greatest Movie Franchises of All Time:

It’s our theory that to be “great,” a franchise can’t just sell tickets or please critics—it needs to do both. In November 2010 (for the seventh Harry Potter film) we compiled a list of the 50 greatest film franchises films of all time, weighing financial and critical success equally. Here’s how we did it:

  1. To determine the film’s financial success, we adjusted the grosses for each film in every series for inflation using a ratio of today’s average movie ticket price to the average cost the year the movie was released. We then ranked each franchise by its average commercial gross.
  2. To determine critical success, we ranked the franchises by the average Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ score for their films.
  3. We then found the average between the commercial and critical rankings for each franchise and then ranked by those averages.

The peace of Christ:

The tsunami of sin flooding the world today touches us all.  We add to it.  We suffer from it.  It is flooding our churches.  And many people are suffering for it.

If somehow we could all get together and gently swap stories, my hunch is we would be shocked at the mistreatment that has been dished out to many of us by churches – both by abusive leaders and by abusive members.  There is, of course, a difference between being hurt and being harmed.  I am not thinking of people who get their feathers ruffled and then howl their complaints.  I am thinking of people who have been harmed and wronged, people who have suffered slander, lies, loss of position, loss of reputation, loss of friends, and more.  Many reading this post have suffered in these and other ways.  It is shocking what churches can do – both leaders and members.

Is There Room for Erotica in Christianity?

I knew there wouldn’t be a second date the moment the guy asked this question:

“How do you feel about strip clubs?”

Not for ‘em, I said.

“What about porn?”

Are you kidding?

In the conversation that followed, I rebutted his defenses of both. He, a Christian (nominally, at least), was a consumer of erotic media, convinced that using it can be good. He is the only Christian I’ve met who has defended pornography. But he is not the only Christian who defends other kinds of erotic media.

Man’s rare vision problem cured after Hugo 3D rebooted his brain:

We always like to think movies can bring us together and heal our souls with fun and laughter. But apparently, some movies can literally cure some ailments—and Hugo 3Dhas rectified a man’s lifelong vision problems.

How Literature Can Aid Your Worship:

It’s no accident or coincidence that God gives us His spoken Word in the form of a book. God chose to reveal Himself to us through words, and written words at that. For this reason, words are important, and books are important, much more than we often give them credit for.

The Dark Knight Rises Reviews and Commentary:

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that he wants to die bodily as well. In The Dark Knight Rises, we see different forms of death that look like life and different forms of life that appear as death. “A Death blow is a Life blow to Some…” as Dickinson had it.

A Path Through Three Prisons: Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, Pt 1

However strong and intelligent and wealthy and resourceful Bruce Wayne may be, his journey is one continually marked by failure. In fact, in each of Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films our protagonist’s path takes him into a different prison where he is confronted with his own guilt and weakness. In the first prison, a lost Bruce is invited to walk the road that will make him a legend. In the second, he is manipulated into a game that ends in tragedy and infamy. Bruce is sent, bleeding and broken, to die in the third prison, and yet it is from this final incarceration that he emerges to become the savior of his beloved city, a city that many don’t believe is worth saving. While Batman may be a persona created to battle injustice and symbolize the hope of freedom from the oppression of crime and fear, his identity is forged in imprisonment. Moreover, it is there, in prison, that we are shown glimpses of what Bruce Wayne scarcely realizes he is struggling to be free from.

The Dark Knight Rises: the REAL love story

“Maybe it’s time we stop trying to outsmart the Truth and let it have it’s day!”

Althought Alfred Pennyworth realizes this 8 years too late, he’s the first one to voice it in the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. I hit this issue with a broad pass in our spoiler-free video review, but now we’ll careen into SPOILER territory (you’ve been duly warned) with these follow-up posts by looking individually atAlfred, Bruce, Gordon, Blake and Selina.

The Dark Knight Rises: out of cryostasis

“You’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it.” – U2

Walled up in Wayne Manor with scraggly facial hair, a cane, and endless depths of remorse, Bruce Wayne is a defeated man. He’s stuck in a moment eight years ago, and even an energy project that might have given him new purpose has been mothballed. When he visits Wayne Tower, Lucius Fox jokes that he’s come “out of cryostasis”. Left without his earthly love, and having sacrificed his role as Batman, he’s an empty vessel with seemingly nothing left.

Skyfall: James Bond 23