Film · Movie Trailers · Movies · Rogue One · Star Wars · Uncategorized

Star Wars: Rogue One – Trailer

r1_payoff_1sht_v6_lgSet between the time of the Prequels and firmly in the “Dark Times” of Imperial rule, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells the daring tale of how the Death Star plans got in to the Rebellion’s hands in Star Wars. Blending the feel of The Clone Wars, Rebels and Star Wars, this could be the best Star Wars movie since Revenge of the Sith!

The movie stars Felicity Jones of The Theory of Everything, Mads Mikkelsen of Casino Royale, Ben Mendelsohn of The Dark Knight Rises, Forest Whitaker of The Last King of Scotland and Alan Tudyk of Firefly. The release date is December 16th, 2016.

Make sure you check out the Star Wars: A 602 Club Collection on iTunes for more great Star Wars reviews and conversation as well as Aggressive Negotiations: A Star Wars Podcast.


 


 

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Batman · DC Comics · Film · George Lucas · Movie Trailers · Movies · Star Wars · Superman

The Force Awakens and Batman V Superman Trailers

Both of these films will be monster hits and both of them will have their haters. For me, I am just as excited for each one. Star Wars looks to be capturing the entire saga’s weight and carrying it forward, BvS looks to challenge us with all the right questions and differentiate itself from what came before, boldly going where no superhero movie has gone before. It is a great time to be a geek! Look for upcoming discussions of both trailers in The 602 Club, coming soon.

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 

Film · Man of Steel · Movie Review · Movie Trailers · Podcasts · Superman

The 602 Club 15: Road to Becoming the Icon

tsc-015-th-squareMan of Steel.

Every once in a while there is a film that arrives that ignites fandom and creates visceral polarization, Man of Steel has been one of those movies. People seem to love it or hate it, in fact it’s Rotten Tomatoes score indicates that in it’s 55% critical reception. As the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe, it’s an important film that has set the tone for the movies slated to arrive through the year 2020.

In this super edition of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Justice League members Daniel Proulx, Norman Lao and Will Nguyen to discuss this new take on the original superhero’s beginning. We talk about Krypton, the new Superman suit, the nonlinear nature of the storytelling, Lois Lane and the military, the deaths of Jonathan Kent and Zod as well as the nature of this film as a true origins movie. Listen Here.

Film · Movie Review · Movie Trailers · Movies · The Hunger Games · Uncategorized

The 602 Club 7: At Least They Put A Bird On It

TSC007-Thumbnail-SquareMockingjay Part 1.

Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games series took the world by storm in 2008 and has continued to do so through the film adaptations. 

Host Matthew Rushing is join by Andi VanderKolk in The 602 Club to discuss the first part of the finale Mockingjay Part 1. Together they dive into the first two films, the decision to split the final book into two movies, while dissecting the themes and topical nature of the series and rounding out the discussion with the validity of female lead films.

Film · Movie Trailers · Movies · Star Wars · The Force Awakens · Uncategorized

The 602 Club S1: Is It Up?

The Force Awakens Teaser.tsc-0S1-th-square

Fans around the world were beside themselves when they learned that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Disney, who immediately announced that they were going to be continuing the Star Wars saga on the big screen.

Now the first look at the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens is here and with it the speculation wars have begun. In this supplemental episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by John Mills, Will Nguyen and Daniel Proulx to dissect 88 seconds of Star Wars. Together they discuss the things they like, things they don’t, speculate on the story and how they feel about the film now.

Books · Christianity · Facebook · Faith · Guardians of the Galaxy · Harry Potter · JK Rowling · Man of Steel · Movie Trailers · Movies · Music · social media · Superheroes · Superman · Technology · Twitter · YA Novels

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Exclusive: Read J.K. Rowling’s new post for the latest Harry Potter ‘gossip’

550w_movies_harry_potter_epilogue_4Can’t get enough of Harry Potter? Then this is for you. Since March, best-selling author J. K. Rowling has been writing original stories about the imaginary 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals for Pottermore, the online home for the world of Harry Potter. 

Rowling shared her latest Pottermore.com story exclusively with TODAY.com. Written in the voice of the fictional Daily Prophet’s gossip correspondent Rita Skeeter, this post centers around the reunion of Harry Potter and his friends at the Quidditch World Cup Finals. Click here for the new Harry Potter Story 

For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story

taylor-swift-red-largeWhere will the music industry be in 20 years, 30 years, 50 years?

Before I tell you my thoughts on the matter, you should know that you’re reading the opinion of an enthusiastic optimist: one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying…it’s just coming alive

Gbj6CRxJustice’ is served with another helping of Superman

Who’s better, Superman or Batman? Zack Snyder doesn’t have to choose a favorite since he’s getting to put both on the big screen at the same time.

The director of last year’s Man of Steel doubles down on A-list superheroes in his follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (in theaters May 6, 2016), teaming a returning Henry Cavill as the big guy in the cape and “S” on his chest with Ben Affleck as the latest cinematic incarnation of the Dark Knight.

Europe Is Starting to Take American Soccer Seriously (Seriously!)

article-2594795-1CC15A9B00000578-590_634x457Did American soccer just win the football world’s respect?

The World Cup is over for the U.S.A. after a heartbreaking loss to Belgium. But that defeat made for what some regard as perhaps the best match of a tournament that has thrilled from the start. More importantly, the U.S. has been called a “world-class team” by the likes of Barry Glendenning, the ever-critical football writer from The Guardian. Glendenning is perhaps not the Supreme Leader of Football (that title belongs to Sepp Blatter), but he is near the epicenter of international football, and he does not compliment teams lightly.

The real story behind the war over YA novels

91o13sPo7VLFew categories of literature right now seem to receive the level of hatred reserved for young adult fiction, which is the subject of nearly endless editorials on its supposed inanity, excessive sexuality, darkness, and girlyness. It doesn’t escape notice that there’s a strong whiff of sexism underlying the wave of YA hate—the genre is heavily dominated by women, and female authors can recount their experiences with sexism first hand.

Coming Out as a Christian

social-mediaI’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live transparently—especially when it comes to my digital life. For as long as I’ve been on social media (I first joined Facebook in 2005), I’ve oscillated between expressing myself honestly and expressing contrived personas that I broadcast on Twitter, Instagram, and everywhere else.

Take, for instance, my well-documented love of Rolling Rock. Anyone who follows me on any website knows I’ve posted endlessly about the famously watery beer for the past three years. My Instagram feed was once a veritable shrine to Rolling Rock. My friends gave me four cases of it for my birthday last year. Heck, my Twitter fan club (yes, it’s still weird to me, too) uses a picture of Rolling Rock as its header image! I know how to advertise my love for a product.

Books · Christianity · Faith · Graduation · Guardians of the Galaxy · Marriage · Movie Trailers · The Gospel · Tim Challies · Tolkien

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My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage, New Birth, and the Gospel

ring-tattoos-13Today is the day of my wedding.  And I am not marrying the girl of my dreams.

If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos, a history in drugs, alcohol, and attending heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike.  My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.

When Gifts Lose Their Luster

giftThere are times I grow weary of good things. Things I love. Things I would not want to live without. Things that have the ability to make my heart beat a little bit faster and keep my mind racing when I ought to be asleep. They are good things, but somehow, through time or familiarity or neglect or something else, they begin to feel not so good. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it seems to be yet another cost of being a sinful person in a sinful world. Even the best things feel like bad things at times.

Advice to High School Graduates: ‘You Are Not Special’

graduation-hats1On a spring day in 2012, Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr., stepped onto the school’s football field, then covered in a sea of seniors dressed in identical caps and gowns. Clad in a blazer and striped tie, McCullough made his way to the podium, donned his reading glasses, and began his commencement speech. Nothing about the event seemed out of the ordinary. McCullough, after all, was participating in a ritual that happens hundreds of thousands of times across the United States each year. He had given graduation speeches before.

But compared to the countless other remarks given by comedians, journalists, and politicians that year, McCullough’s speech stood out for its blunt, four-word message: “You are not special.”

Kirsten Powers: Liberals’ Dark Ages

darkagesWelcome to the Dark Ages, Part II. We have slipped into an age of un-enlightenment where you fall in line behind the mob or face the consequences.

How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card.

Waving His Wand at ‘Beowulf’

packshotThere’s more to J. R. R. Tolkien than wizards and hobbits. The author of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” was also an Oxford University professor specializing in languages like Old Norse and Old English.

“Beowulf” was an early love, and a kind of Rosetta Stone to his creative work. His study of the poem, which he called “this greatest of the surviving works of ancient English poetic art,” informed his thinking about myth and language.

Christianity · Dating · Family · Film · Hollywood · Marriage · Movie Review · Movie Trailers · Movies · porn · Pornography · Star Wars · The Clone Wars · Timothy Keller

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STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS’ FINAL SEASON, “THE LOST MISSIONS,” TO HIT NETFLIX ON MARCH 7:

Exclusive Licensing Agreement with The Disney/ABC Television Group Brings Star Wars Content to Netflix Streaming Members for the First Time

The Galactic Republic, Disney/ABC Television Group, Lucasfilm, and Netflix Inc. today announced the highly anticipated debut of the sixth and final season of the Emmy(r) Award-winning series Star Wars: The Clone Wars exclusively to Netflix members in the US and Canada on Friday, March 7. Accompanying the 13-episode new season dubbed “The Lost Missions” will be the entire Star Wars: The Clone Wars saga, which includes several director’s cut episodes never seen on TV as well as the feature film. This multi-year agreement also makes Netflix the exclusive subscription service for the entire Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.

The Economics of Sex:

One of the most interesting and thought provoking videos I have seen in a long time.

Everything Is Awesome: Grace in The LEGO Movie:

hr_The_LEGO_Movie_10I would write a review of this movie, but this says it so much better that I ever could.

Some thoughts on grace and the new LEGO movie come from Michael Belote, author of the wonderful reboot:Christianity blog and author of Rise of the Time Lords, doubtless the best (review here) geeky intro to Christian doctrine available.

Something weird is happening in Hollywood. Just four months ago, the world was introduced to Frozen, a children’s movie chock-full of theological nuance. As I wrote at the time, I felt like this was the best theological movie in years, and figured it would be quite a while until I saw something similar.

Boy was I wrong.

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Your Son to Use Pornography:

unhappy-wifeBefore I get into five sure-fire ways to motivate your son to use pornography, let me establish two important points. First, no parents want their child to become involved in porn. We all can agree. The problem for many of us is we don’t understand the insidious allurement of pornography and how our behavior, though unintentional, can help shape a child to crave something that can lead him into a lifetime of slavery.

Pascal’s Method for Presenting the Christian Faith:

blaise-pascalMen despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.”

Blaise Pascal was a brilliant 17th-century French mathematician and physicist who had a dramatic Christian conversion experience and thereafter devoted much of his thought to Christianity and philosophy. He began to assemble notes and fragments he hoped would be woven into a book called The Defense of the Christian Religion, but he died just two months after his 39th birthday and it was never written. Those fragments, however, were published as Pensees (“Thoughts”), and it has become one of the most famous Christian books in history.

Books · ebooks · Film · Marriage · Movie Trailers · Movies · Pornography · Sherlock

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The Decline of the American Book Lover:

354750466_1383346651The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.

Why Classic Movies Have Terrible Trailers:

imgpulp20fiction1Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, originally released in 1994, has aged gorgeously. It’s one of those rare films that can be watched and re-watched for 20 years and remain as shocking, vivid, and irresistible as the year it was released.

The 1994 trailer, however, now seems corny and dated by comparison.

Porn and Future Marriage:

Indulgence in pornography is not a problem that only young, unmarried boys face. It’s an epidemic that stretches into the realm of men who are married and women of all kinds (young or old, married or not). However, this post is aimed particularly toward young, unmarried men. The reason I am speaking to this particular group is because I know from firsthand experience the complications that this addiction causes for young men and their future marriage.

On TV: BBC’s Sherlock, “The Empty Hearse”:

673acbad-274c-42fe-96c5-83aabb26bf5e_sherlock-season-3BBC’s Sherlock has become one of my favorite shows on television, and it was immensely fun having some new material and quelling the peremptory curiosity left by the end of last season. It was genuinely enjoyable seeing Holmes back on the screen, even though, last night, Sherlock’s self-absorbed callousness was especially in-your-face – sort of making me wonder why I like BBC’s Holmes at all. All of his flaws were on high display, and they were made all the more irritating by his inability to apologize. And yet he remains compelling, not just immensely likeable, but even lovable, an obsession for some viewers (myself included) which the showrunners not-so-subtly parodied with The Empty Hearse Fan Club. And Sherlock’s disdain for them parallels Moffat’s condescension to the his viewers, opening the episode with a wild bungee jump and James Bond-esque kiss of Molly, followed by a breezy departure. Certainly some viewers would enjoy such action-hero panache, but we’re made to understand, early on, that this conventional smoothness isn’t, at all, who Sherlock is.

Christianity · Faith · Family · Film · Movie Review · Movie Trailers · Movies

Frozen – Review (One I did not write)

Frozen-New-Banner-disney-frozen-35651497-1024-320

I was going to write a review of Disney’s new animated film Frozen until I came across this review at reboot:Christianity. The review said everything that I wanted too and I’ll humbly admit, much more eloquently than I could. I hope you enjoy the review and if you have not seen Frozen then please do. It’s brilliant and deserves your support in the theater; thereby encouraging more films of this quality to be produced.

The best theological movie in years

Every year on Black Friday, my wife goes shopping and the boys and I go to my parents’ house. We watch some football, eat some leftovers, play some video games, and (usually) go to a movie. This year we went and saw the best theological movie in years.

Seriously, this movie was amazing. It was poignant, subtle, brilliantly directed and acted, and written so well that everyone from a child to an adult can understand the theology.

What was this great movie?

Frozen.

Yes, Disney’s Frozen, the kid’s movie.

This movie is a must-see for all Christians, in my mind, both adults and children. It was funny, appropriate for any age, and there is a lot more depth to this than your typical Disney-princess movie. So let’s go into that now, shall we?

Plot Synopsis (Spoiler alert! I will skip at least one significant twist, and the movie is wholly enjoyable even if you know the below, but still, spoiler alert!)

Frozen centers around the lives of two princesses, Elsa and Anna. Elsa, the elder sister, has a blessing/curse of magic–she is capable through willpower and emotion to create anything cold, from snow to ice to storms. Anna, the younger sister, is a precocious, clumsy, and yet sincerely adorable girl.

When the two are children playing together, Elsa accidentally freezes a part of Anna’s mind. The local trolls are able to save her, but in the process of extracting the effects of magic they also extract the memories of seeing her sister perform magic. Fearful of a relapse of Anna’s brain-freeze condition, Elsa and her parents agree to keep her magic hidden and secret from Anna as well as everyone else.

As Elsa grows up, she becomes less and less able to control her gift/curse. Her parents repeat the mantra, “Conceal it, don’t feel it,” and she spends her life as an act of willpower to keep her abilities from being known. Her fear of hurting her sister and her attempt to keep her gift/curse hidden lead her to live a life of isolation. She spends her life in her room, hidden from the outside world, gates to the castle closed: and, more significantly, the gates to her sister’s heart closed.

However, her attempts at controlling her powers, ultimately, fail. Every time she becomes emotional or stressed out, her “curse” comes back out again. Eventually this results in an embarrassing public show which gets her branded a monstrous sorceress, and she flees into the mountains. In the process, the storm inside of her translates literally to the world around, locking the kingdom in an everlasting winter.

The rest of the plot is about Anna trying to reunite with Elsa and convince her to end the eternal winter. In the process, Elsa accidentally gives Anna a frozen heart.

Now a frozen heart, we are told, is much different than a frozen head–and much harder to cure. Only an act of True Love can cure it.

The characters assume–as do we–that the act of true love is a kiss. Anna (who is being pursued by two suitors) rushes around trying to find True Love’s Kiss to break the curse.

And that is when the movie gets EXCELLENT, and theologically very relevant.

The Theology

Theology Point 1:  The Law

Through the entire movie, I could not help but notice (and empathize with) the plot of Elsa. She was attempting to control her gift/curse through willpower. She tried harder and harder and harder to invent ways to protect her sin from showing, to control something which is undeniably part of her nature. She failed, however.

We do the same, of course: the Law (i.e., acts of work and control) has no power to save, only to condemn. The harder Elsa tried to keep the curse in, the more the curse came out: works of the Law are primarily successful only in demonstrating our inability to keep the law.

When Elsa fled to the mountaintop she thought that there she could finally be free–free of expectation, free of trying to hide her true self. But then she found out that her curse had actually grown in power and even more people were affected.

The lesson from Elsa’s life is clear:  the sin-curse that we have cannot be controlled through works of the Law, and it cannot be controlled through isolation.

Theology Point 2:  The Grace

Even if Frozen had stopped there, it still would have been a valuable lesson on the Law. And that is where I expected it to end, as Anna raced home to get her True Love’s Kiss, which would be the act of love needed to set her free.

Or so I thought. In an ordinary movie, “True Love’s Kiss” would indeed be what broke the curse.

This is no ordinary kid’s movie.

Anna stood, near frozen to death, as her true love approached for the final kiss. She thoroughly believed that this was the only thing that could save her. Then, from the corner of her eye, she saw her sister Elsa–about to be killed by an enemy with a sword. Elsa, the woman who was basically alien to Anna. Elsa, the woman whose actions endangered Anna and everyone else. Elsa, who refused to help with Anna asked her to.

What did Anna do? She turned away from her “true love’s kiss” and ran to save her sister. Anna placed herself between the sword and her cursed sister, giving her life for her sister’s. She willingly died in order to save the cursed one, who had done nothing to deserve such an act.

Sound familiar? John 15:13:  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” In this story, Anna serves as an archetype of Jesus: she gave up her own life, truly dying to save someone who was basically a stranger and who had done nothing to earn her love. Why did she do so? As we find out later, it was because she loved Elsa–a love which was unearned, and imputed to her by Anna simply because Anna chose to love her.

Olaf the snowman defines love for Anna earlier in the film, and it is not the romantic eros love typically taught in Disney films. He defines love as “putting someone else’s needs before your own”–and illustrates that himself, being willing to melt to save Anna. This is of course a pretty dead-on description of what the Bible calls agape love…self-sacrificial, unearned, unconditional love.

But of course, Anna’s story doesn’t end there, just as Jesus’ didn’t. It was the very act of sacrificial love which melted Anna’s heart and brought her back to life, again fulfilling the Jesus archetype.

Theology Point 3:  The Redemption of the Curse

But STILL this movie isn’t done. Elsa’s actions act as an illustration of the inadequacy of the Law to free us from sin (as she says, “I can never be free…”).  Anna’s actions act as an archetype of the Christ, laying His life down in love, the act of True Love serving to break the curse and save us.

But that was not all. Now the movie goes even further, and shows us the curse being redeemed.

When the risen-Anna explains that it was love–not works or isolation–which unfroze her, something clicks in Elsa. Never before had she heard that. Never had she tried that. She had spent a lifetime trying to “earn” her goodness (“Be the good girl you always have to be,” is a repeated part of her monologue song.) Now, she stopped trying to earn it and reveled in the unearned-love that her sister had shown her. And something amazing happens…all of a sudden, Elsa is actually able to control the curse. No, there is more than that:  not only is she able to control/eliminate the “sin” of the curse (having been freed by the act of true love), but indeed the curse is now redeemed. Now she is able to use her gift for the enjoyment of her kingdom, instead of having to keep it quiet and controlled.

Conclusion/Summary

I left the movie amazed, and went and saw it a second time with my wife this weekend (after her Black Friday shopping concluded). It is not only fun and enjoyable (as most Disney films are), but the thing sounds like it was written by a very theologically-devout Christian who really gets it.

This amazing movie manages not only to be one of the most charming children’s films in years, but it serves up the concepts of law, grace, and redemption on a silver platter–either for you to have a way to explain it to your kids, or simply for your own enjoyment and edification.

I can’t recommend it highly enough: this movie gets an A+ from me!