Tag Archives: Movie

War for the Planet of the Apes – Review

war-for-planet-of-the-apes-poster-5Don’t miss The 602 Club episode on the film.

Listen_on_Apple_Podcasts_sRGB_US

I’ll admit, in 2011 when Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released, I was a sceptic. Honestly, the trailers did nothing for me, leaving me unimpressed and unmotivated to see the movie in the theater. So I didn’t. I ended up seeing the movie on a whim with some friends, at home, because we had heard so many people raving about it. It won us all over, so much so that after it was over we turned on the original Planet of the Apes because we were so enthused by what we had just seen. Fast forward to 2017 and the last film in the trilogy has been released, War for the Planet of the Apes, completing the saga and leaving me with the same desire, to watch the original to connect the dots.

Mercy

The movie begins with humans attacking an ape base. The apes are able to repel the invaders and Caesar sends four captives back to the human colonel as a peace offering. His message is simple, allow us the woods and the fighting can end. Sadly, there is no mercy in the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, only hate and hubris. The Colonel cannot let the apes live, cannot show mercy. He’s driven by fear, fear of the virus, apes and even himself.

There is a moment between Caesar and the Colonel when Caesar has been captured and the Colonel explains his rationale for what he’s doing. Humanity has begun changing again. The Simian flu virus has begun to evolve and it’s leaving humans unable to speak. It’s unclear whether it’s truly affecting their reasoning as well, but the Colonel has no mercy on them, even his own son. He willingly sacrifices his own son and anyone else that is caught with this virus to try to protect the rest of humanity. He speaks of learning from history but his actions shows he clearly hasn’t, as his first reaction with these humans as well as the apes is to just kill what he is afraid of or doesn’t understand.

Caesar finds himself mirroring the Colonel and Koba (from the previous 2 films). As man and specifically the Colonel, continue to take more and more from him, he finds it harder to let go of his own hate and show forgiveness and mercy. Yet, there is a moment in the film, where he’s faced with a similar situation as the Colonel, does he leave his son to die to save the rest of the apes, or does he find another way? He chooses the love of his son and all the other ape children over the “smarter” call. Caesar embodies the idea that the right thing is the right thing to do, even if it’s the hardest thing.

Even after all this, Caesar cannot let go of his hate for the Colonel, so with all his people making their way to safety, he seeks revenge, one last time. What he finds is poetic justice, the Colonel has succumb to the enhanced virus. It takes all Caesar’s will and mercy to not pull the trigger and just walk away. It’s a powerful moment. Caesar let’s go of his hate and thirst for vengeance. It brings to mind Deuteronomy where the Lord says, “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution…”. Here the vengeance is swift and sure, as man’s hubris and god-playing are rewarded with a destructive avalanche and a virus, robbing them of their faculties.

The Unwanted  

war-planet-of-apes-novaOne of the most beautiful messages of the film comes from the mute girl Nova, that Maurice adopts after the apes kill her caretaker that has tried to kill them. This unwanted girl has the updated Simian virus and Caesar would leave her to die (as would the Colonel), yet Maurice shows compassion and love for her. Yes, she is mute, but just because she cannot speak, does not mean she has no value. So many children are lost today because they are unwanted or their parents are told they will be born with a debilitating disease. Nova, because of Maurice’s mercy turns out to be instrumental in saving not just Caesar but the rest of the apes. She might not be able to speak, but her mind is still sharp allowing her to learning sign language from the apes. All humans, born and unborn, sick, infirm or strong and viral, have dignity and the right to life. As with Nova, who might they turn out to be if given the chance to live?

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

The unwanted, the unloved, the accident, the sick, they are all made the same, in the image of God and who have we lost, simply because they were unwanted?

It is also a powerful reminder of our relationship in relation to God. As the Apostle Paul puts in the Book of Romans,

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.

We were once enemies of God, yet he shows us mercy and grace, that in our most rebellious and unloveable, he offers forgiveness and reconciliation. A reflection of our closeness to God is our reaction to the most unwanted. Our capacity for mercy, increases as our understanding of our need for it from God expands. For God, no one is unwanted.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. john 3:16 & 17

The Movie

This movie has so many other themes I could talk about, but honestly, just go see it. It’s a triumph of filmmaking. The effects are some of the best ever seen on screen. There was never a moment I didn’t believe what was happening. The music was moving and perfectly matched to the film. War for the Planet of the Apes is the perfect conclusion to one of the best film trilogies in years. It’s rated 5 out of 5 Bad Apes.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Review

rogueone_onesheetaGet The 602 Club episode here!

link-badge-itunes

“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”

These words are the first thing that anyone ever saw of Star Wars as the film opened in 1977 and now Gareth Edwards has imbued them fully in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Hope Anew

The Rebellion’s struggle just got worse, as it learns that the Empire has created a world-killing weapon named the Death Star. The Rebellion finds itself on the knife’s edge between hope and despair. The council of the Rebellion cannot decide what to do. Do they risk it all by trying to steal the plans, or do they resign themselves to defeat and despair? Jyn challenges the council, “What chance do we have? The question is what choice”. She implores the council to remember that if they do nothing then they’ve sealed the fate of the galaxy and that evil this great cannot go unopposed. It brings to mind Edmund Burke’s famous saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” She encourages them with a refrain Cassian Andor said to her earlier in the movie, “Rebellions are built on hope”. Hope changes everything, it reminds people that the way it is, is not how it has to be. Hope is the spark that, if kindled, creates the fire of change. Change is possible, but it takes sacrifice, determination and some times, lives to see it come about. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” It takes faith, faith that a difference can be made, which births hope and it’s all because the love of something greater than themselves leads them to live out the truth that, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

The beauty of the film is that hope is not just a figment of the heroes imaginations. The Force seems quite active, even without the Jedi. It’s moving in mysterious ways and bringing people together that can make a difference. This band of rogues does the impossible, one chance at a time, succeeding in their goal and setting in motion something that will see the end of the Empire.

rogue-one-hi-res-15-214477

The Movie

Gareth Edwards made a Star Wars movie that feels completely different and yet utterly familiar, all at the same time. Like The Clone Wars, Edwards uses cinematic inspirations to pull in the war movie genre and make it a Star Wars movie, emphasis on the war. The nods to great war films of the past are all there and they work perfectly. On top of that you feel the “Star Wars” seeping out of every single frame. The Ghost from Star Wars Rebels can be seen at least 4 times, General Sydulla is called for over the coms at Yavin 4, the sets feel like they came out of a lost arc of The Clone Wars, Saw Gerrera has an important role and so much more. The point here is that Edwards lovingly knits together the history of the Prequel and the Original trilogy and it’s seamless.

Star Wars, when it’s at it’s best, is stretching what it means to be Star Wars by taking other genres and telling a story in the Star Wars universe that aligns with the themes of the saga. Edwards achievement is nothing short of incredible, the movie feels like the Maker’s fingerprints are all over it and it’s the highest compliment that could be paid to the movie.

rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-felicity-jones-5k-wallpapers-hd-wallpapers

The characters are outstanding. K-2so is the best new droid since R2 and Jyn, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze and Bhodi are all welcome additions to the Star Wars canon. Darth Vader’s scenes are chilling (and let’s stop here and just geek out completely that Vader’s castle is finally on screen!) and perfectly played, just enough to leave you wanting more.

The music by Giacchino feels like a welcome addition to the Star Wars franchise, it’s much like The Clone Wars music and only references familiar themes in snippets yet that’s a good thing. The movie needed it’s own identity and the themes he created feel familiar and distinct, perfectly matching the spirit of the movie.

I’ll get personal, this movie is everything I wanted a new Star Wars movie to be. Pushing the boundaries of what it means to be Star Wars while at the same time respecting the history and the franchise as a whole. Here’s to hoping the rumors of Edwards wanting to direct a Kenobi movie are true. Rogue One is rated 4.5 upside down Death Stars out of 5.

Side note, if you did not read the book Catalyst by James Luceno, I highly recommend it. It is the lead-in novel for the movie and it does a fantastic job of filling in everything you’d want to know about Krennic, the Ersos and the Death Star.

 

Unexpected – Review

large_unexpected_ver2Summertime is usually know for movies that contain multiple explosions per minute but sometimes those small independent films find their way to a theater near you and make your summer. Unexpected is one of these movies and like it’s title it’s an unforeseen treasure. Colbie Smulders stars as Samantha Abbott, a science teacher at a closing Chicago high school who finds out that she’s pregnant, while at the same time her star student Jasmine finds herself pregnant as well. What follows is surprising story of two women, from contrasting backgrounds and the struggles faced trying to bring children into the world.

Expectations

Unexpected does a wonderful  job of showing the unrealistic expectations that are on women these days. They are suppose to go to college, meet someone, have a career and find the perfect time to have a child. Samantha’s mother remarks that her having a child is happening all out of order, that she should have had a wedding first and then gotten pregnant. While at the same time chiding her for even considering being a stay at home mother. Luckily Samantha does have a supporting husband, John, who has the ability to support her if she decideds to stay home. What is heartbreaking is to see the struggle for Samantha to be able to admit that she does want to stay home, that it is ok for her to want to do that while her child is young. Her mother, later in the movie, reminds her of something quite poignant, that whether you work or stay home, either one is a sacrifice, but that being with your child is always rewarding.

The expectations that women face today many times leaves them in their 30’s before the thought of kids even enters the picture. And with the way society has fractured, so that families are smaller, organized religion is no longer providing community, many people find themselves alone when pregnancy hits. They don’t have friends that have children, they may not have grown up with siblings, so women find themselves woefully unprepared with no where to turn for guidance. Society has downplayed the importance of family and children so much that when people find themselves soon-to-be parents they have no experience from growing up or around them to draw upon and that leaves many feeling not joy but fear.

unexpected-movieOne of the most interesting things is the parallel of Jasmine with Samantha. Jasmine, from the outside seems to be behind the eight ball. She is from a poor neighborhood, has been raised by her grandmother after mother abandoned them because of drugs and is soon to be an unwed mother. Yet Jasmine is surrounded by a community to help her and because of that support she’ll be able to attend college in the city and be with her baby. Samantha spends so much of the movie trying to help Jasmine, when it is really Samantha that has no clue what to do. It becomes clear that nothing can replace community.

New Life 

Hollywood is not particularly known for being overly pro-life in it’s films, yet Unexpected is. There’s a beautiful moment when Samantha and John are at the doctor’s office for their first ultrasound and she sees the heartbeat on screen for the first time and it becomes real to her, that there is a life inside her. It can be so easy to forget that since the baby is hidden, but as that window opens, so do her eyes to what’s truly happening; she carrying a human baby. Neither of these women planned for their pregnancy, yet each of them decides to do the best for that new life. John Lennon famously said that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans and that is exactly what happens to the characters in this film. Having a baby is never going to be convenient, but it is always going to be a blessing whether that’s to the biological parents or the adoptive parents.

Conclusion

Unexpected is a true summer gem. Seek it out, you won’t be disappointed. Colbie Smulders is fantastic as Samantha and Gail Bean as Jasmine will melt you heart. This movie, for it’s celebration of life, in all it’s messy glory is worth your support. Unexpected is rated 4 and a half sonogram heartbeats.

Mr. Holmes – Review

ad1c3134-1bce-465d-a9f7-108076bf5551

It is often remarked that Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed movie character in the history of cinema. One might question the validity of another movie about him and yet none have been so person as Mr. Holmes staring Ian McKellen. He plays the famed detective in the twilight of his life, memory is failing and one last case that must be solved; a case that may just be the most important of his life, enough to alter his future.

Missing the Point

Holmes is the original Spock. He is cold emotion and facts wrapped in a smoking jacket. He’s able to deduce the most minute detail about a person, observe what others cannot see and crack cases no other could. Yet, with all this knowledge and logical deduction there is something that is missing, wisdom and heart. Spock says to Valaris in Star Trek VI that logic is only the beginning of wisdom. Holmes becomes acutely aware of this in the most dreadful way. A husband of a distraught wife comes to Holmes, pleading with him to figure out what is wrong with her. Holmes quickly deduces the woman’s case, finding that she is overcome by the loss of two children from miscarriages. What she wants is to spend time with Holmes. She senses that he’s lived a solitary life and is seldom understood. She desires to just spend time with him to ease her loneliness. Holmes, unable to see past his logic to the emotion to the heart of her despair sends her home to her husband, only to find out the next day that she’s committed suicide.

Mr-Holmes-Ian-McKellen-Hattie-MorahanKnow and Loved

Holmes begins to understand the depth of his mistake and the loneliness that he’s felt his whole life. Even Watson never really knew him. Watson had chronicled the life of a character he’d created, not the man he never really knew. Watson thinks he knows Holmes, yet Holmes is jut playing the fiction that’s been created around him. He personifies the expectations fiction has placed on him, never truly able to reveal himself for fear of alienating readers, fans and in the end friends. Holmes lacks the courage to be himself as well as the safety of a true friendship with which to do so.

After the incident, Holmes retires to the country in exile. It is there that he meets his redemption in Roger, his cook’s son. Roger is smart, like Holmes he has a sharp mind and a quick wit. His father was lost in WWII and he’s grown up with only vague memories of him from his mother’s stories. He and Holmes strike an unlikely friendship over the care of bees. Together they become the person that knows the other like no one else can. We’ve all experienced it, knowing that certain someone who gets you in ways others just can’t. It feels as though you’re more complete because finally you’re understood to the core of your being. Holmes finds that missing piece of himself in the most unlikely of places and it changes him forever.

mr-holmes-ian-mckellen-860x442The beautiful thing is that Roger is changed as well. For him, Holmes is the father he never had. Holmes is able to stimulate Roger intellectually and spur him on to a life he’d never have if not for the way he’s known by Holmes. The film beautifully reminds us that cloistering ourselves away hurts not only ourselves but others. It’s when we risk and interact with those around us that true life happens. There are many Proverbs about the importance of friendship yet one stands out as relevant to the film, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes echo just as loudly when he says,

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

We are strongest when we are not only together, but know fully, deeply and intimately.

Conclusion 

Mr. Holmes is the perfect antidote to superheroes, explosions and dinosaurs. None of these have been bad things, but Mr. Holmes stands above these with it’s reminders of the importance of community and truly knowing those around us and allowing ourselves to be known. Go see Mr. Holmes and revel in the quiet mystery of a film doing what the medium does at it’s best, teaching us through a good story and good characters.

Tomorrowland – Review

TL_InThShltr_IMAX_v3_lrgImagine a world where all the artists, dreamers, scientists and forward thinkers joined leagues and created with reckless abandon. They made the most incredible things, away from the status quo, away from politics and bureaucracy, nothing to hold them back. This is Tomorrowland. Now that you’re imagining this most incredible place, imagine they invent the ability to see the future, our future, and that it ends much sooner than we think. This is Tomorrowland, this is Brad Bird’s new film that challenges where we are and where we could be if we are willing to make a change.

Waitin’ on the World to Change

There is something wrong with society. We see it all around us. We might have the coolest tech around our wrists,but we’re also saddled with major issues like obesity and starvation. NASA installations are dismantled as the present is our only concern. It’s as if we are waiting on the world to change, yet are unwilling to lift a finger to make it happen. Tomorrowland brilliantly shows us the problems that arise when good people just wait on the sideline and illustrates what could happen if we were willing to sacrifice now, for something better in the future.

The film is not subtle with this point and nor should it be. All around us the greatest tech we’ve ever created is in the pockets of everyone, but what does it really benefit the future? How does having a smart phone truly change or inspire the world to improve? Instead, we’ve only become consumed with consumption. We want now, the immediate pleasure of owning the latest gadget, without any thought to if this is the best use of our resources or to whether these devices actually make the world a better place for their existence. Why we create and what we create looms as a massive question and a major responsibility — not necessarily one being asked or respected.

Tomorrowland challenges us, as Interstellar did last year, to think about the future. Is the lack of exploration of our solar system really the best idea? Are smart phones and watches really the smartest uses of our energies? Or might we think of better ways to build cities, roads, grow crops and plan for a future that extends more hope for more people? It is possible with time, patience, creativity and sacrifice. Unfortunately sacrifice is not really a term our modern society embraces.

There does seem to be a loss of perspective; thoughts of tomorrow have been replaced with an obsession over what can be accumulated or acquired for immediate pleasure. A mandate was given at the beginning of time to take care of the earth and steward it. We were meant to create and foster life all around us. Inspiration used tocome from places like NASA, where the impossible seemed possible. Where the undiscovered country of the future was just a shuttle ride away. Technology was about making the world a better place, not just a more convenient one. Tomorrowland reminds us that we are all in this together, and not just now, but for the generations to come.

Wishin’ and Hopin’

NEJOtPwnVjTOOJ_2_bOne of the biggest themes of the film is that of hope and its importance to creativity and planning for the future. Without hope it is easy to become myopic, fixated on the present and trying to survive. Ideas need to be challenged. New blood needs to be introduced so intelligent people are roused out of the malaise of their genius to see something in a whole new way. Casey is able to do that for Frank in the movie. She is able to help him have hope again and evaluate problems from different angles and in doing so, change the future. It brings to mind the wonderful quote from Galadreil in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Casey is that person in Tomorrowland. She’s full of life and the idealism that leads her to strive for understanding which then enables her to make an impact on the world.

Fostering hope is a big task. Getting to a place where the here and now are not the only things that people care about calls for a massive reordering of priorities. We can have a positive impact but only if selfishness and greed cease to be the motivations that drive what we do. Ultimately, such a shift requires a change in the core of our being.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21

Conclusion

Brad Bird really delivers with Tomorrowland. He’s created something magical with the power to remind us of our calling to live not just for now but for the future. George Clooney may be the big name here but it will be Raffey Cassidy that will steal your heart. It’s nice to see an original movie, not in a franchise, be good. Movies like this need the support if we are to get more original films. Go see it and revel in the joy of imagination and hope for the future. Tomorrowland is rate 4 out 5 jetpacks.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Review

159083939_a5289fNo movie in the last decade has been a better representation of the total depravity of the human race than Mad Max: Fury Road. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, caused by its hubris, humankind has returned to the dust, scrounging like the animal it believes itself to be. What is left is ruled by a demonic sadist with a proclivity for a heavy metal inspired wardrobe. This is survival of the fittest at it’s most extreme. This is a movie that shows in the bleakest of ways that humanity left on it’s own is truly it own worst enemy.

Stewardship

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:28-31 ESV)

We were given a calling, from the very beginning of time to care for the creation that had been entrusted to us. Yet today, it the furthest thing for most minds. We are told, it’s all an accident; life, the universe and everything else, while Maroon 5 constantly reminds us we are nothing more than animals on the prowl. This is the world we inhabit. With no belief in a mandate from a creator we feel no compulsion to treat the earth, let alone people as anything more than a commodity. Mad Max displays this world in all it’s visceral glory. This is the result of a philosophy that places no value on life of any kind. The beauty of the movie is that it leaves us knowing innately that, that cannot be the truth, there has to be something better than consumption and death. We’ve been called to more, there is a purpose behind it all, yet if we deny that we will be lost to the dust.

Creation is our home, we are meant to take care of it and be a good steward. Are we doing that? All it takes is looking out of a car window and seeing the trash on the side of the road to know we are not. How we use this earth reflects on us and what we believe about our place in it. We were not given it to destroy it, but to cultivate it as a gardener does, with tender care.

Redemption  

Throughout the film both Max and Furiosa (Charlize Theron’s character) are both looking for a way to redeem themselves. Guilty of untold sins, some we do get brief glimpses of from Max who is haunted by his past, they long to find hope in atonement. It’s one of the most powerful scenes in the movie as Max infuses Furiosa with his blood and through this act brings hope back to the people.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21 ESV)

Hope springs eternal. Instinctively we know that we are meant for more and the world is broken. It’s only through the lens of faith in Christ that we have the true motivation to be good stewards of earth and people, who are not animals, but image-bearers of the King of Creation. It makes one long for the day when as John writes,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5 ESV)

Conclusion

This movie is an amazing achievement in practical film-making. Much as been made of this film because a majority of it happened without reliance on CGI. It is a stunning reminder that movies can be made, for real. What is wonderful is that the action informs the story. It adds to the desperate nature of the mission Furiosa is on as well as what is at stake, the survival of the human race.

This movie will not be for everyone. The aesthetic will turn some people off completely. That said, this is the pinnacle action movies with themes that resonate to the heart of humanity itself. Rating-  Four out of five Fury Road trips.

mad-max-tom-hardy-thumbs-up

America Sniper – Review

american-sniper-posterVeterans are notoriously quiet when it comes to their lives in war. My own grandfather never said anything about his time in the navy during WWII to me. Clint Eastwood had a difficult job when he took on transferring the life of Chris Kyle to the screen. One, you have a legend in the military. Two, its a man who even in his book, is not the most forthcoming with his emotions, even though we know he had much to overcome after his time in the war. Third, how do you accurately portray the PTSD of Kyle when like many military people he is less than loquacious about his experiences and the severity of their impact him.

Eastwood makes the decision that instead of trying to show us the impact on Kyle, he will let the audience experience his life alongside him. This way, as Bradley Cooper gives us the subtle hints at what the war is doing to him in the field and when he is home, we’ve lived his life. You know what is running through his mind when he is sitting in a chair in his living room with the television off, or as he drives white-knuckled on the freeway. It’s strangely effective. When the movie ends, it leaves you more transformed than you realized.

Cooper gives a moving performance, never over the top or distracting. He looks the part and you never believe he is not America’s deadliest sniper. Siena Miller does a good job of portraying Taya, the wife that is left at home, trying to keep the fires of home burning as Kyle deploys four times. The casting is perfect.

Many will say the movie is pro war and yet if you read the book American Sniper you will realize that Kyle is not pro war, he is pro-America and he’s there to protect his fellow soldiers. He’s a warrior, that’s how he sees himself. For him it’s God, Country, Family and he lived that out till his dying day. I think the movie lets the audience make up it’s own mind about war and it’s impact. Kyle does go through a lot to get healthy yet you won’t really see that in the movie. People will complain about this as well. Yet Eastwood is being true to his subject. Kyle didn’t really talk much about what happened and when he did, he downplayed everything, reminding us that others had it much worse.

American Sniper is an experience. Being married to a military person and having them be affected by the film and say it was good, carried a lot of weight. Veterans know best in this area where we civilians can only ask and listen when they will tell us their stories. This movie is a timely reminder that our soldiers have wounds they may never talk about. Iraq and the War on Terror might not be in the news much anymore, but these men and women still need our support, our love and patience.