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Posts Tagged ‘christian bale’

There are a load of decent films coming out on DVD in March and April. Be aware that the release date is the date you can purchase the film and may not correspond to when the film is released on Netflix or Redbox.

UPDATE (3/9/11)

127 Hours (March 1)

This is the story of the climber in Colorado who had to cut off his own hand (on which a boulder was sitting) and then trek back over 127 hours. I have heard a lot of good things about this movie and I really like James Franco as an actor (City by the Sea is one of my favorites) so I’ll likely give this a shot on DVD. It’s rated R for language and gruesomeness.

UPDATE (5/5/11)

I finally saw this film and Franco is amazing. I appreciate the direction that Danny Boyle takes with this movie and how Franco just executes it to perfection. I felt the duration and desperation with him. Definitely pretty gruesome but it’s in there because you have to understand the pain and fight to live. 

Hereafter (March 15)

This film, directed by Clint Eastwood, is currently pretty low on the Tomato Meter but I think this film is worth the view. Don’t look for this film to provide hope in the afterlife, instead look at it from the perspective of each of the main characters’ loneliness and let yourself ache with them. Then read my other thoughts.

The Fighter (March 15)

This is a film that I have not seen and have heard mixed reviews from friends. The consensus: Christian Bale is phenomenal as Wahlberg’s drug addicted brother and trainer. Be aware of a ton of crude language and inferred sex scenes.

UPDATE (3/9/11)

I saw this movie in the theater last week and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The language is poor and there is one not completely nude scene that it could do without (easy to fast forward through) but if you can handle the language, it’s worth checking out on DVD. Bale is simply incredible. Parts of the movie have a documentary feel corresponding to the doc made about crack addiction that included Dicky and Bale is so believable. He draws out such ache for his character as well as anger. His two key moments of brokenness over sin hit me hard and were worth the view.

I love the imperfection in how these true life people are portrayed. It’s a great story of turnaround but it’s not easy and always tainted. You want certain characters to change and repent and they never fully do. But I loved how these 2 brothers stick with each other no matter what. It made me miss my brother and my first thought walking out of the movie was to send him a quick note. I love how they respect their mom even when she doesn’t deserve it, at times when I wanted her to get a nice upper cut. I wished Micky were less passive. I wished Dicky were less selfish. But isn’t that life? The impact of the sin of each character is not diminished but their love for each other isn’t either. Love covers a multitude of sins. Change happens when justification and acceptance in your family isn’t questioned. That isn’t the gospel but it’s certainly an illustration of our place in Christ.

Skyline (March 22)

I have not seen this film and only mention it for one reason: the consensus is that this is an awful film. It takes a true piece of trash to get only a 21% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes and friends have all said stay away from this one.

Tangled (March 29)

Friends that have seen this all seem to have enjoyed it. It still looks borderline for kids though, at least the age of my kids (6 and under).

Tron Legacy (April 5)

I still haven’t even seen the original Tron from ‘80s and this one looks just as predictable but with much cooler effects. See James Harleman’s thoughts on this film for a good analysis.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader (April 8th)

Yes, it veers away from C.S. Lewis’ classic and, yes, they add a significant plotline that was not in the book but my wife and I still enjoyed it for what it is. The end is worth the movie and Will Poulter as Eustace was incredible. I wanted to see more of Eustace and I will be thoroughly stoked for The Silver Chair if Poulter reprises his role.

Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows Part 1 (April 15)

This movie is what it is. If you’ve read the series you’ll likely see the movie. People have complained about the pace of the movie but those folks probably haven’t read the book. The pace is one of the things that makes this movie great – it supposed to make you ache for the end. I wanted to write more on this whole series but I’m saving it until the last film is released this summer.

The King’s Speech (April 19)

This is the best film of the year period. I don’t care how it ends up doing at the Oscars (measured against 2010 films). It’s well acted, well paced, emotionally engaging, and it glorifies good things. Read my review and watch this film.

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If you’ve been reading this blog then you just had to know this post was coming. Here are my criteria:

  1. Rewatchability
  2. Gospel and redemption themes
  3. Quality of acting and characterization

Here there are, purely in alphabetical order, these are my personal top 9 films.

Chariots of Fire (1981)


This movie can feel slow at times but I don’t care, I love the contrast of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrams. Eric runs for God and finished his life as a missionary to China. Abrams runs almost purely for himself, to prove himself to all others. The movie is so well done though that you find yourself rooting for both of them. It’s also a rare movie that has a Christian figure so winsomely portrayed and speaking the Bible. Plus, you can’t forget about the classic opening and closing sequence with the Vangelis theme song. The movie has an 86% rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Cinderella Man (2005)


Cinderella Man is one of the most rewatchable movies we own. That may just be me, but I have watched this movie a bunch of times simply because I don’t get tired of it. I love the story of Jim Braddock, his relationship with his family and his wife. I love the set up and the final fight against Max Baer. Redemption, suffering, and good marriage themes are all in this one along with the boxing. It is at an 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

City by the Sea (2002)


City by the Sea is a relatively obscure movie; I rarely meet a person who has actually seen it. Rotten Tomatoes and critics likely didn’t help as it only has a 48% rating! But I love the father son dynamic and issues in this movie. I practically weep at the movie climax. The bitter sweetness of the ending is so good. A demonstration of our inability to outrun our sin just adds to it all.

The Dark Knight (2008)


You knew this would end up on my list after I wrote this. This is one of two Christopher Nolan flicks on my list and I’ll give you 0 guesses as to what the second is. The Dark Knight is a gut punch. I have no other way to describe what you will likely feel the first time you see it. It is dark. Evil is overwhelming. Can good win? Can a city overcome its dark side? Can a hero even survive without becoming a villain? Just watch it. It currently has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s only the second highest on my list! I highly recommend listening to the short message given by James Harleman (of Mars Hill) on this film.

Inception (2010)


I have already written 2 blog posts (“Must See Film” and “The Idea that Changes Everything”) on this movie and it’s not even on DVD yet. Inception is a great concept and story with piercing father/son themes, interesting characters, and is a movie with just so many figurative and literal levels. It is currently at an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Les miserables (1998)


Les miserables is based on the powerful and highly praised musical of the same name which is based on the book by Victor Hugo. This movie is all about 1 question: What is grace? From the priest to Valjean (Liam Neeson) to Javert (Geoffrey Rush), the question is what is more powerful and effective: grace or the law? When I first saw this movie, I was just stunned. My friend and I were literally speechless until halfway through our car ride home when finally he simply belted out “WOW! THAT IS GRACE!!!” I can still vividly remember that evening and moment as if it happened yesterday. This great film is at a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Natural (1984)


Part of why I appreciate this movie surrounds the memories I have of watching it many times with my dad. I still have faint memories of seeing it in the theater with him when it first came out. The redemption story of this movie grows on me every time I watch. I love how it ends (not merely on the famous home run scene!). The last time I watched it was probably my favorite. It’s also a classic baseball movie. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 81% rating.

Rocky II (1979)


This is another one that I have fond memories of watching with my dad. Honestly, Rocky II moves so painfully slow. But it all comes down to one moment. You see this one moment and you’re all in and you’re fired up. If you come across this movie on cable, you’ll wait or keep checking back just for this moment on forward. Yeah, it’s over the top but can you, men, say this scene (with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background) does nothing for you? It’s at a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Trek (2009)


This one probably surprised you. It surprised you unless you’ve seen it, that is. JJ Abrams did such a fantastic job with this movie. Sacrifice, fathers, friendship, and redemption are all mixed in to one great story to reboot this franchise. I love how Pike and Spock’s dad are pivotal for Kirk and Spock and how we get to see the growth of Spock and Kirk from boys to guys to men. The parallel characterization of these 2 men is super well done. It’s an extremely entertaining and rewatchable movie. It’s all about family with a mission. One more likely surprise: this is the highest rated film at Rotten Tomatoes on my list, now at 94%. James Harleman also discusses this movie here.

Honorable Mentions: Shutter Island (2010), Empire Strikes Back (1980), Hoosiers (1989), Glory (1989), Taken (2008), Shawshank Redemption (1994), Gattaca (1997).

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