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Posts Tagged ‘clint eastwood’

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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I have to confess that between my kids and my marriage, losing my father 9 years ago, and simply growing in my understanding of the gospel, I have become quite a softy. I feel like I come to tears nearly every day now, which, as an ISTJ who grew up being taught to never take anything personally, is just not like who I have been most of my life. I was moved to tears many times in Hereafter. Yes, it can be contrived and the film’s depiction of the hereafter is vague and unbiblical, but I got into it and I genuinely appreciated this movie. This is a film not truly about the hereafter but more about loss and loneliness and the question of whether the hereafter is a solution or not.

Loss

I thought Clint Eastwood did a great job with this movie in helping you feel a sense of the loss that comes with losing a loved one, that loss that accompanies death. Marcus and Jason’s story absolutely crushed me. This might have been helped by the fact that I have 2 sets of twins of my own, but I really felt the ache of Marcus and was gripped by every scene. The movie’s portrayal of the events of the tsunamis of 2004, and of deaths of individuals, all felt meaningful and weighty. There’s another event that happens later in the movie that I was struck by the weight of even the ambiguous loss wrapped up in it. In our post 9-11 world, not many things shock us anymore. Earthquakes kills thousands in China and Haiti, floods kill many across America, soldiers die daily, and terrorists blow up busses. On top of those things, news outlets sensationalize the negative and we keep being more and more desensitized in the overload of bad news. But when a big event happens in the middle of the movie, it is not merely glossed over and I was surprised by how Eastwood even used it to give meaning to death and help you feel the loss in it by how people react and engage with that event.

Loneliness

As well as loss and the weight of death were portrayed, they were simply a means to get to another theme: loneliness and the sense of being alone. This is a pervading theme that I saw very early on. The 3 main characters are searching not merely for answers but for relationship. Marcus wants his brother back and feels lost without him, utterly isolated. George (Matt Damon) is completely isolated by his ability to speak for the dead. His gift isolates him from every relationship except for his brother, (excellently played by Jay Mohr) who truly is for him and loves George but still doesn’t get it. Marie has a near death experience in the tsunami tragedy and seemingly no one believes her or understands what she went through and she is subsequently ostracized. Ultimately, this movie is not a movie about the hereafter. The hereafter only acts as a means of drawing out the problem of loneliness. When death happens, we are crushed and hurt but we are lonely. In my experience with my dad and every experience thereafter, loneliness has been the overriding emotion associated with death. I want him back! I miss him dearly! Can’t I just have a few minutes with him? Why didn’t I appreciate him more! Hereafter even goes beyond that in demonstrating loneliness felt not merely from death but from life in general. Marie and George don’t even have relationships from which to even feel that deep loss from. They don’t have relationships where they can truly be themselves.

This sounds depressing, why see this movie?

We all feel the loneliness and loss that Hereafter displays at some point or another, many of us more than others. Deep down though, we all feel this loss and loneliness deeply. We long for intimacy. We desire friendships and relationship where we can be ourselves. But we’re disappointed time and time again. Friendships change. Our marriages struggle. People let us down. We let others down in spite of our best efforts. We lose friends and parents. Our wives get breast cancer. Relationships just seem to erode or get derailed by life. So is that just how life is and we just gut it out? We know it should be different. We long for more for a reason. What is our hope? Hereafter presents the afterlife as a sort of peaceful weightlessness and reunion with the only backing being that’s what people see in near-death experiences. Even if that was true, is it enough? I think it’s weak. I think there’s more.

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)

We don’t have to scrape and claw for answers in the vague near-death experiences, the God who is not silent has given us guidance in the Bible. What do we learn there? Religion is the solution, seriously? Nope. You learn that we were made for relationship with the triune God of the Universe. But we rejected Him. We fell into sin which broke that relationship. But God the Father send His precious, eternal Son to suffer and die to get us back. Now God has opened the door and is waiting with a lavish grace and mercy ready to take you as you are. He knows you better that you do and through Jesus He is for you. The good news of the Bible is not another 4 step method to happiness but restoration of relationships. First, God restores us to Himself. Through that restoration, our relationships with people can be redeemed. That is only way through the ache of loneliness and loss and despair that Hereafter beautifully presents to us.

Few delights can equal the mere presence of One whom we fully trust. – George MacDonald

Funny One-Minute Review of Hereafter from the Rabbit Room

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