Posts Tagged ‘DVDs’

Update (9/28/11): September and October DVD releases offer a plethora of film goodness between X-Men, Thor, Tree of Life, and Captain America. Be sure to read my full reviews of each. Remember: don’t simply veg out but watch to be stirred to worship the One whose story is the only one that ultimately matters.

X-Men: First Class (September 9)


Apart from Tree of Life, this was easily my favorite movie of the summer. James McAvoy is tremendous as Charles and Michael Fassbender plays a very good Erik. This movie works because of those two and the man that Charles is and becomes. Read the rest of my thoughts here. This was definitely the X-Men movie I’ve thought this series could be. It’s not a perfect movie but the character of Charles is worth the watch.

Thor (September 13)


Cheesy at times and predictable, this movie actually works because of the charisma and humor of Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and the genuineness of Tim Hiddleston as Loki. By the way, while writing this I just realized that Hemsworth also played Captain Kirk’s dad in that powerful scene at the beginning of the latest Star Trek. Read more of my thoughts on Loki here.

Update (9/17/11)

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (September 30)

This film was a complete waste other than the incredible special effects. The slow motion transformation sequences, the destruction of the skyscraper, and the battle sequences were phenomenal. That’s about all the good I can say. The flaws are comical. Megatron gets seduced by the token girlfriend. The Decepticons lay siege to Chicago and lock down the city. Then they somehow forget what cars the Autobots are, who very easily sneak into the city. The film attempts to make the humans more important and is laughable. You can only threaten to destroy the whole world so many times and be taken seriously. Would we really believe that the Autobots would leave? That Bumblebee would die? Also, if less than 10 or so Autobots can take on over 200 Decepticons, how did they lose the battle of Cybertron? Seriously, Optimus Prime probably waxes 50 Decepticons by himself! On top of all that comedy, the movie is absurdly long.

Update (8/31/11)

Tree of Life (October 11)

This is without question my favorite movie of the summer and 2011 [update: Warrior beats it out slightly…], for that matter. It’s such a profound movie experience that you have to just immerse yourself in and then engage with the world and imagery Terrence Malick presents. Grace versus the Law. Our deeply flawed sinful nature. Our loneliness. Eternity. Beauty. Many people have hated this film because it’s so different and non-escapist but I hope this type of film is the direction of movies, it’s a work of art that will move you if you let it. You can check out more of my thoughts here: the experience and sin & family.

Update (9/28/11)

Captain America: The First Avenger (October 25)


This movie was better than I expected, especially the first half of the film. The set up to the transformation and then to the initial battle is simply fantastic. I love how Steve Rogers emulates Jonathan of 1Samuel in his humility and friendship. Read my original thoughts here: Captain America: Steve Rogers is the Jonathan of the OT

A few other intriguing movies coming out:

Hanna (September 6): The dangers of homeschool? Training children to be assassins!

Fast Five (October 5): The dangers of 1000 foot cliff diving? None!

Update (9/28/11)

Winnie the Pooh (October 25): The dangers of honey? Obesity!

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It’s slim pickings for new release DVDs over the summer. As always, if there’s a movie release I missed, I likely felt it not worth seeing…

Rango (July 15)

An 88% on the Tomatometer? Seriously? I thought this was a supremely boring movie. I kept expecting it go somewhere and then it ended. I was embarrassed that I wasted an evening with my wife watching this. I’m still not sure what the point of the movie was. It may sound good – high ratings, clean, animated, Johnny Depp voicing Rango, but don’t be fooled. Don’t rent this film unless you’re struggling with insomnia.

Source Code (July 26)

Now this movie pleasantly surprised me. I almost wrote an entire blog on it but it’s too difficult to do without giving away the entire movie. Jake G and Monaghan are solid with really good chemistry and the story just worked for me. People seem mixed on the ending but I liked it. I think it betrays just how much we want a happy ending and to know that death is not the end. We don’t think about death very much but we’re very afraid of it when we do. This film exposes all of that.

Rio also comes out on August 2 and it looks like a decent fun kids movie but we have not seen it yet.

Are there any films that I missed that are worth watching (July – August releases)? Leave a comment!

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As always, if there’s a movie release I missed, I likely felt it not worth seeing…

Black Death (May 10)

I almost wrote an entire post on this movie because of one of the key questions that I think it poses: Where is the evil? I loved the tension of the pseudo Christians vs. the pagan village and how it’s all a façade. Is the evil in Christianity? Is the evil within the necromancer? Is the bubonic plague a punishment sent by God? Is evil as simple as an external force to be wiped out and defeated? This film makes it very clear from the beginning to the end: the evil is within. We chase necromancers and Satan and curse God for plagues while our hearts are fouler than anything we can imagine. I’d link to the trailer but I think it’s misleading – the battle scenes are not the most violent or darkest parts of this movie.

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

This is a very violent and disturbing film. I’ve seen gorier movies but the sound of the violence nearly got to me in Black Death. The recant scene and climax is intense, almost spiritually intense. It’s a very difficult film to recommend. I didn’t take my wife to see this nor will I watch it with her when it comes out on DVD.

True Grit (June 7)

I still don’t know what to make of True Grit. I appreciated Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld. Damon surprised me, actually; I did not expect him to make his Texas Ranger so believable or likeable. Steinfeld is simply incredible. I’ll watch this film again just to watch her interactions with every other character. I take Jeff Bridges for granted because of how good he was playing a similar type of character in Crazy Heart. I appreciate the overarching theme of the sovereignty of God. However, I need to see it again to wrestle with what exactly the Coen brothers were intending to say to us. Stanley Fish has some extremely good thoughts in this NY Times article. I think it’s worth watching but don’t expect a clean or easy to decipher film.

Updated 6/22/11

Adjustment Bureau (June 21)

See my initial thoughts here: The Adjustment Bureau: Suffering & Sovereignty Not a great movie but provokes some interesting questions. The key point in them movie is that choice that always seems to be one before us: suffer & find peace or be “successful” but not have joy or peace. The gospel offers us suffering & joy & peace, Jesus succeeded for us & freed us to love him and walk in his grace without fear. The Adjustment Bureau reveals just how far we will go to avoid suffering until we absolutely have to. 

Unknown (June 21)

This movie looked intriguing but I have not had a chance to see it yet. The reviews are mixed but Liam Neeson tearing up Europe again? Sign me up!

Update 9/14/11

Finally got a chance to watch it and Unknown had a twist that completely caught me by surprise. I loved it. The trailers, the posters, all of them just set you up. I thought the previews looked intriguing but a little ridiculous with Neeson seeming to be the same man that tore up Paris in “Taken” and yet he was a doctor trying to “get his life back.” Let’s just say that it all makes sense by the end. Look for the “baptism” and the intervention of a grace that redeems in an unlikely form. Just a heads up: the quick shower scene is a bit unnecessary, feel free to fast forward.

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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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