movies

The Green Lantern Will Never Be the Light of the World

Chad Nuss:

Given the power to create anything the mind can conceive and given the power to defend the universe is more than a human can handle. Comic book heroes will always remain a myth because human saviors will always fall short. That much power in the hand of any person will be tainted with corruption, selfishness, and evil. Jesus said that out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander (Matthew 15:19). In the real world, Hal Jordan wouldn’t use his power to save the universe; he would use his power to rule the universe. You cannot fix evil and sin with an evil, sinful person. The only one with the power to create and the power to save must be perfect. This one must have no corruption that would distort power to his own ends and must be all powerful in order to overcome all of the brokenness of the universe. Jesus claims to be a man without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and the sovereign God who upholds the universe with his very words (Hebrews 1:3). If he is neither of these things, then Jesus is nothing more than a mythical comic book hero as well.

The Green Lantern will be released in theaters on June 17.

The King's Speech Spoke to Me

Not many movies have spoken to me like The King's Speech.  If you haven't yet seen it, I highly recommend it--especially if you're a leader who is often governed by fear.  This movie not only made me think, it made me feel ... it helped me to enter into my internal world of insecurities and then empowered me to be the man God made me to be, using the voice He's given me for his glory.  Like David, before I die, I long to "serve the purpose of God in [my] own generation" (Acts 13:36). BTW ... the reason why the movie is rated R is for language.  But most of the profanity is in one short scene and it didn't bother me too much because of the context.  All in all, I encourage you (especially if you're a leader) to go see this movie.  My wife really loved it too and appreciated Queen Elizabeth's endearing quality as a strong, supportive wife.  Here's the trailer:

Despicable Me - A Movie About Adoption

My friend, Tom DeZarn, on his sneak preview of the movie, Despicable Me: We recently saw a sneak preview of the movie, “Despicable Me.” Much to our surprise (because the trailers did not hint at this), it is a movie about adoption.  It is, in fact, a powerful and positive movie about adoption.  The content is appropriate for all ages and we strongly recommend it for the entire family.  It hits the theatres on July 9.  For those of you who are Steve Carell fans–he is the voice of the lead character, and with a Russian accent!

Looks like a great movie for the whole family coming soon.  Check it out here.

A Christmas Carol Review

christmas_carol_m[1]Last night my wife and I went with some friends to see Disney's A Christmas Carol.  I haven't seen many 3-D movies, but this one was pretty impressive from a visual standpoint.  As soon as I strapped on the geeky glasses I felt like I was taken right into the story zooming through the sky on the coattails of Scrooge himself.  Yet, in other ways, it was difficult to personally relate to the characters who seemed so computerized and lifeless (i.e. hard to feel sad for a fake Tiny Tim). The story itself stuck pretty closely to the original novel by Charles Dickens.  It was very spooky and dark throughout.  In fact, I'm glad our kids weren't with us.  They would have freaked out!  But perhaps the most powerful lesson of the movie was how greed can control you and ultimately kill you.  It can ruin relationships and leave you a lonely, poor rejected man in the end. 

I couldn't help but think of Zaccheus and how money took hold of his heart and left him empty inside.  The difference, obviously, is that Zaccheus was visited by Jesus--not three spooky spirits.  And Zaccheus was genuinely loved, not frightened into repentance.  But both men gave evidence of their redemption by giving away what they had once hoarded.  I love how Tim Keller describes this change of heart in his book, Counterfeit Gods:

The solution to stinginess is a reorientation to the generosity of Christ in the gospel, how he poured out his wealth for you.  Now you don't have to worry about money--the Cross proves God's care for you and gives you security.

Most of us don't identify with Scrooge.  He's a bit over the top.  And so we might think greed is not a problem for us.  But it hides itself deeply.  So I encourage you to watch this movie for your own heart to be reminded of what matters most this holiday season.

  • Read this helpful review at Christianity Today

Where the Wild Things Are

I remember reading the book, Where the Wild Things Are, as a kid.  So, I'm curious to see the movie as it came out this past weekend.  Not suprisingly, it has already been met with mixed reviews.

Dr. Cole Abaius loved the movie and gives 7 reasons why you should go and see it He says the film is like a time machine to 10 years old and gives you "an excuse to remember things how you used to remember them. To see a toy boat as an adventure on the high seas, and to see a pile of clothes and cardboard boxes as the rocketship that it really is."

Carolyn Arends, of Christianity Today, gives a balanced review here.  She calls the film a "creative triumph," and yet warns parents of the overall tone of violence and "post-existential angst that places young Max (and thus his viewers) in a decaying and unreliable universe."

Brent Thomas also weighs in saying Where the Wild Things Are "is a movie about being a child that you have to be an adult to grasp."

And finally, Meghan Basham of World Magazine calls the movie, "Not so Wild," and says it offers a "quiet, moving story." (HT: JT)

If you've seen the movie or remember reading the book, feel free to share your thoughts.  FYI: The film is rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action, and brief language.    

The Dangers of Watching Dumb Summer Movies

Jaime and I watch our share of movies in the summertime, mostly on DVD, rarely in the theaters.  We try to pick movies that are both thought-provoking and entertaining.  With that in mind, here's a good reminder from Christ and Pop Culture about the dangers of watching dumb movies:

Dumb movies are made either by dumb people or (more likely) people who stifle their artistic potential for the sake of appealing to the lowest common denominator. Rather than making an effort to appeal to our virtues (I would argue this is one mark of true art), they tend to appeal to our vices. Their movies thrive off of simple formulas that are known to cause audiences to flock to the theaters: existing franchises, large explosions, crude and gross humor, slapstick comedy, sexual exploitation, sentimental manipulation of emotions, and simplified plot-lines ...

The greatest danger of these movies is not what they are but what they do to us. They give us permission and at worst train us not to think about what we’re watching. As Christians, we don’t have this option. We are charged to remain sober and vigilant and to judge all things by scripture and the gospel. Does this mean we must concoct touching spiritual metaphors based on everything we see? No. But it does mean that if we ever find ourselves being taken on a ride by a movie about giant fighting robots [i.e. Tranformers 2], it’s best to either take control or jump off.

(Read the whole thing here ...)

A Big Thumbs Up for the Movie UP

Yesterday I took my girls to the new, Disney pixar movie UP.  Let me say up front (pun intended) that I loved it.  It ranks right up (oops, did it again) there with Finding Nemo as my favorite pixar movie to date.  I am amazed at the stories these people from Pixar write and put on the big screen.  It truly is an experience for the whole family to enjoy and get something out of.  In other words, it's the first must-see movie of the summer!

The basic storyline is about "a 78 year old balloon salesman named Carl Frederickson who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America.  But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8 year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell" (read more @ UP: The Official Website).

Instead of giving away the rest of the story, here are 4 reasons why you should go and see UP:

1)  UP reminds us that the real adventure of life is right in front of us

Instead of living a life of regret where we look back and feel paralyzed by our past, we need to look up and look out at the people God has placed in our path today.  So often I forget that the real adventure is not in some make-believe, grass is greener on the other side kind of place, but right here in the context of where God has me now.  As Eugene Peterson once said, "Christianity is always lived on location."  UP helped me to see that.

2)  UP uplifts marriage in a big way

Good ole' Carl loved his wife so much that even after she died he still longed to please her by pursuing after her dreams.  Yet at the end of the movie, as he flips through the pages of his life, Carl sees that the greatest adventure of all was not in reaching some far off dream, but rather in walking the journey of life together with his wife.  This was a sweet reminder for me.

3)  UP inspires us to rise above our little kingdoms and live for God's bigger kingdom

Like Carl, we can often get wrapped up with with our own little lives and start to feel sorry for ourselves.  Instead of looking up at the world around us we look inward and stay in the security of our self-made, self-protected lives.  But we were made for something much bigger than ourselves.  We were made for God and we were made for others.  Again, Carl provides a great example for us.  Even though his wife had passed away, he had reason to live because he had someone to love -- little 8 year old Russel and all his youthful energy!  But that's kingdom living--that's what it looks like to let go of yourself and love others, no matter who they are.

4)  UP lifts your spirits up and makes you laugh and cry

If you let yourself be a kid as you watch this movie, you will laugh out loud!  No kidding.  The dogs alone will have you rolling.  With their collars that translate their thoughts into words, you will see into the mind of dogs in a way you always imagined but never actually heard aloud.  It is hilarious!  On top of that, the main "dog" in the story is named Doug (my name).  My girls thought that was pretty funny.  And I can't forget Russel, the 8 year old Wilderness Explorer, who is pegged perfectly as your typical boy at this age.  In one scene he's complaining about his legs hurting because he has to walk so far and then the next minute he's running because he finds something he wants.  So true of my kids.  Finally, UP will make you tear up as well.  As the great Walt Disney once said, "For every laugh there should be a tear."  And UP is a good illustration of that.  After all, great movies draw you into the story and into the emotions of the characters in them.

**Only one disclaimer ... the movie is rated PG (not G) because of "some peril and action."  If you have kids 5 and under, just be prepared for the intensity of some of the scenes.  But go and see UP ... the whole family will give a big thumbs up, I'm sure.