Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Winners Use Awards Event to Slam Same-Sex "Marriage" Opponents, Promote Homosexual Agenda

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Don't you love how Hollywood pretends that making a movie about something makes them an expert on the subject? It's even worse that they use any opportunity to advance the homosexual "lifestyle".

Last night's Oscars awards ceremony became a platform for promoting the homosexualist cause, as honorees involved in the pro-homosexual movie "Milk" suggested that their awards were a victory for the same-sex "marriage" movement and strongly criticized opponents of same-sex "marriage."

"Milk," a movie about the life of America's first openly homosexual politician Harvey Milk, was honored with Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay awards. The director, writer and two producers of the film identify as homosexual.

Sean Penn, who played Harvey Milk, used his acceptance speech for the Best Actor award to strongly condemn those who protest against same-sex "marriage." He referred in particular to a group protesting outside the Kodak Theater, where the awards ceremony took place.

Movie Review: The International - R

cross-posted from A Catholic View

Warning: Potential Spoilers.

The main character is Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent, and he is working with the Manhattan DA, investigating IBBC.

The 'villian' is an international bank (IBBC).
Anyone who has investigated IBBC is either dead or missing.
IBBC apparently makes alot of their money by getting involved in conflicts (wars) by picking a side to arm. That fact becomes key to the investigation and efforts to bring them down.

The most interesting part of the movie revolves around the killing of Umberto Calvini, the head of IBBC, and the search for the hitman(men) involved.

The part of the movie I didn't appreciate was the way the Manhattan DA just walked away from the investigation.

I found the first half of the movie much more interesting than the second half, but I found the ending an appropriate one for the story.

Content Warnings: In the first scene, there is a guy who is dying, and they show him throwing up. I didn't think that was necessary.
In a couple of scenes, people get shot and there is an excessive amount of 'gushing' blood. The F word is used a few times.

If you like James Bond movies, you'll probably like this one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Movie poll of Catholics launched ahead of Oscars®

From Mark at Soul Food Cinema comes the following poll. I like it, I like it a lot ...
With just days to go until the 81st Annual Academy Awards, three UK-based Catholic media partners have launched a poll to find the Catholic community’s all-time top-100 favourite films.

The weekly newspaper The Catholic Herald, on-line movie review magazine Soul Food Cinema and Catholic media retailer St Anthony Communications, have joined forces to discover those films that Catholics value most highly; both in terms of their technical and artistic merits as well as their moral and spiritual merits.

Speaking about the upcoming awards ceremony, Soul Food Cinema Editor Mark Banks comments “Once again we have a morally-diverse group of films nominated for this year’s Oscars®. On the one hand there is The Visitor, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E and Happy-Go-Lucky: all of which have been nominated for one or more of the most-prestigious Oscar® categories (Best Leading Actor, Best leading Actress, Best Directing, Best Picture and Best Screenplay), and all of which also feature on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Top-10 films list of 2008. And on the other hand there is Milk, The Reader, Revolutionary Road and Tropic of Thunder: all of which have also been nominated for one or more of the most-prestigious Oscars® categories, and all of which have either been deemed by the USCCB to contain ‘problematic content many adults would find troubling’ or simply as ‘morally offensive’”.

The three UK-based Catholic media partners that have organised the Top-100 poll hope it will help Catholics to identify and embrace those films, both past and present, which are in accordance with Catholic-Christian principles.

The poll can be accessed on-line here.

Voting closes on Friday March 6th.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Movie Review: Henry Poole is Here

"Do you ever feel like things happen for no reason?
Like you're just along for the ride?"
So speaks Henry Poole who is without hope or faith and is trying to avoid any and all human contact.

Henry has moved into a neighborhood where he is unknown only to find that his neighbor, Esperanza, sees the "face of Christ" in the new stucco on his house. Insisting that it is a water stain, unable to remove it with bleach, and equally unable to keep Esperanza away, he agrees to let the local priest bring in experts for evaluation.

Meanwhile, we discover why Henry is hiding from the world and see him pulled into interaction despite himself with his neighbors. Henry provides the skeptical, reasonable voice of the world, wanting rational explanations and refusing to believe in ... "don't say that word!" ... miracles because those just don't happen. This provides not only many humorous situations but poignant moments as well. As the movie progresses we are aching to know if the "face of Christ" is genuine or only a water stain. Equally, we are aching for Henry.

In the most basic sense, the overall message of this movie could be that no man is an island, as Henry is unable to avoid people constantly reaching out to him in friendly interest. Those people spark a transformation that Henry can not possibly imagine as he continually attempts to bat them away. We do not see every situation resolved but the sense that resolution lies in the future is clearly present by the end of the film. The story overall is a human, interesting look at hopelessness and faith, isolation and love, memories and future.

There are some script flaws. There could have been more plot lines and a bit less telegraphing of some of the story. The flashbacks are awkwardly jumps in time and some story points move unrealistically quickly. However, it does not make claims to be something it is not. This is a little, refreshing, quirky movie with heart. I have watched many simple movies such as The Castle and Eagle vs. Shark with exactly those same qualities that have stuck with me for a very long time. This movie is no less.

Here is a no-doubt-about-it faith message that was delivered interestingly, and with realistic characters, using subtle methods to enhance the story. Predictable in some ways, it made us think along the way, didn't spoon feed us everything, and was far superior to Fireproof in technique and delivery. It speaks about faith and prayer in the way that normal people do, without stopping to deliver speeches about "accepting the Lord." As Tom says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you probably can't beat it to water."

An indie-style movie with a simple but well delivered story, it is a lesson in how to deliver messages when you're not already preaching to the choir, as "Christian" movies are wont to do. Excellent acting enhanced the movie greatly. For example, I have never seen George Lopez in anything but broad comic roles, which were painful, to tell the truth. Here he does a subtle, low key delivery as the very real seeming neighborhood priest who is called in to give judgment on the "appearance."

We appreciated the acknowledgment that it is possible to have a woman look beautiful and modest while dressing like a normal person. (No stereotypical "sensible" pumps, no frumpy blouse and skirt sets that your mother might wear, and no ugly hair styles ... yes, "Fireproof," I'm lookin' at you all the way here.) Equally, there is no immodest behavior although everyone's behavior is entirely normal. I particularly enjoyed the device of using the tape recorder to both engage Henry with another person and remind him and the audience of key points. As well, we both appreciated the sequence informing of us Henry's past while he is at the river. Artfully and subtly done, especially in a movie with this overall message.

The symbolism likewise was there for us if we wanted it but didn't intrude on our viewing. Take note of characters' names, keeping in mind Esperanza is Spanish for "hope." Equally, remember that a cross never shows up in a movie, even as a shadow, without the filmmaker deliberately placing it there (kudos to Tom who caught this one in the movie). As a larger example: Henry's house is empty, barren, dark, and bleak. A neighbor's backyard, likewise, is in stages of raw disorder, although their house is warm and inviting. We were shocked every time Henry left his home and we saw the neighborhood full of lush, flourishing yards and homes. The contrast between Henry and other people is shown to us thus to make an overall impression that sinks in at a level we did not have to have a spoken declaration to understand. This is not all but we will let it unfold for you.

Well done and definitely recommended for those interested in what they would do if the "face of Christ" showed up on the wall of their house.

Cross-posted at Happy Catholic.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mary: Mother of the Christ coming to theatres in 2010

Movie Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

The movie opens with a line up of the latest recruits for the New Jersey State Troopers. They have one more test: the obstacle course.

Paul Blart (Kevin James) is shorter--and considerably heavier--than the rest of the gang. But he climbs, crawls, jumps, and runs the course until he collapses--six inches from the finish line.

Paul has hypoglycemia, which causes him to fall asleep if he doesn't get enough sugar.

He discusses this with his family over the dinner his Mom (Shirley Knight) has prepared for Paul and his daughter, Maya (Raini Rodriguez). It's clear that food is the way Mom shows her unconditional love to her family.

Maya reminds Paul that he made a promise: if he was still single by November, he would sign up for an online dating service. Paul's first wife--Maya's mom--used Paul to get a green card, then split, leaving Maya behind. Mom and Maya help Paul fill out the application.

The next day, Paul takes his Segway to his job as a mall cop in New Jersey. He takes his job very seriously, which his co-workers don't understand. Paul is assigned to orient the new guy, Veck Sims (Keir O'Donnell) and teach him the ropes. Paul uses this opportunity to impart some of his philosophy about protecting the mall to Veck.

A new saleswoman for one of the kiosks catches Paul's eye. Amy (Jayma Mayes) smiles back at him and Paul is smitten. She invites him to join the gang for an after-work get-together where Paul inadvertently gets drunk and makes a fool of himself.

The next day, he apologizes, but Amy isn't sure what to make of him. She heads off to the bank and is taken hostage there as part of the mall takeover. Everyone else evacuates--except Paul, who was playing video games in the arcade and misses the excitement.

So he ends up being the only one on "the inside" for the police department and SWAT team. He has a chance to leave, but doesn't take it when he realizes Amy is one of the hostages.

But he's overweight, hypoglycemic, doesn't have a gun, and has no training. What can he do?

This movie is a "Happy Madison" film, which is Adam Sandler's production company. But there's no cameos by Mr. Sandler or any of his regulars. In fact, most of the actors are B-listers, whose faces you recognize but can't-quite-place. There's lots of physical comedy as well as playing off cultural and physical stereotypes, but I didn't find any of it malicious. No profanity. No nudity. Maya, who is a "tween-ager" is mostly sweet. She loves her dad, although she is a bit exasperated by him.

Paul has taken a lot of abuse: for his weight, for his inability to pass the State Trooper test, for his hypoglycemia, for his seriousness about his job. But he knows what's right and what's important. And he's not stupid.

DD#2 (15) saw this with some of her friends and thought it was hilarious. In fact, Hubs and I saw Mall Cop based on her recommendation. We enjoyed it, although I didn't find it as funny as she did. It's rated PG, which feels about right. Overall positive messages about family, ignoring stereotypes, and believing in yourself.

On the March Hare scale: 3.5 out of 5 Golden Tickets

crossposted at The Mad Tea Party