Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Jesus Camp is a documentary about the "Kids on Fire" Summer Camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. At this camp children are sent to learn how to unleash their "prophetic gifts" and "take back America for Christ."
Magnolia Pictures Eamonn Bowles say that this film is not an agenda film, "it doesn't come with any prepackaged point of view."
Yet even though film makers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady do not make a social comment on what is portrayed in the film about charismatic fundamentalist children, Rev. Becky Fisher is closing down her Kids on Fire Camp.
Fisher says she must close the camp because she has a responsibility to "keep the children safe." Since the release of the film the camp in North Dakota has been vandalized, as well as the Assemblies of God church associated with the film as well.
Others portrayed in the film, namely Ted Haggard, pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, also was very angered at this film, and the way he and his church are presented.
Haggard urged people to boycott the film saying: "You can expect to learn as much about the Catholic Church from 'Nacho Libre' as you can learn about Evangelicalism from 'Jesus Camp.' This movie manipulates facts like a Michael Moore film and works the camera like 'The Blair Witch Project.' It's one more 'documentary' that seems to miss the point intentionally."
Related Tags: Jesus Camp, Documentary, Summer Camp, Kids on fire, Devils Lake, North Dakota, Christianity, Charismatic, Conservative, Assemblies of God, Magnolia Pictures, Eamonn Bowles, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Becky Fisher, Ted Haggard, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Film
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Well, after seeing the movie, it's pretty clear that if anyone receives any star-loving it will be Adam Beach who plays the Pima Indian Ira Hayes. I am still prone to include him in the list of support actor Oscar front-runners.
There are other good performances, such as Barry Peppers role as Platoon Sgt. Mike Strank, but there roles are limited for significant recognition.
Come award season, I doubt that Ryan Phillippe's name will make any awards list. I'm not necessarily saying he was poorly cast, but Phillippe plays the role of John Bradley pretty flatly, at a fairly consistent character stuck in some very dramatic situations.
Jesse Bradford did a good job in his unique role as Rene Gagnon, but Bradford and the role just doesn't seem the type to lead to award recognition.
To those who have seen the film, or know the stories behind the famous Iwo Jima photograph, I find it ironic that as before when I posted pictures for the various actors playing the flag raisers in the film, that I was unable to find one for Benjamin Walker who plays Harlon Block. Alas, he is pictured right.
ultimately when it comes to "Who Will Be Recognized?" beyond Adam Beach, it will be recognition of Clint Eastwood, for his direction, maybe Paul Haggis for his writing, and the technical team maybe in areas like cinemotography, art direction, sounds, and make-up.
Related Tags: Benjamin Walker, Harlon Block, Barry Peppers, Mike Strank, Flags of Our Fathers, Ryan Phillippe, John Bradley, Adam Beach, Ira Hayes, Award Buzz, Academy Awards, Oscars, Clint Eastwood, Paul Haggis, Rene Gagnon, Jesse Bradford
Friday, October 27, 2006
As you can notice from my blog postings I've been a little extra busy lately, largely because of moving to a new city, with a new job, and doing new things. Yet I have to believe my life would have been totally different if certain decisions and interactions had not occured.
Namely, before enrolling in my first semester classes almost a decade ago I noticed a sign for a campus organization that met on Monday nights, I thought I might be interested in checking out the organization once school started, but I was about to sign up for monday night astronomy class and changed my schedule as I walked over to the library to insert my course choices.
My first week of school I debated about whether I would go to that first monday night meeting, and interestingly enough the people in the room that night changed my life forever, namely, by many of them becoming good friends, roommates, etc.
But one of those people in the room, a senior, forced my involvement in that group, became the connection point for my first job out of college, and is now my boss.
Hum? Glad someone posted a sign that I saw on the way to registering for classes, if not it all might be different right now.
Related Tags: potential realities, gwyneth paltrow, peter howitt, sliding doors, college
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Yet, for some reason the movie The Pursuit of Happyness staring Will Smith, and his son Jaden Smith is intriguing to me. (Coming out Dec 15, 2006)
Based upon the trailer, the film looks like a feel good drama about a father who wants to get custody of his son, and pursues a professional career in order to get his life together in order to get custody of his son and raise him the way he wants to.
Why, am I interested in this film...I don't even know why. Will Smith looks like he does a good job in the role and well, it looks familiar (almost like Raising Helen or something) but at the same time there's something about it that feels different, and that combination of similar/different is attractive...even if it does look a little bit sappy.
Related Tags: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness, Upcoming Movies, Custody, Holiday Films
Grameen banks have been very unique because they give small loans...I mean small (were talking 60 dollar loans here) to people who normally couldn't get loans, often women with children, who need just a little capital for initial set up fees for small businesses (say to buy chickens in order to sell eggs, or cloth to begin sewing dresses).
In the process Yunus and Grameen banks have done well and made quite a profit, but also have significantly helped fight poverty by giving the poor an opportunity to work hard and be productive in society, helping the economies of entire communities.
I think Yunus is an excellent choice for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Related Tags: nobel peace prize, Mohammed Yunus, Grameen Banks, Bangladesh, Economy, Economist, Poverty, Social Justice, Capital
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
I found the film to be quite enjoyable, it was like a romantic comedy, but instead of being about the romantic tribulations of a young man and a young woman, it was about the on-again off-again interest a woman (Anne Hathaway) has with her cut-throat and serious job.
Was this movie amazing, would I recomend it to thousands...nah. Yet, it's good...it's just a movie where, "it is what it is."
In this film, I was most impressed with the acting. I though everyone did a great job with their parts. While the roles are not complicated in an Academy Award deserving way, I was especially impressed with Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt, and Anne Hathaway.
Meryl Streep did a good job as we'd expect her too...although I'm hesitant to say that because I find it unfortunate that she will likely receive a best actress nomination for this film, and her role is neither lead nor earth shattering.
Related Tags: The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Award Buzz, Academy Awards, Oscars, Film
Sunday, October 15, 2006
This is an interesting choice, because the field for best supporting actor has a lot of potential nominees, with really none positioned as locks, except maybe Jack Nicholson for his role in The Departed.
The best actor catagory certainly could have some room for Griffiths with the only lock being Forrest Whitiker from The Last King of Scotland. Who knows how this will play out for Griffiths? A nomination may be easier in the lead catagory, but I think a win will be much harder.
(image from LA Times' Gold Derby)
Related Tags: Academy Awards, Oscar, Award Buzz, Richard Griffiths, History Boys, The Departed, Jack Nicholson, Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Film
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Barry Levinson's film Man of the Year staring Robin Williams came out wide this weekend.
This has led me to think about Barry Levinson's hit and misses for me. The Academy Award winner (1 win, 6 noms) certainly has produced a large "variety" of work.
All Out Favorite: Rain Man
It's an unforgetable iconic film that will stand the test of time...it's funny, witty, different, and smart.
Touches me in a Personal Way: Avalon
This story about a Jewish family in the early 1900s creates images that help me picture what it must have been like for my great-grandparents, a Jewish family who came over to the US in the early 1900s.
Why'd I do that to myself: Sphere
There was an era where I'd read all of Michael Crichton's books and an era where I'd watch all the film adaptations (Disclousure, Jurassic Park, Lost World, Congo). Hum? I don't know why I did that to myself?
Why'd you do that to the world: Toys
Ugh...every time I see the VHS or DVD box anywhere, it makes me a little sick.
Creepy in Retrospect: Wag the Dog
It's wierd of things happen and politics and you think to yourself, "it's like that movie that came out in 1997")
A Good Funny Film: Bandits
It's really very entertaining for what it is. Cate Blanchett, Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton all crack me up.
Related Tags: Barry Levinson, Toys, Man of the Year, Robin Williams, Avalon, Rain Man, Wag the Dog, Bandits, Sphere, Movies, Film Director, Michael Crichton
Thursday, October 12, 2006
"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation" --Paul in a letter to the church of Colosse, Colossians 1:15
Language, Jesus, God, Colossians, Paul
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Interestingly enough, but these films deal with drugs, but beyond that the basic premises are different.
Maria Full of Grace deals with a young Columbian girl (Catalina Sandino Moreno), pregnent with child, while Saving Grace deals with an older British woman (Brenda Blethyn) dealing with the death of her husband.
But both these women, in hard situations turn to drug trafficking (in very different ways) and Saving Grace is far more comical than Maria Full of Grace. Yet, in both situations Moreno and Blethyn both are potrayed as sympathetic heroes. You root them on, because you know their illegal acts are out of personal desportation and in turn you find symphathy on the characters. You view their struggles, downfalls, and poor decisions with grace. They are in a hopeless state.
When grace is defined with words like mercy, clemency, and pardon...grace becomes the perfect word for how as an audience you view these two women, who's illegal acts and unfortunate situations create a desire to forgive and pardon their acts, and even hope that good things will come from their illegal deeds.
Related Tags: grace, maria full of grace, saving grace, Catalina Sandino Moreno, brenda blethyn, columbia, great britian, drug trafficking, desperation, film
LANDIS: Of course, Jackie O. was a great lady. Those are going to be some tough shoes to fill. Everyone loved her. She had such...grace.
ELAINE (gushing): Yes! Grace!
LANDIS: Not many people have grace.
ELAINE: Well, you know, grace is a tough one. I like to think I have a little grace...not as much as Jackie -
LANDIS: You can't have "a little grace." You either have grace, or you...don't.
ELAINE: O.K., fine, I have...no grace.
LANDIS: And you can't acquire grace.
ELAINE: Well, I have no intention of "getting" grace.
LANDIS: Grace isn't something you can pick up at the market.
ELAINE (fed up): Alright, alright, look - I don't have grace, I don't want grace...I don't even say grace, O.K.?
LANDIS: Thank you for coming in.
ELAINE: Yeah, yeah, right.
LANDIS: We'll make our choice in a few days, and we'll let you know.
ELAINE (stands up): I have no chance, do I?
(They shake hands.)
LANDIS'S INTERCOM: Justin Pitt to see you.
ELAINE: Justin Pitt?
LANDIS: He was a very close friend of Mrs. Onassis's.
ELAINE: "Mrs. Onassis's"? That's hard to pronounce.
LANDIS: Excuse me?
PITT: Mrs. Landis, there's something wrong with this copying machine, it's all coming out slanted. Now, I don't know if this is your department or not.
LANDIS: Justin Pitt, this is Elaine Benes.
(Elaine turns around. With sunglasses and a scarf on her head, she bears a close resemblance to Jackie O.)
PITT (clearly affected by Elaine's appearance): Charmed.
ELAINE: I was a great admirer of Mrs. Onass-sis-sis-sis...
New scene - Elaine and Mr. Pitt having lunch at the coffee shop.
PITT (looking at Elaine and smiling): The resemblance is uncanny.
ELAINE: Well, a lot of people have brown eyes.
PITT: No, there's something else. An indefinable quality.
PITT: grace, yes.
ELAINE: You think I have grace?
PITT: Some grace, yes.
ELAINE: Just some?
PITT: Well, you don't want too much grace or you won't be able to stand.
ELAINE (laughing): Oh, Mr. Pitt.
PITT: Elaine, I want you to come and work for me as my personal assistant. Now, I'll pay you the same as Pendant, but I would need you to start right away.
(thank you Mark for the inspiration for this post; Brian Dickson for transcribing Seinfeld episode 87 which aired on September 22, 1994; and Jenna Hatfield for encouraging me to think about the idea of grace some more)
Related Tags: Seinfeld, Elaine, Mr Pitt, Grace, Television, Transcript, Jackie Onassis
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The adoption author says: "Frankly, I'm having trouble trying to see where that blog author gets off trying to write about anything related to the word 'grace,' which is defined as mercy, clemency or a pardon as well as elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
In luie of this comment, I decided to look for other post of mine that mention the term grace...the only substational post that mentions the term Grace is the post: 2005's Best Film Portrayl of Love and Grace. Other than that post, I have not talked much about grace, but reading this comment inspires me to investigate and discuss grace some in the weeks to come, stay tuned! Maybe I have a thing or two to learn about grace, since apparently, according to my criticizer, I have a poor understanding of the term.
Also, feel free to write your own post about grace, and let me know about them. I'd love to share those with the world as well as together we can really spend more time thinking about the many dynamics of GRACE.
Related Tags: grace, keisha castle hughes, pregency, criticism
Monday, October 09, 2006
I was shocked when I found out that the 16 year old is now not just pretending to be a sixteen year old pregnent girl (in the nativity story) but that she is actually pregnent! The babies father is a guy by the name of Bradley Hull, a 19 year old that has been her boyfriend for 3 years.
My first thought is, that maybe 19 year olds impregnating 16 year olds is okay in New Zeland, but that looks like statutory rape in the USA.
Also, I wonder with films like the Nativity Story where there support will come from...I would have thought that the Passion-of-the-Christ film crowd would be highly interested in this film, but many conservative evangelical protestants and conservative Catholics could now potentially discount this film as a result of the personal life of the lead actor.
Yet, this also puts The Nativity Story in the news, and so perhaps it increases the press coverage for this film, which could have a positive box office effect.
I keep picturing Catherine Zeta-Jones pregnent when she accepted her best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Chicago...she was so pregnent, she looked like she was going to pop, and yet at the same time had a lovely motherly glow...I can't picture Castle-Hughes having such grace, instead, seeing the talented 16 year old with child seems like it would only be a little sad.
(Thanks Mom for alerting me to this news story)
Related Tags: Keisha Castle Hughes, The Nativity Story, Catherine Hardwicke, Bradley Hull, statutory rape, new zeland, Academy Awards, Christians, Catherine Zeta Jones, Film, Pregnency, Baby
Sunday, October 08, 2006
We were in a little bit of a transitional place of life, and so we were waiting to see what to do about buying a new one and used the laundry facilities at our apartment.
And then...before long, we were moving across the country, and we needed to get rid of that broken washing machine quick. So, my first thought was, I'd list it in the newspaper. The newspaper offered free ad listings and so we listed the washing machine as such: "Broken Washing Machine, great for parts. $25 obo."
No one called on the broken washing machine except the one lady who called my wife's cellphone saying "Why in the world would you try to sell a broken washing machine?"
It was worth a try.
Then I was struck with an inspiration! My friend Jon had talked about a thing called freecycling when he moved away a few months ago. Per Jon's instructions I logged on to yahoo and joined the yahoo freecycling group for the city that we live in.
Here's what happened on Thursday.
10:30 AM - I list the Leaky Washing Machine w/ full disclosure
2:30 PM - The listing appears on the local freecycle message board
3:30 PM - I get an e-mail from someone interested in the washing machine, I give them my address and tell them they can be the lucky "winners" if they can pick it up by 5 pm.
4:30 PM - The leaky washer is gone and I never have to see it again!
I love freecycling. I wish I would have known about it before my wife threw away my disposable treasures, but alas. In the past couple days I have now freecycled a hideous rocking alarm clock with a rose on it (it was an unreturnable wedding gift) and a victorian rose water pitcher (also an unreturnable wedding gift).
Related Tags: freecycle, newpaper, classifieds, washing machine, wedding gifts
Friday, October 06, 2006
Lucas says he has decided that studios are doing it all wrong these days.
Lucas doesn't see the future in huge mega-budget films for this current era.
"We don't want to make movies. We're about to get into television. As far as Lucasfilm is concerned, we've moved away from the feature film thing because it's too expensive and it's too risky. I think the secret to the future is quantity," Lucas said.
So instead, LucasFilm is going to focus on things like short products, like television. The philosophy as I understand it, is that the movie theater culture is putting way too much risk into expensive films, with sucsessful sequels, and that if that's the only thing coming out, then some are destined to be huge financial disappointments.
The article says Lucas "believes Americans are abandoning the moviegoing habit for good." Instead, they will chose to download what they watch, and having a lot of choices is going to capture more people's interest, not single big-budget products.
Yet, Lucas says he's still working with Steven Speilburg on Indiana Jones 4 and Red Tails (a film about the Tuskegee airmen of WWII)...both of which Lucas says he's been working on for the past 15 years. Also Lucas said that Lucas Animation is still planning on making some feature films in the future as well.
Related Tags: george lucas, indian jones 4, USC, television, downloadable movies, red tails, future, film
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Actually, the Supporting Actor race is interesting this year because there's a lot of possibilities, with few "locks." In fact, it's an open field, so I have taken some libery in my choices to go out on some limbs.
Predictions for Best Supporting Actor Nominationations
79th Academy Awards
With 12 nominations under his belt, he's a favorite in a film directed by Martin Scorcese, another favorite film maker.Adam Beach, Flags of our Fathers:
Eastwood, another Academy favorite film maker brings a patriotic story, with a unique character, and the star with the most buzz on his side. Obviously, a little tricky since there is so man supporting actors in this film, but I have a feeling the academy will be interested in honoring him for this performance.
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland:
After winning the supporting actor award at Venice, Affleck became a real contender in this catagory. While the role was kind of weak in my opinion, it a role that Hollywood should surely appreciate.
Richard Griffiths, The History Boys:
Richard Griffiths is staring in the film which won him a Tony Award for Best Actor. Apparently, he's being campaigned for Best Supporting Actor, in a move that also worked for supporting actress Oscar winners who played Tony Award winning leads (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago and Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret).
Djimon Hounsou, The Blood Diamond:
So, what can I say, I think Hounsou's an awesome actor, especially in Gladiator and In America, for which he received an academy award nomination. There are a lot of films about Africa this year, but director Edward Zwick will surely do a good job of making Hounsou look good, as he did with Watanabe in The Last Samurai. I know no one else on the plant is predicting a Hounsou nomination, but come on, it's October, can I guy go out on a limb?
The Many Other Possible Supporting Actor Contenders:
* Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
* Robert Downey Jr., Fur
* Gael Garcia Bernal, Babel
* Brad Pitt, Babel
* Michael Pena, World Trade Center
* Steve Carrell, Little Miss Sunshine
* Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
* Freddy Rodriguez, Bobby
* Jackie E. Haley, Little Children
* Brian Cox, Running With Scissors
* Tobey Maguire, The Good German
* James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland
*James Cromwell, The Queen
* Michael Caine, The Prestige
Recent Prediction Post:
Best Picture (Sept 22nd)
Best Actress (Sept 15th)
Related Tags: Academy Awards, Award Buzz, Jack Nicholson, The Departed, Adam Beach, Flags of Our Fathers, Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland, Venice International Film Festival, Richard Griffiths, The History Boys, Djimon Hounsou, The Blood Diamond, Edward Zwick, Support Actor, Oscars
Monday, October 02, 2006
Water is in like a Terrance Malick film, say something like The New World. It's cinemotography is beautiful and takes you to a unique place, filled with naturalistic imagry, yet has a tendency to be slow and subtle.
Water is like Krzysztof Kieslowski's film Trois couleurs: Bleu. I say this because Water is the third film in Mehta's 3 film Elements series (Fire, Earth & Water), and while Blue was the 1st film in Kieslowski's Three Color Series (White, Blue, and Red) you can see why I would draw a connection between Blue and Water. Plus, Canadian actress Lisa Ray, does an excellent job in a way that can be compared to the excellent subtle acting of Juliette Binoche (Blue).
Water is like Memoirs of a Geisha. Although the story of Water takes place in a widow house and Memoirs takes place in a Geisha house, the primarily female cast with unique female dynamics is certainly at play. Especially as Lisa Ray's character is herself a widow prostitute. Also, is it odd that I would draw a comparison between Ken Watanabe (Memoirs) and John Abraham (Water)?
Water is like Osama. Even though Osama tells the story of oppresion of a 12-year-old Afghan girl forced to deal with the realities of the Taliban in her country and Water tells the story of a 7-year-old girl who is oppressed by being married young and then widowed and sent off to a seperate world of deprivation of widows where the girls is to live forever. Both stories are sad in this way.
Water is like Born into Brothels. Obviously Born into Brothels is a documentary that takes place in contemporary times and Water is a historical drama that takes place in the 1930s both stories paint a sad picture of social ritual in India, and how the historical role is still a challenge facing present day India.
Water is like Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding. Obviously both films take place in India, and while there content is different, I enjoy the Indian influenced music in both of these films very much. There is something about it, especially with shown with colors and dancing that is very very beautiful.
Related Tags: Water, Deepa Mehta, Terrence Malick, The New World, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Trois couleurs Bleu, Lisa Ray, Juliette Binoche, Memoirs of a Geisha, Ken Watanabe, John Abraham, Osama, Afghanistan, Taliban, Female Oppression, Widows, Orphans, Born into Brothels, Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding, India, History, Canada, Foreign Films, Academy Awards, Film, Sarala
Jack Nicholson has had some great roles in films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Chinatown, and Reds.
Of all his various roles my two favorite roles he's played are as the obsessive-compulsive-generally-hateful Melvin Udall in Something's Gotta Give and as the utterly-creepy Jack Torrance in Kubrick's The Shining.
Jack Nicholson has an exceptional ability to play a wide array of neurotic characters, and he plays these roles so convincingly.
I'm sure Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Wahlburg all do great in The Departed but I'm sure Jack Nicholson will be the films standout...he usually is.
Related Tags: Jack Nicholson, The Shining, The Departed, Martin Scorcese, Award Buzz, Academy Awards, Upcoming Movies, Film, As Good As it Gets, Nuerotic Behavior, Acting
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Pedro Almodovar's film Volver staring Penelope Cruz has been selected as the film to represent Spain in this year's foreign film race.
This is significant becaues Volver has received significant buzz, including winning best screenplay and best actress (for the female ensamble cast) at this year's Cannes film festival.
This announcements practicly makes Volver a shoe-in at least for a foriegn film nomination.
Director Almodovar (right) is not newcomer to the Oscar race. Almodovar won the Academy Award for best original screenplay in 2003 for Hable con ella (Talk to Her), and was also nominated for best director that same year.
I usually don't stay on top of the Foreign Film Race at this stage in the game but many countries have begun announcing their selections.
Including (to name a few that have been announced):
Algeria - Indigènes (Days of Glory)
Australia - Ten Canoes
Brazil - Movies, Aspirin, and Vultures
China - Curse of the Golden Flower
Japan - Hula Girls
Norway - Reprise
Phillipines - The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
Vietnam - Pao's Story
Related Tags: Foreign Films, Oscar, Academy Awards, Volver, Pedro Almodovar, Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Hable Con Ella, Talk To Her, Algeria, Indigènes, Days of Glory, Australia, Ten Canoes, Brazil, Movies Aspirin and Vultures, Canada, Water, China, Curse of the Golden Flower, Japan, Hula Girls, Norway, Reprise, Phillipines, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, Vietnam, Pao's Story, Award Buzz, Movies
Last time I moved I was in a hurry and filled a couple boxes and labeled them: "Go Through This Box."
Of course, I'm moving again and haven't touched those boxes since the day I put them in the back of a storage closet. My wife has a few boxes like that too.
We began going through those boxes today. Inside are some of the goofiest things...things I don't need or use, but are almost painful to part with. Inside these boxes are remenants from high school and college mainly. And yet I can't stand to see much of these things thrown away.
After discussing some of these items with my wife I said: "Alright, you know what's really important to me. I am going to go make some ice tea and I want you to either put this stuff in the box to move, or in the trash. And I won't ask about anything."
I know she kept some stuff, but some things disappeared. I'm not sure exactly what, and it's okay. I don't know why I want to keep everything of any importance, but to those of you who do...I understand.
Related Tags: everything is illuminated, jonathan safran foer, the collector, trash, keepsakes, memories, moving