Saturday, June 30, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Each of my top 5 films from this point last year did go on to score at least one academy award nomination, but generally, I missed the boat. 3 films in my next tier did get nominations, but I completely missed including Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen.
Despite my failings, why not through it out there again this year?
Best Picture Prediction (June 28, 2007 )
The Kite Runner
In The Valley of Elah
My next tier of 10 would be: There Will Be Blood, 3:10 to Yuma, Michael Clayton, Sweeney Todd, Margot at the Wedding, Reservation Road, The Other Boleyn Girl, Charlie Wilson's War, The Golden Age, Lions for Lambs.
Related Tags: academy awards, oscars, award buzz, American Gangster, Atonement, The Kite Runner, Rendition, In The Valley of Elah, film
In an accessible generation, we're torn because with out excellence and uniqueness we are tossing ourselves into the global marketplace with destined failure, we will be shouting into the wind. Yet, at the same time, we long for something that is authentic, real, and honest.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
1. United 93
2. The Painted Veil
3. Letters from Iwo Jima
4. The Queen
5. The Departed
7. Little Miss Sunshine
8. The Prestige
9. The Blood Diamond
10. Thank You For Smoking
Related Tags: films, 2006, top 10
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Sometimes, eco-villians would be too powerful for the Planeteers to ward off by themselves and using their rings, they could enlist the power of the super-powerful Captain Planet, an almost unstoppable force with infinite powers and abilities which could ward off eco-danger.
I think sometimes we have an inept and independent view of God. It's as though in the American church we often get in to a mindset where we, aware of our God given talents and giftings try to do those most Christian things, and the hope is that with our powers combined we can illicit God through the work that is done through the divine-fully-functional, every-one-is-in-their-proper-place church. I think our view of God is limited that way...as if God can only do powerful things if every person is doing their part.
The Bible talks about how God/the Holy Spirit gives people different Spiritual Gifts, and compares the interconnecting of these gifts as though parts of a single body which God has created with different parts with different functions (eyes, ears, livers and kidneys).
In constructing the American Church, I think that at times we get into a view that God will only be manifested in the lives of people, the community, and the world if "the body" is properly organized and coordinated. This means eyes, livers, and toes need to be discovered within the "church body" and properly put to use in the church nursery, handing out communion, counting the offering, singing in the choir/worship group/rock band, and preaching the Sunday sermon. And when all people and pieces are in place, it is then that (I feel) many believe God will show up, save the day and be present for a whatever the desired purpose is (whether it ultimately is social, political, and/or spiritual impact that is sought).
I fear that God did not give people gifts so they could simply evoke his presence and power amongst each other. In fact I don't think God would, through Christ and his Spirit, give people gifts at all just to be used among each other, to draw forth an analogise embodiments of Christ.
No, instead I think God is not like Captain Planet at all. God is not the be called forth and drawn out. In fact, God is always there.
In so much as God has given us unique gifts in accordance with the grace given to us, it seems as though these gifts are given to be used in the most active of ways. It would seem a pity if a person had the gift of leadership, encouragement, or teaching and only used it in the confines of church.
Church is not the end all and be all of ministry. The purpose of Church is not to use our own gifts to beckon forth the full embodiment of God as though God were Captain Planet.
No, if Captain Planet was to be an analogy for the Christian faith (which clearly it is not, nor was it intended to), then when people have a life-transforming encounter with Captain Planet/God then he would entrust to them a gift/mission/purpose. To Abraham he was given Faith, which led him to go to follow God to go to a place where he would be the father of nation of Israel. Or after an encounter with God, the Samaritan woman at the well came to believe in the redeeming power of God and instantly told others about him and in a powerful way introduced others to him. The stories are endless, whether it's the apostles, Paul, the four friends who carry their friend to see Jesus, Nehemiah...it doesn't matter. Different people were given different gifts and roles in carrying out the message of God/Christ in a powerful way.
I believe that when we encounter God he gives us gifts to be used (although we may not be able to always neatly identify them) in whatever ways possible, so that he may receive Glory. After encountering God we are to be used by God.
I think that the body of Christ as represented and discussed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 is less so for God to have power (because he's already omnipotent), but instead it is to help those who've encountered Christ to continue to encourage and minister to each others as we see in the end of Acts 2 as the early church is described. As I see it, the purpose of the early Church was not to be or be used to beckon forth God, or even to be as an institution responsible for spiritual work, but was a natural formation of those who were following Christ as a source of encouragement, fellowship, power, and focus to bless one another as they used their gifts among each other and in the world.
Captain America is only one of the memorable cartoon faces of the 90's. If you're looking to find out more cartoon wikis make it easy. Can't find a wiki of your favorite cartoon? It's easy to create a free wiki on the subject of your choice.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Yet...while at times, Robin Williams is clearly inspirational (especially in Dead Poet's Society), as he uses words and poetry to effectively interplay with his students notions of life and the importance of "seizing the day." Yet, it's not inspiration alone that effectively creates the change at hand.
No, these powerful roles don't rest on inspiration alone...as a homeless man, a magic genie, a psychologist, and a cross-dressing housekeeper, Williams is able encourage change in the lives of others, not by inspiration, but by forming deep inter-connectivity.
While as John Keating is the most "inspirational" of characters in Dead Poet's Society, he connects with his students in unique ways uncharacteristic of other teachers at the boarding school. He doesn't just stick to poetry, but cares about their complete lives. He attends their plays, he asks them questions, and interacts at a deep level that encourages his students to change and live their lives in different ways.
Genie certainly has no desire to inspire Aladdin in many other ways, but that he might use his final wish to free genie from his fate. Yet, the Genie through his own power and interconnectivity is able to change Aladdin's life, including knowing that in Aladdin's weakness, drowning underwater, Genie takes on the role of Power of Attorney knowing Aladdin well enough to use his 2nd wish for him. And Aladdin's life is forever changed through the relationship Genie and Aladdin forge.
Sean Maguire plays an inspirational and actively connected role in the life of Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting. It is similar experience that is shared between the two men that Robin Williams' character, as a psychiatrist is able to do in Will Hunting's life what no one else can. Will Hunting begins to make choices for himself, risking the chance of failure.
When Daniel Hillard and his wife divorce in Mrs. Doubtfire, Hillard realizes how much his kids mean to him as well as what a loss the relational change will have on him as well as his children. Hillard works vigilantly to find a way to impact his children's lives in ways he never did before as he takes on the persona and form of an elderly English housekeeper. The lives of Hillard's children (and even ex-wife) are improved because of Daniel Hillard's interconnectivity.
And even as a homeless, psychologically deranged man in The Fisher King, Robin Williams' character Parry is able to save radio DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) from being set on fire by gang members as well as saving Parry from the pain and suicidal desires he is experiencing after his words over the radio causes a killing rampage. Despite Parry's delusional desires to find the Holy Grail, his interconnectivity with Jack helps redeem himself in a meaningful way.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
In honor of Father's Day, 5 Traits of Johnny that make him an Admirable Father.
1. Personal Sacrifice - Whether it's physical, emotional or financial, we see Johnny pour out all of his energy, heart, and money into making sure his families needs get met. Even when he has to take the coke bottles to the drug store to get the air conditioner adapter, he seems all empty, but preservers with a desire to give it all, even if just for his families minimal comfort.
2. A Vision of Hope - In the worse heat and dire situations Johnny takes his family to see a movie and helps them enjoy life. While he is aware of the major sacrifices involved he dedicates himself to try to foster a vision of hope for his daughters and wife, even as he enters a very foolish carnival game.
3. Freedom to Experience - Johnny's first experience in America, is also his daughters first experience in America. By being a co-experiencer, they are able to all learn, grow, and make the most of their time together, including the opportunity to learn from one another. The relationship is opened up to be a mutual relationship, not just a one-way operation.
4. Undying Commitment to Family - The commitment Johnny has to his daughters as a father, means that he also must foster his relationship with his wife. If there mother is sad, depressed, disheartened, than his fatherly abilities are weakened. A commitment to his children is also a commitment to his wife, even to be there for her in her most dire times.
5. Accessible Love - It is not just provision, hope, experience, and home that Johnny gives, but it's himself in the act of love. He is present to hear, listen, and share life with his daughters and to show them the unique love only a father can give through affection, words, and time.
I'm thankful that my Father is so great in these ways, I hope I will be too. Thanks Dad.
Related Tags: In America, Fathers Day, Paddy Considine, Parenting, Love, Experience, Sacrifice, Family, Hope, Vision, Film
Friday, June 15, 2007
Most film people of notoriety have a main picture attached to their profile, and there are three particular pictures that when I see them I always am slightly annoyed because this is not how I picture them.
1. Brad Pitt -
The long hair, the way the dead on angle makes his nose look really broad. In fact, it looks like they picked Pitt up off the side of the road in his birth town of Shawnee, Oklahoma and took him to the studio and the rest was history.
2. Cate Blanchett -
The simple frustration here is that something about the hair color, the facial expression, and the body position makes Cate look like Kirsten Dunst.
3. Kate Winslet -
This picture does not bother me as much as the other two. Namely because Kate looks happy and like she out paddle boating with Sam Mendes or something. All the same, this al natural picture certainly would not be my first choice.
Related Tags: imdb.com, kate winslet, brad pitt, cate blanchett, photos
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The inital bid was $25,000 and in the end Universal won out with a 2.25 million dollar bid, with half million going to Mufleh. Scott Stuber, Mary Parent, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will be producing. Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center) is currently the screenwriter of the film, who is suspected to wait until Warren St. John finishes a book on The Fugees before she pens the film script.
With this story already being an expensive film with powerful behind the scenes names attached, who will play Mufleh? Will any other big names be cast? Only Mufleh sold her life story, so the rest of the kids and families on the soccer team will be generic, and not based off of actual people.
Also, they will probably cast someone in a semi-villainous role as the Mayor of Clarkston, Georgia. Mayor Lee Swaney (right) received a lot of heat in the New York Times article as he tried to ban soccer from the fields were Mufleh and her team practiced. (The mayor's greeting on the city webpage is solely about this issue).
My first thought on who could play the role of Mufleh at this point (based off the picture above) is Keisha Castle-Hughes, although she might be just a little too young.
sources: cinematical, Risky Biz Blog, WSJ, NY Times and Fugees Family)
Related Tags: Luma Mufleh, The Fugees, Soccer, Refugges, Lee Swaney, City of Clarkston, Georgia, Universal Pictures, Scott Rudin, Scott Stuber, Mary Parent, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Andrea Berloff, Hollywood, Warren St John, New York Times, Upcoming Movies
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Think about the messages around us? Everyone wants to inspire us. And while sometimes it takes inspiration to change our behaviors, whether that's to take better control over our finances, our health, or addictions, there seems to be a motivational threshold.
The way I see it, inspiration overload, much like information overload, is a point when our emotions and senses get tugged on so much, that we begin to doubt and become apathetic to the message. Perhaps we begin to see manipulation in the messages, or maybe just as we begin to be concerned about poverty in Ghana, we also begin to become concerned with local layoffs, and suddenly we become concerned about the increased amount of hormone's in non-organic beef. Before we can rally for one cause, and commit to a weekly exercise routine, and begin a comprehensive savings plan our ability to care has been maxed out.
I think there is a reason Mike Judge's movie Office Space resonates with so many people. The comical draw is that many people can relate to various office dynamics present in this film. But at an emotional level, I think there is a part of people that are also sick of being prodded and dehumanized with increasingly heavy inspirational and motivational approaches. There is a sense of success that is felt when Ron Livingston and his co-workers seek vengeance on the fax machine and experience these emotions.
Later Aristotle would criticize Gorgias' methods for lacking information and fact, as well as the fact that Gorgias was inspiring people to make money rather than to enrich people's lives. Plato criticized Gorgias for his lack of virtue and truth viewing him as a performer who persuaded people with out grounds for truth.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
These desires are generally accepted as healthy and good. Yet, both women demonstrate a desire for something good, except they go about getting what they want in ways the are illegal and secretive. In the end they are left feeling more empty in their journey, despite the temporary "gold-star" days that they have.
The MPAA taught me a new word when it rated this film R for "language and some aberrant sexual content." Aberrant is defined as: "straying from the right or normal way."
I wonder if most aberrant sexuality, (even in the form of grotesque torture, as discussed earlier in the week) is just an unfortunate way people find themselves replacing a lack of community & affection.
Related Tags: notes on a scandal, community, sexuality, affection, judi dench, cate blanchett, MPAA, abarrent
Friday, June 08, 2007
- Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, Ch. 4
Related Tags: creativity, quote, God, Christianity, Art, Francis A Schaeffer
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Where is the line? Why do the producers and actors agree to do this film. Does actress Heather Matarazzo have no pride that she would take a role where she gets dangled upside down naked and murdered in the most horrific way in the name of sexually horrific entertainment?
Strangely I think of the documentary Born into Brothels. Zana Briski does some incredible work in the Red Light District in Calcutta by giving young children the opportunity to learn photo skills to raise money to get out of the brothel lifestyle. Perhaps someone like Zana needs to figure out a way to help actresses get jobs where they will not be part of explicit negative torture films. Metarazzo, I must believe you must be better than that then the prostitute yourself to the eyes and minds of young perverts.
Granted, there are many base things in movies and art, but for a film of this nature to have such a wide release, truly demonstrate the moral turpitude we face as a society.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Born Édith Giovanna Gassion, December 1915 in Belleville, Paris, a district that was known for it's large number of immigrants. Edith was allegedly blind from the age of 3 to 7, and deaf 8 to 14. The legend is that Edith regained her sight after her grandmother's prostitutes got together enough money to send her on a pilgrimage honoring Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. At the age of 14 she joined her father's street acrobat team. At the age of 16 she left her father, and had a child that died.
In 1935, At the age of 19, Edith began singing at a nightclub as well as having her first record producted. Only four feet-eight inches, later began singing at a night club where she was named La Môme Piaf (little sparrow kid).
Even before stardome her love life was complicated, and over the course of her life she had many lovers and spouses.
In 1963, Edith died of cancer. Buried in Paris, Edith was denied a proper funeral by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Paris because of her lifestyle.
The film La Môme has already received significant praise and covers the life of Edith Piaf for birth to death.
Will this biographical film earn some critical awards attention this year for Marion Cottilard's portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person?
Monday, June 04, 2007
(from Atonement by Ian McEwan, page 38)
Related Tags: quote, atonement, ian mcewan, people
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Sir Benjamin has not liked the Slade's in Great Britian because he says, "They're very, very rich. They're just interested in boats and helicopters and jetting around. They don't worry about funny old houses down in Somerset."
Sir Benjamin has his own agenda for what he's looking for. First off, what is he not interested in: "Gays aren't very good because they're not going to breed," Sir Benjamin said. "I don't like communists. And I wouldn't want any bleeding heart liberals either."
So, besides the fact that Isaac Slade is not gay or a communist, why might Sir Benjamin choose Isaac? Sir Benjamin says:
- "He is a very successful, clever young man. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't take drugs. They're all Christians in that band."
- "I showed him all the cows, and he was very handy with the animals, actually. His grandfather was a cowpoke."
- According to Sir Benjamin, Isaac "looks like some of the portraits of the ancestors."
The full story from ABC news can be found here.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Yet, this presents of accessibility deters our incentive to learn.
In orthodox Judaism there is a history of young males going to Yeshiva and dedicating themselves to the study of Talmud and the Torah. Students would not only know massive passages of the Torah by heart, but they would also the beliefs of different commentators and other respected text.
This type of educational expectation is not drastically different than what you saw in Chinese culture between 600 AD and 1905 AD with their Imperial Civil Service Exam. In China, any young male of almost any class had the opportunity to climb through the ranks of the social hierarchy by taking a grueling civil service exam. There were three levels of exams, each administered upon passing the earliest one. These exams took years to prepare for, and involved memorizing long passages and books deemed Confucian classics, as well as military strategy, civil law, ritual, and art. The test took often took 24 to 72 hours which were to be taken in one sitting.
The education strategy of the orthodox Jews and dynastic Chinese are the furthest thing from today's education strategy. The emphasis is not on memorizing information and passages, but rather on super specialized skills. This has largely changed because of the emphasis on specialized labor (encouraged by economist Adam Smith in 1776 when he wrote Wealth of Nations, Henry Ford in 1910's when he mass-rolled out the Model T's and paid his employees well, and in 2007 when Seth Godin wrote The Dip).
If this is the way it is, an onslaught of a new time how do schools teach? Is a well rounded 13 years of primary and secondary school history, science, math, and reading still what optimizes students? If schools adapted with the social-economic business climate what would schools look like, and how long is this sustainable?