|On this page I post your e-mail and my response. A running dialogue about spirituality and popular culture.|
PAGE 9 -NOVEMBER 1-16, 1999
INDEX TO ALL COMMENTS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
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with comments by David Bruce
|I receive a lot of e-mail. I am not able to post all the mail. I have included a good sampling, however. If the subject is the same I might group the newer messages with similar older ones. Also, my response may appear a few days after the original posting. I can't do HJ everyday. You must include your "name" and e-mail address within your comment if you want it posted, otherwise it will not be posted (there is a privacy issue here and we respect that). I do, however, encourage you to give your "name" and e-mail so others can respond to you personally.|
Subject: Review of 8mm?
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
From: Tom Hooten
I found you through the CT article. You're doing a great job.
I notice that you do not have a review of 8mm. This film deals with a disturbing subject, but I found the underlying messages to be in line with the Christian themes of redemption and the realization that we all need a savior. Any hope of having a review of this one?
My response: I haven't seen the film ...yet!
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
In the Prophecy, Gabriel says:
"Study your math, kids. Key to the Universe."
That's a tie-in to the movie Pi. :)
My response: Clever, you are.
THE TACKED ON ENDINGS OF FILMS
Subject: Devils Advocate. Endings and other films
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
Not to give anything away, but the ending was in reality a tacked-on "happy" ending; who wants to have a movie end with someone killing himself? The ending ruined the parable of the story -- if you recall, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's American release was framed in a tacked-on story to let the audience feel "good" it was all just a dream. It was not; rather, it was a metaphor for Germany's chaos at the time.
Same here. Yes, yes, there is that "the sin of pride" ending, but didn't it feel like a semi-cop out.
Speaking of movies in which the character kills himself at the end, try the movie "Videodrome", by David Cronenberg, starring James Woods and Debbie Harry, about a network producer of a small UHF channel who constantly seeks the most depraved programming. It is rife with religious metaphor ("Long live the new flesh!").
Additionally, try out "Tron", starring Jeff Bridges, which is openly about the Roman gladiatorial oppression of Christians, set inside a computer. Humans are the program's "Gods", called "Users". The ending shot is remarkable, as it makes the statement that we are the programs serving under our own God.
IS RAPTURE AND GODSPELL?
Subject: The Rapture
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
Where is "The Rapture", with Mimi Rogers, which is essentially a retelling of the Story of Job?
You should obviously include "Godspell", Stephen Schwartz's musical version of the Book of Matthew as well (Lynn Thigpen's first movie.) Note Jesus wears a Superman "S" on his chest (tie in to Superman (1978).
My response: It is all I can do to stay current. Maybe after the New Year I can do these films. They are all very good.
Subject: How about?
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 07:04:20 -0500
>Consider the John Carpenter film Vampires: violence aside, there's something appealing about the idea of a Papal squad dedicated to seeking, engaging and purging evil. James Woods' portrayal brings a weird purity to the very rough - but consistently warring - avenger. Plus his friendship with his tainted partner, although offering grace, never mediates judgment. Would love to see your input.
My response: I can not review all films. Maybe this one some day. Stay tuned.
Subject: my comment for Deep Blue Sea
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
"Deep Blue Sea" is at first sight a very bloody and thrilling movie which will make you avoid any kind of water deeper than one foot for at least ten years. But at second sight this movie is surprisingly spiritual! Just look at the scene with the cook who overcomes the beast with a cross (you got to see it yourself!). In another scene a desperate prayer brings hope and makes the survivors pluck up courage. The picture that impressed me most was when Dr. McAlester jumps into the water in a pose like Jesus on the cross with her hands slashed to lure the shark and save her friends. For everybody whose nerves are not too weak this movie sure is worth a look.
My response: Oh my, you think like I do!
Subject: The Rapture
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999
I am wondering if you have seen the movie called "The Rapture". I found it very thought-provoking. There are reviews out there on this movie.
All the best,
My response: I have seen it. And I will do a review in the future.
Subject: Jesus of Nazareth
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999
I was curious why you have not discussed the importance of the Jesus of Nazareth film (produced by Franco Zeffirelli in 1977). It has been proclaimed to be the most accurate portrail of Jesus' life in film. Do you agree?
My response: Yes, it is a well researched film. Jesus is not very Jewish, however.
AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN ON MATRIX
Subject: The Matrix review
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999
From: Paul Atreides
Although I'd like to make clear that I'm ferverently socialist and anti-christian, I decided to see if the Christians were able to lift up their blindfolds and have a good long look at objective reality. Unfortuantely, I was somewhat dissapointed that you only went half the way. The religious metaphor has been completely examined and observed, but the question not asked was "How is this being used within the film?". My hypothesis is that of a Socialist Metaphor. This can be supported by several points. First off, it starts in the subconcious.. and the true battle is within ("reality is what we make of it"). This is profoundly anti-christian, in biblical mythology, reality is the dictum of saints and apostles, and if we do not follow their teachings we reside in a 'hell'. This movie views and uses christianity to communicate the socialist metaphor to the masses. The name of the rebel's ship is taken from a Babylonian King who conquered Israel (center of the religion being discussed here). Further more, Neo himself goes against the messianic theme in the battle rather cunningly without giving away from the underlying field of thought. Instead of being that of an omniscient diety, neo is your average human being with the power that *anyone* else has if he only realizes his own potential. This self-realization (which can be linked to daoist teachings) goes against the slave-society christianity presents. Notice as well the 'red dress' scene, where morpheus tells neo that some of the slaves (to the machine, or corporations, another link) "will even fight to protect this". There are further allusions to the corporate machine, the police enforcing the will of the social elite, exploiting the energy (literally in ths case) of the populace. The final episode in the anti-corporate sentiment is the final song by Rage Against The Machine, called 'wake up'. It should be noted RATM are a very anti-christian band, and as well anti-corporate (the theme of this movie suggests the line 'one corporate nation, one state religion'). The topic of 'wake up' (rack by RATM) is how corporations (as well as religion) control people and manipulate them, and attacks ignorance (christianity causing the greatest ignorance humanity has ever seen). This movie, is of course, subjective.. and people will make what they want out of it. The casual Nietzsche fan, for example, will say that this is both socialist *and* christian (a rather inane arguement), and use the movie to argue the messiah dominating sheep anti-christian anti-socialist metaphor (anti-christian being backed up with logical arguements, anti-socialism being mere ideological preference without reference to strong attacks). I would suggest that people examine how this metaphor is being used, because it sure isn't being used for christianity, but against it and capitalism (again, humans as a commodity). I would welcome you to e-mail me with your comments and criticisms (as i'm sure many of you will come out with as you try to contemplate the fact that your religion is only one subjective interpretation of objective reality).
I've decided to use an alias, also from another book with profound messianic themes.
Subject: Beaucoup de remerciements--Review of video -- NELL....
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999
From: Adam & Kelly
That's "many thanks" if you don't know French.
Blessings to you and your family. I read about you in Christianity OnLine. Wow, you have quite a work. May the Lord God be glorified in this.
Well, right after I read about you in CO, my wife and I rented the video NELL. "Nell" is about a young lady who has lived secluded, away from civilization, in the woods her whole life. Her mother has died and she lives completely alone now. She would be an "enfant sauvage" which is French for "wild child."
This "enfant sauvage" (wild child) represents our former self of sin and death which was put to death by Christ. All the signs are there in the film. At this point in Nell's life, she is totally afraid of light (/life in Christ/). She won't go outside in the daylight at all. The only one who leads her out into the light is the male doctor (Great Physician - Jesus the Savior).
Interestingly, at this point, she does bear (as we all do before salvation) the image of God and a knowledge of her waywardness and need for redemption however incomplete. She mumbles some bits from the Scriptures that her mother used to read her about evil. The male doctor (Great Physician) helps her to interpret what this evil is and to put it into an intelligible language.
The Holy Trinity makes its way into this film also. The Holy Spirit is the female doctor. God the Father is the judge is who later pronounces her acquitted after she is only able to communicate to the court through the male doctor (Jesus Christ) (incredible parallel there!! It's even theologically correct. We're are deaf, dumb and blind in God's court without the intervention and inter- mediation of Jesus, the Christ.)
When she becomes introduced to the new life of civilization, she is jolted, "thunder-struck" (to use the words of the secular band, AC/DC). Now, that she is in Christ, God's grace in her struggles against her former habits of sin- fulness (old self). She wrestles with this when she stoops to lifting up her shirt in the bar. Of course, the male doctor (Jesus Christ steps in and stops the parade of sin).
At the end of the film, she looks longingly at the daughter of the two doctors who studied her. The little girl reminds her of her twin sister with whom she used to play so fondly. The director of the film spends a long time focusing on the slowly changing expression on her face. Why does the director take this much time? It seems excessive except that you see her expression change from one of longing or missing the pleasure (of the early childhood/of the former life of sin and misery) to one of understanding that this life is past and faded in light of the glories of Christ.
Adam Spurgeon Zens
Editor, Locust & Honey
MARY MOTHER OF JESUS
LETTER TO NBC ABOUT MARY MOTHER OF JESUS
FEMME IS GREAT
Subject: It is the best on TV
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 10:12:24 -0500
I think La Femme keeps you on your toes. You can't watch it from the middle of the show because the ending is always a twist. I usually pretty good at predicting the ending of films, but Nikita throws me most times. I have seen all the reruns. When will the season begin?
PEOPLE ARE SAMARITIANS
much as I like your review of American Beauty, I have to point out one
error. The most human person in the film is not the camcorder boy, but
the gay couple who are neighbours to the main characters. They are shown
to be the most pleasant and sincerely neighbourly people in the film,
a far contrast to the focus characters.
ABOUT ANGELINA JOLIE?
Subject: The Virgin Warrior
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999
mira sorvino is way to prissy to be joan of arc.......
how about Angelina Jolie? tough and beautiful
UP, GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR
IS DEEPLY REVERENT
COOL J DOES PSALM
Subject: Deep Blue Sea
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999
Dear sir,Is it true in the film Deep Blue Sea that preacher Dudley ( LL Cool J )
often pray from Psalm ?
Thank you very much.
My response: Yes, it is true.
THE MESSENGER BECAUSE...
Subject: This is a movie? Inspector Gadget
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999
IG plays like 3 surgically attached cartoon episodes. We arrived slightly late and were surprised at how quickly this thing was over. Maybe if they had used the trailers for commercial breaks it would have had a more authentic TV feel.........
OF CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
Subject: Stir of Echoes thoughts
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999
From: Jon Zuck email@example.com
Stir of Echoes and The Sixth Sense, Armageddon and Deep Impact, The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor, Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun. Hollywood is definitely going through a twin movies phase, and one twin is usually much, much better than the other. In my opinion, the Sixth Sense was definitely the one to see of the "little boy who sees ghosts" pair, but I'm sure that many would disagree with me. Stir of Echoes actually *is* a horror movie, while The Sixth Sense was really something unique, and truly special. But for those who prefer horror, Echoes is definitely the pick.
My take on Stir of Echoes was that it's basically a remake of Close Encounters as a horror film. I found myself cracking up at some of those references throughout the film, although I was the only one in the theater laughing! Consider: man has strange experiences, man becomes obsessed with understanding something previously out of his belief system, man becomes obsessed with a tune, man digs up his garden while his wife leaves him with the kid. The child, by the way, bears a strong resemblance to Barry in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and looks like he could've been the same actor a few years later. And as with Barry, boy is totally unphased by the strange experiences that freak out the adults around him.
Its worth seeing on video, but save your shekels till them unless you're just crazy about the genre.
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999
Michael is a retelling of the wizard of OZ
Tornado at the Beginning
Dorothy with a Dog
Hurt looking for a heart
Subject: Straight Story
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999
I really enjoy your work. I am a United Methodist Minister at a large church in Atlanta GA and use your site as part of a Faith and Film group we have. Please recommend The Straight Story to folks - a plodding journey of hope. Check this out. http://www.unomaha.edu/~wwwjrf/ Welcome to The Journal of Religion and Film.
What are you going to do with Dogma?
I had to see Fight Club twice just to get all the nuance of the story.
FOR OTHER CHRISTIANS
DOGMA IS PORN MOVIE WITH ANAL SEX
AGAIN", THINKING DOGMA IS ATHEIEST PROPAGANDA
LIKE A PRETTY GOOD MOVIE
IS HEART FELT FILM ABOUT FAITH
CHRISITIAN LIKES HOLLYWOOD JESUS
Subject: nice surprise
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999
I was surfing the net this morning and came across your site. At first I though, "uh oh, a Christian movie review site." My experience with so-called Christian movie reviews have been a real let down. They seem to be nothing more than a "isn't-Hollywood-godless" attack, blaming the movies for every social and spiritual ill.
As a Christian myself this would always disapoint me. Ever since I was a child films have captured me, and I always left the theater asking really deep questions about God, life, the world, and my place in it. As I grew older, I never understood people's comments that "there's too much crap out there. Hollywood doesn't make good movies anymore." I kept saying, "Yes they do! Have you seen..."
So you can imagine my retiscence when I came across your site. I first checked out your review of the "Sixth Sense". I really liked your pointing out things I hadn't caught (like the symbolism of the doors and the shadows). "Wow!" I thought, "this doesn't sound like those other Christian
sites." So far so good. But I knew the real test was to come. "Tarzan," I said flipping through your index, "Where's Tarzan?" As a gay Christian, I knew that the true obnoxious-Christian test could be found in Disney.
What another surprise! When I read your comment to the individual who was asking people to avoid Tarzan for Disney's support of gay rights, my heart really was lifted. Thank you. Thank you for helping others (and reminding me) that Christianity is NOT synonymous with bigotry, intolerance, and fear. And that Christ's table has room for us all. Not to mention that Christian film reviews can be intelligent!
Thanks David. Keep up the good work.
My response: Thanks for the kind words Joe.
IS A HILARIOUS ODE
PROVOKING THEATISE ON FAITH
YOU SEEN THE FILM
those of you jumping upon the anti-Catholic sentiment "bandwagon",
i must ask: Have you seen the film? (Released only today) Or are you
relying upon ignorant opinions of others who have not seen the film
either as a basis to form your uneducated opinions? Is it so hard to
actually seek knowledge on your own and think for yourselves? Or perhaps
it is that you are soo insecure in your own foundation of Belief that
a mere glimpse of anything outside of its tiny world view would cause
your temple of cards to crash down around you. Those who are secure
in their beliefs generally welcome debate and are able to tolerate the
beliefs of others. The basic plot of this is is after all a descendant
of jesus saving the world from destruction. Hmmm, sounds rather christian
to me. Think I will go see the film anyway.
PLAN IS TERRIFIC
Subject: Simple Plan
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
I was very surprised to learn that I was to be the first person to review this movie. I found it to be one of my favorite movies of all time. It reminded me very much of Treasure of the Sierra Madre, another great film. A Simple Plan seemed to be even darker than the previously mentioned film and made better use of visual symbolism. I also greatly enjoyed the winter landscapes, as they remind me of my homestate, MN, which I recently moved from. I found the acting, writing, and directing in this movie to be superb. The message is clear and well-presented. This is definately a movie I would recommend to anyone. Avoid it only if you are disturbed by "depressing" movies. Nevertheless, I think it is a very powerful and entertaining in its visuals and a very important and relevant story.
Subject: Joan of Arc/The Messenger
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
I will let Ron Maxwell give his review...and I ditto, I will be glad when his project comes out that will finally be AUTHENTIC to the core!!
Dumbed Down Dame.....
My response: Thanks Joyce for sending this in. I have posted it on The Virgin Warrior page.
ON THE OMEGA CODE
CODES ARE TRUE
THUMBS DOWN ON THE OMEGA CODE
I meant that Michael Ironside's acting was good. Everything else was
flat. Of course, I do already know something of the storyline...
ATTCKS THE OMEGA CODE ...INTERESTING
CODE IS NO CODE
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
I'm a big fan of Kevin smith's work, not necssarily because of his views but because of his approach. Regardless if he is aware of it or not, Kevin's perspective in all of his films have been an attempt to supply his audience with incite on the subtle ironies and humorous mannerisms of a world full of people who, by choice, do not see past their day-to-day preconceptions and hurried judgments. He uses comic books and sci-fi to communicate his sense of general understanding of life as people's individualized constructs in the ultimately absolute truth of God and His Truths.
I, myself, am a Reformed Chrstian who sees Smith as a potential reformist almost as relevant as Martin Luther, who was not just a "protestor" of Catholic dogma but moreover a man in search of the Absolute Truths of the Gospels instead of the uneducated, non-Biblical deviations found in the Heirarchical Roman Catholic doctrine and its inherent "indulgences" of man-made rules and judgment. Smith is a self-proclaimed Catholic, reverant to Christ and protestant of Catholic dogma. I personally encourage the search for the truth found in this movie, but I am disappointed in the lack of Biblical foundation with which it is based. As much as I respect Smith's attempt to dispell the numerous dogmas of the Roman Catholic church, I fear that he is only serving to create more modern and politically correct dogmas that will serve to only increase the skepticism of those who blindly believe that the Bible is fiction. I would recommend this movie but with one word of precaution: the opinions of Smith's in reference to Theology are soley based on his attempt to "reform" Catholicism and NOT the truths of Christianity. If anything, Kevin is a few steps away from realizing the truth of the Apologetic or Reformation of the Christian Church firmly rooted to its original intent: not persecution, but glorification of Christ and His Sacrifice for our sins.-Shaun Zemke
Subject: a suggestion
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999
I've really enjoyed your site, and the thoughtful reviews of current films. I would like to suggest for review one of (if not the) my favorite films of all time, _The Neverending Story_ I first saw it when i was about 12, and loved it for the imaginative fantasy elements. As an adult I still love it and find it very thought-provoking, i.e. the "swamps of sadness" scene(the importance of hope) and the scene where Bastian confronts the "creature of darkness"... (Unfortunately, the sequel was not nearly as well-done, a fact i find even more disappointing as i read the book to find that the story actually does continue) But I digress... Anyway, i would like to see a review of this film-- I heard once that Madeleine L'Engle said whenever she had something to say that was too hard for grownups to understand, she would put it in a children's book. and in a way that seems to be the idea in the Neverending Story as well...
My responses: Maybe I will do this film someday. Thanks for the kind words.
A MOVIE, BUT A GLIMPSE OF LIFE
Subject: Children of Heaven
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999
I wept throughout this entire movie. It was extraordinary! I wish that it be included in every school curriculum for THE lesson on values, love, and loyalty. The child actors were amazing...hardly seemed like a movie but rather a glimpse at life. Can this most beautiful film be rented anywhere or will it ever be for sale? I have so many I want to have see it!
SAD ABOUT BRIMSTONE
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999
Australian fans who are sorry to think this good production is to be ended so soon suggest you film down here and lower costs, chase Aussie evil....surely Yankees haven't cornered the market? Time slot has been a problem here too - 11pm Monday !!!
Golem and Ariella
GOOD, NEEDS TO BE SHORTER
Subject: The Insider
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999
Thot the Insider was an good movie that if it were 30 minute shorter, it would have been at least 30% more effective.
For me the weakest part ot the film was the on-off relationship between Wigand and his wife after he reveals he has been fired. She reacts, harshly, but ,in the circumstances, perhaps typically. Then it appears they have reconciled, resolved their differences and developed a close and loving relationship again. Bang ,suddenly and without dramatic development, the wife and children are gone.......It did not appear realistic but smacked more of a juice job to pick up the pace at this point. It did begin to lag at this point. But their real world confrontation would have been a much more effective and honest device. Although the cinematography seems to have won critical acclaim,too many scenes were artificially dark. Sometimes, in trying to depict mood thru lighting , it is very easy to overdo it and destroy the mood sought.
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999
HELLO, I HAVE TO SAY THAT I LOVE MOVIES AND THIS WEB SITE HAS OPENED MY EYES TO SOME OF THE MESSAGES THAT IS SOMETIMES RIGHT IN FRONT OF US BUT WE ARE TO ENGULFED ABOUT THE HYPE WE GET LOST IN WHAT THE FILM MIGHT ACTUALLY BE ILLUSTRATING. I FOUND YOUR SITE WHILE DOING RESEARCH FOR PAPER IN MY THEOLOGY CLASS AT ST. MARY'S UNIVERSITY IN SAN ANTONIO. THE TOPIC OF MY PAPER IS "PORTRAYAL OF RELIGION IN MOTION PICTURES" I WANT TO WRITE A PAPER THAT WILL EXPLAIN THE WAY RELIGION IS POTRAYED AND HOW IT CAN AFFECT SOMEONE MY AGE, A YOUNG MIND
EASILY INFLUENCED BY ANYTHING AND EASILY TO QUESTION MYSELF ABOUT MY FAITH. I WOULD LIKE TO GET A HOLD OF A FEW CURRENT FILMS THAT PORTRAY RELGION IN A POSITIVE MANNER AND A FEW THAT PORTRAY RELIGION IN A NEGATIVE MANNER.IF YOU HAVE SUCH A LIST I WOULD LIKE TO GET A HOLD OF ONE AND IF YOU CAN'T MAYBE YOUCAN POST THIS AND HAVE READERS REPLY TO ME.
My response: Try Dogma, The Messenger, Rosemary's Baby.
MOVIE IS BEST
Subject: "The passion of joan of arc"
Date:Mon, 8 Nov 1999
Funny -I was just flipping through the channels when on a turner movie channel I saw "the passion of Joan of arc" was on. Since I read about that here- I decided to check it out. I can honestly say- Its the only silent movie that has ever made me cry. If Ron Maxwell patterns his movie after this - I think it will be the best movie ever done about her life. It seemed to me to show her true spirit and love for God. heidi
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999
From: Matt McConchie
FREE THINKERS UNITE...if you want to.
Well, Dogma is less than 5 days away now, and I can't stop jumping up and down. I have been a huge View Askew fan for MANY years now. I do have one question. God is apart of us all? Am I wrong to believe this? If so, then discount what I am about to say. But if that is true, then that means that God is one diverse dude. Why everybody protesting this movie has to speak for Jesus, God and Walt makes me personally sick. If God didn't want this movie to be made, it wouldn't have happened. Maybe the intent is for it to open the eyes...Who knows...maybe the second coming is Kevin himself. Wouldn't that just turn things upside down? My point is that you never know. You can't rule out
something because of faith. You can't rule out something because of spirituality. All you can do is accept it, and define it in your life. I hope I am met with a protest. I hope I get to talk to some of these people because I will offer to buy a ticket or two just to make sure that they are enlightened to what they are protesting.
The bible has been translated from many different languages, and if I recall, is the depiction of the same event, from 12 different people. An they all tell a different story... Hmm...sounds like a book of fiction to me. A good BOOK... The only teaching I ever got from reading the bible is not to live my life by a book... to open my eyes to the world around me and view it for myself.
I am done. Post my e-mail address if you like, use what you want. I am sorry if I have offended in any way. I an not a fan of organized religion...I feel it makes people out of cookie-cutter molds.
MOST STUPID MOVIE
Subject: Blair Witch
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999
this movie was the most stupid movie that i have ever seen in my life. when i was going to rent it i seemed it was a good and scary but it wasn't it was the opposite. then when we where watching it we all fell a sleep i thin even i could do a movie like that or even better then that with out having the skill that u guys got. we all thinking that instead of doing that movie u guys should do something better then what u guys did and com up with better things
Subject: Joan of arc- the virgin warrior
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999
I had heard about the new Joan of arc movie - (The Messenger) and was exited about it, because I've studied her. But even before I've seen the movie- I've heard things he's put into the movie that NEVER were in history- Like the rape and killing of Joans sister..... never happened- just more hollywood glitter - ( Was he just trying to make it look like she did it for vengence?) And a sword didn't just fall out of the sky- she herself found it at the church. My favorite book is Mark Twains Joan Of Ark. He studied her for 12 years, went to France and England to look at records- And he concidered it his greatest and most important work. (I was happy to see that Ron Maxwell mentioned this book!!!) And the voices and angels she saw were not only male- they were female- these were things joan said- They are in the records anyone can read!!!
Theres so much more I want to say on how she's been taken apart by someone who looks like he hasn't done his history lessons - But I'll leave it to someone who's studied her much longer than I have- for 6 years he's been in france and elsewhere- looking at records, etc- he also made the movie Gettysburg- and I don't know when, But He's doing a movie on Joan of arc- which he's planned for years - with Mira Sorvino- Who in my mind (if you see the right pictures of her) looks more like Joan than Milla ever could ( Though I must say she is quite pretty, Just doesn't look the part- I have heard she does a good job in the movie. although joan had dark hair, not blonde, or all the other colors her hair was in the film... I've heard its symbolic-her hair- but does he really know who joan was- or is it just some strange twist on her story? Ron Maxwell has some exellent points about the movie that I'm sure you've already read. (since I've read about it on your site) I am waiting patiently( or should I say impatiently!!!!) for his version- It sounds like he wants to make it the way it should be-not just for glamour and glitter- But for her spirit- her devotion, and for the incredible person she really was. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE- keep me informed on any of the latest info on his project on her!!!
Subject: Just discovered your site!
Sun, 7 Nov 1999
I just discovered your website through an article in Christianity Today. I appreciate the approach you take to movies. Please be careful not to ruin the ending for me. Revealing that Mr. Burnham was murdered in the end revealed too much.
My response: So sorry, at least I didn't say who did it.
15 YEAR OLD CATHOLIC LIKES DOGMA
Sat, 06 Nov 1999.
As a huge fan of all of Kevin Smiths movies, I must say that I find the idea for his new movie somewhat strange, in that the theme is so different from his other ones. Not that I have anything against it, I plan on seeing it the first day it's released. What I am against is an organised religious protest of the entire thing. Now, I believe the church has every right in the world to protest, as it is their constitutional right (in America at least, don't know about some other countries) but I do think that the Catholics are making much to big a deal out of it. Born and raised a catholic for all of my 15 years, I recently turned to agnosticism precicely because of such things like this. When are they going to understand that not everyone thinks like them? In fact, I've found most people don't think like them, weather they care to admit it or not. Frankly, I think they should just butt out, they have no place in saying what movies people should see. Catholics are famous for focusing on certain groups (gays,jews,even women in general at one time) to perhaps draw attention away from the fact that their religion contains so many contridictions it's increadible. This is by no means an assult against christians and catholics, whom I think hold ideals everyone should follow..themselves most of all. In closeing-and I think this is the most important point in my whole rant -IT IS A MOVIE! Who cares what people say in a movie? Who cares what people do in a movie? Are you going to condem the Devils Advocate because it portrays Satan as a rather likeable fellow? Or what about Dana Carvy playing the Church Lady on SNL? So what if it mocks you? I don't know of one Jewish comedian that doesn't make the occasional Jew joke,and no one does this type of thing to them. The fact is, religion is so increadibly easy to make fun of I'm suprised it isn't done more.
John Reck IV
Comments or flames are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org Also, please excuse my spelling..heh,my spell check is broken.
November 7, 1999. (Re: Blair Witch) All I can say is that I am glad I waited for the video to come out so I could rent the movie. Saved a bunch that way. This movie truly stunk. My wife and I started counting how many times the F word was used. If they are planning for sequel you can count me out.
THOUGHTS ON SHAWSHANK
November 6, 1999. (Re: Shawshank Redemption) I love this movie but am amazed that Christians critique this movie in such a similar fashion as the surrounding culture. So I'm gonna do a little rebuttal to make my point :) I saw little true redemption going on, I would say it was "Synthetic Redemption". Now it has been years since I saw the film but I remember what I thought was the pivot point in the movie. That was when the "fundie" warden visits Andy in his cell and picks up the Bible that he had given Andy. And Andy had even memorized some scripture (something out of John I think?) But alas, Andy only has scripture on his
lips (perhaps to please the warden and assure his own survival?) and not on his heart, (albeit he really does seems like a nice guy who does some cool stuff for the prison) as he missed the narrow gate entirely! He proceeds to embezzle the wardens corrupt money by rearranging the books and merely uses the Bible to store a pick for his worldly escape. I think Andy totally sells out. He comes into jail as an innocent and becomes corrupt while in jail. He then takes things into his own hands when he sees that the warden won't free him. So Andy ends up in Mexico physically, but has had no encounter with God. I was really hoping that if Andy had encountered God via scripture, he would have stayed in prison as salt and light. He would have shown true freedom via transformation rather than mere escape to Mexico. He could have had a ministry in prison so prisoners would be set free even if they are in jail for life. I know I'm talking pie in the sky for a Hollywood flick but it amazes me when Christians claim Andy as a messiah figure when he really missed the whole shebang! God wants to change our hearts, the worldly approach is to rearrange creation (i.e.; change location, gain status etc....) so we don't have to repent! The redemption Andy portrays is the way of worldly redemption. He relies on his wits and works. And he ends up in Mexico, not heaven! If Stephen King meant his movie to reveal what I've just discussed on purpose, I'd say this is an incredibly subtle and brilliant film. But I really think King probably thought Mexico was redemptive, which makes the film a fine but predictable affair, the ol' "noble man overcoming hostile circumstances" theme. From a sentimental point of view, you can't help but fall into the "eye for an eye" motif and want to cheer for Andy, I can understand that. But for me, after the Bible scene I mentioned above, the movie was a disappointment of sorts since it became apparent that Andy was going to go the "salvation via works" route. LOL.. It really could have been a profound movie if Andy had stayed in prison as a "prophet/healer" rather than bailing out. That would have been true sacrifice and true freedom. It would have made the audience think rather than just cheer. It could have been a profound movie, instead it was just "warm and furry". It is one of my favorite movies tho. But it concerns me when Christians proclaim the wide gate as the narrow gate and miss the narrow gate altogether. Shouldn't we be "seeing through" what the culture throws at us as a "messiah"? We gotta stay on our toes, and encourage one another eh? This is a great web site. Thanks for the chance to give opinions and feedback!
My response: Ahh, just take it for what it is: A secular film with spiritual overtones. That's all. It was never intended to be the gospel message.
November 5, 1999. Mr. Bruce,
I am a 15 year old homeschooled guy from upstate New York. I was just writing to thank you for your site, and for the thoughts you have provoked thorough it. Though i lean more to the Indie side of filmaking your reccomendations have made me see some great mainstream films. I don't mean to be a bother, but could you put a little more about the sexual content in your reviews? Hey, I'm 15 and a guy and I'm trying to avoid films that feature lots of nudity and sex. Such as the film "Being John Malkovich"? I really want to see it but I have read there is some sex in it and i wish i knew how much. Would your reccomend it? Can the bad content be overlooked through the overall film? Again, not to be a bother. I
think your site is great. Thank you so much for reading this, and for the site.
My response: I am sorry I can not do that. I can not put my mind into making notes on sex and nudity. I keep my mind centered on Jesus. Practice centering your mind on God and you will be alright. Simple.
Novenber 5, 1999. Hello Im greatly anticipating THE NINITH GATE and would appreciate any more info when available
November 5, 1999. Do you know anything about a movie being made out of "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti? I would really like to see one.
With Anticipation, michael
My response: Yes it is in the works.
THE DEVIL/SIN PERSONIFIED
November 6, 1999. (Re The Fight Club) You know the thing about this show? It shows that we all have that little devil in our minds. That pesky little guy that is the same as Tyler Durden. That pesky little guy that keeps telling us to do what we want to do and push us to do it. So Tyler did show us each and everyone of us thinks. "Does God really care?"
I think we have the best portrayal of the devil and our sins. It is of our darkest wants and needs humanised. The very Human Nature at its worse~! Rauchy sex? Blowing things up? Pornography? Vadalism? VIOLENCE!!
You name it and our Tyler Durden inside us wants us to do it. As Paul put it very clearly in Romans
"I do not understand what i do. For what i want to do (for the Lord) I do not do, but what i hate to do. And if i do what i do not want to do, i agree with the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For i have the desire to do what is good, but i cannot carry it out. For what i do is not the good i want to do;no, the evil i do not want to do-this i keep on doing. Now if i do what i do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."
Well said indeed~!! Tyler Durden is the one who is doing all the things that the character do not want to do. And the things that he wants to do he could not control it as portrayed by the power of Tyler.
He could not kill it after 'shooting' him in the last moments of the show. And the end is pretty exciting (yucks~!)
So what does it say us as human beings? We are forever condemned because nothing good will come out of us no matter how 'good' we are because day in and out, our thoughts will wonder to do 'bad' things.
Do we have a saviour?
Who will show the Tyler Durden in all of us?
Ans? Jesus Christ.
Now matter what our Tyler Durden do. We can conquer him through Jesus Christ. We can stop our spiritual decay, our anguish of this present life and losing of hope.
We can. and We will.....May our Tyler Durdens die with the knowledge
that we can control our destiny through Jesus' help.
FORWARD TO DOGMA
November 5, 1999. I am a practicing Catholic, and a big fan of Kevin Smith. The concepts and issues that Dogma deals with and I have read about, have caused a stir within my spiritual and mental states. The ideas of Dogma interest me. For the most part, I have been following the back and forth that has come up between Bill Donahue, and his Catholic League, and Kevin Smith, and I must say I'm siding by Kevin. I applaud anybody who has the confidence to openly question his faith, and further more, examine it. Catholicism is not, by far, a "perfect" religion. It is an institution that is perpetuated by humans, who, last I checked, are imperfect beings. As with any established insitution, one should question each and every message presented for the bringers of those messages are imperfect and subjective individuals. The idea of not questioning or examining what you learn and take in leads to acceptance without thought, or in other words, blind faith. I for one don't want to become an automaton accepting every order and message given to me, and becoming a cog in the machine.Just think, how much would a little bit of questioning and examining might have changed things in the Crusades, or even Nazi Germany? Just because someone is in a perceived "higher" position, whether it be teacher, priest, or president, does not make that person right.
Thank You Brad Lapitan
GAVE US A SENSE OF HUMOR
November 4, 1999. (Dogma) Hello-Being raised a by a Catholic mother and an agnostic father, I've had my share of confusion on religion. I'm gonna keep this short and sweet- God created us to love and cherish one another, and he also created us ( though it's not always apparent ) with a SENSE OF HUMOR! I'm a newcomer to your website ( via newsaskew ), and I have to say, it's a breath of fresh air. Keep up the good work! I'll definitley be returning. I can't wait for Dogma!
My response: Thank you, I always like kind words.
Novenber 4, 1999. I APPRECIATE YOUR REVIEWS. I JUST GOT BACK FROM THE NATIONAL YOUTH WORKERS CONVENTION IN SAN DIEGO PUT ON BY YOUTH SPECIALTIES, AND YOUR SITE WAS BROUGHT UP A LOT IN SOME OF THE SEMINARS ON USING MEDIA IN THE YOUTH GROUPS. I WAS WONDERING THOUGH IF YOU PLAN TO DO A REVIEW ON THE FIGHT CLUB. I, AM, INTERESTED TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS
FROM A FELLOW MOVIE BUFF AND YOUTH DIRECTOR
My response: Yes I will. Thanks for the kind words.
RICAN AS GOD
November 4, 1999. Several years ago there was a play (off or on Broadway, I don't remember) that protrayed God as a Puerto Rican janitor in New York. Would you happen to remember the name of the play? I believe it was later broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre.
Thank you! Joanne
My response: I think it was called Steam Bath.
GENIUS 2000 VIDEO
November 4, 1999. 4, 1999. I am an independent filmmaker and have recently completed a video called Genius 2000. It consists mainly of unscripted interviews with ordinary people about the concept of genius, the meaning of the year 2000, and how they are connected (if at all). The video is not structured around Christian
beliefs, however, several of the interviewees are Christian and it deals with Christian concepts in an open-minded and tolerant manner. In this respect its method and message could be called "syncretic," i.e., utilizing a diversity of beliefs and worldviews in a gestaltic way. One of my main goals in the work was to avoid rigid dogma and judgmentalism, while at the same time exploring the meanings behind pop culture, religion, and the state of contemporary belief. I have also tried to include the question of the Gospel of Thomas, recently rediscovered in Egypt but expunged from the original crafting of the official Bible.
More information on the work can be found at www.geocities.com/~genius-2000, and at the prestigious web art site Rhizome (go to www.rhizome.org and use "query: genius 2000"). I would be interested to hear the list's reactions to this work.
Sincerely, Max Herman
It's A Wonderful Life- Intercessory prayer, intervention of saints and angels, the dignity & significance of daily compassionate living- WOW!
A Clockwork Orange- which is worse- to permit the possibility of vicious evil or to destroy the freedom to choose that evil? That plus the hallucinagenic Stanley Kubrick visuals, the witty manipulation of language from book author Anthony Burgess, and a haunting music score by Walter/Wendy Carlos!
Blade Runner- When humans assume God-like powers, we will have a Lucifer to rise against us. Yet in the end, even it may find the Way of Christ.
The Last Temptation of Christ- Flawed & heretical yet well-meaning, insightful & profoundly moving. The Scourging & Crucifixion scenes really hit me in the gut. And David Bowie as Pontius Pilate was totally incisive.
The Rapture- Michael Tolkin's story of Mimi Rogers as a debauched woman, turned Christian wife & mom, turned homicidal fanatic who in the end must choose whether to accept the Grace & Truth that is starting her in the face.
The Seventh Seal- Max Von Sydow, a returning Crusader, plays chess to keep the Black Death from claiming his companions. Is the film a denial or an affirmation of faith? The Apocalyptic ending would seem to be a denial but for the Life that survives & affirms God in the end.
Slaughterhouse Five- A man unstuck in time jumps thru his life in random points, as he is studied by aliens who want to see what the mystery of humanity is. He ends as the Adam in their laboratory Eden, mated with a lovely new Eve.
That is exhaustive by far but it's enough for now
SIXTH SENSE OVER AND OVER
November 4, 1999. This is one of my favorite films of all time and is very a film you will not understand fully unless you watch it over and over. I still had
not noticed the red theme throughtout very interesting. I also have a review at http://mypage.uniserve.ca/~ccoyote of the sixth sense
November 4, 1999. (Re: Mary Mother of Jesus) MAY I ASK WHY YOU HAVE NOTHING ON THE REALLY GOOD UPCOMING MOVIE, "MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS" PRODUCED BY EUNICE KENNEDY SCHRIVER"
November 4, 1999. (Re: Dogma) I WAS MORTIFIED TO SEE THAT MATT DAMON WAS STARRING IN THIS ABOMINATION. THIS FILM SAYS MARY AND JOSEPH HAD SEX AND THAT IS LIKE SPITTING IN MARY'S FACE AND THAT OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH,
I, AM SICK OVER IT AND FOR ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE CATHOLIC OR TO LOVE MARY, AND TO SUPPORT THIS FILM, THINK AGAIN,
I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUT YOU ARE NOT CAHTOLIC
November 3, 1999. thanks for your website. i found it when looking for catholic-church reviews of TV shows. couldn't find any sites for that. but stumbled on yours and...
I have to agree, that tv is finally showing an interest in traditional values. i esp. enjoy "law and order" for its continuing exploration of moral questions in a thoughtful, non-polemic manner.
I do worry that the tv handling of spirituality can be sensationalist and ignorant. just saw a new show called "angel" which looks to be a violent thriller dealing with supernatural themes, not in order to nurture and challenge the viewer but rather to feed his adrenaline addiction. what do you think?
thanks again, mary
My response: Yea sometimes this is true. The name of the game is ratings.
November 3, 1999.(Re: Touched by an Angel) My heart leaps with joy for the success of "Touched By An Angel". I hope that "Hollywood" gets the message. All of us would like to have more movies that we can take the kids and grandkids to see without cringing at the language or vulgar visual effects. Also, after the movie "Apocalypse III....Tribulation" debuts in theaters around the country, maybe "they" will finally listen. Thanks and prayers to "Touched By An Angel"
November 3, 1999. (Re: Prophecy). I thought this movie was incredible!!!! It is one of my all time favorites and I found it very thought-provoking. How do we know if the angels do or don't feel anger towards humans hmmmm? I too have to agree that Christopher Walken WAS the perfect Gabriel, the man is a genius. Viggo Mortenson (a perfectly yummy, beautiful Lucifer) and Eric Stoltz were nothing to sneeze at either. All in all, it was very well done. I will watch it over and over.
P.S. Please do not display my e-mail address. Thank you.
November 2, 1999. All I have to say is WOW. OK, I'll say a few more things. As a Christian, I really appreciate your thoughtful, probing reviews. The Christian media never seem to be able to look at popular culture with anything but judgment. Your ability to find meaning in art makes me proud to be apart of the Christian community, which is not always something I can say.
Please keep up the good work. I have you bookmarked.
November 1, 1999. I really enjoyed the movie , but there were many parts that I just could'nt believe due to the extreme explicitness of this film. When I went to see the movie , I was so scared to see what was goin to happen next th I could'nt even get up to go to the restroom. I really did not understand what happened to the man at the end of the movie . Was it the Blair Witch that killed the students or was it the other man that they talked about at the beginning of the movie when they were askng people what they thought about the Blair Witch?
I wish there was more information on this particular subject! The Blair Witch has really grabbed my attention and I plan to do more research in the future , but don't worry I wiil not be going into any woods!!!!!!
The movie had a very sudden ending , so what I want to know is how long was it after the first set of footage was found the second set found? Or is this just a money gimic like everything else is?
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