Visual Review Index Numbers, A
FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003)
Review by David Bruce: For the discerning viewer this film offers
a window of understanding into our time and current culture. I suggest
that you watch the film and the audience, as a unified whole. Films like
this can should not be viewed in any other way. To miss the audience is
to miss the film.
6TH DAY (1999)
is a movie that explores the idea of humans taking on the role of God.
Futuristic action about a man who meets a clone of himself and stumbles
into a grand conspiracy about clones taking over the world. Since the
first cloned man is named Adam, wanna guess where the name of the movie
8 MILE (2002)
by Simon Remark and David Bruce: Eminem is offensive to a lot of people,
and I'm sure this will hinder them from checking this film out, and this
is unfortunate, because 8 Mile shows that no matter who you are, or where
you're from, you can turn things around.
GOING ON 30 (2004)
Review by Melinda Ledman: Jenna’s reality at age 13 differs greatly
from her reality at age 30. The hottest guy in school is now a cab driver.
The geek next door is now a talented photographer. Money and fame don’t
pay like she had thought they would. The value of friendship cannot be
quantified. Like Jenna, we tend to get stuck in the moment, not realizing
that we will have a different perspective five, ten, twenty years from
now. Look up. Look ahead.
Director: Richard Donner. Stars: Bruce Willis, Mos Def
An aging cop (Willis) is assigned the ordinary task of escorting a fast-talking
witness (Def) from police custody to a courthouse. There are however forces at
work trying to stop prevent them from making it.
Review by Darrel manson: The story focuses on three families that are
drawn into a single story built around a heart transplant. The title refers
to the weight that supposedly is lost from a body at the point of death.
As we see the impact on death on the people involved, we see that that
21 grams can be very weighty -- more so than the weight of a hummingbird
that it represents.
|24 TV Series
Review by Maurice Broaddus: We live in the age of the anti-hero. The time of the Constantines, the Punishers, the Dirty Harrys. Webster defines hero as “a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements”. The picture that you should probably see next to that definition is that of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) from the television show 24. Jack Bauer lives the story of one man out to save the world (though in this case, the world usually means America).
Review by Simon Remark: Monty Brogan is about to start his last day
of freedom before turning himself into the authorities and serving a seven-year
term for drug dealing. He's a charming young man who had always dreamed
of being a fireman, following in the working-class footsteps of his father.
must be dealt with. With God and others, we can win. The film begins with
Gwen waking up from a drunk in bed with her boyfriend. She immediately
goes to the refrigerator for a drink. "Where were we last night?" she
asks -- typical alcoholic memory lapse. "At a church bazaar," her boy
friend responds, "I think the vicar spiked the punch." -- typical denial
and deflection of responsibility. She is late for her sister's wedding.
DAYS LATER (2003)
Review by Mike Furches and David Bruce:Cycle courier Jim awakes from a
coma in the deserted intensive care unit of a London hospital. Mystified,
he wanders the wards and corridors in search of others and eventually
heads into the city streets, calling out for help. As the shadows lengthen
Jim seeks shelter in a church only to find dead bodies piled in heaps
on the chapel floor.
DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS (2002)
A comedy about a guy who vows to stay celibate for 40 days and 40 nights.
He thinks he can do it; it's not that long. But when he meets the girl
of his dreams, things get a little more complicated.
|THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (2005)
40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carrell) has done quite a few things in his life. He's got a cushy job stamping invoices at an electronics superstore, a nice apartment with a proud collection of action figures and comic books, good friends, a nice attitude. But there's just one little thing he hasn't quite gotten around to doing yet--something most people have done by his age. Done a lot. Andy's never, ever, ever had sex--not even by accident. So is that such a big deal?
FIRST DATES (2004)
Review by Melinda Ledman: Fifty First Dates is probably one of Adam Sandler’s
best movies to date. I laughed most of the way through, and found the
story line intriguing.
by Simon Remark and Annette Wierstra: About a Boy is warm and funny;
it was one of the most entertaining films I've seen in a while. It shows
the importance of connecting with other people, as truly "no man is an
island." We all have a need for love and relationship; also, Will learns
that true wealth and happiness can only come from the immaterial.
Review by Darrel Manson: With no job, no wife, and no family, Warren
is desperate to find something meaningful in his thoroughly unimpressive
life. He sets out on a journey of self-discovery.
Review by David Bruce: It's about how alienated people are from
each other in our contemporary culture, about how hard it is to have love
in your life and how hard it is to connect with people, to be honest and
|THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY & LAVA GIRL IN 3-D (2005)
Sometimes the most amazing superheroes are the ones inside your dreams. So discovers ten-year-old Max, an outcast little boy who has become lost in his own fantasy world in an attempt to escape the everyday worries of dealing with parents, school bullies and no-fun summer vacations. But when Max realizes the cool characters, high-flying adventures and incredible secret powers that dwell in his imagination might be far more real than anyone is willing to believe, his whole world changes.
Director: Karyn Kusama. Stars: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sophie Okonedo. 400 years in the future, as a disease has wiped out most of the Earth's population, many of those who have survived live in Bregna, a walled city-state ruled by scientists. A mysterious operative (Theron) aligned with an underground rebellion, is dispatched by her handler (McDormand) to assassinate a top government official. -Overview (dial up)
Melinda Ledman reviews: This sunset concept opens
the door to the bigger question that the movie seems to ask and answer.
What treasures have value? Fundamentally, God created all the personality
types, differences in people that sometimes cause disagreements but that
in the end make this world run smoothly.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)
|AIMEE SEMPLE McPHERSON (2005)
Review by Darrel Manson: One day in 1926, a well known evangelist went for a swim and didn’t come back. For a month, the world thought she had drowned. But then she appeared with a story of having been kidnapped. What really happened? Was she really kidnapped? Had she run off for a tryst with the person running her radio station? It was the celebrity scandal of the day.
Review by Kevin Miller: In the spring of 1836, in the face of insurmountable
odds, fewer than 200 ordinary men who believed in the future of Texas
held the fort for 13 days against thousands of Mexican soldiers led by
dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna, ruler of Mexico.
AND EMMA (2003)
Review by Melinda Ledman: The writers (4) and director (Rob Reiner) used
advanced literary structures to make great statements about art and life.
David Bruce reviews: Oliver Stone's "Alexander" is based on
the true story of one of history's most luminous and influential leaders,
Alexander the Great (Farrell) -– a man who had conquered 90% of
the known world by the age of 27.
Elisabeth Leitch reviews:
While Alfie’s question, “What’s it all about?”
still hangs in the air at the end of the movie, the answer seems to lie
in the love he has seen in others’ lives and the love he feels like
he is missing. It is more than just a forced act, fake words, or grudgingly
executed actions. Instead love is something that compels us to put another
Mike Furches reviews: Many watching the
film will not understand the confusion that Ali went through prior to
his decision to follow the Muslim faith. While watching many of the scenes
and flashbacks I was reminded of the racial attitudes that existed throughout
America at the time.
Ripley is back. Born again. Virgin born, and with a dual nature.
In the last
movie, Alien 3, Ripley died. Now, 200 years later she is resurrected
from her DNA. She is virgin born in a science lab in a tube. She is
born again, a clone of her former self. Resurrected in a new body which
is capable of miraculous feats. The purpose here is to use her as a
brood mare: she becomes the virgin birth mother of little alien monsters,
which quickly grow up to be big evil monsters.
AND THE BEE (2006)
Director: Doug Atchison. Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer.
An inspirational drama, AKEELAH AND THE BEE is the story of Akeelah Anderson,
a precocious eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words.
THE PRETTY HORSES
The film is a profound look at life as it often is. The film opens
with two friends John Grady Cole and Lacey Rawlins peacfully resting
in the grass. Life for them is like heaven. A few scenes later John
looks out over his family's Texas ranch, and says, "This is Heaven
on earth." As he says this he pick up a sun bleached skull of a cow.
This sets the tone for the rest of the film.
THE REAL GIRLS (2003)
Review by Benn Becker: hese moments don’t stand out in film history,
but they just feel deeply genuine--like I had been there before …
known those feelings. The film connected with me at some deep level. It’s
not for everyone and many will deem it slow and boring, but the depths
and subtleties of life contain glimpses of God.
CAME A SPIDER (2001)
Kim Yarmuch and David Bruce review: In the opening
credits we hear the lines: "I believe in Human Nature. People are
basically good." The film then puts that statement to the test and
explores the realities of human nature. Can we truly trust it.
Darrel Manson reviews: Amelie is a delight.
You smile as you watch and later you keep thinking of things that make
you smile again... I heard a while back that Amelie caused a rash of doing
good deeds in France when it showed there. That's not a bad thing. The
Christian version of the Golden Rule is "Do to others as you would have
them do to you."
An all too real reflection of our culture. This film is uncomfortable
because it reflects a very true and discouraging problem in Western Culture.
It mirrors our dis-connected-ness with our families and friends. We spend
most of our time wanting and needing meaningful relationships and yet
we cannot see past the end of our own noses to see and appreciate those
right in front of us.
Director: Paul Weitz. Stars: Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore. A satire
of national identity, based around the wildly popular television singing contest
called "American Dreamz."
AMERICAN HAUNTING (2006)
Director: Courtney Solomon. Stars: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood.
For three years, a spirit torments the Bell family, until it claims one of their
HISTORY X (1998).
Deals with white power racism. Powerful. On the day of Derek's release
from prison, Danny hands in a school book report on Mein Kampf. Enraged,
the school principal (Avery Brooks) demands that Danny write a new paper,
one on the events that led to Derek's incarceration.
At a high-school party, four friends (Jim, Kevin, Finch, and Oz) find
that losing their collective virginity isn't as easy as they had thought.
But they still believe that they need to do so before college. To motivate
themselves, they enter a pact to try to be the first to "score." And
of course, the senior prom is their last best chance. As the fateful
date draws near, the boys wonder who among them will get lucky. More
importantly, do they really want to do it at all? This cheap teen sex
film reflects a very important dilemma in American Culture.
PIE 2 (2001)
Annette Wierstra reviews:
"At it's core American Pie is a coming of age story. Amidst the humor
and exaggeration there is a realism about the struggles of youth and discovering
who you really are..."
by David Bruce:"It derives its inspiration from the 1952 movie musical
'Singing in the Rain. 'There are tremendous truths in this film, which
are difficult to learn, and even more difficult to fully apply in to one's
Great film making. Life of slaves = life of Christ. This is one of the
most amazing pieces of film making I have ever seen. The judge walks
to the cross in the church. His walk is intercut with the life of Christ.
During this scene the events in the life of Christ are identified with
the events of the slave's lives (i.e. capture, binding, death, burial).
This is film making at its highest. Yamba then explains to Cinque the
life of Christ which he has been able to learn from his insightful and
profound study of an illustrated Bible that a Christian abolitionist
Confused and frightened by her daughter Chelsea’s
cryptic interaction with an imaginary friend named Jodie, Kathy struggles
to hold her family together as George’s increasingly strange
behavior finds him spending days and nights in the basement of the
house, where he soon discovers a passageway to a mysterious and gruesome “Red
There's a snake in paradise. This film is loaded with biblical images
of the Garden of Eden and the book of Revelation. The movie opens with
a documentary film crew going into the Paradise of the Amazon Rain Forests
in search of the People of the Mist. But there is trouble in Paradise
in the form of a snake. The trouble begins when the crew picks up a stranded,
evil ex-Catholic Priest, Paul Sarone, who comes across as an "angel of
light." He also has a curious love for snakes.
GOD SAID "HA!" (1999)
you ever had such a ridiculously bad day that you suddenly realized
it was so bad it was hystical? Now, imagine almost a year of the same
feeling. Welcome to a year in the life of Julia Sweeney, as portrayed
in her uproariously funny comedy, GOD SAID, "HA!" (based on her one
woman Broadway show.)
In 1935, when it is more common for Irish families to leave their famine-stricken
country for America, the impoverished McCourt family do the reverse. Following
the sudden death of her 7-week-old daughter, Angela and her unemployable,
alcoholic husband, Catholic faith as good and bad.
David Bruce reviews: "The film makes a case
for destiny being a mix of personal choice, past history, and the hand
of God (providence)."
AND THE KING (1999)
East meets West and West meets East. Salt and light changing culture.
been employed to educate the king's fifty-eight children. She knows
very little of King Mongkut, apart from the fact that his people revere
him as a god. She brings with her an "East vs. West" prejudice against
the king, considering him to be uncivilized. She soon realizes that
her views are more than matched by the ruler's own preconceptions about
the West and particularly this impertinent English woman.
Director: Justin Lin. Stars: James Franco, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson. A young man (Franco) who's good with his fists realizes his dream of attending the Annapolis Naval Academy.
Who can Gen X trust? The middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 118:8-9
"Far better to take refuge in God than trust in people; Far better
to take refuge in God than trust in celebrities." (Message translation)
And this is exactly what this film is about. Milo learns that he can
not trust in his boss. Milo learns that he can not trust in his old
girl friend. Milo learns that he can not trust in his new girl friend.
Milo learns that he can not even trust in his feelings. Milo learns
that he is trapped in a world where he can not trust anyone. So, where
can Milo turn?
Review by Antwone Fisher: When I saw the film for the first time,
I was overwhelmed by a mixture of feelings: fear, joy, pride and satisfaction
- all of which still linger, and I am certain they will for the rest of
my life. I hope others, too, walk away with those same feelings and the
courage to do something to better the lives of children in general.
"It was a pleasure and joy to see a movie like Apostle. I saw the
film by myself and was so impressed that I took my family back to see
it again, and later again, and then purchased the video once it came
out. The Apostle shows without doubt why Robert Duvall is one of our
best actors, ever..."
WE THERE YET? (2005)
Nick , a smooth operator, is trying to land a date with a young, attractive
divorcee, Suzanne. Problem is Suzanne is stuck working in Vancouver and
miserable because she misses her kids. Seizing the opportunity, Nick gallantly
offers to bring her kids up to her. What Nick doesn’t know is that
Suzanne's children think that no man is good enough for their mom and
will do everything they can to make the trip a nightmare for him.
This film is a documentary about this terrible joke. It features a number of comics who tell the joke, recall first hearing the joke, and laugh at the joke. Actually, the film is a marvel of editing as the various comics are interspersed with each other in their telling of the joke. But the film is more than just several tellings of this one joke. It also gives us a chance to parse the humor of the joke. We get to examine why people laugh at such things and why this lame joke keeps being retold generation by generation.
This is a well written story of the power of terrorism and the "scape
goat" in our culture.
Furches' reviews: "While Armageddon has been on video for sometime
now it is still fun and worth watching. It is a film that gives ample
opportunity to talk about life and death as well as the redeeming value
of individuals many may consider undesirable. The father and daughter
relationship is powerful..."
THE BEND (2004)
Darrel Manson and Elisabeth Leitch review: This
story is about more than getting to know each other, even more than being
able to reestablish a family bond. It is a story about how one forgives
others and how one forgives oneself. It is a story, in the end, that reminds
us that even unforgivable actions need to be dealt with.
THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (2004)
Reviews by Kevin Miller and Mike Furches: The original
Around the World in 80 Days had a great deal to say about the need for
people to get along, as well as the ability to overcome challenges and
develop friendships with various cultures and various peoples. This film
gets caught up in presenting Jackie Chan in as many action sequences as
ON PRECINCT 13 (2005)
To survive the night, cops and criminals alike will have to unite and
fight. A classic head-to-head showdown ignites in Assault on Precinct
13, an all-new update of the 1976 action thriller of the same name.
ASTRONAUT'S WIFE (1999)
Being pregnant with the Antichrist twins in New York! It reminded me
of Rosemary's Baby. In fact the story is about the same: Wife becomes
pregnant. Husband is really demonic, other worldly. And the Offspring
are destined to become world dominators (Antichrist).
SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (2006)
Director: Terry Zwigoff. Stars: Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich.
Convinced that art school will put him on the path to fame, Jerome (Minghella)
must come to terms with his barely-there talent, and the fact that the girl of
his dreams has fallen in love with another student. Then, strangely, he's arrested
as a suspected murderer, only to discover that crime might actually pay.
Director: Chris Robinson. Stars: T.I., Lauren London. As four friends prepare
for life after high school, different challenges bring about turning points in
each of their lives. The dramas unfold and resolve at their local rollerskating
THE LOST EMPIRE (2001)
David Bruce reviews: Disney's wide screen animated
epic follows the familiar Paradise Lost theme of John Milton. The film
starts with the loss of Atlantis due to wrong doing, an interesting parallel
can be made here to the loss of the biblical Paradise in Genesis 2 and
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK (2000)
Eternity, life and love transcend time. Seasons and time are keys to this
film. The film blows away the normal concept of time. Will is 48 and in
his autumn of life. Charlotte is twenty something. She is in her spring
of life. The film places them both in nature's autumn. Will realizes he
can only give Charlotte the present. Then film takes an interesting turn.
Charlotte has a tumor with only a year to live. Suddenly the time frames
are reversed. It is Charlotte who has only the present. The season now
changes to winter. Winter is the symbol of death.
Hughes was able to soar to great heights (literally and figuratively).
The physics that allow for flight are counterbalancing forces: thrust
and drag, lift and gravity. The Aviator shows how counterbalancing forces
were present in Hughes life (as they are in all lives.)
Visual Review Index Numbers, A