Loving
Tim Markatos
(”Loving” is briefly mentioned in this.)
It’s time once again for that hallowed, year-end tradition of comparing cinematic apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, pears, peaches, and kiwis. Two notes: 1. You know as well as I do that Silence would have factored into this list if I had had the patience to wait and see it before publishing this. Be that as it may, now I get to watch it and judge it on its own terms, rather than in terms of which of these 10 movies it might displace. 2. If I were to try to summarize what drew me to each of these movies, I would propose that it’s a shared quality of deep or attentive listening. What I mean by that exactly I leave for you to ponder as you read my list. 
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
In, of all places, San Francisco, I was surprised to walk into a nearly empty Friday-night showing of a movie with the tagline “All love is created equal.” An older black man was the only other person in the single auditorium playing the film “Loving” when my girlfriend and I walked into the theater. “Looks like we get it all to ourselves,” he said as we sat down. More people entered as the previews rolled, but it never got close to a packed house. This amazed me, since the subject—the story of the real-life and aptly named Richard and Mildred Loving—seems well suited for the Age of Obergefell. But this drama of interracial romance and the successful Supreme Court battle, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down anti-miscegenation laws, has only drawn in $7.4 million at the box office (it had a $9 million budget). The number is respectable, but not what you might expect for a film that seems to tap into, if not outright mainline, the pulsing artery of twenty-first-century America. Sexual taboo and race relations: what could be more relevant? So why did so few people care? There was an even bigger surprise in store once the movie played. Going in, I’d assumed that it would just be a progressive morality play. #LoveWins—that sort of thing. The marketing efforts seemed to point in that direction. But the film was entirely devoid of pious sermons. This might explain the bulk of critics’ complaints, who whined that “Loving” is “timid,” “a missed opportunity,” and “only scratches the surface.” The lack of sermons, however, doesn’t mean “Loving” is apolitical. I found that “Loving” presents a deeply conservative vision of a good human life. A Man’s Home, His Castle Take, for example, one of the film’s central preoccupations, alongside race and family: not love, the law, the civil rights movement, or class (which does play a large part), but land. From the beginning of the film and on through to the end, ancestral land anchors the action. For example, in one of the opening scenes, Joel Edgerton, who offers a wonderful, growling, and tight-lipped performance as Richard Loving, guides the luminous star of the film, Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving, out into an emerald green country field. He gestures to the empty field and asks her what she thinks. Mildred looks at him quizzically. “I bought it,” he says, grinning. “This whole acre.” She’s speechless. “I’m goin’ build you a house,” Richard says in a gravelly voice. An impish grin plays out on his face. “Right here. Our house.” Yet interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia when the real-life Richard and Mildred married in 1958. So they married in Washington DC, but shortly thereafter were arrested in bed in the middle of the night. They managed to avoid prison by agreeing not to return to Virginia, their family home, together for 25 years. Rather than a triumphal entry into the land of freedom, in the film the Lovings’ arrival into the dirty, noisy, and crowded inner city of Washington DC. is heartbreaking. They might have been poor back in Virginia, but they did have their families, and they had the pastoral landscapes and open skies of their home state. In DC, they have freedom, of a sort, and they have each other, but they are profoundly bereft. Besides a few twisted trees, everything is concrete. Loyalty to Family Traditions And Mildred is pregnant. One night, worrying in bed, she tells Richard that she had always imagined Richard’s mother, a midwife, delivering the baby. Richard accepts her worry as a challenge, and in violation of the law, they drive back to Virginia and induce labor. It is another instance of the film’s love for the old and inherited. I’m sure all of the data on maternal health and infant mortality would support giving birth in a hospital, especially one in a major metropolitan area like Washington DC, rather than in a ramshackle house in rural Virginia, where the nearest doctor is sure to be miles away. But this is the way their families give birth, how women in their community give birth. Their reasoning is not utilitarian or data-driven. It’s not progressive. It’s rooted in their loyalty to their family’s and community’s tradition. They raise multiple children in DC until their son is hit by a car. Fortunately, he is not seriously hurt, but the scare prompts Mildred to pack the bags. They family is moving back to Virginia, she declares, come what may. Richard secures a house and barn on a property far from the prying eyes of unsympathetic neighbors. Finally, we the audience can breathe a sigh of relief along with the Lovings. They’re together, and they’re back on their land. Cherishing the Right to Self-Defense The relief doesn’t last long. After being threatened at work because of his and his wife’s appearance in Life magazine, Richard finds a car tailing him on the drive home. On the approach to his house, he loses the follower, but wastes no time in sending the kids, who are happily playing outside, into the house. Richard grabs his gun and sends his son to alert a friend to come lend some extra firepower. The threat never materializes. Perhaps the car hadn’t been following him after all. But the sequence is a potent reminder of the role that the Second Amendment has played in protecting unpopular civil rights. It wasn’t just Richard Loving. Take Condoleezza Rice. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and knew two of the four girls who died in the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. She writes that, “after the first explosion, Daddy just went outside and sat on the porch with his gun on his lap. He sat there all night looking for white night riders. Eventually Daddy & the men of the neighborhood formed a watch…Because of this experience, I’m a fierce defender of the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. Had my father and his neighbors registered their weapons, Bull Connor surely would have confiscated them or worse.” Rice’s father was king of his little Birmingham castle, and so was Richard Loving. Even though the law of the land and the culture of the South saw Rice as inferior and Loving as a race-traitor, both of them still benefitted from the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms. It’s something the Left ought to keep in mind, especially when they consider the genesis of the modern gun control movement: whites in California who wanted to disarm the Black Panther Party. We Want to Be Home, Not Celebrities Unlike the Black Panthers, however, Richard and Mildred Loving weren’t interested in a campaign for civil rights. The film portrays Richard as especially suspicious of the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who initially takes their case. The lawyer is baffled when Richard betrays indifference to setting Supreme Court precedent. Richard would prefer if they could just quietly settle the issue with the judge back in Virginia. When the case finally does get to the highest court in the land, the Lovings decline to attend oral arguments. Richard has much more in common with the poor, rural black men in his town than he does with the white lawyers in DC. To the Lovings, even the white sheriff who arrests them is a foreigner. The sheriff considers Richard country trash, and in need of education on the genetic differences of the races. After all, Richard’s identity is rooted not in his race, but in the land. He drinks, drag races, and finally builds his house with other (white and black) rural folk. That is the real moment of triumph, not the announcement of the Supreme Court victory. That scene is anti-climactic—cameras flash at Richard and Mildred as they hold each other, foreheads pressed together, sitting in silence, smiling. Getting approval for their marriage isn’t the real point. If it were, they could just stay in DC. The triumph of the film comes when they can live in peace, on their ancestral land, near their family, free to be midwives and bricklayers. An Embodied Model of Conservatism Richard Loving died less than a decade after the landmark Supreme Court case that bears his name, killed by a drunk driver. Mildred never remarried, and she stayed in the home Richard built for her and their children. She was a picture of fidelity. I can see why some critics thought “Loving” wasted an opportunity to make good on its progressive potential. It’s certainly not what we might expect from a twenty-first-century story of forbidden love. But the film defies easy political categorization. While it’s certainly not progressive, neither does it map right onto the platform of the Republican Party. After all, American conservatism has failed to articulate an ideal of social solidarity in which we rely on family, community, and small farms. Thomas Jefferson’s nascent hope for a citizenry of virtuous yeoman farmers perished in utero, as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent musical so enthusiastically chronicles. So perhaps Loving points us toward a renewed conservatism, one with a destination beyond Donald Trump Thug Life memes. At such a destination Richard and Mildred Loving lived gracefully, with quiet virtue and humility, faithful to the land and to family tradition, skeptical of publicity, and armed with a shotgun, just in case. ]]>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
Oscar Nominations 2017 Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Best motion picture of the year Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight Achievement in directing Denis Villeneuve, case Arrival Mel Gibson, see Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Barry Jenkins, Moonlight Performance by an actor […]
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
Oscars 2017 Full List of Winners
The names in bold were the winners of this year’s Academy Awards. Best motion picture of the year Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight Achievement in directing Denis Villeneuve, for sale Arrival Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth […]
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies When two simple people who simply want to live in peace find themselves in the middle of a landmark Supreme Court case, their story unfolds with quiet grace, highlighting their commitment. Loving is not just the name of the featured couple in this biopic, it perfectly describes their story. 4 out of 5.   Synopsis In 1958 the Lovings, Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga), got married—and then arrested, tried, and sentenced to prison for saying their vows. He was white, she was black, and in Virginia their marriage was a crime. Banished from their home state for daring to love each other, Mildred couldn't understand why her home state wouldn't let her go home to her family, so she wrote to Bobby Kennedy—Attorney General at the time—and found herself in the middle of a legal fight that led to landmark Supreme Court ruling.   What Works? There's an honesty and a sweetness to this picture that's really appealing. The Lovings are plain, ordinary people. Edgerton said "They just wanted to love each other and have the right to love each other. And so the movie's a love story first." He’s right. The court case is almost an afterthought; the strength of the story is the rock-solid love the Lovings have for each other. Edgerton's Richard is a man of few words, which causes the ones he does say to pack a wallop. Even when his face is blank he's interesting to watch; it's obvious these still waters run deep. In contrast, Mildred is vivacious and sweet with a smile that lights up the room and an iron resolve that keeps her going no matter what. Their attorneys aren't exactly legal hot-shots, but what they lack in razzle-dazzle they make up in conviction, shepherding the couple all the way to the Supreme Court and a landmark decision.   googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); What Doesn't? I kept waiting for things to get really ugly—more racism, violence, cringe-worthy moments. But although violence threatened it never broke out. A few people toss out epithets and show hate-filled attitudes, but for the most part things stay remarkably calm. I half expected the only white guy in the Lovings' D.C. neighborhood to get a little grief, but no. I expected Richard to slug a drinking buddy who was mouthing off, but no. It was almost too palatable.   Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes The reason given for denying Richard and Mildred the right to marry is that it's "against God’s law," but the real theme here is "the greatest of these is love."   CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers) MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements  Language/Profanity: The n-word makes an appearance; the Loving children are described as bast**ds but as a legal designation rather than a derogatory term. Sexuality/Nudity: Mildred announces her pregnancy before the couple is married; they are shown in bed together several times but only in the most innocent way. Violence/Frightening/Intense: A couple of brief childbirth scenes, otherwise violence is more threatened than seen. Drugs/Alcohol: Beer is drunk on numerous occasions, at meals and in a bar.   The Bottom Line RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who loves a love story or is interested in civil rights or legal history. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Moviegoers who prefer fast-paced adventure to quiet family stories. Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols, opened in theaters November 4, 2016; available for home viewing February 7, 2017. It runs 123 minutes and stars Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, Martin Csokas, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass and Will Dalton. Watch the trailer for Loving here.   Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew). googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Publication date: November 10, 2016 ]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
(”Loving” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Movies Call 2016 many things, but on the entertainment front, be sure you recognize it as the year Andrew Garfield helped bring Christian characters back to the mainstream. The star of The Amazing Spider-Man and The Social Network carried two of Crosswalk's Top 4 movies in 2016, both times playing Christians with strong convictions, albeit from very different backgrounds and time periods. Word is that these experiences made 2016 something of a spiritual journey for the actor himself. Christian characters also show up in other spots on our list this year, from movies about culture-changing African-American female mathematicians to documentaries about Australian bands responsible for many of your favorite worship songs to a couple of our Honorable Mentions. We fell in love with all of them. You'll find timely themes of adoption, dreams, sacrifice, courage, hope, conviction, family, love, joy, communication and faith below, too. In a year of incivility and division, these movies that moved us did not shy away from such difficulties but helped light a way home in colorful, powerful, often tear-inducing ways. But here's the bottom line: every film on our list below resonated in some way with what the seven of us, as Christians, notice when we encounter a work of art that has something to say, and we deliberate long over our selections. We invite you, however, before seeing any film we recommend, to visit our full review (just click on the title or the image) for a list of cautions and objectionable content. And so, without further ado, our editorial staff and film critics proudly present CROSSWALKMOVIES.COM'S TOP 10 FILMS (plus seven Honorable Mentions) OF 2016... (Click here to view our video version instead!)   googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); 10 FINDING DORY Ryan's nutshell review: "Finding Dory has all the laughter and tears we've come to expect from a Pixar film. With beautiful animation, lovable characters, and a touching story about the bonds of family, this sequel is one of the best movies you'll see this summer. 4.5 out of 5." Here because: It's no secret we have a soft spot for Pixar movies. Inside Out was our #1 last year, and seven films from the studio have made our annual list going back to 2006. Dory only barely swam onto our list, however, since, as you'll see below, several of our panelists championed other animated fare. In the end, though, the themes of finding family, creating paths for the lost to find their way home, and recognizing the strengths in our disabilities won us over in typical Dory fashion! ~Shawn McEvoy See Also: Did You Catch These Cool Parenting Tips in Finding Dory?   9 CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Susan's nutshell review: "'I'm going, but I don't want to see "my friends" fight,' said my companion. The battles are epic and the quips keep coming, but this dark story opens a wound in Team Avengers that may never completely heal. By all means see it, but expect to come away a little heart-heavy. 4 out of 5." Here because: Can we prop up this film about Marvel superheroes fighting each other without putting down the one about DC superheroes fighting each other? Sure can! Civil War featured superior writing, including clear motivations from characters acting in ways and with beliefs true to how they have been portrayed for several films now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everyone was given time to shine, and whether you were on Team Tony or Team Cap, you could still understand the points the other side was desperate to make. Not many superhero movies offer fun and creative battles and a real-world context and post-movie talking points all while remembering to sweeten everything with humor. Civil War reminds us: you may be powerful and you may even be right, but if you aren't strong, smart, humble or forgiving enough to achieve unity, everyone loses. ~Shawn McEvoy See Also: Captain America: Civil War - Best Ensemble Super Hero Movie Ever?   8 HILLSONG: LET HOPE RISE Shawn's nutshell review: "Writing worship music is hard! So is serving the Lord at times. What's easy is sitting back for the experience of Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, where we're invited not only to praise Jesus, but to get an intimate view into what it looks like to be authentic, unapologetic, hopeful Christians in a world longing for God. 4.5 out of 5." Here because: I remember the noise I made when I first heard there was a documentary being made about a worship team. I remember making a similar noise when the film had trouble finding a distributor. And then when Let Hope Rise finally came to theaters, I remember afterwards standing at my kitchen counter and tearfully telling my family I hadn't done enough with my life. The testimonies are inspiring, the effort and difficulty in creating biblical worship are astounding, and the worship itself glorifies God right there in the theater. May all believers be the subject of such a documentary about living out their calling. ~Shawn McEvoy See Also: Hillsong: Let Hope Rise is a Theatrical Worship Experience   7 LOVING Susan's nutshell review: "When two simple people who simply want to live in peace find themselves in the middle of a landmark Supreme Court case, their story unfolds with quiet grace, highlighting their commitment. Loving is not just the name of the featured couple in this biopic, it perfectly describes their story. 4 out of 5." Here because: For a movie that goes out of its way not to be emotionally manipulative, it speaks volumes that in its final moments I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and tears welling up in my eyes. Loving is based on a true story of an interracial couple in the late 1950s American South sentenced to prison for co-habitating as man and wife, despite having been legally married in Washington D.C. It's about their legal battle but even more so their romance, and a life of quiet nobility. Director Jeff Nichols strikes an understated tone, finding power in intimate moments, never grand ones. Loving is about the people who weren't Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it's a landmark elegy to them. ~Jeffrey Huston   6 LION Debbie's nutshell review: "With a riveting first half and probing questions about family, Lion's careful attention to life’s cruelty balanced with an inspiring tenderness and optimism make it a strong 4 out of 5." Here because: Lion is a journey so captivating, a story so deftly told, you will hardly believe that it actually happened. Tell the average person there may be as many as 800,000 abandoned children living on the streets of India, and the enormity of the suffering can overwhelm the mind. Yet Lion humanizes that suffering with the profound true story of one of those children. Five-year-old Saroo falls asleep alone on a train and ends up hundreds of miles from home and living on the streets of Kolkata. He isn't old enough to tell anyone where he's from or even who he is. Yet he becomes one of the fortunate ones, ending up in an orphanage from which he's adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later, Saroo is plagued with anxiety over the family he lost and begins a quest to find them, piecing together what little he can remember about his earliest years. As complex as this character is, Saroo (played brilliantly by Dev Patel and newcomer Sunny Pawar) shines as one of this year's most emotionally moving characters. ~Stephen McGarvey See also: A Lost Son Searches for Home in Lion   5 ARRIVAL Susan's nutshell review: "This thinking person's alien movie is less about creatures from space and more about how humans communicate. Arrival cleverly and unexpectedly takes what you think you know and turns it on its head. It may not touch your heart, but it will provide plenty of material for after-movie conversations. 3 out of 5." Here because: It's the sci-fi movie 2016 desperately needed. First, Arrival turned the "alien movie" genre upside-down by making the central plot not about fighting for survival, but about language and communication. The personal narrative of Louise Banks, played so beautifully by Amy Adams, is highlighted by tender and smart storytelling techniques, which we've come to expect from director Denis Villeneuve (whose Prisoners made #9 on our 2013 list). Perhaps most significantly, Arrival accomplishes what films of this genre always should: it offers a fresh exhortation to humanity's struggles and weakness, using the power of the otherwordly metaphor. Like classic sci-fi from the '50s and '60s, it reminds us that the greatest danger to humanity will always be our own inner capacity for evil. Arrival speaks to our current world, one with more capacity for communication than ever. Will we use our mighty resources with patience and perseverance? Or will we continue to talk at and past one another, setting down the pen as we reach for the sword? ~Debbie Holloway   4 HACKSAW RIDGE Christian's nutshell review: "Old-fashioned in the best sense of the word—focusing on duty and patriotism—the film also feels contemporary in its post-Saving Private Ryan approach to war footage. Those who can endure it will find that Hacksaw Ridge pays off handsomely. 5 out of 5." Here because: What if, a year ago, I'd told you that Hollywood pariah Mel Gibson would direct a drama about the horrors of World War II's Pacific theater with a hero who was all at once a real person, a conscientious objector, a non-weapon-carrying medic and a Bible-quoting Seventh-Day Adventist... and this film would receive standing ovations at secular film festivals and be praised by both pacifists and war hawks alike? How in the world was THAT pulled off? Much of the credit goes to Andrew Garfield for his nuanced portrayal of Desmond Doss, and to the admirable beauty of the real Doss's own convictions. ~Shawn McEvoy See also: Freedom of Conscience on Hacksaw Ridge: A Story for Our Times   3 HIDDEN FIGURES Christian's nutshell review: "This film never comes across as a lecture as it tells the story of three African-American women employed as 'human computers' by NASA during the 1960s overcoming sexism and racial prejudice. It's instead an example of formulaic filmmaking done right—inspirational, enjoyable and educational. 4 out of 5." Here because: Much like Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures is a movie that makes you genuinely wonder, "How have I never heard this story before?!" The best advancements civilizations make with their societal issues come when they are building toward something, in this case, the race for space. In such times where every hand is essential for pulling on the rope in one direction, we simply don't have time to get tied up in that rope due to ridiculous differences. The cream always rises in true meritocracies. But Hidden Figures isn't just about socieites or organizations learning to give their people - all their people - a chance to shine. It's about how these chances must be tirelessly fought for, sometimes loudly but always respectfully and often creatively, by incredible, courageous individuals. ~Shawn McEvoy See Also: Get the Girl to Do It: The Important Message of Hidden Figures   2 LA LA LAND Debbie's nutshell review: "Even more original and ambitious than it looked in the trailers, La La Land is a mixture of nostalgic musical numbers and compelling drama. While its leads have fantastic chemistry and the story draws us in, the song and dance numbers are occasionally jarring, landing the film at 3.5 out of 5." Here because: We think La La Land will and should win Best Picture; only a painfully-crafted, master work of faith could have bested it for our #1. This colorful, relatable, bittersweet film was everything we've been whining about not getting in film today. It's somehow both original and nostalgic as it chronicles the highs and lows of life, pondering what it is that makes dreams come true. Do we commit to dreams of art, or to love? Can we even hope to reach our artistic dreams without a lover to believe in and inspire us? Can we have it all, or do dreams require sacrifice? And how is that question answered when timing also has its part to play? The cinematography is inspired - at times light and color deliver punches, at times darkness becomes a soft blanket. The jazzy melodies that run and repeat through this film are pitch-perfect. La La Land has everything! Now, some do take aim at the ending; some complain it's not a true or complete musical, and some rightly note that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are not Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly. But if you've ever performed at all... or dreamed, or loved, or wondered, you'll be thinking about (and humming the tunes from) La La Land for a very long time. Damien Chazelle is fast becoming one of our favorite directors for what he has done here and in Whiplash (Honorable Mention on our 2014 list) with extremely low budgets. See Hollywood? We audiences don't require so much after all. ~Shawn McEvoy See Also: Why So Many People Loved La La Land... or Not   1 SILENCE Debbie's nutshell review: "No bit of Silence is an accident or an afterthought. This Martin Scorsese adaptation of a Japanese novel by Shûsaku Endô is difficult, slow and lacking in a traditionally satisfying resolution, but its strength as an adaptation and the powerful filmmaking and performances warrant 4 out of 5." Here because: [SPOILERS AHEAD] The title is no misnomer; this soundtrack-less movie (it instead features an "ambient soundscape") breathes in the quiet landscapes of 17th-century Japan. The audience is similarly silent, pondering the tests of life when God is, likewise, silent. Silence is truly a tale of "faith in its rawest form. Christians have long been enamored with the idea of 'glorious martyrdom,' but Silence quickly disabuses its viewers of any such notions. Like [Andrew Garfield's Father] Rodrigues, or maybe Peter if you need a biblical example, many Christians believe they are ready to suffer and die for Christ. Yet, when the time came, both men apostatized. Stripped of their pride and dignity, both thought themselves beyond the reach of God, only to discover God was still there. He had not only foreseen their betrayals, he had died to forgive them. How many of us would have the courage to rebuild a broken faith? How many of us would have the strength to endure? That is the great and terrible message which haunts every moment of Silence" ("Does Scorsese's Silence Promote Gospel or Blasphemy?"), and which earns it a place as Crosswalk's #1 Movie for 2016. ~Ryan Duncan & Shawn McEvoy See also: Scorsese's Silence: Prepare to Wrestle with Some of the Deepest Questions of the Christian Faith   HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order) Each panelist's Honorable Mention is a film that was highly-rated on his or her personal list which didn't end up making it into the overall Crosswalk Top 10. I expected FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS to be funny, and it was. I didn't expect it to be such a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of love. The fact that Florence (Meryl Streep) had no talent didn't stop her from doing what she loved. Meanwhile, her husband (Hugh Grant) and accompanist (Simon Helberg) loved Florence enough to make her dream come true, no matter what it cost them personally. It was hilarious and beautiful and sweet, filled with bravura performances and impressive keyboard skills. Florence's singing was off-key but her heart rang true and so does this delightful film. ~Susan Ellingburg JACKIE: A mesmerizing masterpiece of biopic risk-taking, director Pablo Larraín paints a psychological (rather than biographical) portrait of Jackie Kennedy in the days following JFK's assassination. It's a dramatization more pensive than narrative; expressionistic, not literal. Natalie Portman goes full Method in her transformation. Through her, Larraín's aesthetic comes alive, grieves, and resonates. Plus, these two refuse to peddle in sentimentality. Jackie is a singular immersion into the fragile yet resilient psyche of an iconic figure in the immediate aftermath of an American tragedy. ~Jeffrey Huston While not entirely emotionally satisfying, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is a stirring and cathartic ode to grief, family, loss, and Massachusetts. The enthralling classical score, heartfelt performances, and lovely landscapes (and seascapes) make this a film to remember, if not one to casually enjoy with friends on a Friday night. It contained some of the most poignant - and most tragic - cinematic moments of 2016, and it's hard to find many flaws in the filmmaking. ~Debbie Holloway I’ll admit MOANA is fairly formulaic; the film gives off a bit of the typical princess/hero vibe that Disney is known for. It's certainly not as memorable as the wildly successful Frozen, or the hopelessly endearing Tangled. And yet, despite the familiar tropes of a hero's quest, Moana is a delightful version of the typical contemporary princess tale, beautifully set in the mythologies of native Pacific Island traditions. The main character is one kids can look up to and the secondary characters are colorful and hilarious. The animation is so thrillingly and painstakingly rendered that it's practically impossible to tell the difference between some scenes and actual video footage of the gorgeous islands they represent. This current golden age of Disney films has given us so many brilliant throwbacks to the classic Disney movies we all loved as kids. The makers of Moana should be proud that their work can take an honored place in that respected hall of fame. ~Stephen McGarvey QUEEN OF KATWE: In a year of fiery, acclaimed documentaries about the African-American experience, Disney's gentle, based-on-actual-events story of an African girl (no America here, and what's more, no "white savior" character through whose eyes we might have seen the story) who becomes a chess champion was largely overlooked by audiences. That's a shame. Adding to the vibrant, visual delights and triumphant storyline of director Mira Nair's film is a Hollywood rarity: Christian characters depicted as gentle, kind and admirable. ~Christian Hamaker Some have called it "The Case for Christ, 33 A.D." or "CSI: Jerusalem," but such monickers are too easy. RISEN is the Resurrection story we all treasure witnessed from an imagined but acceptable point of view - that of a Roman tribune tasked by Pilate with making sure Yeshua's tomb stays sealed and the populace remains at peace. Ah, yes, Peace... and what of Peace? Is there any way to come to know it via our own ambition, for us or for Joseph Fiennes' Clavius? What does doggedly tracking down Jesus Christ and his disciples do to a man? How can anyone ever be the same at the end of such a trail? Like the Gospels from which it takes its cues, Risen holds up to repeat viewings; I've seen it five times and continue to find it captivating. ~Shawn McEvoy On the surface, ZOOTOPIA appears to be just another kid's movie about talking animals, but take a closer look, and you'll discover so much more. Zootopia is a funny, thoughtful film about prejudice, labeling and fear, and their consequences on a society, particularly when exploited. This may sound like a tall order for young audiences to handle, yet thanks to some clever storytelling, animated wit and spot-on voice casting, the movie never gets lost in the message. Plus, sloths? Working at the DMV? These jokes practically write themselves. ~Ryan Duncan   OUR PAST WINNERS 2015: 1 - Inside Out; 2 - Spotlight; 3 - Room 2014: 1 - Selma; 2 - Calvary; 3 - The Grand Budapest Hotel2013: 1 - 12 Years a Slave; 2 - Gravity; 3 - Frozen2012: 1 - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; 2 - Lincoln; 3 - Les Misérables2011: 1 - Hugo; 2 - The Help; 3 - Moneyball2010: 1 - Inception; 2 - True Grit; 3 - The King's Speech2009: 1 - Fantastic Mr. Fox; 2 - Up; 3 - Star Trek2008: 1 - Wall-E; 2 - The Dark Knight; 3 - Slumdog Millionaire2007: 1 - Ratatouille; 2 - Amazing Grace; 3 - The Bourne Ultimatum2006: 1 - The Pursuit of Happyness; 2 - The Nativity Story; 3 - United 93 / World Trade Center2005: 1 - Cinderella Man; 2 - Because of Winn-Dixie; 3 - Batman Begins   CRITIC'S CHOICE We also asked each of our panelists to name his or her selections for the various categories below. RYAN DUNCAN, Culture EditorBest Animated Film - MoanaBest Family Film - ZootopiaBest Date Movie - Kubo and the Two StringsBest Action Flick - DeadpoolBest Film with a Faith Theme - SilenceBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Risen Favorite Male Performance - Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw RidgeFavorite Female Performance - Emma Stone, La La LandMost Disappointing - (tie) The Nice Guys & Captain FantasticMost Pleasant Surprise - ZootopiaI Laughed - Hail, Caesar!I Cried - Silence SUSAN ELLINGBURG, Film CriticBest Animated Film - Finding DoryBest Family Film - Finding DoryBest Date Movie - PassengersBest Action Flick - Star Trek: BeyondBest Film with a Faith Theme - Patriots DayBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Risen Favorite Male Performance - Simon Helberg, Florence Foster JenkinsFavorite Female Performance - Meryl Streep, Florence Foster JenkinsMost Disappointing - The FounderMost Pleasant Surprise - Money MonsterI Laughed - Florence Foster JenkinsI Cried - Patriots Day CHRISTIAN HAMAKER, Film CriticBest Animated Film - Kubo and the Two StringsBest Family Film - LovingBest Date Movie - The Light Between OceansBest Action Flick - Hacksaw RidgeBest Film with a Faith Theme - Hacksaw RidgeBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Last Days in the DesertFavorite Male Performance - Ewan McGregor, Last Days in the DesertFavorite Female Performance - Natalie Portman, JackieMost Disappointing - Rules Don't ApplyMost Pleasant Surprise - Finding DoryI Laughed - Central IntelligenceI Cried - Hidden Figures DEBBIE HOLLOWAY, Film CriticBest Animated Film - Kubo and the Two StringsBest Family Film - The Little PrinceBest Date Movie - La La LandBest Action Flick - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemBest Film with a Faith Theme - Queen of KatweBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Silence Favorite Male Performance - Sunny Pawar, LionFavorite Female Performance - Michelle Williams, Manchester by the SeaMost Disappointing - My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2Most Pleasant Surprise - Keeping Up with the JonesesI Laughed - Bad MomsI Cried - Manchester by the Sea JEFFREY HUSTON, Film CriticBest Animated Film - MoanaBest Family Film - The BFGBest Date Movie - La La LandBest Action Flick - 13 HoursBest Film with a Faith Theme - SilenceBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Miracles from Heaven Favorite Male Performance - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaFavorite Female Performance - Amy Adams, ArrivalMost Disappointing - Suicide SquadMost Pleasant Surprise - Hidden FiguresI Laughed - TrollsI Cried - Loving SHAWN McEVOY, Managing EditorBest Animated Film - Kubo and the Two StringsBest Family Film - Hidden FiguresBest Date Movie - La La LandBest Action Flick - Captain America: Civil WarBest Film with a Faith Theme - SilenceBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Risen Favorite Male Performance - Andrew Garfield, SilenceFavorite Female Performance - Emma Stone, La La LandMost Disappointing - SingMost Pleasant Surprise - Hillsong: Let Hope RiseI Laughed - Florence Foster JenkinsI Cried - Queen of Katwe STEPHEN McGARVEY, Editor-in-ChiefBest Animated Film - MoanaBest Family Film - Hidden FiguresBest Date Movie - La La LandBest Action Flick - Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryBest Film with a Faith Theme - SilenceBest Faith-Based Film (i.e. 'Christian Movie') - Hillsong: Let Hope Rise Favorite Male Performance - Andrew Garfield, SilenceFavorite Female Performance - Emma Stone, La La LandMost Disappointing - Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeMost Pleasant Surprise - 13 HoursI Laughed - TrollsI Cried - Lion   OUR MOST POPULAR REVIEWS OF 2016 The films you the audience wanted to know about  - and clicked on - the most. 12. The Light Between Oceans, by Christian Hamaker 11. Miracles from Heaven, by Susan Ellingburg 10. The Young Messiah, by Jeffrey Huston 9. Zootopia, by Ryan Duncan 8. 13 Hours, by Susan Ellingburg 7. Suicide Squad, by Jeffrey Huston 6. God's Not Dead 2, by Christian Hamaker 5. Ben-Hur, by Susan Ellingburg 4. Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, by Shawn McEvoy 3. Top Films of 2015, by Editorial Staff & Film Critics 2. Risen, by Ryan Duncan 1. Deadpool, by Christian Hamaker Finally, we'd like to thank you for your readership (and viewership of our video reviews) in 2016, especially as we kicked off our new format for text reviews, including star ratings and defined sections to make it easier for you to find what you need to know about any film. Speaking of which, three films in 2016 were given perfect 5-star ratings from our reviewers: Hacksaw Ridge (by Christian Hamaker), Florence Foster Jenkins (by Susan Ellingburg) and Moana (by Ryan Duncan), so it was good to see each of those films represented here! It was an excellent year at CrosswalkMovies.com, ChristianMovieReviews.com and the CMR Facebook page. If you enjoyed this article or our regular reviews, please be sure to share them with your friends and family! From one set of Christian movie fans to another, thanks for a great year, God bless, and let us hear your reviews of the films listed here! googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Publication date: February 9, 2017 ]]>
(Review Source)
Armond White
Hacksaw Ridge and Loving offer two visions of hell on earth. Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is much more than a war movie. Titled after the 1945 Battle of Okinawa on the Japanese bluff known as Hacksaw Ridge, it tells the true-life story of Desmond Doss, a religious conscientious objector who nevertheless saved dozens of fellow soldiers’ lives while serving as a battlefield medic during the final days of World War II. Doss received a Medal of Honor from President Truman, but, ironically, the movie is the work of a famously Christian filmmaker who was publicly excoriated by the mainstream (i.e., secular) media, which lashed out against his 2004 The Passion of the Christ (discussed in my 2014 NRO article “The Year the Culture Broke”). With Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson openly responds to what has now become a routine character-assassination attempt by the media; he envisions the Battle of Okinawa as a test of morality and religious faith. Doss, a Virginia-born Seventh-day Adventist (portrayed by Andrew Garfield), claimed conscientious-objector status based on his personal Christian pacifism. Gibson shows how that pacifism derived from Doss’s background: Having grown up as a violence-addicted son of a bitterly traumatized WWI veteran (Hugo Weaving), Doss as an adult becomes a devout pacifist who clashes with military tradition to win his right to service. What he encountered in fulfilling his faith and duty is movingly depicted in the film, but it’s the emotional undercurrent that makes Hacksaw Ridge extraordinary. Gibson disposes of the “anti-war film” cliché with a full-throttle War Is Hell scenario. His scenes of carnage and savagery have nearly surreal intensity. The black-gray, smoke-and-flames imagery of rugged terrain, bodies charred and mutilated in deadly piles, plus head-banging artillery noises and painful human howls express fascination and revulsion. It is a conscientiously masculine vision — male aggression chastened by a sense of horror. Obviously, this is not documentary horror remembered from actual wartime experience. Rather, Gibson vents the ambivalence he probably acquired as a thinking macho (being both a star of violent ’80s and ’90s spectacles and a perceptive, ambitious artiste). Hacksaw Ridge is sensitized by a wounded man’s humility and a thinking man’s sincerity. Thus, the film’s vision of Hell on Earth has peculiar authority. It’s clear that Gibson is fully conscious of man’s inhumanity to man, maybe more than anyone else in Hollywood. He didn’t have to actually participate in combat to learn about human savagery; the mainstream media taught him that. But alongside the film’s dramatization of Doss’s family life and his courtship of Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), the lovely, bold-spirited nurse he married, Hacksaw Ridge anatomizes military aggression and its complex links to masculine character. Garfield’s Doss uncannily recalls Anthony Perkins’s pacifist performance in Friendly Persuasion. Other, variously wounded American GIs are memorably etched by Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, and Luke Bracey as men who sacrifice themselves while dealing with personal issues. (These conflicts are fleetly dramatized by screenwriters Robert Schenkken and Andrew Knight.) (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); Hacksaw Ridge provides a long-awaited cultural rejoinder to the violence in Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg’s culture-shaking tribute to WWII martyrdom. But Spielberg’s film needn’t be the definitive WWII movie, and neither should Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, Clint Eastwood’s diptych Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jimo, or Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Gibson forsakes the self-righteousness of those films and provides the substance — the reproof of violence — absent from all those movies that are so shamelessly geeked-up by the boyish excitement of fighting and death. (Doss’s father complains that his mother teaches “the world is a soft and gentle place” while he also upbraids his son’s timidity: “You’ve got to sit and think and pray about everything. Look at you!”) The original Mad Max finally grows up when Doss daringly rescues wounded Americans from the Japanese onslaught: “Please, God, help me get one more.” It’s odd to see a contemporary film that depicts war without partisan second-guessing or political rebuke. Hacksaw Ridge has a patriotic valiance and dauntless candor that recall Sergeant York, the 1941 Gary Cooper film. But that was from a different era, less hostile to the idea of American military effort. Gibson defies today’s secular hostility by proffering Doss’s principled certitude. Hacksaw Ridge is not an official history of WWII; its visionary, emotional force recalls the essence of cinematic heroism. Gibson’s battle scenes evoke D. W. Griffith’s great “War’s Peace” tableau in The Birth of a Nation and turns its sorrow, sarcasm, and heartfelt pacifism into a War Is Hell epic. A montage contrasting Japanese seppuku with American faith is even-handed history and spiritually profound. For thoughtful viewers, Hacksaw Ridge will loom larger than Doss’s story; it’s also Gibson’s personal Hell on Earth reprisal to the war on his Christian convictions. *** The interracial couple whose struggle for marriage equality went all the way to the Supreme Court, which handed down a nationwide constitutional victory on their case in 1967, make for a dull twosome in Loving, the new civil-rights movie. Actors Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga portray Richard and Mildred Loving who challenged the state of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. In this film, these good actors essentially portray sad people looking sad — a tow-head bricklayer and a woeful housewife. Loving is not a love story, a historical trailblazer, or even a complex examination of marital fidelity like Irvin Kershner’s 1970 Loving, in which George Segal and Eva Marie Saint showed how the sexual revolution and feminism effected male–female relations. Instead, this Loving is a pedestrian recap of a historical moment that, because of the Obama Effect embraced by director Jeff Nichols, can be regarded only with condescension or self-congratulation. Rather than convey passion between a man and woman, Loving idealizes Southern black and white culture, presenting a utopia of interracial drag racing and social kindliness that ignores all social context. This Richard and Mildred are not just good, color-blind people; they’re a quintessentially hapless duo. They make babies, but they don’t make history; history happens to them, and the film proposes that we simply respect their loving feelings out of pity. But where’s the romance? In 1962, One Potato, Two Potato was the first mainstream film to depict interracial romance. Director Larry Peerce and actors Barbara Barrie and Bernie Williams contrasted a couple’s personal desires to society’s dysfunction. Through the characters’ backgrounds, Peerce daringly suggested that their ardor provided an emotional respite (symbolized in a childlike hopscotch scene) despite personal conflicts and insecurities. When revived last month at New York’s Metrograph cinema, the film was still powerful — particularly the scene in which Williams, alone at a drive-in movie, vents his anger over white racism, and also the unexpectedly disturbing climax. More Movies Mark Ruffalo vs. White ‘Conservative’ Women The Mummy Unwrapped: American Guilt and Masochism There’s Still Life in The Mummy But Loving lacks such power. Nichols fails to evoke Southern culture, though he did so very effectively in his debut film, Shotgun Stories. Except for the good moment when Mildred returns home and breathes in the country air, he’s back to the sham regionalism of his critically overpraised Mud. Loving is designed to win the praise and accolades typically showered on politically correct bromides (the background blacks are stoics, the background whites are creeps). The unmoving spectacle of interracial romance is intended as a gay-marriage metaphor, but Nichols can’t get one issue right, let alone address the tensions and compulsions that define other social experiments. (The 1983 Hungarian film Forbidden Relations/Recidivists achieved the political provocation that Loving aspires to.) Note that the Lovings’ ACLU lawyer (Nick Kroll channeling Oscar Levant) makes an argument that “the state believes the [couples’] children are bastards.” The word “bastard” sounds meaningless and antiquated in a post-Madonna world. This is TV-movie stuff. When personal issues are treated so simplistically — as sentimental, already-decided social ideas — we all become bastards of progressivism. — Armond White is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and, most recently, New Position: The Prince Chronicles. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
For your viewing pleasure, I present the year’s most interesting yet neglected American movies. They reflect the varieties of American cinema and the kinds of reflection on American society that the movies can produce. Most will appeal especially to conservative audiences, but that does not exclude other audiences, nor does it include every kind of conservative. You will find with each one of the movies a link to my essays on them, whether you want to be convinced to watch them or to give them a second thought. Here I explicate one of the big themes in American public discourse in 2016: what’s happened to American men? Whether it’s the white working class or political correctness or the future of the economy or the family, Americans know we have a manliness problem. Of course, manliness is not an acceptable word in the American press, and perhaps even in public more broadly. Americans disagree, frequently along partisan lines, whether it’s possible, necessary, or acceptable to focus on men. These movies explore these questions with insightful, worthwhile reflections on American society. They’re not the box office successes of the year; nor are they the year’s most prestigious movies. They’re mostly unpopular, but nevertheless movies conservatives should watch, on the assumption that conservatives care to conserve the good in American society and to learn therefore about what’s good and what’s bad in it, and how they mix. ‘The Finest Hours’ (January 29) This is the year’s most neglected movie, yet a good and entertaining one. It was costly and used its budget to make the sea look terrifying and American men look heroic with a combination of stubborn hope and practical skill in face of the sublime spectacle of the sea. These are not important men, but American men with an important story. This is also a true story of a 1952 Coast Guard search and rescue in the most unlikely disaster imaginable, two ships sinking near one another in the same storm, off Cape Cod. Chris Pine of Star Trek fame and Casey Affleck, a likely Oscar nominee again this year, deliver good performances as admirable men who have to rise to lead among equals in a situation of crisis. The movie might be dismissed as 1950s nostalgia, but it hardly glamorizes the Fifties. It says that in America various kinds of people could come together in a time of need and act for a common good, despite their private tragedies and life’s hardships. That’s a lot to say for any society, but it’s hardly the way to talk about a golden age. It’s a realistic movie in its dwelling on human suffering and the mistakes inevitable to life. One wishes it had said much more about New England and the difficult relation men had to society. Nevertheless, it has charm and excitement on a first viewing and rewards some discussion of character and setting, so belongs on any list of the year’s worthies. ‘The Nice Guys’ (May 20) This is the new Shane Black action comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in their best comedic work to date. Black is the best writer American action movies had in their heyday a generation back. He started his career in Hollywood with “Predator” and “Lethal Weapon,” then it collapsed with the action genre. He’s revived as a writer-director, with the hilarious action-comedy “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), which helped revive Robert Downey, Jr.’s career and sent him back to Hollywood success as the helmer of “Iron Man 3” (2013). In this film Black gives us a tour of Los Angeles in the 1970s. It’s by turn shockingly comic and shockingly immoral. The confusions of American freedom, in short, are everywhere on display. You cannot love what you see, but you have to admire the skill with which it is portrayed, including the manly yearning to protect something good and how a detective story can be a search for something truly worth protecting. Black stories are attempts to find a place for heroism and manliness in modern urban America, though properly chastised by comedy. The story is a tad sentimental and the plot includes unlovely anti-capitalism, but these turn out to be small faults compared to the achievement of the film and the promise of more to come should a receptive audience be found. The movie is all about how men are judged against standards families set. Also, if you like action-comedies, Black stories are always set during Christmas, so this is a good season to go back and see them. ‘Love and Friendship’ (June 3) This new Whit Stillman movie stars two of his lovely actresses, Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny. Yes, America’s Jane Austen finally decided to adapt an Austen story, if one of her juvenilia. Stillman is also America’s premier conservative writer-director, but rarely has a chance to find an audience, because his sense of humor is understated, and that does not fit an age of gross humor. Witty remarks are bound to lose the competition with attempts to exploit the body that basically reduce to existential despair. A defense of moderation in an age of excess won’t please many people. However, he deserves conservative support. He’s about the last director who can tell interesting stories while preserving the decencies that make life civilized. His films are almost entirely free of the sordid and show a gentle sophistication that many will love if they but get the chance to experience it. There should be a place for that in American cinema, but there hardly is any, to judge by how rarely the man gets the money it takes to make one of his movies, a small fraction of what is spent on any one of the many blockbusters of America. For all that, the Regency settings, dress, and manners are bound to charm some audiences in this age of English revival. The delightful story also doubles as an education about love and marriage, in a mode and with an intent that are far truer to Austen than the more famous adaptations of her more famous novels. ‘Midnight Special’ (March 12) This is the first of two movies made this year by the most interesting young director in America, Jeff Nichols. His previous movies—from his debut, “Shotgun Stories,” to his most prestigious picture, “Mud”—illustrated what has become a highly politicized subject in America in 2016: the white working class and the terrible problem of anguished manliness. This time, however, we get a strange story that blends rural America and science fiction. The result is wonderful, because it tells the story of a man trying to be a good father and to make sense of the world that way while running through a variety of strange American phenomena, from cults to the now omnipresent anxiety about America’s surveillance state. At the same time, Nichols has some things to say about American religion and its place in society, as he did in one of his previous movies, “Take Shelter.” This film questions whether Christianity, with its faith in miracles, is a scientifically provable insanity or some kind of revelation of our true situation as mortal beings seeking God. ‘Hell or High Water’ (August 26) This is the other movie about anguished manliness this year, the tale of two brothers in impoverished West Texas who turn bank robbers out of hatred against a mortgage company. Chris Pine and Ben Foster, who acted remarkably well together in “The Finest Hours,” have a very different, but even more compelling relationship in this movie, and one that dominates the story. Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham are their opposite pair: an about-to-retire U.S. marshal with politically incorrect ethnic jokes and his ironic deputy, an Mexican-Indian Catholic American. Throughout the story we see women who suffer in a land where men are lawless or unsuccessful and the collapse of a society that once prided itself on self-reliance and whose defiance, bereft of the skills and the economy that made life possible, turns to self-destruction. The story is not without beauty and humor, but it is morally serious about killing and breaking the law and the strange sense of responsibility men can develop when it comes to failure. The writer, Taylor Sheridan, is also the writer of the recent hit drug war movie “Sicario,” and he seems to have a future in finding out where it is still possible to tell a story about the contradictions and dangers of manliness in America. ‘Sully’ (September 9) ‘Sully’ is the only big commercial success on my list. It’s the latest Clint Eastwood story and a show of his mature view of his responsibility as a film-maker, as was the recent “American Sniper.” Eastwood seems to think retiring is the same as dying, so it’s probably smart to think of these movies as his legacy. He’s trying to give America some sense of a future together as a country, despite the partisanship and fears that lead different groups into hatred. This time, he’s trying to show that it’s still possible for Americans to find heroes in their everyday life. He takes his definition of manliness straight from Ernest Hemingway’s famous answer to Dorothy Parker: Grace under pressure. Chesley Sullenberger, the man who landed a passenger plane in the Hudson after massive engine failure, is America’s mythical or poetic answer to 9/11. His story is in a sense boring or even banal. Very little happens. The only thing that’s really thrilling is the crash-landing, and that is what the direction denies us, the chance to treat this event as a thrill. In America, everyone calls the man Sully, shakes his hand, and pats him on the back, but this story forces us to enter, as far as we can, into something like the friendship informality suggests. Eastwood wants Americans to take seriously a man who shows such manliness in a moment of crisis, in order to make it possible for Americans to have more reasonable expectations and a more reasonable admiration of men. ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘lo (November 4) ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is the second movie Mel Gibson made this year, in this case as a director. It is the true story of Army Medic Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor. This is a movie about American manliness being tamed and redirected by the Christian faith and how this complex psychological make-up was necessary for America to win World War II without losing humanity. “Hacksaw Ridge” is, for emotional impact, the Oscar movie on the list. Doss portrayer Andrew Garfield, who used to do ridiculous boy movies about Spiderman, gave another shocking, Oscar-worthy performance this year in the new Scorsese movie about Catholics being persecuted in medieval Japan, “Silence.” He has shown remarkable ability and made great choices for story and director, so I recommend him to your attention in future. This movie is also an answer to “Saving Private Ryan,” which invented the modern way of making war films and started off the World War II nostalgia that goes on to this day. Most movies find it easy to focus on realism in depiction and find it very difficult to say anything worth mentioning about American character and about America. Where Spielberg came up with a meaningless myth, Gibson tells the truth about the war in a true story. And if you think Gibson is sensationalizing the hell of war and Doss’s shocking achievement, read his Medal of Honor citation. If anything, the director is understating things. ‘Loving’ (November 4) This is the other Jeff Nichols movie that came out this year, a story about the couple at the center of the best-named case in Supreme Court history, Loving v. Virginia, the anti-miscegenation ruling of 1967. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga give very good, but understated performances in a story that’s itself too understated. Partly, the story respectfully and adroitly avoids giving us the illusion that we know what is in their souls even as it shows us their private lives. Partly, it works under a certain burden: The couple famously were photographed for Life magazine, in a show of forward-looking liberal support for civil rights against a backward, unjust political order. But the couple did not attend the Supreme Court hearing of the case, although they could have. Nichols tries hard to show how the case arose out of their characters and the opportunities America gave them, for better and worse, but he fails or refuses to give the movie a powerful emotional appeal. I recommend it not merely because its subject is of historical importance, but because of what the movie says about that importance. Loving is presented as a simple man from the rural South, looked down upon for his rusticity, but from a background that made him so friendly to black people that he simply treats them like other people. He is bound to misunderstand the political troubles of the South, and he wants no part in them. Loving believes what Americans believe about family and happiness, and he seems decided to live out those beliefs. He is both a shy and a strong man. Instead of proposing to his wife, he takes her for a ride to show her the land he bought and his plan to make her a house. He is a bricklayer. Mrs. Loving, on the other hand, is far more outgoing and it is she who insists on the lawsuit, in the context of the struggle for civil rights. At the same time, she refuses to turn the justice into a substitute for love and family, which is a shocking contrast to the civil rights pictures Hollywood makes. I will add two more movies, briefly,   which are too flawed to make the list, but which you might want to see, guided by elective affinities. ‘Bloodfather‘ (August 26) Starring Mel Gibson, “Bloodfather” is a movie about self-destructive manliness turning toward protection and sacrifice, looking for redemption. It is a pretty good action movie and its moral core is surprising for its humanity, but it is not well written, either in plot or characters. Realism about suffering and about how difficult family reconciliation really is also recommend the story. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (August 19) This American animation set in medieval Japan is the story of a boy who has to learn about grief, how to separate the living and the dead, and what future he may have if he does not succumb to family tragedy. The writing is not good enough to recommend, but the Laica studios’ stop-motion animation and the moral core of the story are far superior to most of the animations that are massive successes in America. This film is also remarkable for insight into the importance of poetry and music. It you want a shocking or provoking thought, the story teaches that grief is not an emotion, despite all modern psychology, with its stages and its fake rationalism or scientism. Instead, it is a song. Go See Good Movies Finally, movies are a business, so let me show the numbers for these, by worldwide box office / budget, to sketch the problem with making movies about America: It looks like a recipe for bankruptcy. Consider that a movie needs to make at least twice its budget at the box office to be profitable and you will see that telling important stories about America is not a winning proposition. This is something conservatives need to change if they want to take the culture seriously. Generally, half the money a movie makes stays in movie theaters and the other half goes to the studio or distributor or whoever paid for it. “The Finest Hours”: $48 million / $70 million The Nice Guys”: $57 million / $50 million “Love and Friendship”: $19 million / ? “Midnight Special”: $7 million / $18 million “Hell or High Water”: $32 million / $12 million “Sully” $228 million / $60 million “Hacksaw Ridge”: $121 million / $40 million “Loving”: $7 million / ? “Bloodfather”: $1.8 million / $15 million “Kubo”: $69 million / $55 million A majority of these films opened in the three most prestigious European film festivals. Cannes: “The Nice Guys,” “Loving,” “Hell or High Water,” and “Bloodfather.” Berlin: “Midnight Special.” Venice: “Hacksaw Ridge.” Further, “Love and Friendship” opened at Sundance. Strangely, this year’s most interesting American stories made bigger waves in European festivals than in American multiplexes. It’s good to see European interest in genuine American storytelling, not least because it allows American artists to reach at least some audience, but there’s a real problem both in the press and in show business if audiences and stories cannot be brought together. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
Drama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewTo have and to hold. For better or worse. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. 'Til death do us part. Richard and Mildred Loving never exchanged those marital vows. Their union was sealed in a court, not a church. But they knew what they were getting themselves into. Even the best of marriages have their troubles. And Richard, a white man, and Mildred, a black woman, knew that their union—cemented in 1958, when the South was still heavily segregated—might bring its own unique brand of troubles. The Lovings were ready for them all. Or so they thought. Sure, they knew they couldn't get married in Virginia. Interracial marriage had been illegal there since 1924. So Richard and Mildred get hitched in Washington D.C., then head back home to Caroline County, Va. to start their lives. Once the knot's tied, the state wouldn't try to cut it, right? Late one night while Mildred and Richard are asleep, the county sheriff and a couple of deputies sneak into the couple's bedroom and arrest them. Before being dragged away, Richard points to the marriage license hanging on the wall. "That's no good here," the sheriff says. It's not long before Mildred and Richard are hauled before the judge. The couple's lawyer cops a plea for the couple: If they admit to their guilt, they'll be technically sentenced to their obligatory year in prison, but that sentence will be suspended—if the Lovings agree to not set foot in the state for 25 years. The Lovings accept the deal. What choice do they have? They move north to D.C., eking out a paltry life as their family grows from two to five. But Mildred desperately misses Virginia. The cold city street they live on has few trees, little grass, no open spaces for her children to run. She watches a civil rights march on TV led by a young Martin Luther King Jr. And even though the march is just 125 miles away in Philadelphia, Mildred says it "might as well be halfway 'round the world." "All this talk of civil rights," a friend says to Mildred. "You need to get yourself some civil rights." So Mildred grabs a pen and paper and begins to write to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. If anyone can help her and Richard, she figures, maybe he can. For better or worse, the vows say. For Richard and Mildred Loving, their marriage has been marked by a whole lotta worse. Now Mildred's determined to get some better. Positive ElementsLoving is based on the real legal battle of Richard and Mildred Loving. From the time they were first arrested to their eventual victory in the Supreme Court, it was a fight that lasted nearly 11 years. Obviously their trials—in both senses of that word—were instrumental in opening the door to long overdue civil rights progress, and as such they're rightly lauded as heroes. But the movie doesn't leave the matter there. While many in the movie see the Lovings' relationship as either an affront to the natural order or a landmark case to overturn legal precedent, the double-entendre title Loving reminds us that this is, more than anything, a love story. Richard is a hardworking provider who, for the most part, lets his actions speak for him: Gruff and often uncomfortable with the growing publicity surrounding them, Rich doesn't care much about legal precedent: He simply wants to live in peace with his wife, in Virginia if they can. He's absolutely devoted to her and will do anything to protect her. He refuses the invitation to attend the Supreme Court hearing. But when Bernie Cohen, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and the man who's advancing the Lovings' case, asks Richard if he'd like to relay any message to the court, Richard says simply, "Tell the judge I love my wife." Mildred gracefully takes the lead in the legal proceedings. She's the one who writes to Bobby Kennedy. She's the one who commits to meeting with Bernie Cohen. When the lawyers come around and the media starts circling, she's the one, more often than not, to speak. But when Richard refuses an invitation to the Supreme Court, Mildred—somewhat reluctantly—stands by her husband: "I wouldn't go without him," she tells Cohen.Spiritual ContentThe only context in which religion appears here is, alas, in opposition to the Lovings' relationship. We first hear the supposed religious justification against interracial marriage from Sheriff Brooks. "It's God's law," he tells Richard. "They're different for a reason." That "reason" is echoed in the language used in the 1924 law forbidding interracial marriage (which is quoted in the movie): "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."Sexual ContentMildred is pregnant when the movie begins—and well before she and Richard legally seal their union. We see the couple kiss and hold one another affectionately. Her sister makes the only crass allusion to their sexual relationship: "You can stop looking at his string bean," she says. "You know it's purty." When Mildred is first jailed, the Sheriff marches a leering man past her cell. "I should put you in with her tonight," the Sheriff tells him, trying to frighten Mildred before her release.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentOne of the Loving children gets hit by a car. He's fine—just some cuts and bruises, Mildred tells Richard—but it's the last straw when it comes to her willingness to keep living in the city. Mildred wants to move the family somewhere where her kids can play safely. Richard and Mildred are yanked out of bed when they're first arrested. Richard finds a brick in his car, wrapped in a Life magazine story about him and his wife. As he drives home one night, another car seems to be tailing him: Once he arrives, he asks his son to run to a friend's house and tell the friend to come over with a gun. He does, and the two watch for trouble (that never comes) from Richard's front porch. Richard's mother is a midwife, and audiences see her helping deliver two babies. Neither birth is graphic, but we do see Richard dump out some bloody water during the procedure. We learn from a slide at the end of the movie that the real Richard Loving was killed by a drunk driver seven years after the Supreme Court verdict. Crude or Profane LanguageOne s-word and a smattering of other profanities, including a couple uses each of "a--," "b--tard" and "d--n." The n-word is used three times. Drug and Alcohol ContentRichard and others smoke frequently. We see him drinking with some friends at a bar, downing beer and whiskey. Others drink beer and perhaps moonshine at a party. Other Negative ElementsRichard and Mildred obviously violate Virginia's (admittedly bad) law at the time forbidding interracial marriage. And when Mildred's due with the couple's first baby, they break the terms of their previous sentence so that Richard's mother can deliver the child in Virginia. Richard and friends tinker with vehicles for drag racing competitions (that they also bet on), some of which take place on country roads.ConclusionTo have and to hold. For better or worse. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. 'Til death do us part. The Lovings never said those exact words. But they stayed true to both the letter and spirit of them throughout their marriage, even when the state itself tried to rip them apart. Had they done what so many couples regularly do today—just live together with no legal ties and no formal commitments—they'd have been fine, the movie suggests. "You never should've married that girl," Richard's mother tells him. "This is all your fault," Mildred's sister shouts at him in the face of cascading legal trouble. Still another friend suggests to Richard that he could make all these troubles go away with a simple two-syllable word: divorce. Nearly everyone wishes that Richard and Mildred would've just left well enough alone. Everyone but Richard and Mildred, that is. But Richard and Mildred wanted to make it official. They wanted to make it legal. They wanted to do the right thing. Loving, with its intimate scale and sparse content concerns, is an accessible, sometimes beautiful story about one couple's love. But just as importantly, it's also about the legal sanctification of that love: The public acknowledgement that this man and that woman are not two but one—united, indivisible, 'til death do them part. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Plugged In
After two rather strange weeks in theaters, the box office took a fantastic turn. A fantastic beasty turn, that is. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the hotly anticipated Harry Potter prequel, broke out in a big way in North America, stuffing an estimated $75 million into its curiously expansive marsupial pouch. It wasn’t the fantastic debut that some expected: A few prognosticators thought the flick had a chance to collect $100 million this weekend. But No. 1 was never in doubt. Because, really, who’s going to stand in the way of an erumpent? In the face of that Fantastic Beast onslaught, every other movie was pretty much an afterthought. Indeed, the  rest of the Top Five looks exactly like last week’s Top Five—only with everyone moving down a notch. Two-time defending champ Doctor Strange slid to No. 2 with $17.7 million. The animated Trolls continued to scurry behind Strange, nearly besting the Marvel superhero with $17.5 million. Arrival ($11.8 million) and Almost Christmas ($7 million) finished fourth and fifth respectively. Those holdovers, plus sixth-place Hacksaw Ridge ($6.8 million) helped to spoil a host of new-movie debuts. The Edge of Seventeen had a miserable coming out party, earning just $4.8 million to finish seventh. The boxing flick Bleed for This was knocked down in the very first round, pocketing just $2.4 million for eighth. And Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk barely got moving. Despite an aggressive national expansion, the movie earned slightly less than $1 million to finish 14th. Lower down the chart, we see evidence that awards season is beginning to warm up. Moonlight and Loving, two Oscar hopefuls, both expanded into more theaters and earned $1.6 million and $850,000 respectively. Nocturnal Animals debuted in just 37 theaters and earned about a half million. Another newcomer, Manchester by the Sea, earned about $240,000 in four theaters. Final figures update: 1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, $74.4 million; 2. Doctor Strange, $17.8 million; 3. Trolls, $17.4 million; 4. Arrival, $12.1 million; 5. Almost Christmas, $7.3 million. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
Did the latest Star Wars rocket to top the box office this weekend? Might as well ask if Darth Vader is a mouth breather. Yes, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did indeed punch that ol’ hyperspace button straight to No. 1 this weekend, netting around $155 million along the way. That translates into enough Imperial credits to pay off Han Solo’s debt to Jabba and take Chewy and the fam to a nice dinner on Coruscant. (Tipping’s pretty expensive there, from what I hear.) Rogue One made serious bank, but it didn’t break it. Believe it or not, Rogue One is only the third biggest opening of the year, trailing the $179.1 million that Captain America: Civil War made in its opening frame, and the $166 million that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned during its first weekend way back in March. Still, let’s not quibble with success. That $155 million makes Rogue One the year’s 15th biggest movie in just three days. Let’s put it another way: of the $208.5 million people spent at the box office this week, more than three-quarters went to Rogue One. Add in the $135.5 million it made overseas, and you have something of a hit on your hands. Collateral Beauty, the weekend’s other major new release, suffered a bit of collateral damage from the Star Wars onslaught. The Will Smith vehicle finished fourth behind both No. 2 Moana ($11.7 million) and No. 3 Office Christmas Party ($8.5 million), collecting a not-so-pretty $7 million. That’s about the lowest opening of Smith’s career. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wrapped up the Top Five with a $5 million weekend. But underneath those box office heavyweights, we’re seeing another competition continue to take shape—the battle for awards season bling. Oscar hopefuls dominated the sixth-through-10th slots. Casey Affleck’s grim, bleakly humorous drama Manchester by the Sea proved it could pull audiences in, earning $4.2 million as it expanded to about 1,200 theaters. Charming musical La La Land, still just playing in 200 venues, glommed on to seventh place with $4 million even. Two very different Amy Adams movies, the sci-fi thinker Arrival and the brutal Nocturnal Animals, finished eighth and 10th respectively, bracketing ninth place Doctor Strange. Down the list you’ll see Hacksaw Ridge (No. 13), Jackie (No. 15), Moonlight (No. 17) and Loving (No. 19) all pushing for a little moola to go along with their critical acclaim. ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”Loving” is briefly mentioned in this.)
david oyelowodenzel washingtondiversitylupita nyong'oMoviesnate parkeroscarsoscars 2016oscars 2017will smith “Oops.” “Nevermind.” “Sorry we brought this up.” “We were wrong.” Surely that’s what last year’s Oscar protesters will be saying next winter, because it looks like last year’s Oscar blackout was an anomaly. Next year, by all appearances, will be the year of #OscarsSoDiverse. After last week’s Toronto Film Festival, many films about black life have emerged as serious Oscar contenders. “Moonlight,” a coming-of-age story about a young black boy in Miami struggling with his sexual identity, was hailed as a triumph that could win nominations and awards, maybe even the Best Picture Oscar. Footage from “Hidden Figures,” a feel-good movie about black women working at NASA in the 1960s that has been called “The Help” meets “The Right Stuff” and stars Taraji P. Henson and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, also earned raves. So did “Loving,” another fact-based historical drama, this one about the 1958 case of Mariel and Richard Loving (Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) that resulted in the Supreme Court finally backing interracial marriage. As did “A United Kingdom,” in which David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike play a prince from Botswana and a British typist who fall in love in 1947. “12 Years a Slave” star Lupita Nyong’o is being touted for another Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in “Queen of Katwe,” about a Ugandan chess champ. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington is starring in and directing “Fences,” which hasn’t been screened yet but is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning August Wilson play and is expected to be a strong awards contender when it’s released in December. And then there’s “The Birth of a Nation.” It’s a highly acclaimed film about the Nat Turner-led slave uprising in 1831 Virginia that way back in January sparked Oscar buzz at the Sundance Film Festival for its star, co-writer and director Nate Parker, although subsequent revelations that Parker had been tried and acquitted in a 1999 college sexual-assault case brought by a woman who later committed suicide have dampened enthusiasm for the picture. Oscar voters are being reminded that other artists with morally dubious records have won awards and the film earned standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival, where attendees were well aware of the news about Parker’s past. SEE ALSO No, George Clooney, the Oscars aren’t racist George Clooney is absolutely right: The Oscars don’t look like... So, next year’s Oscar slate could include as many as five or six or seven films with black protagonists, all of which were in development long before last winter’s outcry. So what was all that fuss about in January, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences engaged in a public ritual of self-flagellation over the lack of black nominees? The social-media protests left the academy scrambling to institute a huge affirmative-action program, extending invitations to hundreds of members of minority groups, including some who seemingly have had little impact on the motion-picture industry (America Ferrara? Really?). The program is boosting minority representation in the AMPAS from 8 percent to 11 percent in one year. Chris Rock delivered a hilarious opening monologue as host of the 88th Oscars, saying “Why this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole ­no-black-nominees thing has happened at least ­71 other times.”EPAYet all last year’s Oscar slate proved was the existence of statistical noise. In a country in which blacks are about 13 percent of the population, it isn’t surprising that the number of black nominees for acting prizes might sometimes be zero (as it was last year) and sometimes be five (as it was in 2004). Blacks are statistically over-represented in some categories (four of the last 10 Best Supporting Actress winners) and under-represented in others (only one Best Actress winner ever). Overall, things pretty much even out, at least lately: if you look at the last 15 years, 10 percent of acting nominees have been black, or almost exactly the same representation as you’d expect (blacks composed 12 to 13 percent of the US population in that period). Besides, why would the same group of people — Oscar voters — have suddenly turned racist between 2013 and 2015? In 2013, black artists won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and the Oscar for Best Picture for “12 Years a Slave.” ‘Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now.’ Last year was simply not a particularly strong one for black cinema. Activists complained that Will Smith wasn’t nominated, but his film “Concussion” was a critical and commercial flop. “Straight Outta Compton” was expected by some to get a Best Picture nomination, but that film was made more for entertainment than art. “Beasts of No Nation”? A brutal, hard-to-watch film about African civil wars that grossed a paltry $91,000. The seventh “Rocky” movie “Creed” also had many admirers, but sequels rarely get Best Picture nominations (seven in the entire history of the Oscars). No fifth, sixth or seventh installment of any franchise has ever gotten a Best Picture nomination. Maybe the #OscarsSoWhite campaign made the Academy take a good hard look at itself, and maybe that’s a good thing. There still aren’t many black (or female) directors. But the protesters missed what was happening right under their noses: Hollywood has never been more interested in telling stories about blacks than it is right now. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
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The Federalist Staff
Americans disagree whether it’s possible, necessary, or acceptable to focus on men. These movies explore these questions with insightful reflections on American society.
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Crosswalk
Movies LOVING - Official Trailer [HD] - In Theaters November 4 “Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); Posted by Christian Movie Reviews on Thursday, July 14, 2016 ]]>
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Crosswalk
(”Loving” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Movies It's Oscar season and Crosswalk's Shawn and Steve talk about their favorite films from 2016. We've just released our own Top 10 list - go to CrosswalkMovies.com to check it out.]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
(”Loving” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Movies Just in time for Oscar weekend, Shawn and Steve from CrosswalkMovies.com explain why each of these 10 fabulous movies from 2016 has something to offer the Christian audience. Let us know your favorite, and what you think should have made the cut! Click here for the full text version]]>
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Acculturated

This year, an unusual movie composed entirely of original oil paintings by over 125 artists had its premiere. Called Loving Vincent, it focuses on the aftermath of the death of Vincent Van Gogh and is a monumental effort by artists who came together to prove that a truly memorable piece of art takes time and … Continued

The post What ‘Loving Vincent’ Teaches Us About Art – and Cooperation appeared first on Acculturated.

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The Federalist Staff
This Movie Trailer On Van Gogh’s Life Will Mesmerize You March 3, 2016 By The Federalist Staff A new movie depicting Vincent Van Gogh’s life and work will be the first feature film to be animated by paintings. Each frame of “Loving Vincent” is an oil painting in the impressionist style of Van Gogh, according to The Daily Dot. To pull that off, there are 12 paintings every second, and none are computer-animated. Over 120 of Van Gogh’s paintings will be incorporated into the movie, The Huffington Post reports. Watch the trailer here: A film about Vincent Van Gogh made with oil paintings Every frame of this movie about Vincent van Gogh is an oil painting. More info here: http://join.lovingvincent.com Posted by The Daily Dot on Monday, February 29, 2016 The movie, which is being produced by Studios Breakthru Films and Trademark Films, is still in the process of being created. They are looking for talented artists to collaborate on the project. For more information, click here. (h/t The Daily Dot) Photo Aaron Rickle/YouTube art impressionism Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh Copyright © 2017 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1463670073398-2'); }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column-mix', placement:'below-main-column', target_type:'mix'}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); 0 Comments /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */ var disqus_shortname = 'thefederalist23'; // required: replace example with your forum shortname /* * * DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */ (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. comments powered by Disqus ]]>
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Luce
Christian Toto
‘Luce’ Shows Ugly Side of the Intersectional Left

Modern day America gets a thorough workout in “Luce,” the year’s second showcase for a remarkable young actor.

Kelvin Harrison, Jr. of “Waves” fame is front and center, again, playing

The post ‘Luce’ Shows Ugly Side of the Intersectional Left appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

(Review Source)
Armond White
Director Julius Onah explores the beliefs -- and the fears -- by which our enlightened, progressive society lives.
(Review Source)
VJ Morton
Knock Down the House, Little Monsters, Them That Follow, The Last Black Man in San Francisco and more
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VJ Morton
The best, the worst, the most political, the biggest crowd-pleasers and more.
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VJ Morton
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Lucy
John Nolte
While Banks is blaming men for not showing up, her joyless movie could not even attract 15 percent of the single women in two of the most left-wing cities in America.  
(Review Source)
Jay Dyer
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)


By: Jay Dyer The popular 80s pastiche series Stranger Things begins with a familiar scene of E.T. nostalgia, centering around Dungeons & Dragons.   The scene is particularly familiar to me, since I played D&D back...

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Jay Dyer
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)

By: Jay Transcendence is the ultimate transhumanist film to date. Convalescence would have been a better name.  The film begins with some cataclysmic future event that has caused the collapse...

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Jay Dyer

By: Jay Luc Besson has that rare, magical quality where his films teeter on the edge of being extremely mediocre and/or somewhat entertaining.  Similar themes run through his work, from...

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Society Reviews
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)

Ghost in the Shell is a step in the right direction for Hollywood in adapting anime movies into live-action features films, opening up the possibilities for better translations and erasing bad memories of some past endeavors (see Dragonball: Evolution). So, I just have this left to say…. I am Jason and I give me consent for you to like and comment on my review of Ghost in the Shell.

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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Lucy TRAILER 1 (2014) - Luc Besson, Scarlett Johansson Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 1. LucyThis seems to echo 2011's Hanna a bit in style, theme, and marketing doesn't it? Still -- not a bad movie to choose to rip off and Rotten Tomatoes seems to suggest as much with 62% of critics approving and 66% of audiences liking it. The trailer reminds of Watchmen and The Matrix a bit too, looks like Scarlett Johansson ends up going Dr. Manhattan crossed with Neo by the film's end.Do you like the international trailer more than the American one? var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Lucy Official International Trailer #1 (2014) - Scarlett Johansson Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Paging Susan L.M. Goldberg: looks like a new pop culture goddess may be rising... class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/7/25/here-are-the-10-trailers-of-the-movies-opening-this-weekend/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
John Nolte
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)
This review is late because I was on vacation. Every prediction made by the Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change hoaxers has proven to be a hoax. The planet is not warming. Hurricanes have not gotten worse. The Arctic ice is not melting away. In fact, we’re about to hit a cooling period. Climate Change is nothing more than the latest con designed by the Left to give central government, and the very few elites who control it, even more power to control our lives. Climate Change is a lie. A dirty lie. A cynical lie. An anti-science lie. And Disney and director Brad Bird and star George Clooney have poured $200-plus million into a box office bomb to spread that lie — to hector and shame the skeptical mind that dares read, think, and  question Power before slavishly handing over our liberties. Worse than that, “Tomorrowland” blames the rebellious individual-thinker for getting in the way of saving a “doomed planet.” A better title for “Tomorrowland” would have been “Submission Is Cool.” It is almost impossible to believe that the same Brad Bird, who so beautifully celebrated the dignity and right of the individual in “Rataouille” (2007) and “The Incredibles”
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The Weekly Standard Staff
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-s_953ba9d76300b403ba86555bcee13662.jpg"/>Endnotes and digressions from the latest show: * We opened the show talking about how Harriet Tubman might be the original American badass. If she had been a professional wrestler, I like to think her entrance would have been something like the Undertaker’s during his biker gimmick. * Also, we all agreed that there needs to be a Harriet Tubman movie which re-imagines her as an X-Men-style mutant superhero. After much discussion, we agreed that she should probably have Kitty Pryde's power
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The Weekly Substandard Podcast
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-962216a54800465ec23d7f8e98f3e0d8.jpg"/>On this week’s episode, the Substandard takes on Logan and the X-Men series. What does Sonny really think about parents who take their kids to R-rated movies? Plus JVL has a special surprise in store for Vic! All on this week's Substandard! This podcast can be downloaded here . Subscribe to the SUBSTANDARD on iTunes or on Google Play . Endnotes and digressions * We opened the show talking about how Harriet Tubman might be the original American badass. If she had been a profess
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The end of 2014 is quickly approaching. With that in mind, page I went back and created a list of all of the films that I reviewed this year and the different ratings I gave them. Of course, this this isn’t a complete list of all of the films I saw this year. It’s... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/boyhood-poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
Scarlett Johansson knows how to kick butt. The young actress has previously shown her physical skills facing off against agile counterparts in movies like Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. That might be why director Luc Besson (Taken) chose her as his... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Lucy-Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(”Lucy” is briefly mentioned in this.)
This review is largely vague about the plot of the movie outside a description of one scene’s location and a general description available in the trailers. Hollywood tries to bank on attractive women in action movies. The most profitable franchise is the worst, as movie-making goes: Sony’s “Resident Evil,” starring Milla Jovovich. That franchise now has a worldwide audience such that this year’s installment made more than $300 million on a $40 million budget. Other attempts in the same price range have been critical and box office failures. Studios and actresses keep trying and failing, but they’re not giving up. Indeed, the most bankable name in the genre, Scarlett Johansson, just got Paramount to risk $110 million on her new movie, “Ghost in the Shell.” After the opening weekend, “Ghost in the Shell” is a significant failure for everyone involved: actress, studio, and the Japanese anime genre. It would need more than $200 million to break even in America and, after an opening weekend under $20 million, that’s not going to happen. Its only hope to make money and a sequel is a shocking success in East Asia after flopping in North America, ending up somewhere under $60 million domestic. That strategy has never been tried with Johansson, but it’s fairly common for movies that do not involve stars. A Little About ‘Ghost in the Shell’ “Ghost in the Shell” is a Japanese story from the 1990s about a woman who lives in a robotic body and does police work. She does not believe her ghost, her soul, suffices to make her human, and struggles with the existential question concerning her humanity and whether life is worth living in a near-future where everything is being taken over by technology. In this world, technology continually creates new powers in bodies that feel more and more alien to their inhabitants. The sense of shame is obliterated and fantasy-chasing becomes desperate. A kind of nostalgia sets in that’s fitting for an age where memories are often fake. After all, life in massively agglomerated metropolises just doesn’t afford people the luxury of making memories that might safeguard their humanity. Mankind’s humanity is somehow at stake in this woman, because she is both a harbinger of the future—a technological product whose productivity involves the regime’s self-defense—and a test case: she’s personally testing the limits of humanity, but not at all sure it’s worth living in such a regime. A case of industrial terrorism the authorities cannot seem to solve turns out to be her way to begin learning about her own secretive origins. She is looking for a way to assert her humanity even though she’s caught between corporations and government agencies that are determined to keep everything of importance to audience and protagonist a secret. Another Entry In the Super-Soldier-Girl Genre So this is a promising story and very much of the times. It’s the second wide-release movie headed by Johansson after the 2014 action movie “Lucy,” in which she played a pretty girl who inexplicably develops superhuman powers and badly beats or kills every man on-screen while trying to find out the secret of her humanity-surpassing powers. That movie was a shocking success, earning $455 million worldwide on a $40 million budget and women were half the movie’s American audience, suggesting women doing martial arts choreography in alluring apparel is a big draw. Johansson, whose career seems dependent on the Disney-Marvel studio, made a smart choice in betting on French director Luc Besson, who is world-famous for spellbinding action. That was a way to sell her new brand while getting some independence. “Ghost in the Shell” was supposed to be another very smart choice, adding credibility by telling a really good story in the super-soldier-girl genre. The studio worked with Chinese studios to ensure its Asian success and must have bet on its country of origin, Japan, for its profitability as well. Well, whatever its worldwide audience turns out to be, in America it has failed to get women to see it, or much of anyone else. That’s just as well, because it has very little to say to women, and little more to anyone else. It is not only inferior to the Japanese original, but it’s inferior in useless ways. It has wasted all its opportunities—to update the story, reflect on its original success, or Americanize it—without gaining popularity, money, or anything else. It seems the writers and director failed to even try to tell an interesting story. This Plot Is Nothing New You walk into the theater, and after the first scene you know the plot. The scriptwriters had no interest in concealing who the bad guy is or making this person human or interesting. But it still takes two hours to wrap it all up! This is not an original story, so you have to ask yourself, what would Hollywood add to a foreign story to Americanize it? The answer, if you’ve been watching movies aimed at so-called young adults over the last decade, is: The military-industrial complex—the adult-world—is sucking the life out of idealistic, rebellious young people. So we again have to take up arms against the political paranoia that sells with young people in our times. It sells because it confirms that their loneliness is someone else’s fault and turns their anger into a fictional madness. What are they really angry about? They were brought up into a society with no confidence in itself or its—their!—future. What does the anger do to story-telling? It ensures that future societies cannot be any better than this society even in our stories. Our popular stories have stopped saying anything confident about the future. Much of the public imagination is now dead. It seems the ideology of progress has suffered another collapse, and the technological progress of the future shows up only as the cause of monstrous mutilations of our being. This is not to say that fears about the future cannot make for worthwhile stories. But this time, the paranoia is done so badly that it only made $19 million its opening weekend. Of course, that’s a fortune, but for a movie that cost more than $100 million to make, let alone market, a fortune will not suffice to break even. Only some shocking success outside America could make the movie profitable. The Real Story Inside ‘Ghost in the Shell’ But the real story is elsewhere. All the questions, whether added in America or from the Japanese original, have to do with inhabiting the body, whether we can really be human in the scientific future ahead of us. She’s supposed to play strong women who act decisively by their own counsel, but the only reason she’s on screen is because people like to stare at her body. Let’s start with the body of the protagonist. First, as always, comes race. There has been some controversy because the protagonist of this Japanese story is a white American girl. Well, so is the lead in the original anime. For reasons we don’t need to enter into now, lots of anime is dedicated to the proposition that protagonists should look as white as rice, so to speak. That fact, though visible to the naked eye, is probably not ideologically admissible evidence, so it cannot quiet the kind of people who want to market their outrage. But it’s a fact nevertheless—just go see the original anime. What’s weirder than the fake outrage is that the new American version of the story reverses the process and ends up telling you the white-as-rice protagonist Scarlett Johansson is Japanese. This makes no sense in the plot, so maybe it should encourage the kind of hysteria about appropriation I just dismissed. The other all-American suggestion, of course, concerns feminism, in this case of the corporate-branding variety. Johansson’s naked body has become a kind of popular fantasy. Since she signed up to display her apparently very popular charms for Disney-Marvel’s blockbusters, she has come to embody nerd fantasies, committing extremely violent acts in skintight clothing that makes her even more alluring. Up to now, no one has lost money on this bet. As with feminism, we see trouble here: On the one hand, she’s supposed to play strong women who act decisively by their own counsel. On the other, the only reason she’s on screen is because people like to stare at her body. It’s a career, I guess, but the lady doesn’t seem happy with it. She did show up naked in “Under the Skin,” a far darker movie where she killed people erotically attracted to her body, to which she was alien. “Ghost in the Shell” is all about how fake her naked body is and how she cannot feel it. She goes through the movie with an almost-unbroken frown. The body is super-scientific, destroyed and recreated without sentiment, something to be used. This cancels its eroticism, just as its sexual characteristics are both censored by public opinion and effaced by science. There is no childbearing among robots. To Explore the Chaos Technocrats Unleash, Try Elsewhere Aside from these cultural issues of latter-day liberalism, the movie is a combination of “Blade Runner” and “Westworld.” The body is the place individuality fights the scientific production of new, improved human beings by corporations that work beyond the laws. The stake is our very humanity. As the bodies become incredibly powerful machines, memories become fake, mortality is manipulated, people end up existentially lonely, and the city looks miserable. This is a grim view of the future. It can only give you tech-generated action, conspiracy theories, and a moralistic speech from a feminist-plausible heroine. The city of the future is even worse. Fake images of fantasies advertised everywhere in the air, dirt, and ugliness on the ground; underground, there is exploitation and self-destruction. That’s an image of the collapse of liberal metropolises a generation back, and it has not been updated by the writers in the light of this generation’s experience, which was a mistake. Nor did the writers think much about the changes the new powers of surveillance have introduced, another mistake in such a tech-centered story. With such a protagonist and such a society, no happy end is possible, but in America corporations mandate happy ends, so the writers tacked on an obviously fake happy end. This nevertheless failed to enthuse the American audience. You’re much better off watching “Blade Runner”—whose upcoming sequel hopefully will be worthwhile—and “Westworld,” a worthwhile adaptation of an old story. Both deal with the creation of machine-men, the revolt of the creature against the creator, and corporations that run our apolitical future, unleashing on and in our bodies scientifically empowered chaotic desires. For all its failures, “Ghost in the Shell” aims to be humanistic. It may not go anywhere near as far as Walt Whitman to sing the body electric, but it is trying to say it’s good to be human, even a machine-human, at least if democracy can keep some control over technological oligarchy. It says so explicitly. But it cannot show any of that. It can only give you tech-generated action, conspiracy theories, and a moralistic speech from a feminist-plausible heroine. The Update Eliminates the Core Existential Questions The core of the original was the protagonist, who has to prove to herself that she can live in her body, that she is still human. Here’s one example. In the original, the nameless, titanium-bodied protagonist goes swimming alone with a small floating device that allows her to get back to the surface, and whose failure would end her life. She courts death because it is important to her to remember her mortality, the power chance plays in life, and that life is nevertheless a choice, if it is to be really human. Because her body is a technological product, she is neither fully in control nor does she even own it. In the American version, the girl just swims with fins, no danger and no fuss, and instead says it’s cold, dark, and scary. Either the existential importance of the choice is lost on the writers or they wanted to evacuate seriousness from the story. There’s reason to believe it’s the latter, because the story has been modified throughout to show that the body is a replaceable thing, endlessly remade with no one paying attention to the automated process, and that, anyway, it can be preserved. Every edge has been blunted, lest the audience notice anything but the thrills and spectacle of the fight scenes. So also with the music: The original soundtrack evokes the awe with which we should encounter this specific, fearful future. The main theme of that soundtrack is played over the closing credits now, and the noise in the movie is as forgettable as the stuff made for Marvel movies. It’s remarkable how sound and image have been rendered useless in the effort to make a blockbuster, making the bodily experience of movie-watching almost useless. ]]>
(Review Source)
Michael Medved
http://www.michaelmedved.com/wp-content/uploads/LUCY.mp3
(Review Source)
Plugged In
DramaSci-Fi/FantasyAction/Adventure We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewLucy may not be the brainiest gal on the block. Still, she could tell that her new boyfriend was a problem. He was cute, but manipulative. No matter what he said or how cutely he said it, though, she wasn't going to deliver that briefcase he kept pushing in her direction. Of course, once he slapped the attached handcuff on her wrist, she no longer had a choice. Unless she wanted to spend her morning looking for a hacksaw, she was going to have to walk into an ominous-looking corporate building and deliver her attached package. The second she strolled through the big glass door and noticed a group of Asian thugs moving her way, however, the hacksaw hunt suddenly looked a lot more appealing. But by then it was too late. In the resulting whirlwind, Lucy finds herself manhandled, snatched up and brought crying before a Taiwanese crime boss named Mr. Jang. He isn't in a pleasant mood. And he certainly isn't very patient with her sniveling and whining. Before you know it, the briefcase is opened, four bags of a blue powdered drug are revealed, and Lucy has a new job. She didn't ask for the job. In fact, she flatly stated that no matter what Jang did she wasn't going to take it. Soon however, she's unconscious. And when she wakes, she finds that she now has a bandaged bloody slit in her lower abdomen, a bag of drugs tucked away inside her and the job description "drug mule" hanging over her head. Could this possibly get any worse? Actually, yes. Before she's put on a plane, Lucy tries to ward off yet more unwanted attention, this time from one of her captors making crude sexual advances. When she tries, again, to say no, he beats her senseless. And the bags of drugs in Lucy's stomach ruptures. Just like that, Lucy's anything but a dimwitted dupe. Suddenly she understands ... everything. And everything she's capable of. Because for the first time in her life, Lucy is the brainiest gal on the block. Maybe the whole planet, for that matter.Positive ElementsWhen Lucy first gains more awareness of herself thanks to the strange drug in her system, she calls her mother. Weeping, she talks of suddenly recalling all the love, patience and gentle care both her parents had given her—a childhood she had long since forgotten. She thanks them for their tender commitment and voices her love. In a way, Lucy (the movie) could be interpreted as an allegory supporting the education and empowerment of women. Lucy (the girl) is an unaware, thoughtless, hard-partying victim in the beginning. It's only when she increases her brain power that she realizes that none of that needs to be a part of her world any longer. (On the other hand, the smarter Lucy becomes, the more emotionless she becomes too—obviously not a good thing.)Spiritual ContentLucy accepts and advances the concepts of evolution. Its opening moments depict animals and ape-like hominids evolving. A scientist named Norman explains how evolution is particularly evident in the developing mental capacities of men and women, with it being suggested that we've only advanced to the point of utilizing 10% of our brains' capabilities (an aging and clichéd myth that modern brain-scanning technology has long since dismissed). As Lucy taps into her dormant brain matter, she evolves into what the movie suggests is her superpowered potential—eventually morphing into something like an omniscient, matter-manipulating god. We see Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" painting (the only direct onscreen reference to God), then see a time-traveling Lucy strike the same pose, reaching out her finger toward a crouching ape-woman in the distant past. Still traveling through time, Lucy also witnesses the happenstancial beginnings of the universe. Professor Norman declares, "The only purpose of life is to pass on what we've learned." And when someone worries about dying in a car crash, an enlightened Lucy assures him, "We never really die." Sexual ContentOne of Lucy's captors, a tattooed and shirtless man, pulls at her T-shirt and sticks his hand down her top to grope her. Lucy, who's exhausted and chained to a chair, slaps hin away. Later, she spreads her legs seductively (while wearing jeans) to entice a man toward her. He begins to unbluckle his belt. A friend talks about having sex (all weekend) with a guy. Lucy and two other women are seen in their bras. Several women wear formfitting dresses.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentMr. Jang is a man attuned to violence. When we first meet him, he's spattered with blood after having just tortured two men (whose bloody corpses are still on the floor). We watch as he washes sticky remnants of his victims' viscera off his hands and sleeves. Jang also shoots a man in the head, execution-style. We see him and his men in several guns-ablaze conflicts that involve pistols, automatic weapons and an RPG. Police and thugs alike are left bloodied and writhing in pain. A man's blood is smeared across a window when he's shot from behind. Perhaps the most squirm-inducing violence is aimed at—and then delivered by—Lucy. She's initially shoved and dragged about by her brutish male captives, then punched full in the face when she objects. After pushing away a sexual predator, she's cruelly and repeatedly pummeled and kicked, which reopens her stitches and leaves her bloody and unconscious. The drug subsequently released into her bloodstream causes her to writhe in agony, convulsing up a wall and, strangely, onto the ceiling. She later gets shot in the shoulder, and we watch her probe the wound to retrieve the bullet. Lucy drives two large knives into a foe's hands, pinning him down while she forcibly pulls information from his mind. She pushes her fingers into a man's abdomen to retrieve drugs. She drives against a heavy flow of one-way traffic in Paris, carelessly causing a score of car-flipping smash-ups. She charges into an operating room and shoots a patient—saying she perceived he was going to die anyway—to compel doctors to attend to her. When Lucy begins withdrawing from her first dose of the drug, it causes her very substance to begin dissolving away. Her face melts and drips off her skull and her fingers dematerialize in a molecular mist. Elsewhere, we see a doctor snip open stitches on Lucy's abdomen to pull out a big bag of drugs.Crude or Profane LanguageA background f-word and four or five s-words. One or two uses each of "d--n," "h---" and "a--." God's name is misused a few times.Drug and Alcohol ContentThe powerful drug known as CPH-4 is said to be an artificially replicated version of the same hormone that a pregnant mother's body manufactures in small amounts early in a fetus's gestation. When we see a drug addict snort one or two tiny grains of the powdered stuff, it sends him into a spasm of pure mental exhilaration. Later, the substance leaks into Lucy's system and we see the transforming impact it has on her internal organs. Lucy must continue taking further doses of the drug in order to keep her physical substance intact and to maintain her steady march toward 100% use of her brain. At one point, all of the remaining powder is mixed into a liquid solution that Lucy takes intravenously via four separate lines. Jang smokes, drinks hard liquor, and gives a glass of the same to Lucy, who chugs it. We see Lucy partying with friends while drinking heavily.Other Negative ElementsLucy vomits after seeing a corpse.ConclusionHow does a thinking person explain the astounding miracle of humankind's consciousness—our ability to reason, adapt, learn and create—if that person rejects the idea of the God of creation? Well, the logical alternative, it seems, is to manufacture a nearly omniscient "god" of evolution. That's essentially what writer/director Luc Besson makes of his titular character. After an accidental drug overdose, this put-upon patsy unlocks all the untapped potential of her supercharged brain. And with each passing hour, Lucy's superhuman powers expand, granting her access to the mysteries of the universe. With creative flourish and a seasoned panache, Besson juggles big humanistic ideas while delivering equal measures of broad sci-fi make-believe and shoot-'em-up gangland melodrama. Think of it as a Flowers for Algernon meets Limitless meets La Femme Nakita kind of adventure. At times, it's an interesting and immersive, if logically tortured, cinematic combo. Of course, it doesn't take much cranial horsepower to figure out that this pic also packs some big moviegoing problems—not the least of which is that whole evolutionary apologetics lesson it delivers. With bullet-to-the-head brutality, both literally and philosophically, Lucy may well leave viewers with a brain ache of their own.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
'Lucy in the Sky' is the second flick in two weeks about an emotionally broken astronaut who goes rogue with no regard for the consequences.
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Lullaby
John Hanlon
(”Lullaby” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The end of 2014 is quickly approaching. With that in mind, page I went back and created a list of all of the films that I reviewed this year and the different ratings I gave them. Of course, this this isn’t a complete list of all of the films I saw this year. It’s... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/boyhood-poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
When Robert Lowenstein (Richard Jenkins) received a cancer diagnosis, here the doctor gave him six months. Twelve years later, he’s still suffering from the disease. Lowenstein is not the main character in the new cinematic drama Lullaby but the... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Lullaby-Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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