Posts tagged ‘Movies/TV Series’

On Sisterz in Zion

“(Many church members) literally speak the same language, right down to the cultural nuances and accents of brand names and sports teams, so there are ways in which they have never had to learn to listen beyond those limitations. I believe that the Church stands on the brink of an enormous leap forward as a universal church from a foundation of great strength, but I think it must do so as a result of biculturalism.”

–Chieko Okazaki, ‘Borders, Boundaries and Bridges’, BYUH Cross-Cultural Leadership Conference

From the ‘Sisterz in Zion’ website 

I’m not sure if anyone else caught the premiere of the documentary film ‘Sisterz in Zion’ that aired between conference sessions today, but it brought up so much emotion for me.  It felt like a flashback through so many different parts of my life, everything from living in New York, the MTC, my mission, being the only active member of my family, or a minority member at school, feeling left out around the Utah or Cali girls, teaching Sunday School, even attending summer camp at Carroll College, when I was 12.   

I literally felt as if I was watching a part of my soul on the screen.  I realized how much I treasure my time spent among culturally diverse people and how much of who I am today came from those experiences both in Hawaii and New York.  For those who didn’t catch it, it’s basically follows a group of minority girls from Manhattan who travel to Utah for the first time to attend EFY.  It’s really a simple concept, but very effective.  I highly reccommend it.

For more info: www.sisterzinzion.com

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October 1, 2006 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Talking About: Spiderman 3

 

It may still be seven months away, but if you haven’t checked out the trailer yet for the latest edition of “Spidey”, drop what you are doing and do so now:

Spider-Man 3 Trailer

If you’re really hungry for more, interested in how it fared at Comic-Con, (or just want to see a bunch of British people say how “absolutely, amazing!” the trailer is, visit:

The Official Spider-Man 3 Blog (Sony Pictures)

September 12, 2006 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

The Religion of Celebrity

 “‘Jimmy Stewart, Everyman‘ …most likely, that image survived because Stewart was not, for the public, an actor: He was a star. And our image of stars stems not only—perhaps hardly at all—from what we see on-screen, but from what we know or invent of their personal lives. In this respect, Stewart was the anti-Mel Gibson: His upstanding reputation (Princeton graduate from a small town, genuine war hero, and husband of 45 years) made, and continues to make, his on-screen darkness a little hard to see.”From:  Jimmy Stewart’s dark vision. By David Haglund – Slate Magazine

I recently came across the above excerpted article on Jimmy Stewart, which I found to be both eye opening, and encompassing. Haglund is right on, in his analysis of the great actor’s often overlooked abilities and gives us above a biting, right on, commentary on our idealization of movie stars. 

We seem to expect our stars to be squeaky clean, never allowed to dip one toe down from the pedestal on which we have placed them.  And when they do, as almost all men will, we are so quick to excuse them, to forgive them, to fight for their innocent, perfect image, because for some reason, the world doesn’t make sense to our minds without this hierarchy of those we cannot but hope to touch.  They are our modern day gods, and their deeds our the edicts we turn to for how to live our lives.  We make them into saints, or sinners in our mind.  Saints who can do no wrong, and whom we should never forget, or sinners whose behavior like the warring Greek Gods, is utterly forgivable, because they have earned the right to be forgiven, simply by being famous.

The question of the hour seems to be in relation to Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic tirade while being arrested for DUI.  The question is not, did he make such remarks?  Are such remarks wrong? Was he drinking and driving?  Does he have an alcohol problem?  Is his character flawed?  We know the answer to those questions.  No, the only questions we seem to want answered is:  How long until the world forgives him?  How long will it affect his movie career?  There is no question that he will be forgiven, his faux pas forgotten and his career revived.  It is only a matter of “Corrective PRand perhaps a scripted apology.

Then we have Tom Cruise.  Arguably, the biggest movie star in the world today. The man who was ostensibly fired by Paramount Pictures’ Viacom chairman, Sumner Redstone for his alienating strange behaviors and the escalating costs of his films.  But, strange as his behaviors may have become, the public still champions this superstar and cheers for his oddities.  Never mind that he claims to be an expert in the mental health field.  Never mind that said expertise comes from reading a book written by Scientology founder and Phoenix alum,  L. Ron Hubbard, whose “scientific” advice has not been questioned or compared against any modern medical advances in the 20 years since his death.

“Hubbard died at his ranch on January 24, 1986, reportedly from a stroke. He had not been seen in public for the previous five years. Scientology attorneys arrived to claim his body, which they sought to have cremated immediately. They were blocked by the San Luis Obispo County medical examiner, whose examination revealed high levels of a drug called hydroxyzine (brand name Vistaril), which is sometimes used for its antihistamine or anti-emetic properties, but is also psychoactive (which would make it disapproved of, if not forbidden, under Scientology doctrines). The Church of Scientology announced Hubbard had deliberately “discarded the body” to do “higher level spiritual research,” unencumbered by mortal confines.”

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L_Ron_Hubbard

I cannot say everything about Scientology is harmful.  My sister went through a very effective drug rehab under their care, but: Are they really advocating suicide, as an acceptable religious sacrifice? 

Such word wrangling, was not uncommon to Hubbard. The prolific science fiction writer is hailed as a humanitarian, and religious leader. But he claimed educational degrees and military service, even careers he did not in actuality have.  He then determined to make his best selling book Dianetics, into a religion.  A religion, that for the most part, worships all things L. Ron Hubbard, including a belief of descendancy from space aliens.  But how can they build a religion around a man who did not even practice what he preached.  A man who, himself used psychoactive drugs?!

In short, Cruise’s claims of being an expert in the field of Psychiatry are not only ludicrous, but extremely damaging to a society that reveres it’s Superstars just enough to believe him. 

The fact that he recently apologized to Brooke Shields for his attacks on her use of prescription drugs to treat post-partum depression, leaves one wondering if recent events in his life, namely the birth of his daughter Suri, haggard shots, and absolute retreat from the media of girlfriend Katie Holmes, signal a possible bout with post-partum depression within the walls of his own home that he would be, understandably, laggard to admit. 

“I think John Wayne could kick Tom Cruise’s ass!” (an elderly gentleman’s response to a question regarding the state of movies today)

From: Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia

I made sure to remember the above quote because I knew my Dad, a die-hard John Wayne fan would appreciate it.  Actually, I’ve yet to find a single soul to disagree with the statement. 

So, what does that make John Wayne?  The Zeus of our modern CelebGods?  Judging by the fact that my sister’s one year old son has, (courtesy of Grandpa), a huge portrait of The Duke hanging supremely over his crib, I would have to say yes.  In our home at least, there will never be another star like Wayne.  The 6’4″ giant, whose iconic face graces a postage stamp, whose boots fill the leading role in over 142 films, and whose heroic status is memorialized in names of airports, state parks, and countless books, songs and tributes; seems untouchable. 

“…Obsessed with projecting a positive image of both Hollywood and America, he denounced every film that, he felt, hurt the public’s notion of the industry and the country. He thus deplored the new trend of antihero films, with “psychotic weaklings as heroes,” because they were “unfair to the He-Man.” “Ten or fifteen years ago, audiences went to pictures to see men behaving like men,” whereas at present, “there are too many neurotic types,” which he attributed to “the Tennessee Williams effect on Broadway and in movies.” Williams went “far afield to find American men who are extreme cases,” he reasoned, “these men aren’t representative of the average man in the country, but they give the impression that we are a nation of weaklings who can’t keep up the pressure of modern living.”

From: Emanuel Levy, John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way of Life, The Scarecrow Press, Inc.: Metuchen, N.J. and London (1988).

Mere mortals they may be, but there is no questioning our obsession and subsequent exaltation of these celebrities.  It is only sad, when we consider that so many real heroes live out their lives in obscurity, their songs unsung, their heroic deeds inspiring no-one to greatness. Wherever the fault lies, I don’t see this as a problem that will easily go away.  Day by day we deify our celebrities each a little more, handing them power to which only they can claim responsibility.  Only the celebrities themselves can choose what to do with their ill-gotten fame.  But only we can choose to think carefully and consider which of their deeds deserve lauding.

September 9, 2006 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Review: Something New (2006)

My GRADE: C-99m_1

Well, I’ll be honest.  This wasn’t a movie I was exactly dying to see in the first place.  But when a friend called and asked if I wanted to go see a movie, something new, her treat, I assumed she meant anything that had just come out and said, “sure!”.  Then, I went to look up new movies and there it was, and it all came flashing back to me a cheesy looking black film complete with weddings and the token white guy.  A film that isn’t quite brave enough to really be about race, so it decides to be about romance and comedy instead and throw a few racial philosophies in for good measure.  I wasn’t mistaken.  The film was not well written and had NO ORIGINALITY.  Almost every line and every scene I felt like I was making a list, oh that’s from that film , and that might as well be this film and so on even down to the main character running out of a cotillion, clock chiming midnight to find her fairytale prince.  PLEASE!!!  There were a couple of pleasant things about the movie, Donald Faison (scrubs, clueless) always gives a funny performance, though admittedly he had very little to work with here.  And Simon Baker was gorgeous and charming just to watch for two hours, and really in the end, you want him to send the spoiled princess back to mommy because she doesn’t deserve a man like that (ya know, if prince charming really did exist, he would be in the form of Simon Baker or at least the nearly perfect Brian he plays in the film) Overall, maybe a rental to fall asleep by, but not worth the theater prices and could have been cut down by about oh an hour, and maybe been something good.  Better yet, just rent, Cinderella, Bridget Jones, The Wedding Planner, Bed of Roses, and Jungle Fever and you’ll see all the best parts of the movie actually well done.

February 11, 2006 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Review: Imagine Me & You (2006)

‘Everyone promises you happily ever after…but life turns into a different kind of fairy tale.’

                                              – Rachel, Imagine Me and You

My GRADE:  B+

99m

I just came out of this Fox Searchlight british romantic comedy starring Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) and Matthew Goode (Match Point) loving it. Of course I love anything british, so perhaps I’m a bit prejudiced. My movie going companion however hated the film. Without giving too much away, the argument came down to a matter of ethical preference. Which is preferable, making sacrifices to avoid hurting the people you care about, or letting the truth set things free, trusting time to settle things and life to be a painful experience anyway, but as one character in the movie says so poignantly: The heart heals. Watch it and decide for yourself which side of the fence you come down on.

February 11, 2006 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

SITE NOTES

_butterfly Movie Reviews Will Now Be Main Posts

In an effort to streamline the posting process and make this site more user friendly my running movie reviews will now be posted as regular posts.  To look up a previous post on any movie, simply click reviews under the category field in the right column and it will bring up any relevant posts.  I’ll be moving older reviews over within the next few days, so the site may look a bit movie heavy for a while, bear with me, I think it will make things easier in the long run.

February 3, 2006 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

Review: Underworld, Evolution

My Grade:  C+

Tanis: You don’t scare me, Selene.
Selene: Well, we’ll have to work on that, won’t we? ‘

79m_1 This fast moving sequel to Underworld, starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman (of ‘Felicity’ fame) won’t likely dissapoint most fans of the original movie.  The vampires, the lycans, the creative decapitations and gore and of course Kate in that leather corset are all there.  Expect a third in the trilogy as half of the film felt like little more than a set up for the franchise.  I was also disappointed with the lack of dialogue, the gory action got tiring at times and every word spoken gave just a bit too much away about what was to come.  But as we decided after seeing the movie, it’s not a thinker.  You can either have gore and girls in tight leather or you can have an intelligent film, you’ll never see both.  Still, it kept us on at least the middle of our seats for most the movie, with a few gasps but no screams (lost my bet there) and few laughs.  Definitely recommended for Vampire fans, but keep the kids away as the violence and gore is extensive.  Overall, not a bad way to spend an evening, but could have waited for the rental.

February 3, 2006 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

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