Children of Men is a furturistic film very similar to Brazil. It was promoted as a new Blade Runner. Blade Runner was very philosophical, whereas this film has no philosophical content. It is all gloom and doom. Clive Owen is an outstanding actor, but this film does him no credit. New Age spirituality is the only religion of a few. A totalitarian state controls every aspect of life. The theme of the story is that no children have been born for 20 years and the reason is not known. Pollution is given as a possibility. The only value in seeing this is for cultural apologetics.
Batman Begins is certainly not the comic spoofs of previous films. A British production. Christian Bale plays the role of Batman and Katie Holmes is his childhood sweetheart and a lawyer. This is a very serious account of how and why Bruce Wayne comes an avenger of evil. The theme of the movie is the need for justice in Gotham (Everywhere U.S.A.) because Law and Order has failed. Corruption has destroyed the possibility of having a civilized society. The movie is prophetic of what could happen in America unless the powers that be are repentant and establish righteousness in the land. No shocking language or sexual situations that would offend. A must see movie for the purpose of having a meaningful discussion around the water cooler.
Revenge of the Sith is the final episode of the Stars Wars saga. The first Star Wars film was the first movie we saw when we moved to Memphis 28 years ago. We have seen all six. George Lucas said that the series is a mythology for this generation. He also said that the story is about Anakin Skywalker being seduced by evil (the dark side of the force) and yielding to it and his children (Luke and Leah) being tempted by evil but overcoming it with good. This last film is so heavy with imagry and moves so fast that I had sensory overload. I will need to see it again to catch what was happening in the background scenes. It is too violent for children under 12. This movie is especially useful for Christian apologetics in that 1) so many people are seeing it and be talking about it 2) it portrays evil as real and destructive, 3) Eastern mysticism is the religion of the Jedi. The Christian worldview of reality is nowhere to be found in this film. George Lucas is the typical Californian who has a smorgasborg philosophy. The series has created a cult following that will keep it alive for years to come.
Lemony Snikets with Jim Carey, Meryl Streep, and other outstanding actors. This is not just for children. It has such depth that adults will find added meanings. The book series has out sold Harry Potter in England, and unlike that series, the children get out of their problems by cleverness rather than magic. Evil is shown as real, deceptive and destructive. Not a horror film but it has some scary scenes. Many twists in the story and fast action. Jim Carey is at his best as Count Olaf. The whole family should see this film and go out for pizza afterward and have a discussion.
I, Robot with Will Smith in a serious leading role (he makes a few comic quips). A classic science fiction film that focuses on what makes us human. How is man different from a computer? Smith, as a detective, is assigned the case of a murdered scientist. A new kind of robot is the suspect. Problem: robots are programed not to kill. Would man have been significant if God had created him as a robot? Well done special effects make this movie very exciting.
The Aviator with DiCaprio and Kate Blanchet. A story about Howard Hughes, the great airplane builder and movie maker. Hughes was a genius with airplanes, a risk taker in business, and a playboy with many actresses. The film covers all of these areas thoroughly. Acting was superb and script was excellent. Big production. Religion apparently played no part in his life. The obsessive-compulsive disorder and germ phobia are focused on. The film also provides a glimpse into the corruption in Washington which tried to destroy him. I highly recommend this film.
Magnolia was Jason Robard's last movie. Ex.8:2 is repeated in the background throughout the movie, and one does not learn why until the end. A powerful story showing the destructiveness of life in LA. The cop and the male nurse portray real Christians. Tom Cruise won a golden globe for playing a character who hates women. Very intense film.
Chocolat is set in a small French village. A woman and her daughter come into a town that has no joy in life because it is dominated by the church. She opens a chocolat shop which becomes the means of bringing the celebration of life to the people of the town. A very well-done film.
Sling Blade with Billy Bob Thornton. A person diagnosed as a schizophrenic is released from the state mental institution and returns to his home town. A small boy befriends him and his mother lets the mental patient sleep in the shed. As the story unfolds the viewer learns why the man has mental problems. He is in search of redemption and finds it. Good dialogue and great insights into human personality.
The Green Mile with Tom Hanks. A Stephen King thriller. A black man is accused of killing a white girl on the farm where he works and is arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair. The bias against capital punishment is evident in that the director shows several prisoners being fried in the chair. The black man, who is a Christ figure, performs several cures in the prison which, as a guard, gets Tom Hanks' attention. Each time a healing occurs flies come out of the person into the black prisoner. These flies represent evil (The name of Satan in the NT is Beelzebub, which means "Lord of the flies.") The black man even heals the warden's wife. The real killer is caught, and the black prisoner is...(Sorry, I can't divulge the ending) Definitely worth watching.
The Matrix is more than a si-fi film, it has a Messianic character who rids the world of aliens. Many Christian symbols throughout the film, but at the core it is New Age. Deciding what is reality and what is virtual reality is the theme of this film, which by the way, is going to be one of the greatest issues facing the next generation. If no one can tell what is real, what does this do to our Christian belief in truth? Post-modernism is upon us. Great for discussion. The second and third films in this trilogy are disappointing and not worth watching.
AI is Stanley Kubrics last film. He worked on it for 20 years and died before completing it. Steven Spielberg took up the project and finished it. It is the story of a little boy android who is brought into a family because the natural son has been severly injured. The android son wants his parents to love him. When the natural son recovers, the android son is abandoned by the roadside by his mother. A most heart-wrenching scene that no child should see. The rest of the story is about this adroid boy searching for love and meaning. The androids who befriend him are more compassionate than the humans. A dark tale about what it means to be human. Watch for the Kubric ending and the ending Spielberg added.
Instinct is a story which contrasts humans and apes. Anthony Hopkins is a psychiatrists who begins studying apes, then goes to live among them. The authorities supposedly rescue him and bring him back to civilization. They think he has gone over the edge psychologically when they learn he would rather live with the apes because they are more civilized than modern humans. A great critique of modern society.
Brazil One of my top ten films of all time. A satire on the totalitarian state and on the cult of youth. One man, by mistake, becomes a sabatour and is hunted down. This movie deserves viewing four or five times to catch all the irony. Watch for the two endings. Never shown in theaters because it was too radical.
Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. An adaption of Philip K. Dicks novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Read it before viewing, if possible. More than science fiction, this is very philosophical. At issue is the difference between man and android. Memory only? Now that computers have almost reached the brain compacity of humans, this question has become every more relevant.
Gattica Future society discriminates between citizens based on genetics. One of the fears is that by genetic research wealthy couples will be able to have a perfect child with genuis IQ while poorer people will be just average. A young man discovers a way to beat the system.
Harrison Bergeron A futuristic world in which everyone's intelligence is dumbed down by having to wear a headset. The media is controlled by the state to program its citizens. One young man takes off his headset and discovers reality. Notice what happens when he tries to tell everyone around him what the state has done to them.
Dark City Another story of a young man trying to escape from aliens who control his city. At first you will think you are in an ordinary city of the future, but by the ending you will realize this is no ordinary place. Profoundly philosophical. Shocking ending.
The Truman Show Supposed to be a comedy, but very serious. A young man (Jim Carey) lives in what he thinks is a perfect community, but begins to suspect that his life is being controlled by a higher power (Christus who is played by Ed Harris). He finally tries to escape to find reality. His way is blocked several times, but finally he crosses the lake and opens the door to our world which has been watching his whole life on television from his birth. Is this movie a commentary on fatalism and free will?
Metropolis A film made in 1927 in Germany by Fritz Lang. The plot centers around citizens becoming robots for the State and the attempt of one man to overthrow the entire system. Many biblical allusions in the story. It was amazingly prophetic of what would happen under Hitler and the Nazi party. The film was outlawed and destroyed when Nazis came to power. Pieced backed together after WW2 and colorized. Profound.
Lord of the Flies Does man corrupt his environment or does the environment corrupt man? This is William Golding's reply to Rousseau's Noble Savage. A very well done version of the book. Provocative.
Star Trek, The Movie The Enterprise meets a machine that is searching for the planet that sent out the Vegar (Voyager) space probe. It wants to meet the creator to learns its own identity, so it plots its trajectory toward earth because that is the origin of Vegar. What can stop this machine which has already absorbed other planets on its way to earth? Maybe the machine could become a human. The incarnation of machine becoming man is astounding at the end.
The Razor's Edge Somerset Maugham's classic novel in 1920's Europe about a young American searching for the meaning of life. Read it before seeing the movie. Bill Murray does a surperb job in this 1988 remake of the 1940's version with Tyrone Power. A comparison reveals the different worldviews of these generations who made the films. When teaching philosophy at a local Christian college I required my students to view and critique this film because it is a classic work on a young man searching for the meanintg of life. This is one of the top ten movies of all time in my opinion.
2001 and 2010 If it is possible for man to evolve from ape, is it also possible for man to evolve into a god? When man is able to creat a machine that develops personality (HAL 9000 in its Creator's image), has man reached the treshold of being a god? Dave Bowman becomes a star child or a timeless being who knows all (a divine being?) The conclusion seems to state that the real Creator of the universe puts a limit on man's progress.