Posts Tagged ‘movie review’


I am loath to be critical of another artist’s work, but yesterday I went to the movies and today I find myself all kinds of irritated. On paper, this movie looked phenomenal—a multitude of great characters, and great actors coming together in what was sure to be an epic masterpiece of the genre and this thing had its moments but by and large, I really didn’t like it. i’m talking about Marvel Studios’ latest, The Avengers: Infinity War. Now to be clear, I’m not as involved in the Marvel Universe as I once was, and perhaps a lot of this is explained more clearly in the comic books, but I can practically write what’s going to happen next. I have a feeling it’s revealed in the title of the film, but I digress, this is not what I want to see in a movie. I also know well the old saying, “All’s well that ends well,” and I think that’s my issue, this thing does not end well, even setting up a multitude of sequels, this does not end well.

I posted a little gripe on Facebook after shelling out my hard earned money to see this thing, and one person replied how he was glad to finally see a Disney/Marvel movie that doesn’t have a happy ending, because it’s more like real life. I will admit I kind of wanted to scream (just a little), “Who watches Marvel movies to see real life?” I don’t and that’s what really triggered this post. I don’t go to the movies to see reality. I go to movies to see good triumph over evil, because while I have faith that is the ultimate destiny of our world, in this present day, it happens far too rarely. Movies are an escape for me. I want to spend two hours of my life watching something that will uplift and inspire me. I fully understand cliff hangers and setting up sequels, but at the end of a movie, I at least want to feel hopeful. I think of a recent Star Wars Movie. Not The Last Jedi, the one before it where, spoiler alert, literally everybody dies. That movie came close to this but at the very end, we see that they did not die in vain and hope was restored, setting up the storyline for perhaps the most beloved fictional storyline ever.

Marvel/Disney, I don’t mind a good cliff hanger, but you can do better than this. I see very few movies in the theaters anymore. The prices are just way too high. I understand prices have to be that high because of how much is spent on them, but my budget is such that I can’t always afford to go. The movies I do go to see in theaters are the ones that I know are going to be epic in scope, that will benefit from a huge screen, and I go to see Christian movies as often as I can because I am trying to support the films amd the people who make them. That being said, if you’re going to end them this badly, I’ll be waiting for them on one of the countless sources available. I never go to a superhero movie for a dose of reality. That should be common sense. I go to the movies for some escapism and a chance to be reminded of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

I was highly disappointed in Infinity War. Why do you go to the movies?

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91MYilD8fJL._SY445_So here’s what happened. We did a showing of The War Room at our church as a lead into a Bible study we will be doing based on the movie. The DVD provided from the production company had a preview in the beginning of the disk. It was set up in a way that I usually find a little obnoxious, so that you can’t forward through the previews to get to the movie. It wouldn’t have been so bad but our computer was struggling to play the whole movie and it froze on us two or three times. The end result was I saw this trailer, between set up and prep for the evening about seven times.

The trailer was for a movie called Woodlawn. Having seen the trailer so many times I became intrigued. I’m a sucker for a good sports movie (Field of Dreams, anyone?) and I had a little extra alone time one evening so I decided to see if it was available in the Red Box and it was. Oh my word! This is how you tell a story. It’s based on the story of Tony Nathan, one of the first stand out African American high school football players in a very segregated Alabama. This is a tale of faith, courage, and revival. Guys this is one of those films that makes an artist want to become a film-maker, or maybe just find a way to tell stories like this one.

Along side of the obvious themes of racial injustice another injustice struck me. At the start of the movie, the recently desegregated school was a battle zone. The gospel was shared and a revival broke out first with the football team and then in the school, the result of this revival was improvement throughout the school and racial harmony on the team. Now of course I am sure there was some idealizing going on here and the focus was mainly on the team, but you can probably guess what happened. Eventually the separation of church and state folks showed up and tried to shut down the revival and fire the coach. I understand the importance of the separation of church and state to some degree, but it struck me that there are people in our nation, not just in this story from the seventies, but in our world today, who would rather have had racial strife than Christianity in the public sector. This is absurd. I think sometimes we need to ask a very basic question: Since our nation has tried to distance itself from God and seems to be going out of it’s way to drive Christianity to the fringes, has our nation gotten better or worse? I think the answer is painfully obvious.

To the makers of Woodlawn I have to say a hearty well done. This is one of the best Christian films I have ever seen and I’ve seen quite a few. It was thoroughly inspirational and very well made. All I could think as I watched it was Lord help me tell stories that touch hearts and minds like this one. They told a better story.

Now how can you tell a better story?


hail-cesarMy wife and I had some wonderful plans for Valentines Day. Yes, I know, Valentines Day is today, but I’m a pastor and my Sundays are a little busy, so we decided to celebrate yesterday. Unfortunately, yesterday our area plunged into a deep freeze complete with a massive accident nearby, so we decided to stay near home and do the old faithful, dinner and a movie.

Of course, the standard question then ensued… which movie? I heard Deadpool is pretty vulgar and probably not the best Valentines fare (also it’s probably inappropriate for someone in my profession). Zoolander II looked funny, but those things can be hit or miss, but then there was a third option, Hail Caesar. With a huge cast of many of Hollywood’s hottest actors, it looked like an instant classic, and it should be, but it wasn’t. Here’s why:

Starting with the positives, they really captured the feel of old Hollywood and there are some really good performances. The problem is there are too many. Each of these amazing actors had some chops, the problem was they tried to throw them all into a two hour movie. As a result, none of the characters were developed and what could have been a dozen great storylines, never really developed, in the process, they lost the plot and it became really disjointed. The movie had to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. I’m sure none of these amazing people came cheap, and the sets and such were amazing, but my wife and I both came away dazed and confused.

Squandered resources and missed opportunities.

Churches can be like this. They try to be all things to all people. They have a million things going and nothing gets fully developed. It can end up getting over busy, burned out and losing the plot. Oddly enough, Hail Caesar was built around a movie trying to tell the story of Jesus from the perspective of a Roman centurion, (which was kind of interesting when one considers one of the previews before the movie was for the new movie Risen, about the story of Jesus from the perspective of a Roman centurion, but I digress.) Likewise the story of Jesus is our plot. We dare not lose that plot in busyness. Better to have all of our “stars” working together to bring out one cohesive story. Otherwise people will walk away dazed and confused and if that happens all we’ve done is squander resources and miss opportunities.

Focus!