Category: Moving Pictures

Pass It On: Super Wave of Tahiti in Slow Motion Takes Breath Away and Teaches about Leadership

I watched this amazing footage of surfers taking on one of Tahitis mega-waves and thought two things:

(1) God has made an amazing Earth.  That much water curling and moving with such power really shows off God’s glory.

(2) All you leaders or wanna-be leaders out there, look at these surfers taking on this thing.  There are contests out there for surfers to get 100 foot waves and they drop in with lines from motor-boats.  Surfers go to the arctic to ride frigid waves created by dropping ice cliffs.  All this for the pursuit of excellence in surfing and simply the thrill of doing it.  Makes me feel like the challenges in my day are a lot less dangerous.

What challenges are you taking on?  How thrilling is your own personal ride in this life?  Push yourself further!

Source: @Gizmodo

The Hunger Games: Donald Sutherland is Perfect to play President Snow

Donald Sutherland has been selected to be President Snow.  This is an important character selection since President Snow is the person responsible for the continuance of the Hunger Games in Panem and the one who keeps control over the districts through his consolidated power in the Capital:

In Collins’ novel, President Snow is described as “cruel and ruthless in his intimidation and control tactics,” ruling over Panem and its contained districts for 25-plus years. He and District 12 tribute Katniss (Lawrence) have a contentious relationship throughout the series. (source)

The good thing is that Sutherland looks like President Snow’s description in the books.  And Sutherland has played bad guys before which is a plus.  Looking forward to this movie next year.

The Adjustment Bureau and How to View the World: Free Will vs. Predestination

**warning – possible spoilers**

Amanda and I recently saw The Adjustment Bureau and it really got me thinking about some big theological concepts.  First of all, however, it is a spectacular movie to watch.  The world David Norris (Matt Damon) and Elise Sellars (Emily Blunt) occupy is a stark one.  It is the city, made of concrete, rigid pillars, highly structured politics, and plenty of police and authority figures.  Norris is a rising young politician who is being groomed for the Presidency but is currently running for Senate.  Elise is a dancer.  They meet in a bathroom after Norris is defeated, but the chaos of Elise Sellars and their mutual attraction, inspires him to give a candid rather than scripted speech.  Slowly, however, you find that even that random encounter is not random.  There are agents assigned to great people (the movie hints that they are a sort of angelic force who watches over humanity). When Norris’s watcher slips up and misses an opportunity to make him spill coffee and miss a bus – Norris meets Elise a second time, they flirt, and Damon begins to reorient his life.  The watchers look in their book of plans and see their characters off course.  That wasn’t supposed to happen. (The Predestined begin to make their own lives).

Next – a whole new world is opened.  Agents take Norris to a different dimensional warehouse for interrogation.  From this point on Norris is aware that he has to live rigidly according to plan, that his life and Elise’s will not reach their full potential unless he stays away from her, and that if he purposely defies or reveals the existence of the Agency, his mind will be erased and he will fall into obscurity and insanity.

This is where the movie gets into the kind of mind warping that the movie Inception brought about.  Doors are revealed that if opened using a certain hat, they warp the agents from spot to spot.  They are not omnipresent and they can’t control everything, however they have different degrees of skill in bringing about “The Plan”.  They are extremely hierarchical and they employ “riot police”.  They are also afraid of upsetting the top tier of The Agency, including the Top Dog who appears to be God himself.

To be honest, this is a scary version of the world. It presents the very basics of the concept of Predestination in theology.  That God has complete control and brings about His plans regardless of what we perceive to be choices.  In this case, the agency is the wall that keeps us in our tracks.

Then, the concept of Free Will is broached with Damon’s character begins to break the tracks.  God somehow loses control at times or gives up control to see if humanity can handle free will and make good happen.  The breakout of the two world wars were told to be a Time with God allowed humanity a chance to live freely.  We failed, and God took control back with the agency with this Gestapo like Angelic Super Squad with fashions stuck in the 50s.

In the end, Norris and Elise take the case all the way to the highest court – God Himself.  Though God isn’t actually present, he has been watching the whole thing and when the two main characters break through everything in their path to stay together, God gives a report to the agents and allows their Plans to be removed, or changed.  They win and God is pleased.  You will have to see the movie to see how this whole thing plays out.  I enjoyed it.

But it did make me uncomfortable in a lot of ways.  One, God continues the Hollywood streak of being a hands off kind of being.  The one who created everything allows an Agency to run the Created.  The allowance of a Holy Spirit interacting in human affairs and moving the hearts of people isn’t directly part of the script.

Also – the negative view of humanity is devoid of the great good that people do every day.  It just shows that we automatically assume that we are all sinful creatures with little hope of redemption.  Very Calvinist.  But theologically, Christ came to redeem creation and make it new and whole again.  Being an optimist, I don’t see the world like this film portrays it.  The world is full of hope because Christ came.  The World Wars happened, but great forces of good stood up and Pushed against Evil, and the Axis fell and fell hard.  The good folks who fought to bring freedom to the persecuted peoples of the world learned from the reconstruction mistakes in World War I and did things differently.  The world has lived in the shadow of our greatest darkness and the greatest light since then.  You can’t present the darkness of people’s hearts without recognizing that God originally created us for Good and His goodness in Christ transforms people from the inside out.  We still mess up, but we are getting better!

I would love to hear how the film struck you.  Do you feel the world is rigid like this?  Do you feel that the world is merely being maintained? Or is the will of humanity being transformed and moving towards a better Kingdom – The Kingdom of God?  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Feel free to comment below.

 

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs Presents A Short Film “Scenes From the Suburbs” by Spike Jonze

Since seeing Arcade Fire perform “Wake Up” with David Bowie a few years back, they have continued to be my favorite band.  Their EP “Funeral” is one of the best composed albums I have ever heard for many reasons.  They recently released “The Suburbs” which won a Grammy this year – so I picked it up at Best Buy (old school, I know).  Actually have been listening to it in my car for the last week and a half now.

(1) Listening through once it was a beautiful album with a lot of energy in explosive points.  Track 15 blew me away.

(2) I listened to track 15 and 1 over and over again.

(3) I realized I was going to kill 15 (The Sprawl 2, Mountains Beyond Mountains) so I relistened to whole album.  Amazing.

(4) Tracks 1-4 Rehaunt me. Absolutely poetic and the second round of listening through is better now that I’ve started looking through the lyrics.

This video from youtube is actually a Preview for a 30 minute short film based on the album “The Suburbs”.  I just watched it and found myself realizing how real the images feel.  The suburbs they show look just like my neighborhood in South Carolina (though the shots are from California probably).  The crisis at the end with the police, sirens, and disturbed tranquility happened right in my neighborhood recently and I remember kids on their bikes just watching.

There is a reason this album won a Grammy.  Make sure to read the lyrics.  I will be watching this short film when I can.  Blew me away.

“Scenes from the Suburbs” Info:

CREDITS:
ARCADE FIRE PRESENTS A MJZ PRODUCTION OF
A SHORT FILM BY SPIKE JONZE “SCENES FROM ‘THE SUBURBS’”
BASED ON THE ALBUM ”THE SUBURBS” BY ARCADE FIRE
STARRING SIENNA BLAW, SAM DILLON, ZOE GRAHAM, ZEKE JARMON, PAUL PLUYMEN & ASHLIN WILLIAMSON
MUSIC BY ARCADE FIRE
CONCEPT ARTIST MARCEL DZAMA
COSTUMES BY RENATA MORALES & CAROLINE KARLEN
CASTING BY VICKY BOONE
PRODUCTION DESIGNER ELLIOTT HOSTETTER
EDITOR JEFF BUCHANAN
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY GREIG FRASER
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS ARCADE FIRE  &  SCOTT RODGER
PRODUCED BY VINCENT LANDAY
WRITTEN BY SPIKE JONZE, WILL BUTLER & WIN BUTLER
DIRECTED BY SPIKE JONZE

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 30 MINUTES, COLOR

The Hunger Games will be made into a Movie – Fans Gasp

Movie Next March by Lionsgate

I have just finished reading the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy (Mockingjay), and it was a brilliant follow up to the first book (The Hunger Games).  Ology.com has reported that the dark Distopian novel about a distant future of North America (now called Panem) will be made into a movie that will be released March 23, 2012.

Gary Ross, who directed Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, will helm The Hunger Games; the project is expected to begin shooting in late spring or summer…In fact, Lionsgate has hired The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn casting director Debra Zane to choose the perfect actors to portray Katniss, Peeta, and the members of the other districts.

On the official Facebook Page, fans have noted that Suzanne Collins will be writing the script herself.

The dark nature of the books, has fans wondering if it will be able to be made into an appropriate screen adaptation.  The Hunger Games themselves, are gladiator style death matches between children and teens from districts subservient to a Capital City.  If pulled off, the movie will be intensely psychological and full of intense action.

It is my hope that these movies will not follow lead from any other films, such as Twilight or the Percy Jackson and the Olympians films.  At least in my own mind, these movies are gritty, confusing, and action oriented.  The feeling of suspense should be prevalent, and thin threads of hope in the face of complete despair (similar to the darkness of The Lord of the Rings and certain parts of the Dune series) should be the mood.  I’m crossing my fingers (as I would also with the Enders Game series) as another human being takes what has been put into our minds and presents visuals.