Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year Movie Reviews

I noted a couple of movies in my last post. I think "Seven Pounds" is still the winner so far. I had a chance to see two new releases and one on dvd since then. What's this got to do with church? Well, a lot of us watch movies and if you are like me, I don't like wasting my time on bad ones. I thought you might appreciate hearing what I think. Hopefully you invite a friend over and use the movie to build community!

If you don't know the story of Hitler's failed assassination attempt (oops, I gave it away) then this might be more compelling than it was for me. I've read a bit about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was actively involved in this same attempt and so I knew the story from a different side. (For a fascinating historical fictional account of this read the book "The Cup of Wrath" by Mary Glazener.) Valkryie is well acted. It's not the action movie that the trailer makes it look like. I'm sure most people will find it more engaging than I did. I recommend it. But it's more documentary than it is thriller.

Gran Torino: Wow, this is a tough one to recommend. If you like Clint Eastwood, you'll definitely want to see it. He does an award winning job of acting. Kind of the "Archie Bunker" of 2009, which (for you young folks) means that he plays a very bigoted man (warning: much cussing and derogatory remarks) whose heart is softened in a dramatic way by the end of the story. Eastwood plays an army vet who is widowed and is surrounded by an increasingly Hmong population in his neighborhood. It's definitely a movie that will help you understand that culture better with many "teaching moments" that instruct the audience. The Hmong actors left a bit to be desired. They literally hired these kids off the streets...with no acting experience (the lead character is from Minnesota) and you can tell. So, Clint and the story are good. The other actors and the language are bad. Some of you will like it. I did.

Dan in Real Life:
I had no idea what to expect from this movie. Lisa and I passed on it for many weeks because we were afraid that the humor would be too silly. But again, the trailers didn't do it justice. It is a romantic comedy where Steve Carrell plays a widower with three girls. The hook is that he falls in love with his brother's girlfriend at a family renunion. It's light and fun. I enjoyed it. I can't remember if there are inappropriate parts (language, etc.). I know it's PG-13. I give it a thumbs up. It's not going to rock your world or inspire any deep thoughts but it's entertaining! There are a couple of plot reversals that keep it interesting plus it's well acted. The 14 year old daughter is a stitch with her over the top attitude toward her dad (she calls him a "Murderer of Love").

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