Category Archives: Movie Reviews

New Narnia Movie Almost Ready (Really?)

If you lost track of what was going on with the Narnia movie series, welcome to the club. The last one they made was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which they bollixed up but good. Then it was going to be The Silver Chair–then, no, wait, we’re gonna do The Magician’s Nephew instead–and then back to The Silver Chair, which seems to be the one they’ve finally decided on.

All the corporate this-and-thatting took up so much time that the children cast in the first three films are now adults and have to be replaced. So we’ve lost Will Poulter’s “Eustace,” which was the best thing about Dawn Treader. At the rate they’re going with these movies, maybe he could play Father Time.

I root for these movies to succeed, in spite of the first three falling way short of the old BBC TV series from the 1980s. At no time did the movie-makers fail to succumb to the temptation to jazz up the stories, improve on C.S. Lewis by a plethora of Politically Correct touch-ups–I really hated it when they turned Lucie into some kind of Xena Warrior Princess–and allow an air-head like Liam Neeson to shoot off his mouth about Aslan being Mohammed and Buddha as well as an allegory for Jesus Christ. But it would take all day to list the defects of those first three movies.

Anyhow, the franchise is under new management, they’ve put out a trailer, and supposedly The Silver Chair will be released next year–and we shall see what we shall see.

Just, please, someone tell me that the voice speaking the Witch’s lines in the trailer is not going to play the Witch in the movie.


Not Honest! (Plus a Prayer Request)

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Patty and I wanted to watch a ghost story last night; and, lo and behold, we found a movie treatment of M.R. James’ Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, one of the best ghost stories ever written. There’s a 1968 version starring Michael Hordern as the intellectual know-it-all who gets a very rude awakening, but this new one is longer and stars another great actor, John Hurt.

But first we read the viewer comments.

It turns out there’s no ghost in this rendition, and no freakin’ whistle, either. Instead, it’s a story of dementia. All they did was lift the title–not honest! The story in the movie has nothing to do with the one M.R. James wrote. So we didn’t watch it.

Sorry, but dementia is very much wanting as a source of entertainment, especially when it’s eating up certain members of your family. My brother-in-law, Ray, has it: has it bad. Because it’s not possible to get his permission to divulge any of the details, all I can say is that he needs our prayers. I mean, he really needs them, and I ask you to join me in offering prayer on his behalf. Please, Lord, in Jesus’ name, do something to help him!

I know you can’t copyright a title, but this goes beyond just “based on” and is a highly blameworthy attempt to trick the audience.

Meanwhile, we thank you for your prayers.


‘The Case for Christ’

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This is the story of an atheist’s journey to Christianity, much of it done while he was kicking and screaming. The Case for Christ is a 1994 autobiography by Lee Strobel–an award-winning Chicago Tribune crime reporter and, for much of his life, a real two-fisted atheist.

By the way, here’s that review I did of his 2004 book, The Case for a Creator (https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/case-for-a-creator-author-makes-prediction-belief-in-god-will-prevail-over-darwinism). I think the reason we hit it off so well was that we both needed Jesus Christ to change us, and He did.

But the Lee Strobel featured in Jon Gunn’s movie is not a very nice man. Most atheists aren’t. He’s cocky, close-minded, and fanatical–the very things he accuses “religious people” of being.

It all starts with the Strobels’ little girl choking on a gumball at a restaurant, and her life being saved by a Christian nurse who happened, not according to her original plans for the evening, to be there at that moment. This leads Strobel’s wife, Leslie, back to the Christian faith in which she was raised.

Her husband hates this. “You’re cheating on me–with Jesus!” he shouts at her. “I want my wife back!” Yes, he’s really steamed. And of course he dismisses her religious faith as “just feelings,” which don’t count, while pretending he has no emotional investment in his atheism. Most atheists seem to be angry all the time. They hate Christians for “meddling” with people’s lives–but who’s out there filing all the lawsuits? Who visits hymn sites on youtube and peppers them with f-bombs?

Anyway, Strobel brings his reporter’s skills to bear in an effort to “disprove” Christianity. As this project proceeds, all the “evidence” he gathers seems to point in exactly the opposite direction. He is forced to grant that there were eyewitnesses to the Risen Christ; that there is more, much more, and better, much better, manuscript evidence for the New Testament than for any other ancient document; that the gospel contains touches of authenticity–women discovering the empty tomb, for instance–that would never have been invented by 1st-century writers; that, medically speaking, Jesus most certainly did die on the cross, no hoax was possible… and so on. Every page he turns leads him not away from Christ, but toward Him.

The Bible tells us that the wife may save her unbelieving husband by her own faith in Christ, or the husband his wife; and this is what eventually happens with the Strobels, however hard the husband fights against it. Love is hard to beat.

At last Strobel prays: “All right, God–you win.” And he doesn’t know what happens next, but he wants it.

I must call attention to a side-plot that I liked very much indeed. Watch what happens when Strobel applies all his reporter’s skills, follows the facts rigorously, as he sees them (“I believe in what I see!”), and based on what he’s seen, and based on his most careful reasoning–well, just watch! This is solid gold.

We rented The Case for Christ from amazon.com and watched it on our computer. And I’m here to tell you it was well worth waiting for.


Coming Up: I Review ‘The Case for Christ’

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First I have to loosen up my brain with a bike-ride, and then I’ll review this very good movie for you.

I feel a kinship with this film because I once spent an hour and a half interviewing its subject, Lee Strobel, about his book, The Case for Creation. When I reached him by phone, he was on his way out to go skiing, but said he could give me 15 minutes. But once we got to talking, it was hard to stop. My review of that book is floating around somewhere in the archives at www.chalcedon.edu/ .

So yesterday we watched The Case for Christ, it was well worth waiting for, and I took notes as we watched. so I’m just about ready to write the review. See you just a little later!


‘Sink the Bismarck!’

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We’ve just watched Sink the Bismarck! (starring Kenneth More, 1960), and it’s, like, y’know, so full of Teutonophobia! I mean, what were they thinking when they made that movie?

You would’ve thought that, once the Germans started bombing London every day, and shooting people all over Europe, that at least some part of the British public would’ve embraced the Third Reich, and asked soul-searching questions like “Why do they hate us, and how can we get them to like us, what can we give them?”–oh, wait, they already tried that for eight or nine years and it didn’t work. They practically gave away the store to the Nazis, and still they got bombed.

Does the Western world suffer from amnesia? They all very nearly went down for the count, Hitler very nearly won the war–and they could have stopped him seven or eight years sooner with relatively little expenditure of effort.

But that’s the question that history asks us all the time: “Have you already forgotten? Have you lost all the lessons taught you by experience?”

I’m afraid that if Hitler came back for a second try today, he’d find it pretty easy going.

 


A Crowning Idiocy

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So the big movie this summer, so far, is Dunkirk–the story of how almost 400,000 defeated Allied soldiers were evacuated from beaches on the English Channel, by small boats, yachts, fishing boats, and every other kind of vessel you can name, rather than let them be killed or captured by the Germans.

To put it bluntly: If those men are left on the beach, the Nazis win World War II.

And if they had been lost there, a feminist jidrool would not be writing reviews complaining about what a bad movie Dunkirk is because there are too many men acting like men in it.

Mehera Bonner, whoever she is (http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/news/a28515/dunkirk-movie-review/), calls the film a “directorial gift to men,” complains about it being “so clearly designed for men to man-out over,” and finds it “an excuse for men to celebrate maleness.” Like, dude! Pride is for gays and lesbians and trans people, ya know!

I don’t think she likes men much, do you?

Maybe if they had filled the  boats with wise Latinas and trans wimmin waving “Hillary for President” banners, Ms. Bonner would have liked the movie better. That damned history! Telling us that those were all men at Dunkirk, almost all of them white… It shouldn’t be telling us things like that! That story should have been retold, this time to conform with contemporary leftid ideology! With Donald Trump as Hitler, and Rosie O’Donnell instead of Churchill, and Bruce “Call me Caitlyn” Jenner in the White House.

Well, this is what all those men fought and died to protect. Or rather, it’s what they wound up protecting, through no fault of their own.

 


Going Godless All the Way

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[Note: Sorry I’m late today. I decided that if I didn’t do my bike ride early, I’d never overcome the temptation to skip it later in the day.]

Patty and I have been watching Primeval, a hit science fiction series from the BBC. We watch if for Tim Haines’ dinosaur and monster effects, really the best in the business–the closest you can come to really seeing these animals. We also enjoy the sometimes very goofy characters, and the fact that these fictional people are, with only one or two exceptions, extraordinarily chaste.

But what astounds me most about it is its deep and total atheism. Not that they speak a word against God. He has simply been written out of the show. In the whole series, there’s only one brief–and really a little bit touching–scene in a church, and that’s all it has to show for the non-material side of things. I mean, they don’t even take the Lord’s name in vain: which is a good thing, but it’s also like nobody in this show has ever heard of Him.

Ah, science fiction… See, there are these holes in space and time, called “anomalies,” and dinosaurs and other creatures pop out of them to wreak havoc in modern England, and this little crew of amateur scientists has to shoo the monsters and close the anomalies… You get the idea.

There are good-guy scientists and bad-guy scientists butting heads, and what we wind up with is a clash of two 100% atheistic world views. One (the good guys) would be “Let Nature/Evolution take its course.” The other (the bad guys) is, “We must control Evolution.” Both envision the ultimate extinction of the human race. Sorry, no salvation. Well, there can’t be any if there isn’t any God, can there?

As the series builds to its climax, the thing that drives the bad guys is the Quest for the Ultimate Free Stuff (and nobody is to make a profit! isn’t that great?). I kind of like that part of the story–you see where the untrammeled lust for Free Stuff gets you, and it ain’t good.

If your Christian faith is solid, this series will not hurt you. Won’t turn you into a pagan, a New Ager, or an atheist. At the end of my workday I’m tired and want to veg out. Dinosaurs romping across my TV screen helps me relax. I enjoy Primeval–but–but–

But a steady diet of Godless science fiction, beginning in childhood–no, that I wouldn’t recommend. Not for anyone. At best it’s a handicap to be overcome. At worst, it gets lodged in your brain and you can’t get it out, and you wind up worshiping false gods and idols.

Mark me, I don’t say the solution to this is to slap on a lot of “Christian” decals and call it “Christian science fiction.” That won’t fool anyone.

Consumption of “entertainment” is a form of self-education, and we really need to learn to be more careful with it.

 

 


Memory Lane: ‘The Vikings’

This movie was a huge hit when it came out in 1958. All over my neighborhood there were skinny little kids running around with sticks and yelling “Odin!”

We all would have loved to try this Viking oar-walking stunt, but we didn’t have enough oars for it. That’s Kirk Douglas himself doing it in the movie, so how hard could it be?

(Editor’s note: I’m posting the happy stuff now, before we get the report on Robbie’s blood work from yesterday. She ate normally last night and this morning, but you never know what dreadful thing diagnostics might uncover.)


Scary Martian Comes to ‘Life’

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Hey, we saw a cool science fiction movie yesterday, a nice and scary one–Life, which we rented from amazon.

The ideology of unbelief dictates that life be found on other planets. Somehow that’s supposed to prove there is no God. You’d have to ask them how that works. Although I wouldn’t bother.

But if there were… this movie shows you what might happen.

“Oh, boy, Martian soil samples! Why, look at that–a little tiny organism… let’s see if we can wake it up…” Cue to Colin Clive in Frankenstein, screaming exultantly, “It’s alive! It’s alive!

Actually, messing around with alien organisms seems like it would be a very bad idea. Somebody on that space station should’ve read The Andromeda Strain. But they do screw around with it, they just can’t help themselves, they give it a cutesy-poo nickname–and of course it winds up loose, and sets about killing everybody there. It’s sort of a half-octopus, half-starfish that gets bigger and bigger and smarter and smarter with every victim it devours.

And everything goes wrong. They should’ve watched Jurassic Park before they left earth. All these carefully thought-out protocols and procedures, all the bright ideas of scientific whiz kids–well, the Martian monster doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t care about any of that.

I really didn’t notice who was in the cast. All the characters were too busy trying to stay alive, and had no time to devote to personal issues. I can say the film was well-acted, well-directed, fast-paced, and with a straightforward cinematography that didn’t make my wife seasick, watching it. A very effective study in suspense punctuated by frantic action.

Again and again the movies we make tell us that our science isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and warn us to proceed with caution. On some level, we know this!

And yet we never listen. It’s not Martian monsters that devour us, but bright ideas and clever societal innovations dreamed up by blockheads hailed as sages.

 


‘Jurassic World’: a Comment

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I watch Jurassic Park movies because I love to see dinosaurs. I also appreciate them as a form of escape: cooling my brain down for a bit.

So we watched Jurassic World today, and grooved on the special effects. Even if their Mosasaur is as big as the Chrysler Building, it’s still way cool.

But the thing is, these movies have something important to say. And that is… At some level, we modern people know we’re whistling Dixie, playing with dynamite, and totally full of self-delusion, thinking we’re in control, we’ve got it covered–and then the dinosaurs get loose. These movies, and others like them, would not be made if we did not know that.

And yet we act as if we know nothing at all. We keep on playing with fire. Ooh-ooh, genetic modification! Ooh-ooh, brain implants! And so on–no end to the folly. Professing ourselves to be wise, we become fools (Romans 1).

We do keep God busy, don’t we? Busy diverting us from self-annihilation.


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