Reviews written by registered user
|13 reviews in total|
My wife and I saw this film without having any idea of what it is a
about. All we knew was some guy's father died and he went through a
life decision change. For all we knew that meant he could have become
gay (he didn't, and it had nothing to do with that).
This is an adult family film. It's PG-13 rating is not for nudity, swearing, or violence. It is rated that because it is a mature look at dysfunctional family problems. So while little of that is shown, they are referred to through the dialog, thus making it a mature film for teens and up.
From the opening credits of Dreamworks, the artistry of the film was evident. Instead of the usual music for the kid fishing from the moon, we hear conversations in a recording studio. In our opinion, every actor and actress gave outstanding performances. While the topic could have had a heavy handed approach, it did not. It was deftly edited and paced.
In summation, this movie was art because the content was all heart. I have deliberately avoided talking about specifics because I want all viewers to be as surprised as we were in the viewing. I give it a ten, and intend to watch it again.
Before I state my points about the Adjustment Bureau, I want to state
that I enjoyed watching the movie for its entertainment sake. My
purpose here is to compare the movie to Christian theology. This movie
makes no pretense at being a Christian film, so I am not faulting the
film-makers. Rather, I wish to alert Christians in the audience viewing
the film how this movie strays from the reality of Jesus Christ.
Christian reviews of movies are usually trivial which focus almost solely on nudity, violence, foul language. They never really address the world view expressed in the film. The closest comment on the world view I found from Christian movie critic, Ted Baehr, said: "there is one slightly ambiguous, theologically false "Joan of Arcadia" comment toward the end about God appearing in different, personal ways to individuals that can lead people away from Jesus Christ," - a thought that crossed my mind, as well.
Jewish critic, Michael Medved, had nothing but praise for the film. His review is fine for me, but I know that many Christians listen to conservative talk shows without considering the host's world view, blithely assuming it is Christian, too.
Here then, are my concerns. We are led to believe that the Adjustment Bureau are angels working for God in assuring that the lives of people follow the plan of God. At one point, David Norris (played by Matt Damon) is told that he and Elise (played by Emily Blunt) have to be separated because he is supposed to become president someday, and she a great ballerina and choreographer. This won't happen if they are together. It is true that God has a plan for our lives. And for some, it is to be in positions of worldly authority. But the plan of God is for us to know Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, first. Such worldly goals are on the bottom of His list. Discipleship means dying to self, not pursue worldly acclaim.
Ted Baehr points out the main premise of the film is whether or not we actually have free will. The film leaves that answer ambiguously. There are Christians who believe that we do not. They are Calvinists. So for Calvinists this film will be agreeable to their world view. But, the ambiguous answer of the film, is a little close to the truth. We have free wills. God does not plan our sins. But the divine will works with our choices according to Romans 8:26 - "all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." The problem I have with the Adjustment Bureau is that their actions are more characteristic of demons than holy angels. The chairman is implied to be God, but, in my viewing was more easily identified with Satan. It is Satan who offers us power and prestige in this world, not God. God seeks to humble us so we may follow His way, not the world. These cold-hearted agents of the bureau cause accidents to redirect our paths - spilling coffee on us, causing auto-wrecks, interrupting us with phone calls, and so forth - these are actions of demons, not angels. Angels edify and encourage, not distract and bump.
So, while I enjoyed the movie for its entertainment value, I disagree with the world view presented. For me, the highlight was Emily Blunt. I found her portrayal of Elise to be charming and captivating.
I knew nothing about the movie before seeing it, except I heard a brief
rave on Christian radio so I was inclined to go. Even though I am
giving this film a 6 out of 10, I was touched and moved by several
scenes. The low score is due to the heavy handed feel of the film, and
the choppy editing that made the acting seem worse than it was. My wife
thought the acting was amateurish, but I think bad directing, editing
and camera work made their acting seem worse than it was.
Michael Joiner's character, Bill McDonald, was unrealistically morose. He blames himself for the death of his first child and resents the second child who lives 17 years later. I blame the director for the character' unrealistic grief. I think it would have been more realistic if he tried to put on a normal demeanor, kidding around and striving to be professional with bursts of behavior that would betray the underlying grief and anger that he carried around.
Another example of directing that should have changed regards the son Blake (played by Robert Erikson) after the counselor (who is a Christian) suggests the son try to reach out to the hurting father. For the amount of conflict that had already been established between father and son, I felt the portrayal of the boy's effort to be nice was too sunny and cheerful. The director should have had more struggle on the son's part to be nice for it to be believable.
As for Bill McDonald's recently assigned partner, Sam Wright (played by Michael Higgenbottom), who also was a black pastor promoted as a police Sargent, I thought the Christian family portrayed was too happy and loving. It was almost stereotypical of Christians. Particularly concerning Sam's regard for his missing father. It was like the missing father was only written into the story to be a touchstone of sympathy for Sam's character when he talked to Bill. Otherwise it was a meaningless element of the story that should have been built up to give more realistic depth to Sam's character and family.
Nevertheless, the film had an edifying message, so I don't regret seeing the movie.
I found the movie "Social Network" useful in gaining an outline of how
Facebook came to be. However, I do not trust any movie rendition of
real life characters. After watching the movie I did follow up research
to understand better the events of the story. That research showed that
Eduardo Saverin was instrumental in getting the book "Accidental
Billionaires" written as a character assassination of Mark Zuckerberg
and Sean Parker.
I don't know if Mark Zuckerberg is as self absorbed as presented in the movie, nor whether he was mesmerized by the cunning of Sean Parker. But I doubt it. The movie presents Saverin as complete victim and the Winklevoss brothers as noble, but petty, finaglers who had an idea yet did nothing with it, except sue for wealth from Zuckerberg.
I have no fondness for Facebook. I was on it for about a year and later discovered that they are retaining all data that we put on their site to sell to marketers - hence their billions of dollars profit. It is ironic that Zuckerberg hacked into the Harvard computer system to gain the jpegs of all the girls on campus for his Facemash, then later comes up with the system where all the private data is given to him voluntarily. This information is available for the government whose quest it is to profile every American for surveillance reasons. Google is doing the same and I have since stopped using their search engine. It was very difficult to get my data removed. When you close your Facebook account they do not delete the data and you have to go through various "hidden" pages to get the data deleted. Even then I am not sure that it is deleted since I am still getting Facebook spam months later.
Before they got they first 500 million dollars investment, they wanted to keep their site cool. Now that it is a giant mega corporation, it is not cool, but creepy. Zuckerberg is not cool, but filthy rich. Perhaps Bill Gates was cool at one time but they are both part of the globalist elites now.
My wife and I fell in love with Kristen Bell's rendition of Veronica
Mars and were dismayed when the show went off the air. UPN understood
their audience, but when it merged with WB the new network was clueless
as to who actually watched the TV series.
After the end of the series we have looked for vehicles in the movies that would showcase Kristen Bell's talents. Why she chose a series of bad movies, I don't know, but "You Again" is finally a film vehicle that shows off her acting ability.
Several points make this a stellar film for her. One, even though she is a young woman in her thirties, she can still pull off a teenage role. So the flashbacks of her her as a nerd in high school cut between the accomplished woman in PR works.
Second, she really flows well between characters. She has a variety of mannerisms she uses to portray of geeky teen age girl to the demeanor of a successful career woman.
Third, the main theme of Veronica Mars was her ability to take revenge, and this film runs with the same theme which Kristen Bell plays so well.
We thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was a great chick flick to take my wife on a date to. The timing and delivery of all the actors was excellent. The pacing of the editing never lagged. I recommend every couple to see this movie for a light hearted and funny night out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jennifer Lopez as Zoe is a beautiful and talented woman who slummed in
this movie. The film had a disconcerting incongruity to it from the
beginning to the end. The opening title sequence is an animation
reminiscent of a 1960's movie. The cartoon of Lopez sees all kinds of
things in New York that reminds her of having a baby. The animation
segues to the live action of her being artificially inseminated. We
discover later in the movie that she made that choice because she had
no family since her mother died when she was a child and her father
abandoned her, leaving her grandmother (played by Linda Lavin of the
Alice TV series) to raise her. And she did not have much longer to
Both my wife and I enjoyed the movie in the very beginning, but it quickly became troubling to both of us. Exaggeration is a standard comedic technique for getting a laugh, and this film relies totally on exaggeration. So I don't think they were trying to put down families, but the use of exaggeration makes it come off that way. Every child is shown to be little monsters, which is not at all true. But they are trying to set up reasons for not wanting children. The disturbing message given by this is that families are a bad thing, or, at least incredibly difficult with very little reward. This theme is vocalized by the playground dad (Anthony Anderson) who tells Stan (Alex O'Laughlin) that raising kids is "Awful, awful, awful, awful, then momentarily incredible, followed by awful, awful, awful." Zoe (Lopez) goes to a single mother's support group where later she and Stan witness a live birth in a plastic pool of water. Exaggeration is used for the comedic effect, yet the resulting message is that child birth is a horrible experience that no woman should ever have to go through. This scene was the most repulsive scene in the movie, and the lowest point of the film.
Zoe has a pet dog who through inbreeding has a weakness in its hind legs that render them unusable. Consequently the animal is on wheels and the film-makers make fun of the animal as it tips over in one scene and rolls backward trying to climb up a hill in another. I only felt sadness for the creature and considered the humor cruel and pointless.
The main plot of the story is that Zoe doesn't think that she will meet Mr. Right so has her children by artificial insemination only to meet him the moment she leaves the fertility clinic. The story is the struggle of her trusting him to accept her and the babies. But from the audience point of view I found the whole scenario to be utterly stupid and unrealistic. When they agree to move in together, they both agree that it was without promise or conditions. She places expectation on him when they are only shacking up together and are not married! Why would any woman go through such angst when no commitment of marriage is given at all! All I could think was that she was a total moron who did not deserve any sympathy. Of course the movie ends with him finally asking her hand in marriage for the "happy ending" but I found the underlying message to be a total lie that one can enter a meaningful marriage relationship by the back door. It encourages gullible youth (especially naive girls) in thinking that they can live together before marriage as a path that will lead to marriage which statistically shows that is false.
What grieved me most, though, was not just the movie, but the audience. I was appalled that so many laughed at the jokes without offense. The dumbing down of Americans is so bad that trash like this movie would be entertaining. It was a total waste of my admission price. If you really need to see it, wait until it is on DVD and you only have to pay $1 at Redbox. My recommendation, though, is don't waste your time at all.
Robert Downy is a brilliant actor. It is a shame his talent is wasted
in this production. My wife and I couldn't wait for the movie to end,
which seemed to drag on and on. The movie failed in its blend of action
and mystery, leaning heavily on the action and meager in the mystery.
We appreciate the intention of a director to rework material and make it his own. Guy Richie was right to try and make the iconic character suitable for contemporary audiences. While he was right in intentions he was wrong in his executions.
The first error was assuming we cared about the characters. There was no build up in character development that made us care at all. We cared about the actor, but not the character he had to play.
The second error was not encouraging the audience to figure out the mystery. For the mystery was not at all evident. Instead we know who the killer is and as far as we can tell, he is a Satanic worshiper.
The use of flashbacks to show how Holmes figured things out failed as well. It had a contrived and mechanical feel, almost as if obligatory since he is a detective and he should be shown as a detective.
We give this movie a thumbs down. It might appeal to a younger generation but for an aging baby boomer, it was a failure.
I enjoyed Ricky Gervais in "Ghost Town" so I had more hope for this
film which became a waste of my time. I have never been impressed with
Jennifer Garner, but my wife fell in love with the TV series, Alias.
She tried to enjoy the movie because of the cast, but I was offended by
In a nutshell the premise of the movie is that the truth sucks so lying is good because it makes people happy. Fortunately, Ricky Gervais did not make the movie that simplistic and shows consequences to lying that the main character, Mark, did not want to live with.
It grieved me to think that so many people are disillusioned with their lives. The candor of their disillusionments, pride, ego and carnality is supposed to be the truth. But truth is not our perceptions but what is real. Believing one is a loser is not the truth only their belief. The cynicism of the movie's portrayal of truth is actually a lie in of itself.
When Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) first lies, the assumption is that everyone will believe it because a lie had never been told before. So in effect Gervais is saying that the state of innocence is one of cruel candor and self absorption. But everyone knows that is not true, so instead of us believing that they are innocently accepting the lie, we see all the characters as stupid idiots that no one cared about. Even Adam and Eve in the Bible did not immediately accept the lie of Satan, but questioned him further.
Surprisingly, as a Christian, I was not offended by the slam on faith in God when Mark makes up the "lie" of the Man in the Sky to comfort his dying mother. The statement the film is making is that there really is no hope after death, but how comforting it is to believe a lie instead. Instead of being offended I was saddened by all those who believe the lie that there is no God. I was also bothered by the inconsistencies of using Christian symbolism in a world where apparently there was no belief in God in the first place.
The movie is a complete waste of money, unless you are a cynic and believe the message given. Then you will no doubt think it is wonderful. But for those of us who know that life is good yet it has the sin of selfishness in mankind bringing misery, and know that God is greater than all of this, will find the film itself to be a lie.
My wife and I enjoy Sandra Bullock, and I left the movie, "All About
Steve" impressed with the growth of her as an artist. I understood the
character that she played, Mary Horowitz, who is socially inept, yet
brilliant with words and information. In one sense her character
reminded me of Temperance "Bones" Brennan of the TV show, "Bones," who
is clueless about how people think of her.
So for the character, Mary, to jump Steve (Bradley Cooper) on their first date, and to stalk him with the misguided idea that he wants her to follow her, was believable to me since I have met people like that. Sandra Bullock took on a character that was innocent in her social stupidity, yet made her almost believable in her irritating behavior. I say, "almost," because she is still quite beautiful and likable. But she is no Johnny Depp yet when it comes to character acting.
We found the movie funny and quirky. I felt that they had a good ensemble cast, even though, Sandra Bullock was the center of the story. I don't believe it will ever be hugely popular though. It had the same unusual character as Will Ferrall and Emma Thompson in "Stranger Than Fiction," although no where as sophisticated as that little masterpiece.
If you like quirky comedy, this is a good movie to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My wife and I saw "The Time Traveler's Wife" today and came away
emotionally moved. Because the film had such a strong impact on me, I
am adding the spoiler alert because I can only write this as though to
someone who has already seen the movie. If you have not seen it, then
skip my review so you can enjoy it with a fresh experience like I did.
First, I came with low expectations. My wife bought the book and is reading it still. She left the movie in tears and I left rejoicing. She could not understand how I rejoiced in the movie while she saw the tragedy. So I told her...
Henry's jumping around in time reminded me of Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's, "Slaughter House 5." In Vonnegut's story, the happiest time in Pilgrim's life is when the aliens from the planet Tralfamador capture him and place him in a zoo so the Tralfamadorians could watch him mate with a captured movie star played by Valerie Perrine in the movie version of the book. The Tralfamadorians explain to him that time is frozen and that the end of the universe is already known and that Pilgrim should focus on enjoying this time with them instead of the misery of the fire bombing experiences in Dresden that he also time tripped to.
This is what I came away from the story. I am glad that the sex, violence and alcoholism in the book of the Time Traveler was not included the movie. By keeping the movie clean it took on a spirituality of love that transcended the story. Whether the author intended, or the film-makers, I do not know, but this is what I got from it.
Henry loved the whole woman that Claire was. He knew her as a little girl by time travel and as a teen and the woman he married. His death did not end his love for her in my understanding of the story. I come to this conclusion because we see Henry time tripping into the future as a younger Henry before his death and visiting his wife and daughter. Since he had gaps of time when he was gone during the continuous time line of Claire, there is no reason not to believe that he couldn't see Claire as an old woman, too. So, in spite of the irregular manner of their relationship, Henry had the privilege of knowing and loving his wife all her life from child hood to old age. And since their daughter, Alba, inherited the "gene" that caused her to time trip, too, but she had control of her time tripping, there is no reason in the logic of the story that she could not visit her father before his death, not only as the young girl, but when she is a grown woman. Therefore Henry through the time tripping of himself and his daughter would know both his wife and daughter in the fullness of their lives.
As I watched the movie, I could not help but see Henry's love like God's love towards us. For God knows us in the fullness of our lives. He knows us as little children, He knows us as adults and as old people already since He is not in time at all and sees the beginning from the end. And the love of God covers the multitude of sins, so, while He knows our faults, He chooses to look upon our virtues and believes the best in us.
For Henry to realize and see his approaching death made him a type of Christ for me. While God became the man Jesus, as Jesus he did not walk in omniscience. Rather he knew only what the Holy Spirit revealed to him. So Jesus knew his death and had a glimpse of the horror of it, but trusted God and went through it nonetheless. Henry, unlike Jesus, of course, had no choice. But His facing death touches the heart strings of all of us as we wonder about our own approaching deaths.
I told my wife that I have come to love her in the same way. When I look at pictures of her as a little girl, I love the little girl she is in the picture. Furthermore, the Lord has worked in my life to love her for who she is in her essence, that I am prepared to love her when her teeth fall out and is incapacitated with old age. This love I have for her is God's love for her flowing through me to her. So in this way I found the movie to be very spiritual.
Besides, even for us trapped in the time continuum that moves forward, all our relationships are fragmented like Henry's already. We do not see anyone 100% of the time. Everyone comes and goes in our lives the same way. So, like Billy Pilgrim who was advised to focus on the good experiences of his time tripping, Claire could choose to focus on her good experiences with Henry, and we with one another.
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