Saturday, May 26, 2018

"First Reformed"

So very well done ... with minimal, but accurate and biting, commentary on the times in which we live, the state of religion, the influence of money, the loss of hope, the rise of despair.

Ethan Hawke is amazing, and portrays a minister more realistically than I've seen previously. His character's story story is sad, his integrity deep, his sense of the faith, embracing, his struggles profound and agonizing.

It's a dark story, for sure: St John of the Cross, "The Dark Night of the Soul," or Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of the Matter."

I was pulled into the story, mind, body and soul ... yet without sentiment (thankfully).

One profound moment of imagery, the cross (with Amanda Seyfried, whose portrait of a young mother-to-be is profoundly moving) and a quick ending, with "Leaning on the Everlasting
Arms" in the background. I'll not say more.

But see this film - not for entertainment, but for sobriety, and a reminder of God's grace incarnate, and some hints and bits about the goodness of God (but no Hallmark here).

Hats off to Paul Schrader for such a finely crafted film.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Train to Zakopane"


Profound story, true (the filmmaker's father), with tragic twists and turns ... originally done as a play, the film was mostly the play filmed ... simple sets, some scenic footage inserted, some inaccurate "details" as a 1928 setting - a train whistle, costumes, cigarettes (I'll not say more; you'll have to catch these yourself) ... and all dialogue, as with a play, but sometimes tedious as a film.

So, as a film, flawed ...

As a story, enlightening and sad: 1928, a train, across Poland ... a chance meeting, a successful Russian businessman, a nurse in the Polish army, and then hate, love, and always ignorance ...

Poland's "original" sin, if you will, anti-Semitism, and role of the Catholic Church in promoting and perpetuating anti-semitism ... and survival, but at what cost?

In light of the history that unfolded with Herr Hitler, and our own present struggles, this is a story that needs to be told, and a film that needs to be seen. Excellent for groups.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

"American Socialist: the Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs"

Thoughtfully done ... lots of information, good footage and stills ... informative and provocative ... Debs was a man of compassion, kindness, intelligence, determination, and faith. He understood history, and knew the heart of America, and cared for it, as few have done. He was willing, at all the turns of his time, to put himself on the line, and pay whatever price was demanded of him

This was a chance for America, but big money went to work, as it has always done, sullied the word "socialist," hounded and jailed men like Debs, violently broke strikes, and did everything that big money can do to alter perceptions and change the course of history, and that was that.

Dazzled by the glitter, America chose another path, and what a price the American People have paid.

A very discouraging docu for me ... just how stupid we are, with our silly self-reliance delusions, and our willingness to throw one another under the bus, along with our environment.

Believing that Big Money really cares about us.

While Big Money laughs all the way to the bank, because the wealthy will never allow anyone or anything to diminish their wealth.

If you want to be disturbed, in the best kind of way, check out this terrific documentary.


That God would grant us leaders like Debs.
Oh, LORD, I pray.

Friday, February 23, 2018

"Black Panther" & "Call Me by Your Name"

Two movies this week ... "Black Panther" last night and "Call Me by Your Name" on Wednesday. Each, in their own way, offering a perspective not ordinarily given in mainstream film.

"Call Me by Your Name" - a gay coming of age film, reminding me of "Summer of '42" (1971, a boy and an older woman).

"Black Panther" - a story, a hero (not always super, but full of integrity and struggle), a nation, technology, hope - from the heart of Africa ... not the "heart of darkness," but the heart of light and promise.

"Call Me" dragged a bit ... a 30-minute film stuffed into a two-hour bag, or so I thought ... but perhaps the time is needed to represent the slow and uncertain movements of love and discovery, in that fine summer time in Italy.

"BP" was a bit disjointed at times, but it's a gigantic story well told, with so much promise for future Marvel tales ... and, of course, always fun to see Stan Lee's cameo. Be sure to stay for the mid- and post-credits scenes.

Both films open new doors to the audience ... doors much needed, because on the other side, a whole world awaits.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"Hostiles"





One of the finest films I've ever seen ...
mature, candid ...


the frontier cruel to the bone, for everyone ...
death everywhere ... no one was free from it's chilled hand ...


scoundrels survive until their end; soldiers do their job ...


souls harden; spirits collapse ...


can there be any form of goodness in such a setting? No angels here, no clean hands ... but can there yet be some hope?


Can D.H. Lawrence's quote that sets the stage for the film yet be undone by better angels?


“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted."


Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Suburbicon"

I "loved" it ... but it's no joy ride; more like going through Dante's hell ... the evil we do unto one another ... all cleverly hidden beneath the surface of our "nice" lives - the image of a 50s suburb.

It's a study in evil, corporate and individual ... lust and hate ... racism and desire ... acting is superb, music, cinematography ... and the little boy, omg, what a fine actor. 

And in spite of a tour through hell, it ends on a hopeful note ... I'll not say more, but this gets my highest rating. 

A bit surreal, as it should be ... sometime metaphorical, and deeply ironic - those who would do evil unto others must pay a price. 

Definitely see in a theater ... and if anyone is part of a discussion group, have at it on this one.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Gold"

A riveting story ...

Gold-fever.

Wealth, power and foolishness.

Lies and more lies ...

The foolers and fools.

Drunk on dreams, and drunk on booze.

In the end, was he or was he not?
Did he know, or did he not?

Hee hee ... enjoy.

---------

Men and women who would destroy everything for their own gain. Who have fallen down at the feet of Mammon, thrown away their humanity, willing to eat one another for breakfast, wiping their mouth and their hands, on to the next feast.