Tuesday, February 22, 2011

At the Movies: 11 Reviews

My favorites are covered last, but let's start with the Romantic Comedies:

Knight & Day - Cute little rom-com that comes off at times as a spoof of romantic comedies rather than an actual rom-com. It was fun, but only as a Red Box rental.

My Life in Ruins - Nia Vardalos probably hoped that lightning would strike twice in her second film set in Greece, however while the scenery is incredible, the story is just so-so. Richard Dreyfuss does his best to up the quality in a nicely done supporting role.

When in Rome - This was a really cute movie, but seemed to have two endings (and should have stuck with the first). It's an engaging little story that stars Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel who have a nice chemistry between them. (Plus "Pedro" from Napoleon Dynamite makes an appearance.)

Killers - Katherine Heigl plays a lovelorn lady who falls for Ashton Krutcher's perfect man. Their idyllic married life is turned upside down when his past makes an appearance in his present life. It's a lightweight, fun movie with Tom Selleck in a fun role as Heigl's father.

Now for the Family Friendly Fare:

Around the World in 80 Days - This is a family-friendly take on a classic with Jackie Chan as is usual charming self. (Several star-studded cameos are fun bits)

Paul Blart: Mall Cop - I resisted watching this. I expected sophomoric humor and pratfalls. There were indeed some juvenile jokes, but it also had a surprising sweetness to it. Fun movie.

The Princess and the Frog - Billed as Disney's "last princess movie," this fairytale set in New Orleans is full of good music and an engaging story. Based on its box office take, I'd be really surprised if Tiana really was the last princess we meet from the Mouse House.


The Losers - Basically the "A-Team" with lesser known actors. Fun action movie, but not for youngsters.

Body of Lies - Russell Crowe and Leo DiCaprio are excellent in this story of middle east espionage. It does a nice job showing the often disconnect between the powers that be in offices back home running the war and the people on the ground actually fighting the war. Gripping, well-acted movie.

Robin Hood - This is one of my favorite stories, so I had high expectations. The reviews had been mixed, but I am rarely disappointed when director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up. I liked the way the Robin Hood mythology was handled and was surprised by how much I liked Cate Blanchett as Marion. [For another fun and lesser known Ridley/Crowe movie, try A Good Year.]

RED - This was such a fun movie! Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and an hilarious John Malkovich star as retired black ops operatives who find themselves on the wrong side of a hit list. The movie is action-packed as well as at times hilarious. I loved this movie!

Unstoppable - Fast paced, well-acted and suspenseful, this train movie will have you on the edge of your seat. Denzel Washington turns in his usual fine performance and Chris Pine holds his own with the veteran actor. (In fact, Washington is the one who recommended Pine for the role.) The more I see of Chris Pine, the more I like him. I think he will prove to be more than a handsome face and develop into a respected actor.

Now back to the Blu-Ray player. . .

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love or Lust? Considering Ammon & Tamar

Sex. There! I've got your attention.

I recently taught a children's Sunday School class on a passage that was all about sex. I taught it very tentatively, choosing my words and analogies with care. The Bible, however, isn't a bit shy about discussing sex. Sometimes you don't realize the passage is about sex until the end. Take for instance the passage on Ammon & Tamar.

In II Samuel 13, Ammon is physically sick over his half-sister Tamar. He tells his friend Jonadab, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister." At first glance, it would seem the story is about forbidden love, a biblical Romeo and Juliet. But the story is much darker than that. Jonadab comes up with a scheme to allow Ammon to be alone with his half-sister. Ammon's love turns out to be only lust as he rapes Tamar and then tosses her out like yesterday's newspaper. This event will not only destroy Tamar's life, but will ultimately cost Ammon his life and the life of Tamar's brother Absalom, as well as come close to costing their father, King David, his kingdom.

Such is the deceitful and destructive nature of lust. And such is the way we can distinguish between love and lust. A simple comparison of attributes is a quick guide for determining whether the "love" being professed is truly love or the impostor lust. Lust deceives. It manipulates. It destroys. It consumes. It is selfish.

Scripture lists love's attributes as longsuffering, kind, not envious, not proud, doesn't behave rudely, isn't self-seeking, is not easily angered, doesn't hold grudges, doesn't delight in evil but rejoices in truth. Ultimately, we're told love never fails.

Jesus told his disciples, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." Love is self-sacrificing or as the Bible puts it, ". . . does not seek its own."

Good thing to remember on a day devoted to love.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Super Bowl Commercials - Winners & Losers

While the Packers and Steelers gave us a great game (for a change), the day after the Super Bowl it's still the commercials that are discussed most. Here in no particular order are my submissions for Winners & Losers of the Commercial Super Bowl:


Mini-Darth (Volkswagen Passat)

Lifesaver Beaver (Bridgestone)

Resuscitations (Doritos)

Racing Beetle (Volkswagen)

Border Guards (Coca-Cola)

Rich Prison (Audi)

TV show favs (NFL.com)

Ozzy & Bieber (Best Buy)


Simon Cowell (X-Factor) - The Brit may have waited too long. Steven Tyler has me saying, "Simon who?"

Richard Lewis & Roseanne Barr (Snickers) - They haven't been relevant for 15-20 years. Betcha most under 30 didn't know who they were and didn't get the joke!

Pant-licking (Doritos) - Just ick.

Cowboys & Aliens trailer - Now I know why Robert Downey Jr bailed on this film.

Thor - Huh?

Tibetan food (GroupOn) - Let's talk about suffering and make it fun!

You can see most of the ads here.