Posts tagged ‘reviews’

Falling Down

This is one of the movies that I snuck into at 12 years of age when I was supposed to be seeing whatever PG-rated movie happened to be starting around the same time at that theater on that day. At this this age, though I had been exposed to a significant amount of violence in other movies I also wasn’t supposed to have watched, I was not mature enough to fully grasp the story of this film and, though there were parts I had liked, I left the theater somewhat bored by the whole experience. This was not an uncommon experience for me. All regular moviegoers have their hits and misses and, from the time I was first allowed to attend a movie by myself, I was as regular a moviegoer as humanly possible.

Probably 15 years passed before I saw this movie again on television. And, though obviously edited for broadcast, I had one of those moments you get to have once in a while with a movie you didn’t “get” the first time around. Once I’d finished watching it, I was taken aback by the intelligence and depth I hadn’t seen before, and it has continued to get better with each successive viewing. On the surface, this appears to be an action / revenge movie with a somewhat weak and/or obscure plot that doesn’t really take off. That’s what you’ll see if you go into this looking for an action movie. You will be disappointed.

But if you change your perspective and expectation, you see something else emerge entirely. Something crafted with such a simple brilliance that it is a joy to watch. A joy from an intellectual perspective, not from gratification for some kind of revenge fantasy film. This is not the story of a man getting even with some of the more annoying parts of life we weather regularly. It is the story of a regular guy, a guy you might see anywhere. Maybe even sitting next to you in traffic. A working stiff who has done everything he’s been told he should do, made the compromises most of us have come to except as part of life and his life has still fallen apart.

He doesn’t see his part in the procession of negative actions that brought him here, so he is desperately looking for anyone to blame, at least in part, for how he has been wronged. In doing this we see a parade of different symbolic characters representing some of the more frustrating, infuriating and terrifying parts of life that your average person either is or could potentially be subjected to just by the fact that they are part of the society in which we live. However, none of these potential scapegoats, though it is hard to feel bad for some of them, are the actual cause of our lead character’s problems.

We come to learn that his problems began long ago and they began within him, not by being wronged by outside sources. And today just happened to be the day that this seemingly average guy, sitting next to the rest of these average people in traffic, just snapped. This movie is about a journey that is physical, mental and emotional. As William “D-Fens” Foster (Michael Douglas) makes his way, on foot, across the city to see his daughter on her birthday, we also watch his sanity, compassion and self-control slowly start to unravel. This is NOT an action movie. It is psychological, suspenseful at times, intelligent and challenging. There are times you are pulling for Douglas’ character, and there are times you’re against him. It really is quite a ride with an absolutely pitch-perfect ending that will not leave you the least bit disappointed.

Rating: 5 Stars

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The Case For Christ

I’ll lead with the best I have to say about this film. I believe this is one of the best and strongest representations of the modern Christian argument for legitimacy. If you find the proof or justification in this that you were hoping for, I congratulate you. You can also take solace in the fact that many others have and will feel the same as you do about this production. That said…

The film-making: A classic cliched amateur documentary that anyone can pull off these days with a couple cameras, a green screen, iMovie, willing participants and a love of “Unsolved Mysteries” reruns. Topped off by the classic feel-good ending as the symbolic cherry on top. Move over, Scorsese.

The content: Everything presented in this film is contingent on the idea, which they try to establish first thing out of the box, that the biblical authors, and particularly the authors of the biblical gospels, were unbiased and diligent historians. You have to buy in to this claim for the rest of the conclusions drawn in this film to have any credibility. For me, a My Cousin Vinny scene about bricks and playing cards comes to mind. The word “evidence” is thrown around pretty loosely here once they get rolling. Your belief is also further solicited by the idea that your being led through this by not only a former skeptic but a former atheist. At its core, this is the classic idea that the bible proves everything in the bible and work backward from that. Tie God inseparably to the Bible. If you can prove Jesus existed and that people believed he was the messiah, son of God, etc then he WAS the messiah, son of God, etc. And above all… trust us… really.

Conclusion: Please. I genuinely invite you to draw your own and I send you on your way with my sincere blessing.

If you want mine, it is this. That religion, in my opinion, often has more do do with love and trust for the people from which you acquire it or the fact that it may have filled the role of the philosophy used to guide you back from the brink of a potentially more destructive life than it does with belief or God. Either that or the assumption that in a genuine search for God, or a higher power of some sort, that religion truly speaks for him or it. I don’t believe it does and this film did not convince me otherwise, whish I believe was the goal. But this is my opinion and, again, please draw your own.

Rating: 2 Stars