Archive for Special Interest

Pure Flix Productions, Greg Jenkins Productions, Pure Flix Entertainment,

Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Dean Cain, Newsboys, Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson

Professor Raddison (Kevin Sorbo) is a university philosophy professor who is a confirmed atheist who is well known on campus as a hard lined and tough teacher. He begins the first class of the semester with instructions to the class that anyone that is not stupid would know that there is no God and that he can save the class a lot of time trying to argue the fact if the the entire class would unanimously sign a paper with the words God is dead and their signature. It must be unanimous. One student, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is undecided as to whether he can sign that paper or not. Though everyone around him is in favor of him just signing the paper, he cannot find it in his heart to sign it, so he is assigned to spend the last 20 minutes of class holding a trial where he will defend God and the professor will be the prosecutor, and the class will be the judge while he tries to convince the class that there still is a God.

This film has been around for a while, and I’ve just never got around to watching this. Now that it’s on Streaming on NetFlix I finally got a chance to see it and review it. First off, it’s definitely a religious movie. It will take you to church every few minutes and it’s very in your face, so if you get put off by the zeal of the proselytizers, stay away from this film. But if you can deal with that, and are interested in the subject, it is rather well put together. It features a couple cameo appearances by the Duck Dynasty gang. There are a number of back stories going on in parallel and they all come together in the end. This seems to be a plot device they use in religious films so they can have many characters who have many different issues that all come together for good or bad in the end. The folks here sure have white hats and black hats and they seem to be too good or too evil and nowhere in between. Maybe that’s not a fair assessment, but it sure felt that way to me. The different stories and figuring out how they all tie together is one of the highlights of the story, and and many of the tales are really interesting on their own. On the other hand, the end is so very over the top that it was a big minus for me. Obviously the professor has something wrong with him, and he has to find it and kind of deal with it so he can end with some peace of mind, but just like all the evil disbelieving anti-Christmas business man (or Jack Frost) who’s trying to destroy Christmas because he didn’t get his wish when he was 8 years old, this one ends with the evil Grinch (or Jack Frost) coming to realize why he hates Santa (I mean God). In fact, I’m surprised they really tried to pull off this ending without realizing it’s just like Santa Claus. At any rate, it’s better than a Davey and Goliath cartoon or a Goofus and Gallant story, but it has it’s similarities. So feel free to skip it if you just don’t want to deal with the preaching and tacky ending, or watch it if you are interested as the story itself isn’t half bad (until the ending).

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Focus Features, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions,

Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is about to graduate from college. Her roommate, a reporter, makes a big score by getting an interview with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), an ultra rich telecommunications magnate who is a young and handsome and filthy rich businessman. But she is feeling under the world, and so she sends Anastasia in her place. Mr. Grey totally overwhelms her in the interview and leaves her feeling pretty helpless, but he is smitten by her and so is she. Christian Grey, though, has had a very difficult life and is certainly not able to maintain a normal relationship. Everything has be under his control and under his terms. Anastasia is really a simple girl looking for a regular guy, but this guy is too amazing to let go, so she debates risking everything to agree with whatever he wants.

I had to catch this film when it came out on DVD. Why? I’m not sure, but I suspect it was simply to see what all the hype was about. It wasn’t a very good film. This guy needs to be euthanized. He has no morals of any kind and is one very selfish bastard. Ana, on the other hand, is such a weak and wimpy woman, that she kind of deserves some of the crap she gets. But really no person could tolerate this kind of relationship. Ok, I know there are people who are into this kind of thing, but the way Ana thinks and feels, there is no way she would even consider putting up with this bastard. The story is really weak, jumping from place to place at breakneck speed, but nothing is really ever resolved. There are scenes with his family, and with her family, but neither have much to do with the story in the least. I really thought this was a waste of time, and truthfully, it took me 3 days to get through this one, as I would get bored and turn it off. I really can’t comment on the books. Perhaps they are stunning literature, but the film was a waste of time. Perhaps that’s why critics tore it up and audiences stayed away. Personally I say, don’t bother with it. If you’re one of the naughty ladies who secretly read this, you’ll be very disappointed in the movie, and if you’re not familiar with the story, it’s not worth it, trust me. Stay away from this one.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Mankurt Media,

Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru

Jim White (Ray Abramsohn) and his wife Emily (Elena Shuber) are staying in the Walt Disney World Contemporary Hotel and it’s the last day of their vacation when he gets a call from his boss informing him he has been fired. Jim sets his mind to having one more great day, so he decides not to tell anyone the news. They head off to spend the day in the park when Jim’s mind starts to slip and he gets badly sidetracked as everything seems to have changed. He’s attracted to two pretty french girls, but much more intrigue follows as it turns into a day from hell at the parks.

This indie film is a real piece of work! There are a number of things going on here. What to do if you’re going to make a pseudo horror film at Disney World? Well, the first thing you do is hire a lawyer. They got a really good one who is an expert in copyright law. First of all he assured them this film was protected because it’s satire. Secondly he advised them to not use a scrap of Disney music in the film. Then to get the background shots they made hundreds of trips to Disneyland mostly, but also Epcot and some areas around Walt Disney World. One of the side pleasures of this movie is figuring out which ones are filmed in which park. Then the actors and filmmaker went to the parks over and over again to steal the pirated shots inside the parks and on the rides. At one point, to get some of the scenes on It’s a Small World, they had the cast keep going back around and getting in line again, twelve times. They acted out all the scenes in the parks (and in front of green screens in some cases) with real people, and real Disney security all around. They planned to film the most critical scenes first, knowing that the whole bunch could have been tossed out and banned permanently at any moment. There are two commentary tracks on the DVD, and I will mention the second in a bit, but on the first track the director discusses the processes they went through to pirate this movie inside the parks. It was a challenge, but they were really only busted one time, and the story is on the commentary track, along with a lot of others.

As to the film. First, it’s black and white which is a bit unnerving in 2013. It’s got a “Night of the Living Dead” kind of creepy feel to it. It is certainly an “experimental” indie kind of film. There is a regular story to it, and it’s not so much horror as confusion and insanity to it, and some of the stuff that happens if soooo far out there, that you will wonder what they were really thinking. There are some very strange happenings here. I gave this film a 4 star rating because I was impressed with the weirdness of this film. It’s certainly not like any other. Many people expect it to be an attack on Disney. It’s not that at all, in my opinion. As a Dad, I know that a trip to the World can be a really stressful time, and this kind of bad news on the morning of the last day could make anyone snap! I’m not sure what’s real and what actually was in his twisted mind, but certainly it doesn’t matter as he’s lost his marbles, that’s for sure. The score is excellent, done to make is certainly sound like Disney without being Disney. If you think It’s a Small World is mind breaking after a while…..you gotta hear this film’s version. The nyah-nyah-nyah is downright impossible to wrap your mind around.

To finish the experience, the 2nd commentary track are Ray and Elena in character as Jim and Emily, settling in at home for a date night in. The kids are out with a relative, and they have rented a film to watch. It turns out that the movie they chose to watch was “Escape From Tomorrow” which is THEIR VACATION PICTURES taken by someone they didn’t know. So they are excited and flabbergasted to see that their vacation was so completely documented for them, but when Emily sees some of the parts that we saw, but she was not present for when it happened, she found out what Jim was up to during his long absences, and it comes as a shock to her. Being very wifely she attacks him for the way he looks at the French Girls, and acts like any wife would, getting more and more angry. I watched this film three times in one day. First I watched the movie, then I watched with the Directors commentary to find out how they managed to get this on film without being arrested. They actually told everyone to try to see it at the first showing at 8:00 at Sundance when it premiered because they were really never sure it would ever been seen again once Disney found out about it. But their lawyer was right, and no attack from Disney Legal ever materialized. Finally I watched it the third time with the second commentary track and saw the whole story in a new light with the actors portraying the characters watching this for the first time after having lived through it.

This film is going to do several things. Some people will love it for art’s sake and for the quirkiness of the story. Some people will deem it stupid, a waste of time, and recommend not watching it at all costs. The third group are Disney maniacal followers who are the ones that protest every time something Walt built is taken down for something new. They want Disneyland to stay the same as they remembered it as a child and are fanatically opposed to anything that might show a darker side to the beloved spot. Obviously I enjoyed the experience very much, as I watched it three times in a row. I enjoyed this a lot, but I understand it isn’t for everybody. If you are interested in the experience, for sure give it a chance.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Indian Paintbrush, American Empirical Pictures, Moonrise,

Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel

Sam (Jared Gilman) is a Khaki Scout of on an island in New England at a scout camp. Suzy (Kara Hayward) is a lonely girl who loves to read and looks at life through binoculars. The two of them decide to set off on an adventure and run away to follow an old trail around the island setting of a panic among the scout troop run by Scout Master Ward (Ed Norton) and with the town folk lead by Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). The two decide to elope and get married while an epic storm bears down on the island.

This film by Wes Anderson is, like all of his film is kind of weird. For this reason, even though it’s still in theaters, it’s kind of hard to find and did not get really wide release. But it’s definitely a worthwhile film. It reminds me a lot of the Lemony Snickett’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” or Louis Sacher’s “Wayside school” series of books. It’s very quirky and was made in the same manner. Shot on 16mm film, it’s got a real weird vibe to it. But it’s a really cute growing up film, and a touching romance between these two young people. It’s puppy love at it’s best with a great cast and a sweet story.

The film is set in the year 1965 although it could be almost anytime. It’s set on a fictional island, and the colors are drab and brown and beige through most of the film (with a few exceptions) which adds to the mood a lot. Though very strange, it feels oddly comfortable in a way. Throughout the story Suzy reads from her collection of children’s books, and it feels as though the kids are living their own children’s book as the pass through this adventure.

Now this film is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s a given. A lot of people will hate it. But if you’ve got an interest in a very off-beat unusual movie with a harmless story of innocence, this is it. If you liked Polar Express or Where the Wild Things Are, this is very similar in feel to both of those films. For me, I enjoyed it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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BBC Scotland, Creative Scotland, Head Gear Films,

Simona Mauriello, Claire Greaney, Suzanne Coyle, Brogan McKay, Julia O’Rourke, John Whitehurst, Joe Bitter, John Carey, Sandun Verschoor

Jig is a documentary looking at the preparation for, and performance at the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships. From small kids just starting out, to near professional older teens, these kids work day and night to perfect their skills in the precise footwork it takes to compete in the World Championships. Irish dance is a unique performance art, depending all on the footwork, and it is a grueling sport. We look closely at the people who are fierce competitors. We see the extreme love they have for the sport as well as the sacrifice, pain, and suffering they go through to perfect their game. Each of the characters has his or her own story, and their situations are different. This is a look at the championships start to finish.

This is a well shot story, and very good if you’re interested in Irish dancing. However, if you’re not, there’s not much else here. There is a fair amount of suspense over who will win. It’s especially interesting watching the little girls compete. But they don’t ever explain the scoring system in the least, and it’s very weird. There is a whole page of numbers, and the scores are like, 27, 6, 1215, 82. I watched the tense contestants waiting as the scores were read, and they would suddenly erupt like they knew they won, while I had no clue what was going on. In other sports like gymnastics, figure skating, and the like, the announcers tell us the basics of the scoring system and it’s fairly simple. “Sally needs at least a 127 to take first place” In this sport, it could have used a little bit of explanation. Otherwise, there’s no real suspense or excitement. The dancing is very good, and the people are interesting, for sure, but it’s just no captivating unless you’re into the dancing. So beware if you’re not interested in a dancing documentary, as you could be bored to tears if you’re not. But if you are, this is a great way to learn the basic requirements of Irish dancing.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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