LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

BLUE LIKE JAZZ on DVD August 8, 2012

Order The DVD From LIFEWALK! CLICK HERE!
(It’s also at Walmart, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, and likely on Mars by now.)

[I got a call from Donald Miller thanking me for my support of “Blue Like Jazz.” Yeah, that’s kind of pretty cool. Here’s a brief review of the movie.]

I expected to enjoy “Blue Like Jazz.” Yet, I must admit, after all the promotion and high hopes, I had some fear [just a teeny tiny bit] the movie might not be something I would be able to “brag” about.
After seeing the film, all fears have been laid to rest. I thought it was a great movie. My wife and I both really enjoyed it [and not just because our names are in the closing credits].
Good writing. Good production values. Good performances all the way around.
AND a great message! One I can actually get behind.

If you’ve read “Blue Like Jazz,” and listened to some old Steve Taylor records, you’ll have some idea of the creative power behind the movie. It addresses the hypocrisy of religion, while remaining very pro-faith. It’s real, raw, and avoids the clichés and pitfalls that seem inherent with most movies dealing with faith.
I will be seeing this movie again and again. We traveled a couple of hours just to see it. It was more than worth it.
Do yourself a favor: See “Blue Like Jazz.” It’s not just a movie. The background of its making, and the execution make it a piece of cinematic history.

UPDATED TRAILER with quotes from movie reviews:

READ MORE. Click Here.


DVD Special Features Include:

Audio Commentary with Author Donald Miller, Cinematographer Ben Pearson and Director Steve Taylor
Making Blue Like Jazz
Master Class: Directing Actors on Set
Deleted Shots
Photo Gallery
“Save Blue Like Jazz” Featurette
“The Cast” Featurette
“The Animator” Featurette
“This Is My Story” Featurette
“The Music” Featurette

 

The Kingdom, The Ship, and the Really Hot Days July 2, 2012

We weren’t home much over the weekend.
There were some pretty bad storms, and we lost power Friday afternoon.  As of now (Monday) our power is STILL out!
This during some record-breaking heat.
We stayed one night with our son’s family.
We also spent a LOT of time in stores, at the mall, in restaurants, and sitting in coffee shops.
And we went to the movies.
Two of them.

One was “Battleship.”

We figured it would be watchable, but didn’t really expect much. Turns out, we thought it was pretty good!
So much for Rotten Tomatoes. More and more I find their reviews unreliable.
I miss Gene Siskel.
Anyway, it was great to see Peter Berg, Taylor Kitsch, and Jesse Plemons working together again. Hamish Linklater provided additional comic relief.  It also starred Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and  the always working Liam Neeson.  It was, as seems to be the norm, a bit too long, but Berg and the actors delivered the requisite “humanity” it takes to make a movie like this worth watching.


We also saw a movie neither of us had heard of before:

“Moonrise Kingdom.”
It was playing at the mainstream theaters, and is now, appropriately, at the local Cinema Center.
It introduced us to young stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.
It also had a star-filled cast, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, and Tilda Swinton.
We didn’t really know, even after reading the description, what to expect.  What we got was one of the most quirky, off-beat, and unusual films we’ve seen in the last decade.  A different kind of story, superb writing, and strange-but-great performances make Moonrise Kingdom a movie that’s in a league of it’s own.
Highly recommended.

So, not really a bad weekend.
Still, it would be nice to have electricity in our home again.

 

Conviction July 27, 2011



Amazing. Inspiring. Awesome. Unbelievable. TRUE!
My wife and I just watched “Conviction.” Wow. What a movie.
I suppose it would still have been an excellent movie as a work of fiction, but by being a true story, it’s made all the more remarkable.
Strong love, faith, perseverance, and incredible sacrifice are all on display here.

“Conviction” stars Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher.
It’s the story of Betty Anne Waters, who spends around two decades going to law school and becoming a lawyer for the sole purpose of proving her brother innocent of the murder for which he was convicted. Talk about conviction!
It’s also the story of a “justice system” that doesn’t like admitting to mistakes, as well as a story of the advent of DNA evidence and Barry Scheck’s “Innocence Project”.

Yes, there is a lot of profanity in this movie. But what is truly profane is the corruption of those who willfully twisted the facts, and procured perjury in order to get a conviction.

They don’t whitewash the fact that the man found guilty was often a short-tempered obnoxious jerk. Rockwell gives a performance that shows us a man it’s hard to be compassionate toward. But he is still a man falsely accused.
Had he been in a state where the death penalty was in effect, he would have been dead before his sister had time to exonerate him.

Hundreds of convictions have been overturned due to DNA evidence. We’ll never know how many hundreds or thousands of innocent people have been “proven” guilty but the lawyers, found guilty by the jurors, sentenced guilty by the judges, and put to death as guilty by the executioners.
There are many who think this “collateral damage” is acceptable in order to keep the death penalty in place for those they believe “deserve” it.
I am NOT among them. I’m pretty sure most of them would think differently were it their son or daughter wrongly sentenced. The possibility of even ONE person wrongly convicted and put to death is reason enough to abolish capital punishment.

All the performances in “Conviction” are top-notch. My favorite was probably the few, but excellent minutes occupied by Juliet Lewis.
I don’t recall hearing of this movie at the theaters, but I’m very glad I found it. It was time well spent.
Buy, rent, or borrow this movie.

— df

Buy the movie.  Click HERE.


Here’s a CBS news article about the real story: Read HERE.

 

Iron Man 2 May 8, 2010

My wife and I just saw “Iron Man 2”

This is one of those sequels that I actually liked even more than the original.
The effects were, of course, great.  But effects alone do not a good movie make.  Where this installment succeeded, like the first, is in the writing and the acting.  It has the human element.  It has heart.  It has emotion.  And, ever important, it has humor.  It has characters we can have fun with, and care about.

Downey, as expected, totally delivered.  He really is perfect for this role.  Paltrow, Johannson, and Jackson were all fine.
There was question as to whether Don Cheadle could fill the roll that Terrence Howard had in the first film.  Frankly, I didn’t miss Howard at all, and thought Cheadle was better.  Clark Gregg, always funny in “Christine,” didn’t have a lot of scenes, but he may have more in “Iron Man 3.”

Sam Rockwell gave a standout performance as Justin Hammer.  His arrogant, self-centered, spoiled brat of a man was a joy to watch.  I’ve enjoyed his nuanced performances ever since “Galaxy Quest.”

One of the biggest reasons I found this movie better than the first was the Mickey Rourke villain, “Ivan Vanko.”  In the previews, I thought his character would be one of the reasons I would like “2” a little less than the first.  Quite the opposite was true.  And Mickey fleshed out the role beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong.  I Like Jeff Bridges.  Maybe more than Rourke.  But the writing, and even the effects for this bad guy seemed more interesting, and even more believable.  (OK.  “Believable” is not a good word to bring to a discussion of a movie like this.  Nevertheless…)

Two ACDC tunes, along with one from Queen, helped the soundtrack really rock.  Hey, good music is always a plus.
And finally, let me say that just like the first movie, you’ll want to stay through the credits.

 

My (brief) review of AVATAR January 1, 2010

I saw AVATAR today.
If you see it, you really need to get to the theater. It is, for sure, a big screen experience. The cinematography is truly beautiful.
The performance-capture technology is really amazing.
At the same time, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all about special effects. It is an engaging, wonderfully told story.
I only got teary-eyed a couple of times, so I did pretty good.
It’s anti-war message, and “green politics” are in your face (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing), but it
also works as a love story, and an action movie.
My wife also enjoyed it, even though she didn’t really expect much going in.
With commercials and previews, we spent about 3 hours in our seats. It was, however, time well spent.

 

 
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