I recently saw the Christian film “Running the Bases”. I can’t go into the plot without giving it away so this will be short. It’s a nice movie to watch if you’re bored. It’s light but dramatic. It’s family friendly. It was OK. “Running the Bases” was entertaining and watchable the way most Christian films are. However, the movie has some theological issues and has MAGA delusions.
Winter (Retro) Review: Kingdom of Heaven
“Kingdom of Heaven” is a 2005 Ridley Scott film starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons and Eva Green. “Kingdom of Heaven” is a good movie and you will enjoy it if you like these kind of movies. By that I mean historical, action packed historical dramas, involving warfare.
“Kingdom of Heaven” is about a young French widower, Balian de Ibelin who joined The Crusades in the 1100s. Balian was the illegitimate son of a nobleman Godfrey de Ibelin. Due to the high status of his father Balian was allowed in elite social circles once he reached Jerusalem. Balian became a military leader in the Christian army against Muslims in the battle for Jerusalem.
I decided to start slowly reviewing films from the early 2000s. The early 2000s was a golden era of cinema in many ways. I enjoyed “Kingdom of Heaven” both times I watched nearly twenty years apart. This movie has been on my mind recently because of current events in Israel. The fight over the Kingdom of Heaven continues.
Winter Review: M3gan
My Spoiler Policy: If the media is old or based on a book it is fair game but I will still warn you of spoilers. M3gan is a new release that is currently in theaters so I will give my review with sparse details as to not spoiling the plot.
I saw M3gan over the weekend. I recommend the film and I enjoyed it more than I expected I would. M3gan is about a nine year old girl named Cady who moves in with her career oriented Aunt Gemma who lives along and is a designer at a toy company. Aunt Gemma gave Cady a robot named M3gan (Model 3 Generative Android) as a companion. M3gan is Gemma’s creation and a prototype for a mass production of M3gans at her toy company.
The underlying theme of M3gan is that technology undermines parental authority in modern times. Institutions also challenge parental influence. A child and her toy are the center of this movie but adults can see themselves in Cady and ponder how much they are attached to technology and influenced by it.
Social media facetiously debated who is better between Chucky and M3gan. I think the better comparison is between M3gan and T-1000 from T2. M3gan is not a result of paranormal activity, demonic possession or witchcraft. She is a piece of technology with a purpose. M3gan is an action film and an old fashioned slasher movie.
Violet McGraw does great work playing Cady. Ronny Chieng did a nice job playing David, Gemma’s terrible boss at the toy company. He gave Mr. Spacely vibes throughout the film. Two actresses play M3gan. They are very talented as well. I was surprised to find out humans brought the android to life. I kind of thought it was a robot or CGI technology.
M3gan is an entertaining and thoughtful film with relevant commentary on modern society. It’s well acted and a good action and slasher film. I think you’ll be entertained by it. It’s worth your time and money if you’re looking for something to see at the theater.
Visual Book Review:. American Patriot Bible
Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood
I recently read and listened to on audio a book called “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans. Mrs. Held Evans is a young, married woman with no children who describes herself as an Evangelical Christian and modern woman. She lived for a year under Old Testament law. The book was interesting if you want to learn more about the subject matter. “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” is well researched and informative.
Rachel’s experiment was interesting. She discussed submitting to her husband, focusing on domestic duties, covering her head and not cutting her hair for the year among other thing. I don’t feel like she came to any profound conclusions at the end of the year. She didn’t reveal anything that I found to be particularly enlightening. Rachel seemed glad the year was over. The book is a fine way to pass time and I learned a bit but it wasn’t very meaningful and memorable to me.
Summer Movie Review: House of Gucci
“House of Gucci” is about the family behind the famous, high end fashion brand. It was released in November of 2021. It’s long and a bit slow in parts but overall I enjoyed it. The story spans the 70s to 90s. I enjoyed the wardrobe and soundtrack. I thought it was a story about fashion but it’s mostly a story about a tumultuous marriage and family dynamics.
The film features pop singer Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. Patrizia met Maurizio at a party in the 70s and she took a liking to him. They must have lived in a small town because she was able to find him after the party and create a meeting that seemed to Maurizio to be by chance.
The two began a relationship and Maurizio fell in love with Patrizia. The two married despite Maurizio’s disapproval. Maurizio’s family had a clothing business. They were successful despite not having the best business instincts. Patrizia came from a more modest background and had very good business instincts.
Patrizia’s instincts and under handed dealings made Gucci a very successful company. She also created tension among the Gucci family. Once Gucci became a top fashion brand Maurizio fell out of love with Patrizia and began an affair with an old flame.
Maurizio divorced Patrizia. He was very matter of fact and cold towards her but it was hard to feel sorry for her because of the way she treated Maurizio’s relatives and business partners. Patrizia thought she would be able to woo Maurizio back but she couldn’t. She became bitter and vengeful. Patrizia put a hit out on her husband with the help of her psychic advisor and friend played by Selma Hayek and had him killed.
I didn’t expect all of that from that story. I would recommend it especially if you enjoy 70s and 80s fashion and music. You’ll also learn a bit about fashion history.
Summer Movie Review: The Batman
I recently watched “The Batman”. It’s the newest installment from the Batman movie series that was released earlier this year. I’ve seen all of the Batman movies including “The Joker”. I wanted to like the movie but I didn’t.
The movie is very long and had about four or five different undeveloped plots and an undeveloped. The director was indulgent and threw in action sequences that are unnecessary and and others that are unrealistic. I understand that it’s a super hero movie but within suspended reality things need to make sense. There were gun fights in pitch darkness and an entire police precinct shooting upward on a flight of steps at Batman but no officers got shot. The writers and director probably just thought it was cool so they just threw it in.
This film had about four different underdeveloped plots. The movie just kind of meandered along. There was a kidnapping and a hostage taken, there were shootings, there were explosions and at the end there was a flood. It didn’t tie together very well.
Zoe Kravitz played Catwoman. I’m not sure she was even referred to as Catwoman in “The Batman”. I think she went by Selina Kyle throughout the story. She wasn’t very cat like and her depiction of the character was kind of flat in comparison to other actresses who played that role. Catwoman is usually over the top.
There was also an underdeveloped love story between Batman and Selina. There was a point where she kissed him and it seemed to come out of the blue. Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson didn’t have a lot of chemistry as a couple.
Paul Dano is a great actor but his talents went to waste in “The Batman”. That’s the most I can say about that. Paul played The Riddler but there really isn’t much to say about that role or Paul’s performance. His face was covered during a lot of his screen time and it was hard to understand what he was even saying.
I kind of liked Robert Pattinson as Batman. The best way to describe his performance is Emo and it works out of the bat costume. However, his vehicles and tools weren’t as cool in this movie and this version of Batman isn’t as macho as others. I think he needed more machismo in the Batman outfit. But then again I’m old and kids are different these days.
If you’re a fan of the movies or comics it may be worth it for you to watch “The Batman” but it’s not a very good movie.
Pandemic Summer: “The Heights”
I saw the musical The Heights last week. I enjoyed it. I think people that enjoy musicals will enjoy it but it’s not the greatest musical ever. Hamilton was better and I can name five musicals off the top of my head that are better than The Heights. It’s not great. It’s OK yet entertaining.
The Heights takes place in a working class, Latin, immigrant community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The film focuses the hopes for the future and struggles of the characters. The actors are nice looking, there are movie romances that follow the arc many movie romances do, there are a few laughs and dancing in the streets. The film also addresses modern concerns such as gentrification and The Dreamers.
There was some controversy about the film. Many thought the cast was whitewashed and did not accurately reflect Washington Heights New York. When I saw the commercial for The Heights I questioned the casting too. I’ve never been to Washington Heights but I would guess there are a lot more visibly Black people in that community than what is portrayed in this film based on what I’ve seen of NYC. The film itself is more diverse than the commercials promoting it.
Here is a clip from my favorite part of the movie. The woman that describes herself as Chile Dominican Rican performs my favorite minute of the movie. She’s a hoot.
The movie has a Hollywood happy ending and is very pro American and patriotic from an immigrant’s perspective. It’s lighthearted if you approach it with a light heart. If you enjoy musicals I suggest you give it a try. It not in my top five musicals but The Heights was very popular on Broadway and it made Lin Manuel Miranda famous so it may become one of your favorites.
Summer 2021 Book Review: Outwitting the Devil
I finished reading Outwitting the Devil by Napolean Hill this week. It’s not something I typically read but it was recommended to me so I gave it a chance. Outwitting the Devil kind of falls under the umbrella of self help which I don’t care for but the fictional narrative made the story enjoyable. It’s interesting and it offers a compelling perspective. The book is written from the perspective of Satan.
The book is about an interview with the devil himself. A man who goes by Mr. Earthbound, asks the devil about his tactics and strategies for deceiving mankind. To make a long story short, the Devil seeks to distract humanity by any means available. He uses our universal human weaknesses and learns our personal vulnerabilities.
Primarily he seeks to control the minds of human beings. He says that’s what we have complete control over and that’s what he wants to control. Everything else in the universe follows natural order. Human minds are the only things that can be manipulated.
Once a person’s mind is controlled by Satan it is called being in drift which is being distracted and filled with fear. He achieves further submission through hypnotic rhythm which means you an individual is stuck in a rut and has accepted their circumstances. The devil says there are only two kinds of people in the world, drifters and non drifters. The vast majority are drifters. That’s it in a nutshell.
Outwitting the Devil was written in 1938. It reminds me of the popular book and documentary The Secret from the early 2000s. I’m glad this book was recommended to me even though it borders on self help. The narrative was creative and made the book entertaining. I would recommend it.
How to Build a Girl: My Review
“How to Build a Girl” is a movie based on a novel by the same name by Caitlin Moran. The story is about a teenaged girl named Johanna who has a knack for writing. Johann lives in a working class town with her parents and four younger siblings. Her mother is suffering from postpartum depression after having twins at thirty eight. Her father is suffering from middle aged disillusionment.
After sending a sample of her writing to a music magazine Johanna lands a job reviewing bands. Her column becomes very popular and a star is born. Her success goes to her head and she changes from a bubbly girl to an arrogant and at times mean woman. The negative characteristics are what helped her to become a success.
This movie is OK. Just OK. At times I found it to be a bit unrealistic. Johanna was given a lot of freedom to only be sixteen. The story took place in the 90s in the UK so perhaps that was realistic for that place and time. But I have a hard time believing that many parents would allow their teenage daughter to travel alone to big cities to interview rock musicians.
I also found it to be far fetched how easily success came to Johanna. She became a writer after sending in one sample story and one interview. Again, that may be realistic for that era and place. It also may be realistic for a White person. However, I can not relate.
The best part about this film is the actress that plays Johanna. Her name is Beanie Feldstein and she carried the film with ease. Her role called for her to cover a wide range. She had to play innocent, awkward, and confused as well as confident mature and sexy. Beanie did all of this convincingly.
I would recommend this film if you have time to kill and you don’t mind teenage chick flicks. It’s not bad. The lead actress is charming and effective. But the plot seems a bit far fetched at times and the ending feels like an After School Special. “How to Build a Girl” is merely OK.