It may seem a contradiction

It may seem a contradiction. I hate contradictions, but they can be useful for telling stories—as long, I suppose, it winds up one way or another, and if not, face a flat sort of ending. The contradiction I am referring to is when I posted something like “why read reviews” and then publish a review blog a few days later. I must come down one way or another or just let it linger in limbo. Why not let it linger?  Except what is one saying? Does it matter? The answer must be this: Welcome to my new review blog, Pete’s Movie Round-Up . I cover several bases be that story, ‘dodgy’ content,  theme, and artistry all fairly objectively, and also cover the human story, coming down one way or another. I may not like some ‘dodgy’ content. I endeavor to be fair, though, as much as possible , depending on how I feel about what I am watching.

 

 

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While waiting

While I was waiting for the main event, I was almost meditating like in a desert, when I heard “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

The song was over the sound system in the café section of the theatre.

It’s a U2 song. U2 were described by Time in 1987 as the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. But they aren’t really rock n’ roll. They are rock although their sound has changed tempo from album to album, even going alternative. They have never gone country.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is the most popular single from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. It was nominated for a Grammy.

Listening to it again today, I revisited the old feelings I had for the song back in 1987.

I loved singing along to it in my soul. But following the third section, which describes a love for what Jesus did, the section ends with the line, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I just couldn’t sing that.

Because I believe that what Jesus can do for someone is the beginning of a journey and not the stepping stone of a quest. Jesus satisfies the believer’s heart and sends him or her on a journey with him.

This U2 song, unfortunately, leaves me cold by the end. By the end of the third section, the song falls flat rather than resonates; I was waiting for the lyric, I have found what I’m looking for. That doesn’t fit this song.

So, where would I sit with the The Joshua Tree? It came to me today. The album’s about a quest that is barely satisfied even with knowledge about what Jesus has done.

I would not sit in the middle as I have always done. I would not sit on the positive. But when it comes to theme I would have to sit on the other side, on the negative.

The album sounds good musically, but looking at the lyrical facts of this album, it lacks the thrust of theme to fully satisfy, unfortunately.

I wish I could say otherwise, but I can’t. I don’t think my experience of the album is a solitary one. I think the feeling is not unusual, depending on who one is talking to.

Why even watch it?

A question, who asked it I can’t remember, but is it okay to watch and maybe like The Last King of Scotland or something like that but not review or mention it in public because you don’t want to promote it? Why watch it and like it, said the kid, if you can’t be free about it. The adult replied, but was interrupted by the kid. Why even watch it said the kid. You did watch it didn’t you? Why? The adult said I may not have liked it. So why not tell the world about it, said the kid? The kid was really looking for transparency, and wouldn’t have a clue about the matter and hoped someone did. A genuine question, a genuine seeker of truth.

Why read reviews?

Hypothetically speaking, some parting words from a film reviewer who aims to stop the movie habit except for a very few movies. Don’t know who this is, but it sounds good to me:

Reading reviews of movies are not really necessary if you’re looking for a film to see. All it requires is a little research. Go to imdb.com. Watch the trailer first. Does the trailer resonate? Does the trailer give you warning signs that it might not be as good as it wants to be? Read the premise. Does the premise sound all right? Check the parents guide. Is there anything that may shock you in it? We may not need film reviews at all if we just use the information at our disposal first. Judge for yourself.

 

Trailer looks promising

This week Darkest Hour is on release in North America–it is about British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s decision to make a deal with Hitler or fight the Nazis in Western Europe, as the brilliant trailer reveals. Gary Oldman as Churchill is riveting and another good looking production from director Joe Wright. A must-see. View trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pNOCzV5jG0

A climate for conflict

A Passage to India (1984) is a fine film, a grand and lavish epic, handsomely mounted, based on the E.M. Forster novel, published in 1924 during the days of colonial England. It’s a valuable story. The values of East and West meet romantically, but also comes with a hefty dose of realism where East and West clash. British daughter-in-law and mother-in-law travel to India to with be with her fiancé and explore this exotic country. But she is caught up in a scandal, claiming an Indian doctor, who was her escort on a day trip, violated her. Controversy erupts and the locals stand by the doctor, saying he is innocent and the British are unjust. The larger meaning is the relationship between England and colonial India. The human meaning is prejudice and fear of the unknown. A Passage to India is beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, and larger than life-like characters engage vividly and vitally. It is especially recommended for thoughtful audiences and fine film aficionados. Rating: 10/10

Slice of life cuts to the heart

Places in the Heart (1984) unwraps as a slice of life in a community of Texas in the 1930’s, it’s leisurely paced as Edna Spaulding responds to her husband’s accidental death, making her a widow, and the community also responds. She now must avoid foreclosure on her house with the help of unlikely allies. Beautifully rendered storytelling, cinematography and cast of characters. Forgiveness and facing the world with strength and resolve is in this slice of life movie. Rating: 9/10

Offside Mozart in dramatic telling

The fictional drama of an Austrian court composer’s revenge on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is scintillating, and scandalous. Composer Salieri is jealous of Mozart’s musical ability and his outlandish behavior puts him offside even more. He blames God for giving a greater gift to this “trained monkey”, as he calls Mozart, and not to himself. His confession of revenge to a Catholic priest recalls Salieri meeting Mozart and how their professional and personal relationship was tainted. The production values of Amadeus (1984) are done to the hilt—wonderful to behold, immaculate. Rating: 10/10

Making things right

The Killing Fields (1984) is, despite the title, real heart and soul, a wonderful sense of humanity in desperate places, based on a true story. A Cambodian interpreter is working with a New York Times journalist covering the conflict in Cambodia circa the 1970’s. Dith Pran, the interpreter, stays in Cambodia, as Sydney, the journalist, leaves the country. The Pol Pot regime takes over and Pran is imprisoned, but he attempts to escape the prison camp and flee to safety. Sydney is dealing with a guilty conscience over leaving Pran behind and tries to find him. The Killing Fields is done with a sense of horror at the atrocities of war and a thread of hope and humanity despite the horrors and how things can be made right. It is also a vivid recreation of that period.
Rating: 10/10

Wonderful theme for Relationships

Bebe and Cece Winans’ “Relationships” album from 1994 is more like the sense of heart and soul of their earlier albums as it’s laid to bare lyrically and soulfully. This one takes on a new theme. It is about trials and tribulations and redemption, a wonderful theme. Apart from the under-done Don’t Let Me Walk This Road Alone and the overdone We Can Make a Difference, it’s evenly spread in soft, smooth and cool, and effective even in low-key and on occasion hitting it through the roof. Rating: 8/10