Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First review of Brideshead Revisited

I heard about it at Standing on my Head...

A great quote from the Telegraph:

In its obsession with sex and scenery, the film has lost the elegiac, wistful quality of the novel. Worse, it has missed the chief matter of the book.

As Waugh wrote in 1960: "Its theme - the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters - was perhaps presumptuously large, but I make no apology for it."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight

For a very interesting, thoughtful take on the hot movie showing right now, see the First Things blog.

Disclaimer: I am not recommending it. I have not/will not watch it. Not my genre at all. My 13 yr old did not wish to go. I heard praises from Husband and two 14 and up sons.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Great Debaters

Althought it's rated PG-13, I allowed my whole family (aged 10 and up) to watch "The Great Debaters" last night. I was glad we did. Based on the true story of the first African-American college debate team, the drama revolves around Melvin Tolson and his Wiley College students. I was impressed how Tolson taught his debate team to stand up for themselves and use their God-given intelligence. I was impressed how James Farmer, Jr. attended college at age 14. I was impressed that he quoted from Saint Augustine in his final rebuttal agains the Harvard University national champions. But Texas in the late 1930s is still mired in Jim Crow rules and blatant racism.

*Spoilers* We skipped the bedroom scene between the Wiley College sweethearts. But I was able to narrate in whispers while playing through the lynching scene. The car-load from Wiley accidentally comes upon a mob who has just lynched a black man, and they narrowly escape back down the dirt road.

The special features include a live interview with the living members of the Wiley College debate team and Denzel Washington. An inspirational drama produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Happily, this movie shows that people of all colors can be very smart and very stupid. It opened the door for a good discussion of slavery and would work well as a follow up to a Civil War unit study. We also watched "Black Ulysses" which is an episode in "The Young Riders" DVD #2 about the underground railroad helping slaves escape in 1961.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More thoughts on WALL•E

My friend Susan P. and I took a bunch of kids to see it--as a matter of fact, there were... eleven kids in all! At $3 a kid in a small town theater, we were even able to purchase a large refillable popcorn!

We liked it and talked later about some of the pluses of the film:

  • the delightful absence of the usual and vulgar bodily noises
  • the courtship between WALL•E and Eva is pure and innocent
  • the imaginative portrayal of what humans are doing 700 years from now
  • creative "hieroglyphics-like" animation during final credits