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Showing posts from March, 2007

Book Review: Sex God by Rob Bell

I really enjoyed the book Sex God by Rob Bell. I can't say enough good things about this book. It is completely unique. It compares sex to spirituality. Specifically, it compares sex to having an intimate relationship with God. Bell says you can't talk about one without talking about the other. He makes a strong case, although it is not written in a linear style. He meanders from stories to conversations to scenes from the Bible to secular quotes. His writing style is very meandering.

This is what I got out of this book: Our extreme desire for sex is really a desire for a relationship with God.

Now, I can just hear people saying right now: "No, uh, I really want sex." Bell is not saying we should do without sex, but rather, sex is a physical expression of our truest desire: to be completely naked in front of someone and be unashamed; to be unconditionally loved and swallowed whole; to be connected with someone in the deepest way possible. In his chapter, Make Whoope…

Movie Review: Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green (1973)

The 1973 movie Soylent Green is often mocked for its campy look, for its overzealous actors (Charlton Heston), and its script. However, it is still a must-see for the American movie buff.

Soylent Green is set in Manhattan, New York, in 2022. The city is overcrowded. People are literally lying in the stairs, waiting for someone to die so they can have an apartment. At the beginning of the movie, we see a rather straggly young man make his way down the stairs past all the bodies. We then see this man having a private meeting with another man inside a car! This is how crowded it is. You have to meet inside a car (with open windows even) to have some privacy. The man is given a meat hook.

Next, we see one very rich man's apartment. He is obviously loaded because he has a humongous condo all to himself. No one is lying on the stairs. Rich man's mistress, named Shirl, is playing what appears to be an ancient video game. Shirl is furniture; she comes with the apartment.

Next thing we…

Book Review: London Calling by Edward Bloor

Edward Bloor is one wacky guy. He comes up with original plots, and he knows how to execute them with skillful writing. In London Calling, our protagonist is Martin Conway, a bright, unhappy 12-year old with little drive. He is a self-proclaimed hermit who prefers to live in his home's basement. Martin's nuclear family consists of an alcoholic dad that works for an airport steakhouse chain, an unhappy mother who works as a secretary at the private school Martin attends, and a sister who is a genius and works at an encyclopedia company as a fact checker.

Martin has only two friends at his private Catholic school, which is controlled by the Lowery family. The Lowery family claims that their ancestor, Hollerin' Hank Lowery, was a World War II hero. They have some money, and so the school kowtows to that family.

The current reigning Lowery loves to pick on the weak, and he makes regular sport of picking on Martin and his friends. On one such occasion, Martin's friend, Man…

Movie Review: Christopher Nolan's The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige is an enjoyable ride, which I was more than willing to take. This movie was directed by Christopher Nolan, who also directed Memento, one of my favorite movies of all time.

In The Prestige, we find out a murder has allegedly taken place. A magician on stage falls through a trapdoor into a water tank and then drowns. His supposed killer is on trial for this, even though the court has many doubts. The man who drowned willingly went into that water tank as part of a magic act. For all they know, the death was just a magic trick gone bad.

We are put into this story with no background, so we need more information.

We then learn more about the story from alternating flashbacks and scenes from the present day. The story is about rivalry, obsession, and hatred which mimics the most passionate love affair.

Two magicians, who were partners in the same magic act at one time, begin a cycle of revenge. One man wrongs another, and then the other waits patiently to one up him. Hugh Jack…

Movie Review: Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (2006)

I finally got a chance to catch Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto this week. I was completely blown away. I frequently build up a movie in my head and then see it, only to suffer bitter disappointment that it did not live up to my expectations. This was not one of those times. I will tell you up front I am not going to respond to this as some history expert who knows exactly what time and place this story is supposed to be happening during. I don’t think those details matter to the heart of this story.

What made it a great movie, was that I was transported during the 2 ½ hours that I was viewing it. I was completely into the story, even though it was longer than most movies. I read one review of this movie that said they didn’t see what Mel Gibson’s point was in making this movie. The point is shared at the beginning of the film with a quote credited to W. Durant:
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed
itself from within.”

Movie Review: Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Babel (2006)

Babel is a torrent of a movie: slow and meditative one minute and heart-pounding the next. It is a multi-perspective movie, where characters’ stories converge in a space where time and location are irrelevant. We want to scream: stop and think! But we know they won’t do either.

I can’t help feeling this movie is misnamed. Babel is an allusion to the Biblical story in Genesis 11 where the people came together as one and decided to build a tower to Heaven. In order to confound this effort, God created different languages to confuse them and make cooperation impossible. But, in this movie, most of the characters can understand each other fine. That is, they can all speak some common language when talking to the other characters in their scene. A more accurate title might be Not Thinking or I Can’t Say. Most of the characters either make a series of poor decisions or they are afraid to say what they really need or want from people. If there are any barriers, they are cultural barriers of …

Book Review: Blade Silver : Color Me Scarred by Melody Carlson

I am so glad Carlson started writing teen literature. She has done miracles through her work. Thanks to her, we are seeing a refreshing vein in young adult Christian fiction. There is now an alternative to the bland novels that Christian authors have written in the past for teens. Either we have the Lurlene McDaniel books where everybody dies, the perky Christy Miller series, or the historical fiction like Anne of Green Gables or Christy by Katherine Marshall which has little relevance for today's teen. I know that all of these have their audience, but what was missing was Christian fiction for today's teen. What teens seem to want these days is books about REAL problems they are facing daily in their schools: drugs, sexual pressure, and self-injury.

Carlson's books fill a much needed gap. I think her books could be enjoyed by Christians or non-Christians because they feature real teens with real problems told in a non-judgmental way. Each character uses their faith to he…