Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: film (page 1 of 10)

‘Lego Batman’ and the Importance of Family

Lego Batman movie poster“You can’t be a hero if you’re only thinking about yourself.” -Barbara Gordon

The team behind the 2014 surprise box office hit, The Lego Movie, had produced a fun, kid-friendly comic book movie in The Lego Batman Movie.  Will Arnett, who returns as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne, is the perfect humorless, brooding Dark Knight.

The film is full of fast-moving bricks that successfully draws on decades of Batman lore. From the 1960’s television series to Batman v. Superman, references to the Dark Knight’s multifaceted phases are made . . . . and they are brilliant! The references include the “na-na-na-na” theme song and the classic “POWS.”

The pop references do not stop there. The Joker unleashes a myriad of Warner Bros. villains onto Gotham city, who have all been chilling out in the Phantom Zone. Villains such as Voldemort, King Kong, Gremlins, Eye of Sauron, the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys, and Godzilla. These references are clearly placed for the benefit of the parents. And, so, on behalf of all parents, I say, “Thank you.”

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“Believe” and the Meaning of Christmas

believe_keyart_49bEmmy-nominated director Billy Dickson has written an endless number of family-based, faith-based scripts. Most them, however, have only collected dust.  Dickson told Jacob Sahms for ChristianCinema.com, “I had been writing family-based, faith-based scripts but they were collecting dust because people wouldn’t take a look at them. They were too soft; there weren’t enough gun fights.” His new project, Believe, seeks to be the faith-based film that crosses barriers. It has a little bit of everything. And promises to be a new Christmas classic.

The small town of Grundy, Virginia looks forward to one thing every year – the annual Christian pageant provided by the Peyton family. Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) has inherited his family’s business, and the responsibility for the Christmas pageant. The family business, however, has fallen on financial hardship, with implications of the same happening to the whole town.

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Pete’s Dragon and the Magic of Believing

The little boy wanders through the forest, alone and scared. Unsure what to do or where to go, he clings to a book about Elliot the dog. It is the only source of comfort he has. There is a wide range of dangers lurking in the darkness. Among them  lurks a little magic.

This is how Disney’s new Pete’s Dragon begins. It is gripping, demanding the audience to settle in to their seats and throw a few more pieces of popcorn in their mouths. Before the title appears on the screen, we have been introduced to the main character, a little boy named Pete, and met the mysterious creature in the woods. This magical creature shines compassion, erasing any fears we may have.

Pete_Elliot

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Do You Believe? (2015)

Do_You_Believe?_filmAfter the unexpected success of God’s Not Dead at the box-office, Christian movie-makers attempted to capitalize on this success with Do You Believe? 

The film is set in Detroit and is one of those multiple-narratives film (think Crash or Babel). There is the minister who is inspired by the challenging words of a street preacher and his carrying of a large, wooden cross. The minister and his wife take in a runaway, pregnant teenage girl. The church janitor sleeps on a bench so that a homeless mother (Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino) and her child had a warm, safe place to sleep.

The gang members, one of whom absent mindedly ends up in the church during an evening service while running away from the police. Bobby, an EMT, saves a victim from a car accident which results in a lawsuit, him being abandoned by his union, and tense moments with his wife.The victim’s wife hires a lawyer who is anti-religion and is married to a cynical doctor (Sean Astin) who refuses to accept that prayer or miracles are a thing.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

Mickeys_Christmas_CarolMickey’s Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas specials for a number of years. It is the retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic short novel, “A Christmas Carol.” It has a large number of cameos from various Disney characters. It is one of those rare animation specials where all these characters from different Disney-Verses show up in the same place. And, the animation is incredible. It is one of the last great animation specials with hand-drawn animation. It feels like a lost art today.

Obviously, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, is the main character. McDuck was actually based on Dickens’ Scrooge. Scrooge’s home was in the comics, but was in an animated film once prior to this one: 1967’s Scrooge McDuck and Money. Scrooge is a grouchy, old man who is more concerned about his money than he is the welfare of others.

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Lost Dino!

In anticipation for their new film, The Good Dinosaur, Disney invites you and your kids to look for Arlo. When you do, there is an exclusive clip from the film, which opens November 25.

Arlo is missing

Click here to find Arlo. 

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 (2015)

fa7edbd0-gb-section-mobilePhil Vischer, one half of the creative team behind VeggieTales, stepped out in faith after loosing his big dream of Big Idea productions and started Jellyfish Labs. Through this new production, he created What’s in the Bible?, which introduced kids to the character Buck Denver.

Buck is the main character in the new film from Jellyfish Labs and Phil Vischer, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9.  If you are familiar with the What’s in the Bible? series, you will recognize some of the other characters.  Buck works for the “Gospel Galaxy with Pastor Paul” television program in the call center. He spends his day answering telephones, taking orders, and sending out tote bags in exchange for donations.

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Where Hope Grows (2015)

I wrote the following review of the film “Where Hope Goes” for ScreenFish.net.

Where Hope GrowsCalvin Campbell (Kristoffer Polaha) is a former baseball player who is searching for a new purpose in life. After his formative career ended, a drinking problem began. This added to his struggles as a single father to his teenage daughter, Katie (McKaley Miller). Katie is dating a boy that Calvin knows is no good, but the more Calvin tries to steer Katie in a different direction, the wider the gap between the two becomes. While the character of Calvin is a bit of a cliche, he provides the foundation for what will be a warming tale of hope.

Everything begins to change for Calvin when he meets a young man whom everyone calls Produce.

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Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson (2015)

mickeymatsonpiratescode-smPirate’s Code is a sequel to the earlier film Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure. This time Mickey (Derek Brandon) comes face-to-face with the evil Admiral Ironsides (Frank Collison) and his gang of misfit pirates. Their goal? Destroy civilization by removing technology. Their invention, the Tesla Coil, will send out an electromagnetic pulse throughout the world, destroying every electronic device.

Mickey and his best friend Sully (Francesca DeRosa), along with the secret government organization they belong to, set out to stop the pirates from stealing the last needed part for their weapon of mass destruction.

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American Sniper (2014)

AmericanSniper_PosterNo matter where you stand on the war in Iraq debate, American Sniper is a film worth watching. I was torn when the film was released. Did we need another war film? Did we need a film before we were out of Iraq telling us whether the war was good or bad?

So I waited for the film to come out on DVD and Blu-ray, which happened this week, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

I was surprised at how good the film was. I know, I know, it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a  Leading Role (Bradley Cooper).  (It only won Best Achievement in Sound Editing). American Sniper is not an analytical film about war, instead war is the reality of the narrative. It is the story of a father, a husband, and a service man, Chris Kyle (Cooper).

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