It's Lonely on the 'Moon'

Sam Bell has been the sole operator of a helium-3 mining facility on the far side of the moon for three years. Other than the occasional video message from his wife and daughter, Sam's only companion is the computer who helps him, named GERTY. When Moon begins, Sam has two weeks until his three-year contract is complete and he can go home, but before his time is up, something strange happens. That is just about all I'm going to say about the plot of Moon. You'll thank me later, if you see … [Read more...]

The Dangers of Dumb Movies

The onslaught of summer movies, most notably the critically reviled but blockbusting Transformers 2, has renewed the argument over whether or not a movie can be just good fun and still be fun. Our own Charles Jones has already weighed in on this debate, defending Transformers 2 and its' lack of any incredibly thought-provoking plot points or moral messages. He makes some excellent points in the process, and it's worth reading over his article if you haven't already.I'm one of those people that … [Read more...]

Podcast #54: Revolutionary Road and Your Online Identity

This Week: This week we talk about Revolutionary Road and the all-to-common (especially in Hollywood films) suburban existential crisis. Then, we discuss our online identities, whether it's okay to put pictures of your baby online, and more. Good fun! Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett sit back and discuss the posts of the previous week on Christ and Pop Culture, acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture, and give a sneak peak at the week ahead. We love feedback! If … [Read more...]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Already Nostalgic for Hogwarts

My enjoyment of the Harry Potter franchise, both literary and cinematic, has always been about communal experience, both the fictional community of Hogwarts and the real one of Harry Potter fans. So it’s a bittersweet realization that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the last film in which we’ll see the good old School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (until the very end of film 7½, presumably). At one point in the film, Harry says, “I never realized how beautiful this place was.” In many ways … [Read more...]

'Son of Rambow' and the Ultimate Summer Fantasy

Summer is the time for big-budget movies; it’s also apparently the season when we, in the eyes of studios, should prefer to watch escapist fantasy (not that fantasy is necessarily escapist, but studios seem to think that’s its primary value). So how about taking an hour and a half this summer to celebrate the ultimate cinematic fantasy: the dream that a community will actually recognize and embrace the talent and vision of an obscure and unlikely moviemaker? Such is the dream at the center of Son … [Read more...]

Public Enemies: Why So Serious?

By Katharine Eastvold, Guest ReviewerKatharine Eastvold lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and three children under the age of five. She holds a B.A. in political science from Princeton University.Public Enemies is one of those movies in which the good guy is actually the bad guy – and vice versa. John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) is a flamboyant and likeable Depression-era bank robber, and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), the federal agent pursuing him, espouses a troubling a … [Read more...]

Transformers 2: Not Great, but that's Not the Point

First things first: giant alien robots who know kung fu are awesome. Movies with hand-to-hand combat are usually fun, more so when sometimes the hands become red-hot swords, or canons, or shoot tiny guided missiles. I just had to get that out.Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not going to be in the running for any awards that have to do with acting, direction, or writing. There were too many low-panning shots, too much slow motion, too much sophomoric humor, and not enough social … [Read more...]

Revolutionary Road and the Myth of the Suburban Trap

“Every map is a fiction. Every map offers choices. It’s even possible to choose something beautiful." –D. J. Waldie, Holy Land: A Suburban MemoirRevolutionary Road tells a story Hollywood loves: suburbia is holding you back, its conformity is keeping you from being “yourself,” as if that self is something entirely separate from circumstance. Sam Mendes, having already dealt with contemporary American suburbia in 1999’s American Beauty, tackles the even more readily stereotyped 1950s version of … [Read more...]

Year One: Very Silly, Sometimes Thoughtful

Year One is silly. But that’s a lot of the point. The plot, characters, worldview—all take a backseat to the film’s ultimate goal:  inducing laughter.The loose plot centers upon two cavemen (played by Jack Black and Michael Cera) who are driven from their village and forced into a series of stock comedy scenarios. In the process, they encounter most of the persons and events of Genesis’ first 20 chapters. Cain’s murder of Abel, the almost sacrifice of Isaac (as well as his circumcision), and th … [Read more...]

RetroPost: Motion Picture Messages

In RetroPost, we feature a post from at least one year ago (ancient in pop culture time). The posts are featured because they have some relevance to current happenings, because they are timeless in nature and speak to a relevant issue, or because we plan on providing a follow-up in an upcoming post. This Week: The summer movie season is at full swing, and as innocent and innocuous as the various summer blockbusters may seem, they will teach us if we let them. Do we want to let them? Well, it … [Read more...]