Review: Moses (dir. Roger Young, 1995)

ABRAHAM meandered too much, and Jacob fell completely flat. Things started looking up with the epic Joseph, and now, with the brisk Moses under its belt, it would appear that ‘The Bible Collection’ has finally hit its stride.

And what a fast pace it is, too: Moses opens with a quick montage to show how this Hebrew came to grow up in the Egyptian palace and then it squeezes Exodus and Numbers into a mere three hours while skipping Leviticus and using just one or two chapters from Deuteronomy. (By way of comparison, it took seven hours for The Bible Collection’s first three videos to cover 39 chapters of Genesis.)

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Interview: Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, 1996)

Mike Leigh’s films are a paradoxical mix of tight directorial control and letting the chips fall where they may. He begins each film by gathering a cast around a basic premise, then getting the actors to improvise a storyline. But once a character’s next move has been determined, everything is scripted, rehearsed and executed with exacting precision. The result is an extremely professional work in which neither you nor the filmmakers ever quite know what’s going to happen next.

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Interview: Steven Lipscomb (Battle for the Minds, 1996)

stevelipscomb-pokerDate: October 8, 1996
Place: Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver International Film Festival

Peter T. Chattaway: You seem to have a great sense of humour, and there is precious little of it in the film. Would you say the film [Battle for the Minds] is characteristic of you in some way?

Steven Lipscomb: It’s really funny that you say that, because I think there’s actually humour all the way through this film. It’s very subtle, because of the nature of the material we’re dealing with. A guy who saw it, he’s one of the stars of Second City, called me and said that’s what he keyed on. He found that there was lots of this sardonic wit, because inside everything that’s frightening there is comedy. So I think there are lots of moments in there [like that]. I’ve never seen this with an audience; this is the first time that we will have a substantial audience to see the film. I think it does have comedic breaks. But there’s not much to laugh about in what’s going on within the religious right in America. What this tells is the story I believe moderates — and I think most people are moderates, most of us fall in the centre — and we all believe that these guys can’t win, and I think what this film does is tell the story of where they did win, and they did it in a democratic setting. In the last 16 years, they have completely taken over the Southern Baptist Convention, which is over 15,000,000 people, 40,000 churches, and now they’re using all of their power and wielding it to make us believe the way they believe.

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Hollywood may be unfair, but look at big picture

“I think all minority audiences watch movies with hope. They hope they will see what they want to see. That’s why nobody really sees the same movie.” — screenwriter Arthur Laurents

As a Christian and a film critic, I am often frustrated by the misunderstanding that exists between filmmakers and Christian watchdog organizations such as Movieguide. Yes, it is true that Christians often don’t get a fair shake in the mass media. But Christians have not done a particularly good job of assessing the situation and suggesting ways to improve things.

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Review: The Bible Collection (dir. various, 1993-1995)

Abraham, Warner Alliance, 1993, dir. Joseph Sargent.
Jacob, Warner Alliance, 1994, dir. Peter Hall.
Joseph, Warner Alliance, 1995, dir. Roger Young.

BIBLE MOVIES refer so often to “the God of our fathers” it’s surprising at first to discover just how little attention films have paid to the patriarchs.

There are several reasons for this. Most biblical life stories are made up of disconnected episodes that do not easily conform to the structure of a two- or three-hour film. Attempts to be “historically accurate” with Genesis falter since no one knows when these stories occurred; scholars have dated Abraham to anywhere between the 23rd and 14th centuries BC.

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Interview: Mike Scott (Bring ’Em All In, 1995)

PTC: Just so you know, I write for both the UBC student paper and a Christian paper as well, so I’m something of a journalistic double agent.

MS: Oh good! The more the merrier!

PTC: I saw you perform at Greenbelt in 1994. How did you find the experience?

MS: I enjoyed it. I played there because I know a guy named Martin Wroe, he’s one of the organizers. He and I are both lovers of the island Iona, and so he asked me to play and I said, “Okay.”

PTC: In last week’s Georgia Straight, it said that you liked all the religions but especially the Eastern ones. That struck me as odd, since Christianity and paganism, the two religions that figure prominently in your lyrics, are both Western ones.

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