The new Star Wars trailer

It won’t be released until about this time next year–December 15, 2015–but a trailer has been released for Star Wars Episode 7:  The Force Returns.  The movie will pick up the story of the galaxy far, far away beginning 30 years AFTER Return of the Jedi.  It will feature some of the same actors, 30 years older, who starred in that 1983 masterpiece, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, and Carry Fisher as Leia.  The director is J. J. Abrams, which should be promising.

So as a public service for those of you who, like me, are hungry for fun movies (we saw Interstellar yesterday, which was interesting but fell way short of fun), I am posting the Star Wars 7 trailer after the jump. [Read more...]

“Vegetative” patients who respond to Hitchcock

Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been studying the brain activity of people who are in a “vegetative state.”  A recent experiment showed a classic episode, “Bang!  You’re Dead!” from Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show, directed by the master of suspense himself, to two unresponsive people with brain injuries, as well as two healthy people.  One of the “vegetables” showed identical brain responses to the healthy viewers.  After the jump, an account of the research, plus the video of the episode. [Read more...]

A Christian movie without the Christianity

A new “Left Behind” movie comes out today, this one with Nicholas Cage and big Hollywood studio connections.  But, according to Christianity Today movie critic Jackson Cuidon, this story–supposedly, like the novels and earlier movies it is based on, about the Last Days according to premillennial theology–has NO Christianity in it.  Yes, one might say that about the other renditions, but this one leaves out virtually all references to Christianity (except for a few negative ones) and is played as just another disaster movie!  And yet it’s being marketed to churches in the hopes that they will buy up big blocks of tickets!

After the jump, an excerpt from Mr. Cuidon’s review.  At the end, he gets to the real problem about how desperate Christians are to have their identity acknowledged. [Read more...]

Taking Lassie straight to merchandising

The Hollywood studio DreamWorks has the rights to Lassie, the TV show about a heroic collie that is the third longest running TV drama of all time (behind Gunsmoke and Law & Order).  But the studio thinks the character is too old-fashioned for a new TV show or movie.  So the plan is to take Lassie straight to the true goal of making movie heroes these days:  merchandising.

Finding that Lassie is still beloved, she will be making appearances on TV shows, commercials, and a host of Lassie-related products.

Do you agree that Lassie, while still popular, is unable to entertain children today?  That children have to have explosions and superheroes; otherwise, they will be “bored”?   That’s the view expressed after the jump. [Read more...]

Death of a Lutheran saint. . .

. . .and sinner too of course, but Norwegian Bishop Børre Knudsen lived a life of faith and of love and service to his neighbor that even his enemies have come to respect.  He was the foremost pro-life activist in Norway.  He also battled the state church positions on homosexuality and women’s ordination and was the force behind the confessional “Norwegian Church in Exile.”  When he could no longer accept the teachings and practice of the state church, he refused his state salary but continued his ministry!  Learn more after the jump. [Read more...]

A true comic book movie

After lamenting the state of summer movies, we finally saw one that was just right for the season:  The Guardians of the Galaxy.  And finally, a comic book movie that has the feel of a comic book.  It is exuberant science fiction fantasy with Marvel’s trademark witty dialogue and off-the-wall but highly individualized and engaging characters.  (Here we have the 1970s-obsessed human, Star-Lord, a tree creature of few words [those being "I am Groot"], the eloquent but literal-minded Drax the Destroyer, a green girl named Gamora, and Rocket, a wise-cracking raccoon.)  Yes, it has its tedious havoc and a grandiose story-line like a series in a comic book, but it also has the visual panache of comic art and the quality of comic books that I remember from my childhood as fun. [Read more...]