They Are Making a Documentary About Christian Worship Band Hillsong and We Have Details

A feature-length documentary chronicling the history and lives of one of the biggest bands in the world, Hillsong United, will be released by Alcon Entertainment and Warner Brothers on April 3, 2015. Named Hillsong – Let Hope Rise, the movie will feature concert footage and backstage glimpses of a band known around the world for their Christian worship songs.

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Trailer for ‘The Giver’ Looks Very Timely

The 1993 novel The Giver, written by Lois Lowry, is kind of the original post-apocalyptic story. It came before Divergent, before Hunger Games and in a way all of these newer novels take cues from The Giver.

Walden Media is adapting the book into a movie with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. I like the way it looks like it’s shaping up:

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“We turned disorder into harmony.” That sounds like what a lot of people want nowadays. The perfect rules. The perfect thoughts. The exact right line to tow to negate human folly and human error, to make everyone get along.

Of course, that always leads to tyranny.

So this movie looks poised to be very, very timely. I am looking forward to seeing it. It comes to theaters August 15.

Review: ‘Divergent’ Offers an Antidote to ‘Twilight’

It seems everywhere we turn these days, there’s an angst-driven but pure-hearted teen forced to fight for humanity in a darkly dystopian universe.

It started with Harry Potter, I suppose, and his fantastical battle against the Hitleresque Voldemort. Along came Ender’s Game, in which a boy is tasked with saving the world. The current reigning dystopian queen is Katniss Everdeen who takes on the Hunger Games with her trusty bow and arrow.

Divergent, based on the first of a series of books by Veronica Roth, treads much the same ground but has a completely different tone. In a post-war future, the citizens of what used to be Chicago divide into five factions. These factions are like character-based tribes, or maybe really intense fraternities.

Each faction is centered on a human strength and virtue: Abnegation values selfishness, Candor honesty, Amity kindness, Erudite knowledge, and Dauntless bravery.

Based on their personality, carefully calibrated by a personality test at 16, most people tend to fit neatly into one faction. But when Beatrice, an Abnegation teen, takes her test the results show she fits in no faction, or perhaps all of them. She’s Divergent, not easily categorized, and that makes her dangerous to the order.

There is a dark side to this arrangement, for with each virtue comes a vice. One can be brutally honest, for example, or passively kind, or viciously brave. It turns out human nature cannot be shoehorned into factions any more than it can shine in chaos.

For Beatrice, choosing a faction means keeping her dangerous secret, coming into a sense of herself, and finding an attractive boy she just might want to know better.

The adaptation of the book will make fans of the series very happy. Rising star Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice and she brings a fine mix of grit and angst to the role. Theo James as Four (yes, his name is Four) is little more than dreamy, but as the market for this movie is primarily teen girls, dreamy is just fine. There are changes to the plot of the book and to some characters, but none that matter very much. The gist of the story is the same.

The source material is quite dark, but the film manages to keep it within a PG-13 rating. Many characters die, although fewer than in the book, but the violence is safely within PG-13 limits. They use a few words, rhyming with schmich and schmassole, but very rarely.

Sexuality is another matter. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this line of books is the relationship that develops between Beatrice and her love interest. As it goes on, it grows in maturity and mutual respect, surviving misunderstandings and breaches of trust to become something quite interesting. This all starts, as most romances do, with mutual attraction, something explored in both the book and the movie. However, both characters work to reign in their desire as a sign of respect for each other and themselves. In fact, Beatrice both demands and earns respect from her young man, as well as others.

You might call her the anti-Bella.

 

She’s nothing like that vampire-girlfriend and this romance is nothing like Twilight.

That’s a good thing. However, while the attraction and restraint come through in the movie, the deeper growth of the relationship is not as apparent as in the books. Here’s hoping that they explore it a little more in the sequels, if there are sequels.

This movie suffers by comparison to The Hunger Games. It is not quite the event that Hunger Games movies are. But that does not mean it has less value in its own right.

The focus on human nature, with its glories and frailties, as well as the novel approach to love mean it’s a movie you can be confident in showing to your tween, and even tweens who are able to handle the dark thematic material. At its core, it’s edifying.

 

First Look: New ‘Divergent Trailer’ Is Finally Here (Video)

Are you looking forward to this movie? I have to say it looks pretty good. I’m intrigued. And Shailene Woodley is an amazing actress. What do you think? Yes or no?

Watch: New Hobbit Trailer Looks Fantastic

A new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey just hit the web.

I think it looks great. Anyone who has read the books knows The Hobbit covers much of the same territory (pun intended) as The Lord of the Rings, but with a lighter tone more suitable for children.

The trailer seems to have captured that tone nicely.

Director Peter Jackson is splitting the epic book into three movies. This is the first and opens December 14.

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New ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2′ Trailer: Bella is a Vampire

We’re two months and six days away from never having to talk about Twilight again

Er, um, I mean…from the premiere of the exciting final installment of the Twilight Saga.

In this just released trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Edward and Bella team up with Jacob and like minded vampires to fight the evil Volturi and save their daughter Renesmee.

Are you looking forward to the movie?

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Review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Final ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer

“There’s a storm coming,” warns catwoman (that’s Anne Hataway under the suit).

And Bane says (we can understand him this time, for a change) that he’s “Gotham’s reckoning.”

Then we have some key images, heavy with symbolism and meaning (we think):

A football field imploding.

Somebody shooting up Wall Street.

The bridges into and out of Manhattan exploding.

Prisoners rioting in the streets.

Sounds like a bad day.

Hope is lost. Faith is broken.

You’ve given these people everything, says Catwoman.

Not yet, says Batman.

 

It looks dark, so very dark. And timely, so very timely. Batman heads toward a heroic and epic end.

Plus, a flying batmobile!

See for yourself.

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Trailer for ‘The Avengers’

Did you see the commercial for “The Avengers” during the Super Bowl? Marvel has been telling the backstories of heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. Now they’re bringing them together in as the Avengers team in a movie opening May 4. Here’s the trailer and I have to say, it makes me want to see the film.


 

Back to Middle-Earth with ‘The Hobbit’ Trailer

photo from Facebook

If you’ve been missing Middle-Earth, director Peter Jackson has something to make you miss it even more.

He has just released the first trailer to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” his highly anticipated return to the Shire and adventure.

As Tolkien fans well know – and I’m sure I’ll get comments correcting any tiny details I mistake – “The Hobbit” takes place before “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and features the “there and back again” adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he joins a gaggle of dwarves on a quest to recover the gold from the dragon Smaug. The tone is much lighter than “Rings,” although many of the characters are the same and hobbit feet are just as big and hairy.

Here’s the trailer:

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Did anyone else get shivers seeing the elf city again? (Is it Rivendell? I get them mixed up. Sue me.)  How about that younger, perkier Gandalf? The dwarves look fantastic. And, of course, we meet the unfortunate Gollum, played by Andy Serkis, and his precious ring once again.

And not an orc in sight!

Sadly, we have to wait an entire year for more hobbit action, which seems like forever.

The Shire? I want to go to there.

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer: #Occupy Batman

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The National Anthem. Football. It doesn’t get more American than this. What is the statement in the new trailer just released for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Christopher Nolan directed Batman movie to be released next year?

It’s not clear yet, except it has some echoes of current economic woes.

“There’s a storm coming Mr Wayne,” whispers Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, “You’re all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

Is this #Occupy Batman? Whatever it is…it looks epic.


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