Friday, May 14, 2010

Recent DVD Releases and Recommendations

New Moon

Released: 2009

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New Moon

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Anna Kendrick, Justin Chon, Taylor Lautner, Jackson Rathbone,

4-stars

The Lovely Bones

Released: 2009

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The Lovely Bones

Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli, Rose McIver, Reece Ritchie, Nikki SooHoo,

2half-stars

My review

Where the Wild Things Are

Released: 2009

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Where the Wild Things Are

Max Records, Max Pfeifer, Joshua Jay, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Dano,

4-stars

A Serious Man

Released: 2009

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A Serious Man

Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed, Aaron Wolff, Peter Breitmayer, David Kang, Jack Swiler,

3half-stars

The Black Balloon

Released: 2008

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The Black Balloon

Rhys Wakefield, Toni Collette, Gemma Ward, Sam Fraser, Oliver Brookes, Bradley Orford,

4-stars



Released: 2012

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John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Liam James, Zlatko Buric,

2half-stars

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Movie Review: The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli

Released: 2010

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The Book of Eli is a fascinating movie: action, adventure, drama, thriller, western, with a bit of religion (actually, quite a large bit) thrown in.

The Book of Eli is the post-apocalyptic story of Eli (Denzel Washington) who journeys across America to deliver a sacred book that contains advice on the salvation of humanity.

I really enjoyed The Book of Eli. Not only was it entertaining, but it actually had lots of subtle allusions to religious (read Christian) and philosophical ideas. One of the central set pieces, for example, is an obvious reference to the death and resurrection of Christ — with Eli as the Christ-figure. There is plenty of tense action as Eli defends himself from characters who have sunk to crimes of survival and opportunism in the wake of the devastated land. And it gets pretty violent at times.

The second act of the story draws on a whole range of western-movie clich├ęs made fresh by placing the story in a new context. Carnegie (Gary Oldman) has taken over a town and is using his henchmen to go out and rob people of books, hoping to find the legendary sacred book that Eli happens to carry. When Carnegie realises Eli may have the book, he uses all the foul means he can muster to acquire it — even if it sacrifices the life of the man who is carrying it. Carnegie believes that the book will give him absolute power of the town and many others.

What is the book and what it the nature of the book? There is a very nice twist even though you might be able to predict what the book might be.

Eli The story of The Book of Eli is entertaining, tense, engaging, and thought provoking. As Roger Ebert has said, ‘… don’t talk to anyone about the film if you plan to see it.’ But do go and see it!

4-stars

Positive Review
’The film looks and feels good, and Washington's performance is the more uncanny the more we think back over it. The ‘ending is "flawed," as we critics like to say, but it's so magnificently, shamelessly, implausibly flawed that (a) it breaks apart from the movie and has a life of its own, or (b) at least it avoids being predictable.’ – Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times

Negative Review
’The Book of Eli combines the maximum in hollow piety with remorseless violence.’ – David Denby/The New Yorker

Content Advice
Some brutal violence and language

AUS: MA
USA: R

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Podcast: The Watch and the Watchmaker: Philosophy and Intelligent Design

Check out this excellent discussion with ‘a philosopher who argues that though the Intelligent Design camp is wrong, the philosophical Darwinians are not always right.’
It's an old question: could there be a watch without a watchmaker? In other words, could there be a universe without a god who made it? These days, the proponents of what is known as Intelligent Design argue that there must have been a designer and that the theory of natural selection cannot tell us how we and other animals got to be here. This week we meet a philosopher who argues that though the Intelligent Design camp is wrong, the philosophical Darwinians are not always right. (Program website)