Thursday, March 27, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
After a week in Ventura CA, and a couple days in St. George UT, I'm finally coming home. Home! I miss my bed.
But these last couple days in St. George has been interesting.
All the palm trees are dead. All of them. We theorize it was the great freeze from last November that did it, though we could be wrong.
But still, driving around it's hard not noticing all the dead palms. What's sad is that I never realized how many palm trees there are here. (I'm in St. George as I type this out on my phone.)
You don't realize what you have till its gone.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Wind Rises is Hayao Miyazaki's swan song, his final film after six decades of work. Through Miyazaki's career we've seen such films as The Cat Returns, Kiki's Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Ponyo to name a few.
And in The Wind Rises we get a little bit of everything Miyazaki: A historical film about Jiro Horikoshi, fanciful bits through dreams, commentaries about war, and beautiful nature shots carefully hand painted instead of the digital work we now see so often. True artistry.
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
In 2004, a decade ago if you believe it, The Passion of the Christ came to theaters. Living in Utah, and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon, I got caught up in the huge debate going on here. That film centering on Christ is rated R, and many Latter-Day Saints choose not to see rated R films. A few of my friends have even chosen not to view PG-13 movies. I haven't that strength!
It was a huge debate in my heart if I was going to see The Passion of the Christ. Oh, I wrestled with it! And one morning in Music Theory 101, my earphones cleverly (or deceitfully if you will) hidden under my hair, I listened to a local radio host as I worked through chord progressions on the chalk board. (I was the first to finish in the class, receiving 100%. I'll never forget it :0) The radio host was talking to a BYU professor about the film, discussing the subject matter and MPAA rating. I believe they both ended up seeing the movie.
So after much ponder and prayer I went with my family opening weekend, the theater absolutely packed with young and old alike. A quiet reverence resting in the theater as the end credits rolled. Silence all the way home as we pondered what we had just experienced. No one said anything for quite a while, which is rare for my family. We typically love picking movies apart.
A couple months ago I started seeing the trailer for Son of God in theaters, with the MPAA: PG-13. The movie looked promising, high quality, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the same people behind the incredibly successful The Bible series on the History Channel last year.
That's one of the major differences between the two films. Where in The Passion of the Christ the major conflict/opposition is Satan (the images created by this tension is haunting and powerful, particularly the scene where Christ carries his cross, Satan walking along step by step.) In this latest film Son of God, Satan was left on the cutting room floor, literally, because the man who played Satan in The Bible and therefore Son of God looks similar to Obama, which created backlash and a negative dialogue last year, taking focus away from the beautiful scenes in The Bible. Honestly I understand why the producers made this change.
Instead of the opposition of Satan we get a great view of the conflicts of the time: Pontius Pilate, his wife, the High Priest Caiaphas, and the Roman dominance in Israel. Ironically, I guess, leaving out Satan in this regard helps us view the events in a more human way, though the war raging on the other side of the veil should never be forgotten.
Also, it was beautiful watching Mary Magdalene follow along as a disciple, participating as a witness to some of the miraculous events.
In terms of the violence in Son of God, it is tamed from The Passion of the Christ, though some of the scenes are still hard to watch. The famous whipping scene from the former movie is what helped earn that film an R rating. In Son of Got we see the whipping begin, pull away to only sounds, and then a cut.
The suffering and prayer of Christ in Gethsemane is glossed over, showing only a tiny bit, shifting quite a bit of focus to the scenes on the cross. (It is in Gethsemane where Latter-Day Saints believe the atonement of Christ took place, his blood sacrifice, "and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground". Luke 22:43–44. So I was saddened not to have seen more of the garden and that great trial.) I am aware that the majority of Christians believe Christ's blood sacrifice was on the cross, and thus the long scene in the film and the reverence given therein. For children watching in the theater it may be hard to watch Christ carry his cross, and then be hung. A lot of the PG-13 elements in the film are in these moments.
I heard Roma Downey share a touching story in an interview with Hannity about the cross scene. They hired someone to clear away scorpions and snakes as they shot scenes, usually clearing away one or two. But on the morning when the production filmed the Crucifixion, 40 snakes circled the base of the cross. What a striking moment of symbolism.
I will admit that when Jesus said, "I am the one, and only Son of God," I felt a little chill, though I know many believe it. (I have a testimony that Christ is God's literal, Only Begotten Son in the flesh. And I believe I am one of God's, our Heavenly Father's, spirit daughters. But then I believe in a pre-mortality, where we all dwelt in Heaven as a family unit, with our Heavenly Parents before coming to Earth. A Heavenly Father and Mother. I am their daughter, in the spirit, as we are all God's children in the spirit. But Christ is our Heavenly Father's Only Begotten Son in the Flesh. Christ is God; One with the Father. I believe this with my whole heart.)
The Son of God is a beautiful film. The ending absolutely touching. I can't not cry when "Mary Did You Know?" is played. This is a positive, touching film on Christ's life.
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.