Monday, April 25, 2011

First Impressions: 1,001 Online Dates

As someone who hasn’t been on a “first date” in over a quarter of a century, I’m well out of the loop in understanding how people currently engage in this age-old social ritual. So, my excessive display of surprise when recently told by an old high school friend that he met his wife through a web dating service was borne out of honest ignorance. In fact, Online Dating Magazine estimates that 20 million people a month visit Internet dating sites such as eHarmony, or Zoosk.

This actually shouldn’t be all that surprising as a simple glance at the news reveals a plethora of events where the Internet plays a pivotal role ranging in importance from Rebecca Black’s rise as a pop culture star (sorta) to regime change in Egypt and Libya (maybe).

With that in mind, the writing/producing/directing team Mark L. Feinsod and Evan Leed use the popularity for this form of hooking up as the premise for 1,001 Online Dates. The independently-produced series is, appropriately enough, accessible online at:

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Special Easter Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I've always had a genuine interest in ostensibly "non-religious" films that evoke Christian imagery and yet tell a conventional story. Often, these are more insightful and less melodramatic than movies specifically about Jesus.

One of the most obvious examples is The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Klautu, the alien visitor with an important message for humanity, takes on the name of "Carpenter" while on earth. After being killed by soldiers, he is literally brought back to life amidst a flash of light. Both Hombre (1967) and Cool Hand Luke (1967) feature Christ-like anti-establishment title characters. Likewise, the grandfather (Alan Arkin) in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine is a sort of savior. Sure, he's a heroin-dealing, cocaine-using, porn fan. But his life and death function to guide the main characters out of their nihilistic Hell. After the events surrounding the cathartically chaotic beauty contest, the family returns to their van and ponders an empty linen bed sheet (shroud) which had formerly covered Arkin's corpse.

Films like those listed above perform a tricky balancing act that incorporates, to varying degrees, symbolic elements from the New Testament, such as the Resurrection (a tricky thing in real life too), while retaining a story that stands on its own.

Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) is an another example of such a film. Loaded with Christian imagery, it still holds up as a traditional Western.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Cold Calling: A Single Man

2009's A Single Man depicts the pivotal events that take place in the life of the title character on November 30, 1962.  Colin Firth is excellent as an English professor, George Falconer, who is going through a severe depression after the death of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode), eight months previously.

Through Falconer, the film explores the depths of emotions faced by individuals who are forced to deal with loss.  While other attempts to present same-sex subject matter in television and movies are often self-conscious and veer into melodrama, director Tom Ford takes a matter-of-fact approach to the relationship at center of the story. This allows the audience to empathize more with its universal themes.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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