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If At First You Don’t Succeed, by Tyler Smith

10 Aug

MISSIONARY POSITIONS (2005)
Written and Directed by: Bill Day
Starring: Craig Gross, Mike Foster

Many already know about XXX Church, the Christian website dedicated to helping the millions of men (and women) dealing with porn addiction. The site and its founders, Craig Gross and Mike Foster, have become so high profile in the modern church, one would be hard pressed to find a Christian guy, age 18-30, that hasn’t heard of the site. The supportive environment offered by XXX Church, as well as the practical accountability software, allows Christians to be more open and honest about these struggles than ever before.

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But for the Grace of God, by Tyler Smith

2 Aug

JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961)
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Written by: Abby Mann
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster

Is there anything more disturbing than when somebody tries to justify rape? Not that many people out there are doing that, but the fact that there are some men out there who blame it on the woman is both infuriating and just sad. One looks at this mindset and tries to figure out what exactly these people are thinking. How can they defend this? What is wrong with them?

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Accentuate The Positive, by Tyler Smith

1 Jun

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (2008)
Written and Directed by: Mike Leigh
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan

In these days of controversial warfare and economic downturn, who could possibly manage to be happy? This is the question posed over and over again in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky. The story is very simple. A young teacher named Poppy struggles to maintain her upbeat demeanor in the face of resentment, anger, and abuse. That may sound uninteresting to some, but Leigh approaches it as the central conflict of our time. And I think he just may be right.

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A Healthy Skepticism? by Tyler Smith

3 Apr

RELIGULOUS (2008)
Directed by: Larry Charles
Starring: Bill Maher

Two things I should say from the outset. First, I am a Christian. Second, I did not like the film Religulous. I recently told this to an atheist acquaintance of mine and he suggested that that reason I didn’t care for this unabashedly anti-religious film was because I was “in denial of the central premise.”

An interesting point. On some level, he’s right. As a Christian, there were several things I did not like about this movie. I felt both misrepresented and insulted; always a frustrating combination. However, as angry as I was as a Christian, I was absolutely livid as a film critic.

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Always Keep Your Eye On The Ball, by Tyler Smith

31 Mar

W. (2008)
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by: Stanley Weiser
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Geoffrey Wright

There is a haunting scene in Oliver Stone’s W. in which President George W. Bush is asked by a reporter what mistakes he has made during his presidency and what he has learned from said mistakes.  Bush chuckles to himself and states that he knows he’s made all kinds of mistakes.  He then, with the eyes of the press squarely on him, proceeds to rack his brain to think of what he has learned.  The scene ends with him simply choosing not to answer the question.  He then storms out of the press room, cursing the reporter for asking such a question.

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His Brother’s Keeper, by Tyler Smith

21 Mar

THE PROPOSITION (2006)
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Written by: Nick Cave
Starring: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, Danny Huston

It starts with a gunfight. A gang of drunken outlaws are holed up in a makeshift brothel, only to be confronted by local law enforcement. Some of the outlaws are gunned down, others are arrested. Chief among the survivors is Charlie Burns, a quiet, withdrawn man who doesn’t seem to have a particularly violent temperament. Until, of course, his younger brother, Mikey, is threatened; at which point Charlie employs the dead-eyed stare and careful cadence of a man of action who means business.

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When Disaster Strikes, by Tyler Smith

13 Mar

It seems like almost every week we hear of another disaster- natural or otherwise- befalling some poor, far-away country. We are aware of it largely because we are inundated with media; it’s on every front page, every network, every website. However, once this disaster becomes “old news,” it quickly drops out of view, to be replaced with whatever new thing is happening; perhaps a celebrity scandal or a political skirmish. That’s just the way it is, and to bemoan that would be to beat a horse long since dead.

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Melancholy and Infinite Sadness, by Tyler Smith

2 Mar

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (1965)
Written and Directed by: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, John Gielgud, Keith Baxter

“Melancholy.”

This is a word we’ve all heard before, I’m sure, often in association with different works of art; a song or a painting. But, what exactly does it mean?

Speaking as a person so often described as “melancholy” that, years ago, I just had to look it up, I can give you the basic ideas behind this concept.

Melancholy, first and foremost, is a sort of temperament. The melancholy is a person so in touch with his emotions, positive and negative, that he is often in danger of being controlled by them. At times, this can be great. When the melancholy is happy, he is energetic, almost euphoric. The melancholy, often being a artistic sort, will sometimes create something great when feeling like this. He can be very magnetic; everybody wants to be around him, as he often funny and welcoming.

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One Nutty Hospital, by Tyler Smith

1 Mar

TOOTSIE (1982)
Directed by: Sydney Pollack
Written by: Larry Gelbart and Don Maguire
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Charles Durning, Teri Garr

In the past, people have come up to me and commented on how few comedies there are on my DVD shelf. It is very strange, considering how much I love a good comedy. But, it’s true. Many movies on my shelf, while technically comedies, can be found in the “Drama” section of your local Blockbuster. These include Sideways, Gosford Park, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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What Is Normal? by Tyler Smith

28 Feb

FREAKS (1932)
Directed by: Tod Browning
Written by: Willis Goldbeck and Leon Gordon
Starring: Harry Earles, Leila Hyams, Henry Victor

When I say the name “Dracula,” I’m almost positive that most of you will think of an exotic European with slicked back hair, piercing eyes, and a cape. In other words, you’ll think of Bela Lugosi in the 1931 film. Even those who haven’t seen the film will think of that image. That’s how successful the movie was; seventy years later, we still picture Lugosi in that musty old castle.

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