Sad though it is, man has seldom had much trouble killing his youngest fellows. If the ancient Spartans perceived any imperfection in a child, for instance, they would “expose” him, which amounted to leaving the child somewhere, perhaps a hillside, to die.
This weekend I saw Angels & Demons, the controversial film directed by Ron Howard and based on Dan Brown’s book by the same name. The movie is a sequel to the equally controversial The Da Vinci Code, also directed by Howard and written by Brown.
The tag line for the new movie The International runs: "They control your money. They control your government. They control your life. And everybody pays." This resonates with many Americans who, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, sense at some level that there is an establishment — corporate and banking elites working together to influence national and international affairs, often at odds with the best interests of the country and its people.
It has to be more than obvious to any casual observer that many marriages these days are in trouble. The high rates of separation and divorce lead one to conclude that many couples no longer respect and obey the enduring “until death do us part,” portion of their marriage vows, even though most contracted them in front of, and asked blessings from, God. It’s also glaringly obvious that some couples cannot distinguish between lust and love, entering into marriages that are doomed to failure when the lust runs out. And some are just plain in love with the idea of having a wedding, being caught up in the sights, sounds, trimmings, and festivities of the event, blind to the realities of the future: the duties, dignity, and sanctity of a life-long commitment ordained by God.
The August 21 premiere of I.O.U.S.A. in select theaters across the country included not only the film itself but a live broadcast of a panel discussion arranged by the I.O.U.S.A. sponsors. Translating the marketing euphemisms used in the discussion, Americans should brace for two proposed solutions to our debt crisis: higher payroll taxes (disguised as "automatic savings") and rationed healthcare (part of a national budget).
Nostalgia for previous Indiana Jones productions guaranteed that the fourth film in this series would be a box-office success. Starring an aging Harrison Ford, the two-hour, action-packed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull starts in Nevada, visits a mythical U.S. university, takes the viewers to Peru, and winds up back at the university where “Indy” is a professor of anthropology. Filled with an almost never-ending string of improbable escapes from capture and death, the Spielberg-Lucas production doesn’t disappoint lovers of adventure fantasies. However, its portrayal of Soviet forces as brutal savages in a major Hollywood action flick is unique.
If you’re like most alive today, you grew up with Paul R. Ehrlich’s Malthusian idea of a “population bomb.” It just seems like common sense that man will increase his numbers inexorably until, one day, we find ourselves living a real-life Soylent Green scenario, sans drama and Charlton Heston to sound that indelible alarm about the real source of a futuristic, overpopulated world’s food supply, “Soylent Green is people!”
Epic fantasy is the one genre of storytelling that Hollywood has never been able to master. Before Lord of the Rings, there was a scant handful — Willow, The Princess Bride, and Ladyhawke nearly exhaust the list for the last three decades — of live-action fantasy films that even attained cinematic mediocrity. Of these, only The Princess Bride, with its quirky one-liners and odd commingling of the modern and medieval, achieved something approaching cult appeal. Until very recently, fantasy was perceived to be box-office poison (“Never act with children or dragons” goes the adage), and filmmakers stayed away from tried-and-true literary classics like the works of Tolkien and Lewis.