Showing posts from 2015

Star Wars: T-Minus Two Weeks - Initial Thoughts

[Please forgive the stream of consciousness aspect to this post.] 

We are now just two weeks away from the release of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens in the US.

I've been reflecting on this event for a while now.

I was eleven years old when the original Star Wars movie (now branded as Episode 4: A New Hope) was released and I saw it, that first, fateful summer of 1977.

Then in 1980, this was followed by Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. A new decade, and a darker turn, with an unbelievable (at the time) reveal.

In 1983, I had just finished my Junior year of High School, and my best friend at the time and I were among the first in line to see the conclusion of what is now seen as the "Original Trilogy," Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi. There was  no camping out at my little theater near Texarkana, Texas. In fact, when I pulled up, we were the first to arrive. But rather than starting the line, we went back and sat in the car. When others arrived, we got out of …

Two Possible Futures

Last weekend, I was able to pull off a rare treat for myself: I got to see two movies, as it was Memorial Day and I had the time.  My wife and I together went to see Tomorrowland, and then on Monday I soloed at Mad Max: Fury Road (while she went to see Age of Adeline).

The two films together are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our possible futures.  On the one hand, Tomorrowland wistfully presents us with the possibility thaht our future can be bright, hopeful and full of promise, while the latest installment (NOT reboot) of the Mad Max franchise is as far to the other side of the spectrum as one can get: dark, grim, violent, uncertain in morals or promise of a better life.

Most reviews of Tomorrowland I have seen have not been positive. They seem to focus on the positive message of the film. When I was a kid, this was the future I was promised: gleaming skyscrapers, high-speed monorails, jetpacks and flying cars.  As I grew up, I discovered post-apocalyptic entertai…

[Review] Daredevil (Marvel/Netflix TV series)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to be an unstoppable force, regularly producing films and television programs that mine the depths of their catalog. These productions feature properties that bring larger-than-life characters from the four-color pages of comic books, thus introducing these characters to a whole new audience that would never otherwise sweet foot in a comic shop. 
Since re-acquiring the Daredevil property from 20th Century Fox in 2012, Marvel has displayed a consistent ability to "get it right" when it comes to putting their properties on either the large or small screens.  A year after the rights reverted to Marvel, it was announced that they had entered into a deal with Netflix to produce a number of serious based on Marvel paperless, including Daredevil.
Two weeks ago, the thirteen episode series Daredevil premiered on Netflix, marking a major departure from other Marvel productions. The series is dark and gritty in tone, seeking to emulate a crime…

Why Geekklesia

I'm always thinking about what I want to say here as well as over at the Facebook and Google + companion page for this site. But I don't limit myself to just the what; I also think about the why.  Why do I seek to post nuggets of interest (perhaps only of interest to me), and look for ways that these nuggets can illustrate spiritual truth?

I think it is because we live in an essentially pagan culture. And by pagan, I mean a culture that is biblically illiterate at is core.  A culture that, for all of its technological advances, is deeply wary, even cynical, when it comes to faith.

The 21st century is in many ways like the first century: despite pockets of believers, the wider world just doesn't know.

I recently saw a meme that claimed that geeks are people for whom the details matter. I'd also add that geeks also embrace the possibilities.

According to the Bible, mankind (both male and female) were created in the image of God. We aare introduced to God in Genesis 1,…

Thoughts on Cosplay

While recuperating from my still-broken ankle, I attended Madicon 24, on the campus of James Madison University. Since I was not 100%, I wanted to at least go for a few hours on Saturday and check out the scene.  It has been 30+ years since I attended an honest-to-goodness convention, and I really wanted to see what remained the same and what had changed in the intervening years.
One feature that hadn't changed is the cosplay. Cosplay is a portmanteau mashing up the words costume and play and describing an aesthetic expression where individuals can identify with a favorite character or setting in science fiction or fantasy.
Back in 1996, BarbaraAdamsmadeheadlines when she wore a uniform based on ones featured on the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series as part of the juror pool during the Whitewater trials. When asked why, she simply said "I always wear my uniform on formal occasions."
It is interesting that Ms. Adams recognized the seriousness of the event,…

[Retro Review] Unbreakable

Last week I broke my ankle slipping on some ice. Since I wasn't going anywhere for a while, I decided to catch up on a movie I hasn't seen when it first came out, but one I had heard many good things about. That movie was M. Night Shyalaman's 2000 exploration of what makes a superhero or a supervillain, Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.
WARNING! The below synopsis and analysis contains spoilers!
My initial thoughts were that in this film, every character is in some way broken. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is dealing with a personal sacrifice he made twelve years ago that has apparently limited his future. His grief over this loss leads to a restlessness that causes his relationships with his wife and son to be broken as well.
Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), unlike David, is physically broken. He has a rare condition that leads to brittle bones, which means he is highly susceptible to injury. Although deeply embittered by his condition, he is loved by…

Not As Happy A Birthday

I had been looking to this week for a few days. Friday is my birthday, and although my wife was scheduled to be out of town this week at a conference, she was due to return on Friday night, and we would be celebrating on Saturday, with a visit to an Irish pub in town.  While she was away, I thought about spending a little "me time" at my favorite big box book store just browsing.

I should have seen it coming. First, we had been pounded two weekends previously with snowstorms which forced us to cancel many of our church activities, something I really dislike doing.  I also had to learn to shovel a precariously steep driveway at our home so that we could get out when the roads were clear enough. Not once, but twice.

The second time, I didn't get as much cleared, and on Monday night (two days before my wife's trip), I slipped on a patch of ice, and went down hard. Not quite twenty years ago I severely sprained my right ankle, and thought at first that I had done the sam…