Not really recommended. This CGI animated story about a small town robot that wants to go to the big city and be a famous inventor was a good little cartoon with some good morals. The moral themes were pretty obvious here from the mouths of the characters: “Follow your dream, and never give up,” “a dream that you don’t fight for can haunt you the rest of your life,” and “You can shine, no matter what you’re made of” (The old tagline for the company of inventions that the hero wants to be a part of). These are simple but good inspirational morals about the value of each and every person, even the oddballs, as represented in this story by oddball robots that are made of spare parts. But it also contains a theme of comparing the modern greedy corporate exploitation of the consumer with the old school understanding of “see a need, fill a need.” As one of the robots says, “It used to be about making life better. Now, it’s about money.” The new head of the biggest company decides to abolish making spare parts for robots to fix themselves and to advertise “Why just be yourself, when you can be NEW!” or something like that. In other words, they are going to only make upgrades, and robots who can’t afford it become outmoded and are sent to the chop shop, where the villain’s evil mother destroys and burns up all such old robot pieces. She is the Hilary Clinton of the corporation. Now, this obviously has a Marxist bent to it with it’s reduction of people to poor robots being economically exploited by the rich, but it’s not all bad or entirely false. What made it so unmoving to me personally was the inherent inhumanity in robots. Even though they were anthropomorphized and even though the themes were very human, at the end of the day, these are ultimately contraptions of mechanical soullessness. I could not ultimately care for them because they are not soulish animals. No matter how much you “humanize” them, they simply aren’t alive. It’s one thing to anthropomorphize animals like Finding Nemo and Ice Age. But these are animals that have souls, living organisms that have that link with humans in their “breath of life.” But I’m sorry, robots just don’t draw my affection. They may work as comic relief, as in Star Wars, but not as a materialistic world of machines. This is another argument against Darwinism and the claim that consciousness is merely a higher order of complexity or organization of matter without transcendence. But why did Toy Story work then? I think because even though they were toys, they were toys of people (Buzz and Woody) as well as animals (Godzilla, etc.) So the few purely mechanical toys that were not of living things were clearly overshadowed by the toys of “living things.” I am not against anthropomorphism, I’m just saying that anthropomorphizing robots is not satisfying to me because the gap between lifeless robots and humans is too great to draw human affection, whereas the gap between humans and animals is not.
Recommended. I confess a morbid fascination with what went on down in that Fuehrerbunker during the last ten days of Hitler’s Germany. And this German movie delivers with brilliance and verisimilitude. Bruno Ganz as Hitler is absolutely incredibly frighteningly real. In fact, all of the men, Himmler, Goebbels, and others are eerie look alikes that accomplish the goal chillingly to the bone. The descent into madness of this titan of evil accurately portrays the irrationality of evil. When a man is so consumed with evil motive, reality will soon crush him, as it does here on Hitler. And this is one of the best Anti-evolution movies ever. As Hitler and his high men use the language of Darwin, we see the logical fruit of the atheist evolutionary worldview. They weed out the weak and unfit members of society. They trample over the people who are in the way of their pursuit of Triumph for the German people. When evolution allegedly destroys the foundation for all moral claims and truth claims by reducing reality to chance and eliminating Intelligence, then there is simply absolutely NO moral outrage that is justifiable against Nazism. If it is the strongest, then it kills the weak to further its survival. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say there is no morality or truth because of your theory and then cry “unfair” or “false” when a society lives consistently with that dictum. Who are you to impose your morality on the Germans anyway? Or to impose YOUR version of evolution? Your moral views have already been reduced to conventions of your own ignorance and chance. And your views of what evolution SHOULD BE are simply social constructs YOU created for your survival. Which is merely in competition with others’ views. And may the strongest man win. Cooperation is the morality of the weak in a consistent evolutionary worldview. That’s one complaint I had about the film: No Nietszsche references, another origin of Nazism and 20th century evil. These mealy mouthed Western evolutionists who claim there is no morality, survival of the fittest, etc. etc. and then cry like babies that societies take that belief to its logical conclusion? They complain when the Supermen move beyond good and evil? Namely the weeding out of the weak and sickly members of society for the health of the whole. So, the fact of the matter is that atheist evolution gives justification to genocide and Christianity is the only bulwark against such thinking. These antichrists who attack religion (read: Christianity) as evil and the cause of evil in this world, are so stupid not to realize that they are letting the pit bull out of the cage, and there is nothing to protect them any longer. Well, I simply say, what did you expect when you convinced people that there is no transcendent morality and hell is a fantasy and people are mere animals? Did you expect them to act morally and polite? Or according to YOUR morals? The darkness of loyalty to National Socialism as political salvation is frighteningly true to the Far Left Wing religious zealots in this country who believe that the government will save us, save the poor, save the sick, save the old, save us from ourselves. instead of us taking responsibility for our own lives. We see the young woman hero of the story follow her Fuehrer like a Monica Lewinsky, just worshipping his saviorhood, just dying to light his cigar to serve his greatness. To see the dedication to evil that occurs in those who are not dedicated to a Transcendent God, but to some political salvation was scary. Goebbels’ wife kills all five of her children because she can’t imagine them living in a world without National Socialism. It was just brutal. One saving grace of the film was how much suicide was accomplished by so many of these true believers in political salvation and National Socialism. In a twisted way, it was good to see the self-destruction that such loyalty breeds in Socialism. Made me think of the politicians dedicated to their political salvation religions rather than the living God and His Law. There are only two choices in government: Theonomy or Autonomy. If man is not ruled by God’s Law, then he will be ruled by Man’s Law, and man’s law always ends in tyranny. That made me truly frightened for my country.
Not Recommended. Chili Palmer leaves the movie business to try his hand in the music business. A couple of great jokes in this sequel to Get Shorty. Especially a great intelligent response by a Hip Hop producer to a Russian who calls him the N-word. The producer describes a litany of creative and economic influence of the black culture on the history of America – and then shoots him. On the one hand, very clever, on the other, the very problem with this story and its merchants of cool. I’m sorry, but ghetto gangsta culture is NOT COOL. It is EVIL. Its promotion of hatred, racism and violence against women and authority and violence in general, is just not worthy of be considered “cool.” And for that matter, neither is gangster and Hollywood culture. I like movies that mock those cultures, but not CELEBRATE them. And that’s why I could not enjoy this film. It seemed to have more fun with betrayal, murder, gangsters and gangstas than it did about any sense of doing the right thing. Yes, Chili Palmer is cool in that he talks his way out of most confrontations rather than using force . But HE REMAINS A CRIMINAL without repentance, and therefore is not a worthy hero to elevate or celebrate.
Recommended with Caution. A thought-provoking postmodern film that uses the questioning of reality and dreaming as a vehicle to face our mortality and make the best out of life. But it is a dark thriller, with a couple inappropriate flashes of nudity in it. Adrien Brody plays a good guy Gulf War vet who is picked up hitchhiking and has a near fatal head injury when the driver kills a cop. Brody’s character, Jack Starks, has amnesia and is framed for the shooting, and because of his amnesia and bad Gulf War experience he is labeled criminally insane and ends in an insane asylum. While there, he undergoes some rather controversial “therapy” called “the jacket” that is likened to sensory deprivation by a behavioral psychologist, Dr. Beck, played by Kris Kristofferson. But the jacket experiences in some bizarre twist of reality, enable Jack to time travel into the future, where he meets and falls in love with a girl from his past who has grown up, played with swanky hardness by Kiera Knightley. Jack’s search to discover the cause of his death in the past by researching the facts while in the future has a very fatalistic edge to it at first, but ends up with a hopeful worldview of freedom to change behavior. What I liked about this film was how it portrayed Dr. Becker, the behaviorist and physicalist, who believes that our problems are the result of chemical imbalances. This whole worldview is shown to be the darkness that it really is, and it shows the toll even on the doctor as we see him always taking drugs himself to calm himself down. In other words, behaviorism and sociobiology are slave systems for worldviews, and they deny the strength and responsibility of the human will. And guess what? They are still creeping around the halls of our institutions. I met a sociobiologist when I did research at a hospital for the criminally insane. These social engineers, these “world controllers” are nothing more than Monsters in white lab coats. Or as C.S. Lewis said, they are torturers in the name of compassion because of their worldview that defines our beliefs or behavior as resulting from our chemicals. Therefore, they must experiment with our chemicals “for our own good” to get us “better.” I just read in a Wired article about a sociobiologist criticizing 12 step programs as destructive while he offered his instant gratification chemical solution to solving addiction, entirely ignorant of the human dimension of who we are. These Nazis actually think they are helping us. As Becker says in the film to Jack that he puts him in a bizarre torture device that it is “with every intention of helping you.” Jack replies, “That justifies it?” I guess you’d call modern psychology “Compassionate Fascism.” Another thing I liked about this film was its postmodern use of questioning our notions of reality. A doctor tells Jack, that “his mind doesn’t have the ability to distinguish between reality and delusion” and yet, the reality is that THESE scientists, these modernist social engineers are the ones who are deluded in their understanding of reality. I consider that to be a profound truth about our society that worships science and it’s high priests. I also like movies like this that make us face our death because it wakes us up to what is really important in life and whether we are using our time wisely. One of the inmates says, “I’m in here because of a nervous condition. Who wouldn’t be nervous to look at themselves?” In other words, this isn’t about crazy people, it’s using crazy people as a metaphor for ourselves. After all, we are all a bit screwed up, if we are really honest with ourselves, eh? At the end, Jack says a string of things, some of which sounded like gobbledy gook, some of which I caught and appreciated. He says, “Life can only begin with the knowledge of death. When you die, there’s only one thing you want to happen. You want to come back.” Very true. As the clock ticks down to Jack’s death that he knows will happen soon, he seeks to help several others in a way that changes their lives forever for the better. And that’s what makes this otherwise dark movie into a hopefully realistic movie. Jack discovers a woman’s life is going to be lost through her own negligence and he seeks to convince her that “things are not as bad awake as they are asleep” (Another obvious metaphor to the woman’s addicted lifestyle and hardness of life). And then the very end of the movie is the phrase spoken by Jack’s love interest, “How much time do we have?” In other words, we don’t have much time, our deaths are imminent, so make the most out of this life, live it, and love others, don’t squander it. Because Jack’s interactions with people bring redemption into their lives, this movie transcends the desulatory nihilism of fate that other time travel movies sometimes promote (such as 12 Monkeys). One thing I did not like about the movie was its negative view of God that they just had to force into the dialogue. Out of the blue, this sociobiologist, Becker tells Jack, “I’ll say a prayer for you, Jack. Maybe God will pick up where medicine left off.” And Jack replies, (that is, the hero of the story), “Sure you know where to find him?” This of course is the traditional nihilism that sees the suffering universe as without God. Later, Jack finds Becker at church. He tells him, “How does that help? God doesn’t remember?” Well, this is a great line of conviction upon a man who does evil to people and tries to escape his guilt, but considering the fact that they are linking it with a bad guy, that makes it a negative indictment of Christianity, not merely abused religion. Especially since the hero manifested his negative attitude toward God. If you don’t portray good religion in a story, just bad religion, then you are saying there is no good religion. The irony is that it should have been the other way around. The hero should have had some kind of religious faith in the dignity and freedom of man – because THIS IS THE ONLY LEGITIMATE OPPOSING BELIEF SYSTEM to the secular humanistic vision of behaviorism. Christianity is the only worldview that gives humanity dignity and value. It was not consistent with Becker’s belief system to go to church because sociobiology has no place for religious beliefs as truth. To them, it is a chemical abberation. The only way that would have worked would be to make the hero a man of faith somehow, so that the villain’s hypocritical pursuit of religious atonement becomes a validation of the truth of the opposing viewpoint, rather than just another jab at religion in general. But alas, you can only write from what you believe and if the filmmakers do not have redeeming faith, they would certainly not understand the true answer. So, it results in a humanistic work your way to heaven redemption of loving your neighbor. So, I guess it’s half true. But of course, a half-truth is still ultimately a LIE.