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July 26, 2007


Stephen Wall

Enjoyed the podcast with Ben McEachen and some interesting points were raised...

You both made the comment about being objective in your views when doing a film review; one of understanding the audience that the film is intending to reach, what was the purpose of the film, and other factors of importance over having a subjective view based on one's own ideals. However he then went on to mention "having a gut feel" about a film, having that "knowing in his head" about what is good or not, and also comparing the film under review with another in its genre - but that too can be subjective and based on likes and dislikes of the reviewer.

Lets take Transformers for example; both you and Ben did not really rate the film, but many people raved about it. At times I guess we don't look for content but just to be able to escape and dream a little. It was for this reason I loved Transformers - especially on the big screen, and I would watch it again despite the lack of content. So in doing a film review, I can see how it can be difficult to get passed your personal biases and give a truly objective review. Hey Todd Janis... :)

I enjoyed what Ben had to say about actors and their roles. [I speak for the entire gender when I use this term - so as not to cause upset :)] I agree that a good actor like Al Pacino, or Meg Ryan always live their part in the movie, (does that give away my age) whilst others play the part well but do not really take you into their life. I always appreciate watching an actor who can do this and I have wondered what it must be like to live around them - just to see how they manage to adjust between the character and the real person when on set. To find that distinction or to draw a line between the film and reality.

But judging on how an actor acts can also be subjective if you rely on gut feel - eg: how you feel at the time can change the way you view the film, if you are distracted whilst watching, or if in a fun mood but watching a fantastic but serious drama etc etc - The film "Brother where Art Thou?" is a great movie, but the first time I watched it I missed out on loads of the "little" quirky things that make it so good, however the second and third time I watched it, I came to appreciate the movie for what it is - so yes anyone can do these reviews as you said in the podcast, but to understand the audience the film is intending to reach can be a littler harder if you don't take the time to know how they think or what they like. That is a job on its own.

I agree music has a vastly important part to play in setting the feel or atmosphere of a movie as it does in Church. A good score really can make a movie.

Lastly I found it interesting that when the question of "faith" and the "job" were mentioned - there seemed to be a lack of confidence in Ben's conviction as to why he did what he did. I get that sense that that "Stigma" attached to Christians and the movies is still around... His demeanor changed in this part of the interview and I think you did a good job in helping him through. The wrestling to know if it was right to do what he does, and the statement he made about "not thinking about it" - show that traces of this thinking are still there. Rather him than me is all I can say.

Stephen Wall

Gosh did not realise I typed so much... opps


I found this lecture to be thought provoking in many ways. I agree with what Steven Wall posted about Ben wanting not to explore why he did what he did as a job and the hesitancy to see a career in such an industry as not incompatable with the Christian faith but as not encouragable. While I can certainly sympathize with his struggle with certain things that one has to see in order to work in this field, why is it we as Christians find it so hard to recognize God can be found in human creativity? Reviewing movies to help people make more educated choices on what they want to watch and be influenced/inspired by is perhaps a position of great advantage to the Christian, not to push films like 'Amazing Grace' and the 'Passion' down peoples throats. but to give a voice of influence from a slightly different perspective. I have nothing against Christian film, I encourage it and support it. :)
I really enjoyed what Dreu said about 'the life of brian'. Especially his parents opinion of the film. i think my parents would share the same views. however, as he stated I think that if we look at as a comedy, not degrading the One who means so much to us, rather as commenting on perhaps the not so wonderful way that we have presented Him, it may even be able to teach us something.
I wouldn't base my theology on it, nor do I think they understood what Jesus and the church stand for, but the challenge to 'mob mentality' and religion in general is valid. I am cautious if our churches promote a culture where people might follow a thong or gourd simply because a charismatic leader says that God is found there...

Cameron McDonald

To be honest I found it quite hard to pick 5 films that are my favourites. If I had to pick they would be:
1. The Passion - although so graphic and violent, I think this film really opened my eyes to the depth of the sinful human condition and also to the depth of God's love for this broken humanity. Due to my faith in Jesus, i think i engaged in the film with a different perspective to that of a non-Christian, but i think that the impact of this film almost inescapable to the viewer, not matter who they are.
2. Gladiator - I really liked the mix of action and drama intertwined in this movie.
3. The Matrix - I like this movie because it is one of the more recent movies to take a major technological step up in terms of graphics, and more than that, it presents an interesting mix between postmodernism and religion. Apart from all this, the action scenes along with the somewhat "biblical" underpinning was fantastic!
4. Blood Diamond - I was really moved by this movie in regards to the plight of the african people in war torn nations. It really struck a chord in me watching little children being stolen from their families and forced to commit atrocities. It was humbling to note the fact that the western world pays very little attention to the plight of people living in 3rd world countries.
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - I think this movie is hilarious! i find british comedy fantastic, and i think it pokes some light hearted fun at various historical events.

I found the podcast lecture very interesting. It was really helpful for me to hear about how to go about reviewing a film. It was interesting to note that so much of the review hinged off an adequate classification of genre. It seems the success or failure of a film also hinges on how well it meets the expectations of the viewers.

Understandably, it must be quite difficult sometimes to objectively approach a film and escape those expectations, which may have been created through dialogue with others who had already seen the movie, or even through reading the critics thoughts on the film.

I thought Ben brought up some thought provoking responses in regards to how he deals with watching movies that go against what he believes. It mustn't be easy, but i thought it was good to hear his views about it.

All in all it was quite an interesting interview...

Kellie Warren

My 5 Favorite films at the moment would have to be:
1. Disney movies such as Shreck, finding nemo, ice age etc. I have always been a disney cartoon fan, they have great laugh out loud moments that is just a different, more simple humor that just gives you a great laugh.
2.The legend of Zoro; Both 1 and 2. I like them for their action cross between a drama. Sword fighting is always terrific, a good old fasion fight that shows skill, and to out with the opponent.
3.The Italian Job. One of my favourite type of movies is one that shows initiative, knowledge and skill all together. To see masterminds at work and to see how their plans unfold amuses me.
4.X-Man. As well as other Super Hero movies such as Spiderman, fantastic 4 etc. Its mainly just for good intertainment. Seeing the characters do supernatural things, and their joys and struggles that go with it.
5.A Knights Tale. I love the choice of characters and the different elements that they each bring, the old fasion setting with a modern twist to it, the laugh out loud humor, and the horses (ive always liked horses).

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