This is the One Minute Review of The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann brings his unique sensibility to one of the great American novels. Does he bring Gatsby to life, or suck the life right out of it? After you’ve checked out this review, got to www.OneMinuteReview.com for reviews of Iron Man 3, Mud, and much more.
It seems that the summer blockbuster season is already upon us with Tom Cruise’s sci-fi/action/mystery flick Oblivion. It looks like it could be pretty good, or pretty bad. But you’re in luck! Thomas McKenzie took the leap of faith and checked it out for you. He also saw The Place Beyond the Pines and some other films, all of which you hear more about at www.OneMinuteReview.com
The Jackie Robinson biopic 42 is out in theaters. It definitely looks inspiring. Is it? Is it more than that?
Last night I saw it on Twitter: “Brennan Manning has died.” His death has been coming for quite some time now. I’ve been expecting it. However, I questioned the news initially, not having seen any legitimate source for the information (an obituary, a news article, his website, or his Facebook page). But this morning it was confirmed on his website.
If his recent autobiography is correct, Brennan’s drinking killed him. Depending on how you view alcoholism, Brennan was either the victim of a terrible disease, or he was just a lush. In any case he made a long habit of lying (at least through omission) about his condition. That, by the way, is a symptom of the disease. He was a victim and a perpetrator, a liar and a sufferer, a vow breaker and a people pleaser. He was no plaster saint, no image on a holy card, no bearer of hagiography.
Brennan Manning was a man who loved Jesus and, most importantly, was beloved of Jesus. He was a sinner but a forgiven one. He was a liar who spoke the truth. He was a broken vessel, a jar made of clay, who nonetheless bore the Good News of Jesus Christ to millions—myself included.
Brennan Manning taught me the Gospel. If I have ever shared the love of Jesus with you, you can be sure that Brennan was partly to blame. If I have ever pointed anyone to kindness, forgiveness, or hope, you can be sure that Brennan’s words helped to form my message. Though I only met him twice, he was one of my most important mentors in the faith. Now he joins most of those mentors in glory.
I commend to your reading the treasures Brennan left to us. Abba’s Child and Ruthless Trust are my favorites, but The Ragamuffin Gospel was his best-known work. If you read him, please remember that the Holy Spirit is working through him in spite of all his personal failings. Thank God, because that’s how He works in all of us.
You know March is a bad month for movies when I end up seeing Olympus Has Fallen. But, I did see it, and I did review it. I also saw and reviewed Stoker, Side Effects, and Oz, all of which you can see at www.OneMinuteReview.com or facebook.com/oneminutereview if you are interested.
It’s March. Studios are only releasing crappy movies (witness Die Hard 5). If you go to the theater, you have your choice of a) Oscar Winners or b) garbage. Having seen all the Oscar winners, I’ve been a sad man. But then: OZ! Disney starts 2013 off with a huge, amazing, wondrous official prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It has James Franco and three terrific leading ladies (OK, two terrific leading ladies and one girl named Mila something). I took the kids on opening day, and this is what I found:
This is the One Minute Review of Amour. It’s the one Best Picture nominee I didn’t really want to see, but I bit the bullet and saw it with Matt Conner. It’s a French film about old people dying. Who wouldn’t love that?
The Academy Awards were given last night. There were NINE movies nominated for Best Picture. That’s around 25 hours of film. Instead of watching nine films, why not watch nine One Minute Reviews? You may not have seen all the movies nominated, but at least you’ll have a vague opinion about them. (But watch out, people who love Les Mis may not enjoy your company if you agree with me).
Here are the One Minute Reviews of the films nominated for Best Picture:
The Academy can nominate up to ten movies for Best Picture. You’ll notice that there are only nine this year. The one movie that was most obviously NOT nominated was The Master. Even though The Master had three acting nominations and comes from the amazing P.T. Anderson, it’s seen as an attack on Scientology. Scientology, as you probably know, has some influence in Hollywood. My review of The Master, certainly one of the best films of the year, can be found here.
Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.
This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. (from the Book of Common Prayer)
Lent begins today, on Ash Wednesday. If you live in the English or Spanish speaking world, there is a traditional Ash Wednesday service going on somewhere near you. Check with a local Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, or Episcopal church. I recommend Ash Wednesday to everyone. At our church, we have three services today: 7:30 a.m., noon, and 6:30 p.m. at 920 Caldwell Lane in Nashville.
I encourage my fellow Christians to observe Lent through whatever disciplines seem best to them. I recommend the reading of Christian spiritual books, the giving up of unnecessary comforts (alcohol, sweets, facebook, etc.), and/or the taking on of a more committed time of prayer and Bible reading. Faithful participation in Sunday morning worship is an excellent way to keep a Holy Lent as well.
Keeping Lent is designed to make more room for the Holy Spirit in your life. Keeping Lent may or may not lead to feelings of joy, sorrow, happiness, or anger. You may or may not alienate a friend, have a spiritual experience, lose weight, or feel grouchy at work. Keeping Lent will not make you more holy or beloved in the eyes of God. Keeping Lent will not save you.
Keep Lent anyway.
Because Django Unchained wasn’t controversial enough, Fr. Thomas McKenzie reviews Zero Dark Thirty. It won a Golden Globe, is it worth your time and money? Also check out reviews for Gangster Squad and Broken City at www.OneMinuteReview.com
Today we have two One Minute Reviews of Oscar-Nominated films. An odd paring, to be sure.