In the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, a spaceship landed in front of the Washington Monument to warn the people of earth that they were on the path to destruction. The problem then was the Cold War and nuclear arms race. In 2008, the remake has a space orb land in New York City and once again a humanoid-looking creature from another planet comes to earth because of another impending doom. “If the Earth dies, you die,” he says. “If you die, the Earth survives.”
Jennifer Connelly, who seems to enjoy sharing the screen with super-smart crazy guys (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Hulk”), plays Helen, a scientist brought in to try to help assess the threat level from the two beings to come out of the orb. The first would have done better to have had a scientist to assess his own threat level because as soon as it stepped out of the orb someone shot him. The second is a silent, colossus-like giant of a robot with an ominous glow through the eye-slit, standing as sentry.
Klaatu has assumed human form (Keanu Reeves) so that he can speak to the world leaders at the UN. But a suspicious Secretary of Defense (Kathy Bates) decides to treat him like a galactic terrorist, so soon Klaatu, Helen, and her stepson (Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith), are on the run. They make the obligatory visit to the Wise Man in the Woods (John Cleese, terrific as a Nobel award-winner for “altruistic biology”) and try to evade the efforts of military and law enforcement to capture them while Helen tries to demonstrate that humans are worth saving.
Director Scott Derickson is a committed Christian, and he has given the original story themes of sacrifice and redemption that will resonate with those who are open to a spiritual message. There is a reference to Noah’s Ark. Klaatu has the power to heal. He brings a dead man back to life and even walks on water. The most important themes are deeply spiritual as well, stewardship, respect for the interdependence of all things, and hope.
The Washington Area Film Critics have announced our awards for 2008. “Slumdog Millionaire,” the story of an orphan in India whose correct answers on the local version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” lead to suspicions he was cheating, won not only the top prize for best movie but also awards for direction, screenplay, and the “breakthrough” performance of its young star. Other awards went to the comeback performance by an actor whose troubled past mirrors the struggles of the character he plays (Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”), to Hollywood’s most distinguished actress (Meryl Streep in “Doubt”), and to the late Heath Ledger in this year’s biggest money-maker, “The Dark Knight”).
Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire/Fox Searchlight
Best Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Original Screenplay: Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Animated: Wall?E/Disney&Pixar
Best Documentary: Man on Wire/Magnolia Pictures
Best Foreign Film: Let the Right One In/Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing
Best Ensemble: Doubt/Miramax
Best Breakthrough: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button/Paramount
Rock Band and Guitar Hero are two of the most popular video games and many parents like them because they do not involve shooting anyone or blowing things up. Instead they encourage cooperation and build an understanding of music and harmony. But some parents are concerned by the songs, which have the usual rock and roll issues — bad language, sexism, references to sex, violence, and substance abuse.
So I was very pleased to hear about Guitar Praise, It has a song list of over 50 devotional rock tracks from groups like Flyleaf, Skillet, Stellar Kart, tobyMac, Newsboys, Petra, 12 Stones, Spoken, Whitecross, Thousand Foot Krutch, Paul Baloche, David Crowder, and Red and will be a welcome option for many families this Christmas.
Three Hundred Year-Old Actors Are Still Working Scott Feinberg talked to three actors with a combined age of 302 for The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Morison (age 100), Norman Lloyd (age 100) and Connie Sawyer (age 102) shared memories and offered tips.
All are in good health. “I ...
Trailer: Youth with Michael Caine [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c[/youtube]
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel play friends on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is ...
Worst Accents in Movies Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...
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