Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Movie Review)

This week “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse” came out on DVD and Blu-ray, and being the DC Comics fanatic that I am, I couldn’t resist making the purchase. For awhile now, Warner has been putting out some fantastic animated movies in the DC universe. And while this one isn’t near the top of the heap, it’s still some cool action and fun in the DCU.

The story centers on Kara Zor-el, Superman’s cousin, who arrives late to earth as another survivor of Krypton’s destruction. Superman immediately takes her under his wing while Batman is of course suspicious. Wonder Woman shows up and is a little of both, demanding that she be allowed to train Kara on Paradise Island so that she will not threaten others with her poorly controlled powers. And wouldn’t you know it, cosmic baddy, Darkseid has designs on Kara as well.

The action goes from earth, to Apokalypse and back again and provides a real visual treat. Near the end we get to see some of the most explosive and epic animated DC action to grace home video. Another visual treat is the character design, which carries over original artist Michael Turner’s flavor without going overboard.

Where the movie becomes mediocre is in the voice casting and/or direction. I’ll be the first to say that I wanted Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly to reprise their animated series roles as Batman and Superman in these animated movies. But I’m amazed to say that I think I’m getting tired of them.

Daly’s voice is getting older and losing some of the clean “farmboy” quality that has made his portrayal so endearing in the past. And Conroy seems to be putting too much bark and tonal clarity in his Batman voice these days, when I’d rather hear a gruff, breathier sound that sits lower in his voice.

But the worst fit in this flick is the voice of Darkseid, as provided by Andre Braugher. Braugher received top billing for this movie, though I’m not sure why, as Batman and Superman are more prominent than Darkseid and Braugher isn’t THAT well known compared to Daly and Conroy.

In any case, his delivery sounds just like that. An actor delivering lines. No subtext and not much expression, either. It sounded read. Read well, but read just the same. Not to mention the fact that his voice just didn’t have the depth and size to fill the shoes of Darkseid. Ed Asner, who reprised his animated series role as Granny Goodness, would have been a better choice. Or perhaps Michael Dorn, who voiced Kalibak (the son of Darkseid) in the animated series. Or best of all just a good unknown that could really do it well. As it is, Braugher’s voice sounds strangely “small” and uninteresting coming from the hulking gray tower that is Darkseid.

If you haven’t read the original comic book story, there are some cool surprises and it’s fun watching Kara interact with the other characters. If you were a fan of the animated series, though, this ground will feel covered already, as it nearly was in the two-part story “Little Girl Lost”, which is actually included in this release.

The included special features are cool, as usual, and definitely add to the value. The Supergirl feature was alright, until it started showing clips from Smallville (blech!). And the New Gods documentary was insightful.

The Green Arrow short feature is okay, though Black Canary stole some screen time and I would have liked to see Oliver Queen’s skills as an archer showcased a little better.

Nothing much to talk about of philosophical value in the main feature. Kara wants to be her own person and everyone else wants her to conform to a certain way of living. So there may be a parent/child metaphor in there somewhere, but it’s not brought out at all and is easily missed.

A cool, fan-service animated movie that isn’t the best they’ve put out for the DCU, but is hardly the worst.

Quality: 8.5/10

Relevance: 5.0/10

The Package Is Away!








No, that's not code regarding my ingenious "bombing plot". The package really is away!

I just returned from delivering the Spirit Blade: Special Edition master CDs, artwork and payment to the post office, where it will start a three day journey to the manufacturers on the East Coast.

A VERY big load off of my shoulders, though the race isn't over yet. While the package is travelling, printing and travelling back, I have one or two trailers to put together and some prep work to do to have the website ready for launch. Not quite as time sensitive as sending off the project, but still stuff that has a clock ticking on it.

I'm already more than halfway finished with the main trailer, so stay tuned! I may have something for you to hear very soon!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Search Of Truth, Romans 2:17-29






Paul’s diatribe style of writing here is aimed at the worst hypothetical position a Jew could take, but it could also be applied by any Jew with a lesser degree of the thoughts Paul is condemning here. It can also be applied by “religious” people today.


As Paul has been stressing, a religious background or knowledge is not what makes a person right with God. Paul lists a number of things that may be true of someone, or that they may think are true of them. Such as: keeping scripture in mind, boasting about God, knowing God’s will, prioritizing what God values, receiving instruction from scripture, being confident in ability to lead and instruct non-believers, able to correct those with bad philosophies and teach those who are ignorant of the truth, and possessing the embodiment of knowledge and truth in scripture. (v. 17-20)


Paul is not saying that these things are bad or unimportant. They just aren’t enough to make someone right with God. A person like this must have absolute consistency in behavior as well. Those who instruct others also need instruct themselves.  As amazing as a person who really does all of these things may be, if they don’t live in perfect consistency with their professed beliefs, they will be condemned for it. (v.21-22)


When we go on and on about how great scripture is but fail to obey it, we dishonor God. (v. 23) In addition, when the Jews failed to live out the Law that God had given them, it caused non-Jews to blaspheme (speak against the reputation of) God.(v.24) The same is happening today as those who profess to be Christians (whether they are or not) live inconsistently from what they profess to believe. When unbelievers see this, it stimulates their already inherited hatred of God and gives substance and “evidence” that support their feelings.


It’s easy to think of the people who get TV or web coverage for their outlandish hypocrisy. But what about you and I in our conversations or the tone of our internet posts and e-mails? Apart from Christ, our hypocritical actions condemn us and encourage others to distance themselves from God.


Circumcision was a command given by God to the Jewish people to act as an outward “seal” of their covenant relationship with him. It was a “brand” that reminded them that God had given them a special role in service to him and that he had made unique promises of blessing to them. (See Gen. 17:10, Lev. 12:3) But this physical “brand” had no real value if the one circumcised didn’t live in consistent obedience to God. We could compare it to someone who still has the tattooed name of an old girlfriend after having broken up with her. Or a wedding ring on the hand of a cheating spouse. (v.25)


If someone who is not familiar with God’s commands ends up obeying them anyway, their very life provides evidence that condemns (the meaning here for “judge”) the religious person who lives in hypocrisy. (v.26-27)


God teaches us through Paul that being a Jew superficially is not being a real Jew. Likewise, real circumcision, a true “branding” that seals a relationship between a person and God, is performed by God’s Spirit, not written words. And it is a brand on a person’s innermost being. And the recognition of this branding is seen and acknowledged by God, not by other people. (v.28-29)


This “circumcision of the heart” was recognized, commanded and promised by the prophets of the Torah. (Lev. 26:41, Jer. 4:4; 9:25-26, Deut. 10:16)


Paul continues to paint a grim picture for humanity. Even the religious people are doomed unless they can obey all of the scripture they teach to others. In chapter 3, Paul will conclude his primary thoughts on the state of humanity and then present some “good news” about the situation.


Next Week- Did God’s plan for the Jews fail?


Coffee House Question- In what ways do you think religious people today can be like the Jews of Paul’s time? In what ways are you personally like the Jews of Paul’s time?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In Search Of Truth, Romans 2:9-16








Because of the unique role and responsibility God gave to the Jewish people, there was a tendency for them to view themselves as God’s “favorites”, immune to his judgment. But Paul makes it clear in his writing that God does not show partiality. And those of us raised in “religious” homes today can apply some of Paul’s thoughts to ourselves as well.


Those who live in opposition to God’s law will ultimately suffer for it and those who obey God’s law will ultimately be given identity, fulfillment and freedom from pain and difficulty. Both of these outcomes are applied to the Jews first, because God chose them to reveal himself to the rest of the world. (He gave them the prophets and the Messiah was born from among them.) (v.9-10)


Those who do not know God’s specific law(as revealed in the Bible) will still be judged for their sin. Those who do know God’s law will be judged by the law. In either case, everyone will be judged. No one is justified in the eyes of God just because they were raised in a certain environment or because they are very knowledgeable regarding the Bible. In the cosmic economy, we are judged by our actions, not by what we know, as Paul indicated in verse 6 and reaffirms in verse 13. If you want to justify yourself, you’ll have to pull it off by carrying out the entire law. (v.13) Having religion in your background isn’t enough.


Everyone has enough of a moral standard built into them to be eligible for judgment. As Paul says, when non-Jews (or we might apply it further by saying non-Christians) instinctively do and value things that parallel God’s instruction, they have at the very least set up their own moral system, and demonstrate the truth that God built a measure of his law into them. And even this fundamental moral understanding is enough to accuse or defend their actions when Christ evaluates them. (v.14-16)


We don’t know exactly how God will go about evaluating those who die without ever having heard of Christ. But we know that the knowledge they do have will somehow be factored into it. We also know that God is a just God, and that in the final analysis, no one will look at a decision he makes and say, “That wasn’t fair.” (2 Th. 1:5-6)


The picture looks very grim for humanity in these verses. If perfect obedience to the law is the way to justify ourselves(v.13) then we’re hopeless, because we can’t even live up to the standards we set for ourselves!(v.14-15)


Paul will continue to establish the hopeless state of humanity and our desperate need for rescue. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s one we need to face and acknowledge.


Next Week- Religious Hypocrisy


Coffee House Question-  What do you think are some of the negative tendencies that can arise in those raised in a Christian home? What are some of the advantages for those raised in Christian homes?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Devil (Movie Review)

I greatly enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan's first two films, "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable". But afterward, his films became somewhat formulaic and his "twist endings" more and more contrived or even forced. But the latest movie with his name on it seems to have taken a step back in the right direction. (Although he produced instead of directing it.)

The story centers on five people stuck in an elevator together, dealing with the fact that every time the lights mysteriously flicker out, one of them is attacked or killed horribly. Meanwhile, a police detective and building employees are working to get them out while also trying to figure out what is going on.

The movie is not a constant nail-biter, but the tension created when the attacker strikes and the paranoia of the elevator passengers is still pretty effective. There are also a couple of twists near the end which, while not truly shocking, do serve to keep an element or two unpredictable.

The movie has a nice, unsettling feeling from the very beginning, with its strange "upside down" opening credits. And shots within the elevator are often close-ups that draw viewers into the sense of claustrophobia.

There are very few digital effects, but some suitably gross gore effects. People die and die badly.

There is plenty to mull over as you walk away from this one. The setup for "Devil" asks you to assume that sometimes the Devil likes to walk the earth, gather up a few condemned people, then torture and kill them. Fairly off point from the Devil of the Bible (which the film implies its intention to portray by quoting 1st Peter at the opening of the film), making him more of a common "boogeyman" than the far more dangerous deceiver and manipulator he is more often described as. But "A", this is a Hollywood flick, so we can shrug our shoulders and move on and "B", Satan HAS been known to physically attack people, though with different motives than those in this movie. (See the book of "Job".)

Themes of sin, forgiveness and salvation (of a kind) are all present here and may come up with little conversational effort on the drive home. On the "salvation" front, a method of escaping the Devil is presented that basically involves admitting and taking responsibility for the wrongs you have done. Although this kind of "I'm sorry" salvation is still missing the vital atonement that only God, through Christ, can supply, it is still acknowledgment of one of the greatest barriers to belief in Christ. Self examination.

In order to trust a savior, you first have to acknowledge that you need one. Because we mistakenly equate our worth with our performance, we naturally avoid looking at our performance to avoid feeling worthless. But as "Devil" demonstrates, our sin makes us a target for punishment until we acknowledge it and take the necessary action to deal with it. In "Devil", this action is simply acknowledgment and genuine remorse. But the need for compensation for sin is still implied (possibly unintentionally) when the Devil asks one character, "Do you think you can do anything to make up for what you've done?" To which he answers, "No."

"Devil" is a cool movie (though not a fantastic one) that contains some important truth and lends itself to exploring some extremely valuable ideas.

Rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images, thematic material and some language, including sexual references.

Quality: 8.5/10

Relevance: 9.5/10

Final Test Listening!








Last night I began what may be the final round of test listening for the Spirit Blade Special Edition. This basically involves me listening to a single mix of the entire project on 3 or 4 different audio sources. (And yeah, if you do the math, it takes awhile.)

At this point it's nearly ready to go out to the manufacturer. After this round of test listening I will make any final tweaks and create the final version. Then I'll give it one last listen and send it out the door!

Once it's out the door, I'll have a few other things to do while I wait for it to come back, such as working with the Tech Admin for the website to get the digital downoads ready to go. I'll also be making a couple of trailers.

This weekend I'll be going camping with my family, in keeping with my unintended tradition of going on vacation during my busiest periods of work. But I'm convinced I need it and my family needs it (and needs me to have it!).You can still plan on the podcast, though. I hope to post it this Thursday night.

My aim is to have the Special Edition available no later than October 15th, but James 4:13-15 cautions me by saying,

Come now, you who say "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

So with that in mind, we'll see what God wills! If he wants it, I'll keep pumping blood and have this in your ears very soon!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, September 20, 2010

Finishing Bloopers








In Search Of Truth is being bumped to later this week again, but I can still update you on the Special Edition.

I've finished making some minor adjustments to the overall dialogue EQ and am now going through the recording sessions done specifically for the special edition to see if there are any bloopers worth adding to the original blooper reel.

My graphic designer got in touch with me yesterday to confirm forward motion on the changes to the CD case.

Once I've finished polishing the mix, I'll put together two different trailers for the project. One regular trailer and one that showcases the updates a little bit.

Stay tuned!

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Matrix We Never Saw

Although I've had it since April, today I finally started taking a look at the shooting script for "The Matrix" that I was given by some mysterious benefactor that has still not revealed themselves.

Some fascinating stuff was either left on the cutting room floor or not filmed at all in this movie. For example, it's revealed that Neo was not the first "one" Morpheus recruited and thought was the "savior of the copper tops". In fact, there were five "ones" before him that all died fighting agents!

There's also some extra dialogue that clearly claims faith and reason to be incompatible. I've gotta say I'm glad that didn't make it into the film. The undertones of that self-defeating philosophy were already strong enough in the theatrical release.

I'm about two-thirds of my way through the script and can't wait to see what else I might learn. Makes me want to get around to reading the shooting scripts that came with the DVDs for the other movies, too! (That and I suddenly have an itch to dig out my PS2 copy of "The Matrix: Path Of Neo".)

Randy Records For The Special Edition!







Just had Randy Hesson over last night to record the end credits, one line change and some promo stuff for the Special Edition. Still always fun to see "Vincent" wearing spectacles to read.

We had a good time catching up, too. I so wish you guys could see Randy onstage in his dramatic work so you could appreciate how honored I am that he continues to be willing to be in my strange little sci-fi stories.

In October, Randy and his wife will be celebrating 25 years of marriage. Congratulations, Hessons! A rare and beautiful accomplishment these days.

Well, the crunch in my timetable for this release is not letting up a bit, so I better get back to it!

Have a great weekend!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife (Movie Review)

(Mild Spoilers Below)

Although I’ve only played some of the first two video games in the “Resident Evil” series, I’ve watched all of the movies and enjoyed them for what they were,which wasn’t a lot. The same is true of the 4th movie in the series.

At the end of “Resident Evil: Extinction”, the implied promise is made that Alice and friends would finally storm the underground headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation and take them out once and for all. If you were hoping “Afterlife” would play this out and give you the closure you’ve been waiting for in this series, enjoy the first ten minutes and then leave the theater. This movie ends with yet another cliffhanger.

Rather than giving us the all out, crazy cool culmination of this series, the script practically resets the status-quo to that of the first or second movie, very early on. Alice’s T-virus powers are taken away and Umbrella is as hidden and elusive as ever. In fact, due to a particular plot element, Alice even has to “meet” Claire Redfield all over again.

Despite this disappointing downward turn in the series’ overall progression, the movie still has plenty of fun to be had for many viewers. Creature fans will enjoy the nasty looking zombies and their “tongues”, while action fans will dig the bullets, explosions and use of slow-motion, even if a few shots early on were taken directly from the Matrix movies.

The movie creates a modest degree of tension, but is not what I would consider scary. One might even say the heroes are a little too cool for their own good. Some genuine fear in their eyes would have helped quite a bit. The script also seems more interested in providing Hollywood in-jokes (bashing on film producers) and video game fan satisfaction (the use of Chris and Claire to deliver the “final blow” near the end) than it is in creating a truly compelling story.

Characters are two dimensional and unworthy of emotional investment(which hurts the intensity of the film). And the script occasionally contains elements that don’t make sense. (Why did the T-virus make one zombie put a potato bag on his head, and why bring the basketball star back for a lame one-liner?) Maybe playing all the games would answer my questions, but I don’t think I should have to do that.

I can’t think of any worthwhile discussion that this movie might lend itself to. Pure mindless genre entertainment for those with the itch to scratch.

Rated R for sequences of strong violence and language.

Quality: 7.5/10

Relevance: 5.0/10

In Search Of Truth, Romans 2:1-8


In chapter 1, Paul established that everyone has some basic
knowledge of God that they are held accountable for. There is a degree of
morality and awareness of God built into everyone that most suppress in order
to do what they want instead of what God wants. But we are all still held
accountable for the way we live because of this “built in” knowledge.


Paul begins debating with an invisible, theoretical opponent
in chapter 2. His argument is not specifically aimed at the Roman church, but
can be applied by them and us. Paul says that everyone who thinks someone is
worthy of condemnation (in their own assessment, anyway) targets themselves for
condemnation as well, because they are guilty of the same kinds of sin Paul
listed (in 1:26-32). (v.1)


We often make mistakes when we assume things about the moral
character of others. But God doesn’t make any errors in judgment. When God
evaluates someone based on their behavior, he gets it right every single time.


So those who decide others should be condemned by God for
their behavior should not think that God doesn’t see and evaluate their own sins,
whether they are obvious or secret. (v.3)


If we ever become frustrated with the sins of others,
impatient for God to condemn them, we need to remember that the same patience,
tolerance and kindness God is extending to them also leads people (including
ourselves) to turn away from our sins and move toward God. (v. 4)


When a person refuses to believe in who Christ is and what
he has done for humanity, and when they refuse to acknowledge their need for
God’s redemption, they “store up wrath” for themselves. Every moment of this kind of
arrogant rebellion is counted against them and added up for the time when
Christ will return (the meaning of “revelation” here) and perfectly and accurately
evaluate the actions of everyone. (v. 5-6)


It should be noted that verse 7 is not teaching that people
can be saved from eternal punishment by their good behavior. But a genuine
trust in Christ results in pursuing “glory”. As the original Greek is used here
for “glory”, it refers to a revealing of what something or someone truly is.
The Greek word for “honor” means “dignity” or “value”. In other words, verse 7 describes “perseverance in doing good” as the way a
person pursues true meaning, purpose and value. But faith is the assumed source
of motivation. For more on the relationship between faith and behavior, see
James 2:14-17.


Getting back to the context, Paul is saying that those who
pursue the purpose God has for them will have eternal life. The Greek word for “life”
here refers not just to “being alive”, but to having the highest and best
existence possible. (v.7)


By contrast, people who make their own agendas (and not God’s)
the highest priority and who reject the truth about God that he has made
obvious to them and instead are persuaded by ideas counter to what is right, will
be punished by God. (v.8)


Next Week- How does God judge those who haven’t heard of


Coffee House Question- What comes to mind when you think of
God’s wrath? What does God’s wrath make you think about God’s character?





Monday, September 13, 2010

Squeezing In Progress


After another surprise day of subbing I ran out of time for "In Search Of Truth". Currently, I'm trying to fit in finalizing the updated credits for the Special Edition to send over to my Graphic Designer for the new CD case.

I've also started listening to all the voice recording sessions for Spirit Blade to see if there are any "bloopers" I want to add to the reel this time.

Not much to update you on, so this is a short post. But it's just as well, 'cuz I'm short on time!

See ya!

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Search Of Truth, Romans 1:26-32



Romans 1:26-32


Earlier in this chapter (verses 21-23 and 25) Paul explains
that humans willfully make the decision to ignore what God has revealed about
himself, choosing instead to worship gods or false versions of God that they
have invented themselves.


It is because of this that God “gives people over” to
shameful desires. These “desires” are not necessarily sexual, but Paul gives
homosexuality as an example of behavior that happens when people ignore truth
and pursue their own desires instead of God’s design for our lives. (v. 26-27)


Some have suggested that the “penalty” for error in verse 27
refers to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, though this is pure
speculation and is an argument that has some noticeable weaknesses.


God is strongly committed to the free will of humanity. So
when people decide to ignore God, he allows their minds to think illogically.
In verse 28, the Greek adjective used to describe a “depraved mind” means
“undiscerning, not distinguishing and void of judgment”. The implication here
is that acknowledging and worshiping God is the natural result of logical
thinking. In order to ignore God, we have to set aside logic, which God allows
us to do if that is what we want.


Once the human mind becomes “depraved” in this way, it
naturally gravitates toward choices and actions that are not suited to God’s
design for humans. Paul uses a series of descriptive words to identify the
symptoms of this state, and I’ve made an effort to examine each of these words
in their original Greek and convey some of their meaning below to help us better see these symptoms in humanity.


In this, humanity’s default, fallen state, our minds are
filled with all kinds of thoughts that oppose God (unrighteousness). We do
things that are harmful to others (wickedness), we crave money and
“stuff”(greed), our natural impulses and thoughts are contrary to God’s will
(evil), we aren’t happy unless we have what others have in either wealth or
attributes(envy), we lose sight of the value of human life and become willing
to snuff it out if it suits our desires(murder), we are in regular conflict
with each other(strife), we misrepresent the truth in either small, subtle ways
or larger ways in order to gain or avoid something(deceit), and we assume the
worst about people, having a tainted, negative outlook(malice). (v.29)


We become people who love to “talk dirt” about others when
they aren’t around(gossips) and misrepresent each other in negative ways. We
hate hearing, talking and thinking about God(haters of God). We are
purposefully rude to others because we are entertained by the
results(insolent). We draw more attention to and think higher of ourselves than
we do others(arrogant). We find ways to verbally showcase ourselves in a
positive, and exaggerated light(boastful). We spend creative energy exploring
new ways to do things that we know God does not approve of(inventors of evil).
We’re unwilling to listen and apply the Biblical guidance of our
parents(disobedient to parents). (v.30)


We fail to understand the most important truths in
life(without understanding), we back out of things we have agreed
to(untrustworthy), we don’t love our families(unloving), and we’re unwilling to
forgive or to give people some slack(unmerciful). (v.31)


And even though we are all aware that God has absolute legal
rights over us, and we know that punishment waits for those who disobey God, we
not only continue to disobey him, but applaud the disobedient actions of


Next Week- Acknowledging Who We Are


Coffee House Question- If this kind of depravity is the
natural state of the world, why do you think “God loved the world so much that
he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will
have everlasting life”?(John 3:16)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Last Exorcism (Movie Review)

Many movies treating the subject of Exorcism inevitably draw from the well of “The Exorcist” in repetitive and uncreative ways, adding only new special effects and visuals to an already established status quo. “The Last Exorcism” certainly revisits some established concepts, but also carves a new path into the genre with its unique premise.

The movie is filmed in a documentary style, following a southern preacher who admits that his own belief in God is not genuine and that the many exorcisms he has performed were fake. He decides that exorcism should be exposed as fake and takes a camera crew with him to an exorcism in service to that end. The only problem is that this time he gets much more than he bargained for.

With a cast of unknowns, this movie is a great example of the wonderful kinds of performances that can come to life in film when a studio doesn’t limit themselves to established Hollywood faces. I found every character in this movie to be believable and fascinating to watch. Of particular note is the actress who played Nell, the 15 year old girl who is the subject of the Exorcism. Her sweetness and innocence is almost moving in and of itself and contrasts incredibly with her demon persona later in the film.

As one would expect with this style of filming, there are not a lot of special effects. Effort is made to ground things in realism and suspense is created more by what you don’t see than what you do. Those who have a fear of the unknown and like to sit on the edge of their seat may find a rewarding experience here.

That’s not to say that the film doesn’t have special effects. At least, I think it does. That, or the actress playing Nell is also an amazing contortionist! Some creepy and realistic looking body bending provides a few good spine tingles the last third of the movie.

There is plenty to talk about after seeing this movie, and I wish I could sit down with the writer and director to hear some of their thoughts about specific issues.

First off, there is no positive representation of genuine Christianity in this movie. One of the first lines out of the main character’s mouth is about how he learned from his dad how to “hook” people into his preaching and get their money. In this movie, Christianity is represented only by those who are not what they appear to be or are ignorant and superstitious.

A brief all-inclusive statement is made near the beginning of the film that “religions all over the world perform exorcisms”. And the foundational truths of Christianity are given no unique ability to combat evil. If anything, Christianity comes out of this movie looking pretty weak.

Having said that, this is not a movie that will line up with an Atheistic worldview, either. This flick provides great opportunity to talk about demons and whether or not they exist during the drive home. The main character also makes it clear near the beginning that if you are a Christian and if you believe in Jesus, you have to believe in demons, because Jesus taught that they existed and performed exorcisms. So in this respect, the movie does uphold the basic value of logical faith, as opposed to picking and choosing what we want to believe from the Bible.

During an attempted Exorcism, the preacher spouts off scripture in an attempt to ward off the demon, to which the demon mockingly replies “Words, words ,words!” Though some may see this as an invalidation of the power of God’s words, I saw it as a validation of Christ’s power and not our own. The Bible is not a magic spell-book that we can recite “incantations” from to defeat evil. It is Christ himself who defeats evil or keeps it at bay.

An odd cliché the film does fall into is the upholding of Latin as a "spiritual" language. Given that the Bible was written primarily in Hebrew and Greek, this felt like Catholic traditional baggage more than anything else. I’d love to see a movie of this kind where the demons speak in Greek or Hebrew, rather than Latin.

The preacher also uses an old Latin tome, not the Bible, as his primary informational resource about demons. He doesn’t believe in demons, but it seems to be established in the film that real Christian exorcists would validate this mysterious Latin “demon encyclopedia”. Though it is never explained why this book is considered authoritative.

Like much religious superstition, this book is given authority not because it has been tested for historical authenticity, but simply because it is old, religious, and written in a dead language. Frankly, I’m ready for Hollywood and everyone else to get over using this kind of thinking. It just doesn’t make any sense.

If you like scary/supernatural movies and don’t mind the documentary style, this is a really enjoyable flick. You’ll also likely have lots to talk and think about afterward.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material.

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 9.5/10

The "Hazards" Of Subbing


Well, my plan had been to put "In Search Of Truth" here this week, since I took Monday off. But last night I got a call to substitute teach Wednesday through Friday of this week.

One of the hazards of substitute teaching is that, even though it's a side gig, it forces me to instantly drop whatever else I have planned for at least a day and sometimes for up to a week.

All things considered, it's a great way to make a little money while running a small business. But it doesn't allow me to do much advance planning. So if you're waiting to hear from me about an e-mail or something like that, know that I haven't forgotten you (as far as I know) and add about three days to whenever you thought I might get back to you.


I'm pretty close to finishing "In Search Of Truth", so plan on seeing it here this Friday! Thanks for your patience!

-Paeter Frandsen