De Oppresso Liber…

For all the non-Latin speakers, the title means, “To Free the Oppressed”.

It is the motto of the U.S. Special Forces.

I saw the movie trailer for “Act of Valor” (posted below) and remembered the tragedy earlier in the year, when we lost 31 U.S. Special Forces soldiers and 7 Afghani allies in a helicopter crash.  We need more men like these, dedicated to courage, honor, loyalty and the freedom of others.  God make of us true men.

 

Courageous: Honor Begins at Home

There is a crisis of manhood–and of true courage–in modern America.  A part of our culture promotes the message that what it means to be a man is to sleep with as many women as you can, make, take, or fake monetary wealth, and dominate others, whether on the sports field or in the public eye.  That isn’t manhood.  Truth be told, doing one or more of the aforementioned things really isn’t difficult.  Immorality seldom is…

What takes true courage and strength is to be a real man.  A man of God.  A family man.  A man of honor.  Few manage to do those things, whether because they’re  more difficult than the others, or because they’ve been deluded and deceived into chasing false idols that never truly fulfill.  Some never make the attempt, because they’ve not been shown what a true man looks like.

That’s why movies like the one promoted below are so valuable.  Catch this one while it’s still in the theaters.

So Stupid, It’s Awesome

I’m not a fan of shoes.  I’m not a fan of adulterists.  I’m not even a fan of Kanye West.  But this ridiculous commercial manages to blend all of the aforementioned into something that is hilarious.  There can be no doubt, this is how basketball was meant to be played.

Buy this movie or else…

…you’ll be killed by homicidal nuns.  That seems to be the message the marketing team behind “The Town” is pushing.  No idea why.   More notes on holiday madness to follow.  Haven’t seen the movie, but I hope for their sake it’s better than their marketing.

Ughh!

After racking up an impressively high fever of 104 degrees and the attendant expensive trip to the hospital, I’m stuck languishing with the “Influenza Type A”!  Nasty bug.  I begin to understand how it could kill millions back in “the day”.   They prescribed me Tamiflu, and basically said other than that the best treatment 21st century science has to offer is “Tylenol and fluids”.

Which really doesn’t help for the splitting headache and throbbing joints.  I’m profoundly grateful for my family’s care.  I would not have been able to drive to the hospital on my own, and even fixing food would have been difficult.  I don’t know how individuals without a family or spouse endure significant sickness alone.

Aside from a smarting case of the stir-crazies, the worst thing is the lost instructional time.  Somewhere out there, student brain cells are being used beneath their potential!

On the other hand, while I was at the hospital, I saw most of the movie “School of Rock”, which really could be used by teachers as a professional learning tool.  No joke.   For one, strategic use of the Jack Black crazy eyes and high kick can always help discipline in a classroom.  “School” is also an example of  “collaborative learning” and pedagogical artistry.

Dead Snow

Somehow this movie got by my summer roundup.  It’s a foreign flick that got accolades at the Sundance Film festival.  Two words; Nazi zombies.

References to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?  Check.  (“Fortune and glory, kid.”)

Homage paid to Sam Raimi’s  Evil Dead series?  Check.

Righteous combat with the forces of darkness?  Check.

Summer of Deathrays

Maybe this post should be entitled “Summer of Sci-Fi”, but if there’s one thing I learned in Vanderbilt’s Political Propaganda class, it’s that “if it bleeds, it leads”.  Well, I’m a little off–deathrays mostly fry.  Welcome to my personal post of summer’s 5 top movies of interest, in order of their release date, with my synopsis and speculation.  Would’ve added a trailer each, but either Youtube or WordPress doesn’t approve of multiple movies in a single post.  I know, you still love me.   You really, really love me!

1.  Star Trek (May 8th)

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Brought to you by JJ Abrams (responsible for Lost and Cloverfield), the casting seems solid, and the trailer epic.  There’s something I find endlessly appealing about the confrontation with evil, and the nobility of laying down life–if need be–in defense of one’s family, nation, world, etc.  No surrender, no spineless attempts at “appeasement”.  The big question is whether the movie will avoid action cliches and retain the feel of the trailer (a task the movie 300 failed to achieve).

Karl Urban is a solid actor (McCoy), and Heroes’ star Zachary Quinto (Sylar)as the cold Spock is a bull’s-eye.

2.  Terminator: Salvation (May 21st)

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Christian Bale is brooding hero John Connor, engaged in the opening battles of the future machine war.   Salvation is the first in a trilogy set in a post-robapocalyptic future.

3.  Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26th)

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“Fate rarely calls on us at a moment of our choosing.”  –Optimus Prime

First one was good, but could’ve been better.   Some campy dialogue and a completely unnecessary subplot with the hackers was redeemed by an excellent score (Steve Jablonsky), special effects, some decent comedy, and a passable plotline. Michael Bay excels at good action and stunning visuals, but often at the expense of elegant narrative flow and pacing.

Optimus is the John Wayne of robots, and we can only hope the writers kept his dialogue to the few outpourings of wisdom and gravity childhood fans remember from the first animated movie (from which much of his dialogue in the 2007 version was boosted).

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17th)

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Every one of these to date has been good.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  Public Enemies (July 1st)

Normally I’d say that when Johnny Depp and Christian Bale choose to join a production, the movie is good as gold. However, this is being directed by Michael Mann (Heat and Collateral), who seems adept at taking an all-star cast and producing a substandard movie with them.  One can only hope his earlier flicks have taught him something about the need for proper pacing, good editing, and leaving the unnecessary on the cutting room floor.  Guillermo del Toro, where are you when we need you!

While this may not fit with the theme of science fiction, Public Enemies made the list because I am a fan of the old film noir/(classical) gangster flick, even if it is shamelessly exploiting populist rage over the economic crisis.