Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alleged On DVD

I am normally weary of movies that deal with The Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton Tennessee in 1925. I had a great uncle I remember fondly who attended the trial and I used to sit and listen to him and my grandfather talk about it. Later in life I especially enjoyed the renderings of the trial as presented in the play and movies, especially the original film Inherit The Wind. The new film Alleged, presents itself as a love story, but it is really a retelling of the famous trial which addressed the legality of teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in the classroom in Tennessee. While little new is presented in Alleged, there are still some thought provoking concepts well worth watching and the possible discussions on the various perspectives presented in the movie could be fruitful?

Alleged presents its story with a quality cast including the likes of: Nathan West, Colm Meaney, Brian Dennehy, Fred Thompson, and Ashley Johnson to name a few. Especially good is Colm Meaney as a ruthless newspaper reporter from Baltimore. The technical aspects of this film make for what would have been a very good television movie. It falls short of a good theatrical release. This isn’t a serious criticism; there have recently been some good television movies. In Alleged the editing is choppy and the soundtrack had me wondering what is going on as it distracts from the movie with out of the period musical numbers. Thompson and Dennehy are as good as usual and the times they are on screen together are magical, unfortunately there aren’t enough of those moments.

Alleged follows the trial through the eyes of Dayton Tennessee reporter Charles Anderson played by Nathan West. West while a reputable actor does what he can with the unremarkable script. Unfortunately, the power of this story, the trial itself, is lost in West’s character that at best is irritating and at its worst, horrid. While there are supposed to be redemptive moments in his relationship with fiancĂ©e Rose Williams, played by Ashley Johnson, I just didn’t care for his character. There are also various story arcs including the sterilization laws that existed during the particular time for persons with disabilities and minorities. While Alleged had the opportunity to explore this from a different angel, there was actually very little development and in some ways, this fascinating subject distracted from the overall flow of the film.

One of the weaknesses of the film is it has too many subplots. Some of those in and of themselves would have made a better movie and while this film is enjoyable and educational, it was lacking. It would have been better with a slightly longer film. It does an admirable job at presenting the historical aspects of the trial and the debate, both pro and con regarding the theory of evolution is done in a respectful way that should have those with various perspectives appreciating the film.

Up to this point some may think I didn’t like this movie, but I did like it. I especially liked the respectful way Darwin’s theory of evolution is presented, while at the same time bringing to the forefront some of Darwin’s most controversial beliefs. At task is more than the debate of creationism vs. evolution, what I found especially perplexing is the presentation of supposed truth by the media. It is here I was challenged. The film does a nice job of presenting how news editors can and often does, manipulate the truth. There are those in the ‘media’ who have biased opinions and those opinions are often presented as ‘truth,’ when in reality, what they present is more of an opinion. It is as if some would say, ‘to hell with the truth.’ This was apparently the case as history shows in regards to The Scopes Trial. Some of this I heard first hand as my great uncle told his stories. I am reminded from a faith perspective to make sure, ‘I study to show myself approved,’ and ‘to be prepared to give an answer.’ I am also reminded of the danger of the tongue and the need to tell truth. Unfortunately, there are times lies and falsehoods win out. I believe this is a part of what the filmmakers are communicating. The premise of the manipulation of truth is done quite well in Alleged.

I was entertained by Alleged, in part due to my own love for the story and the history surrounding the trial. The movie, if a tad longer, or a little less burdened with various plots could have been much better. I was also disappointed with the quality of the DVD and the lack of special features. I would still give a slight recommendation for the purchase of the film as it is an important historical event worth discussing. This film along with several others, including Inherit The Wind, Expelled and Creation a film that deals with the life of Charles Darwin and his struggles with faith and science could make for some wonderful conversations. It amazes me that this theme is still relevant some 75+ years later. I challenge though, visit the various perspectives on the issue, visit the history of the people involved in the story, and from there make an educated decision or at least one where you will be prepared to give an answer when the topic comes up, because no matter what your belief on the debate of evolution vs. creationism, you will be engaged in a debate that garnished national attention some years ago in Dayton Tennessee.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1b8g8rUA6k


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Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

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Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Griff The Invisible on Blu-ray

I love superhero movies, especially the ones that are believable with a hero I can relate to. I especially like it when the hero is a regular guy or gal with a few perks that enables them to fight crime. As of recent, one of my favorites in these genera was Kickass. On the surface, in some ways, with the packaging, promotion and hype, Griff The Invisible reminds me of Kickass. What one sees on the surface and gets in reality though can be two things altogether different. Such is the case here. We have a character we aren’t quite sure of that is either quite delusional or something all together different. The confusion doesn’t stop there though. This movie on the surface may appear to be a poor effort at a superhero movie but it turns out to be a nice love story.

Griff The Invisible is actually a film made on a shoestring budget, it is a superhero movie without the expensive special effects. It is driven more by story and written quite well, especially in its character development by Leon Ford who also directed the film. There are some moments that are lacking, especially in the soundtrack but as some movies go, it is quite nice from a technical perspective.

Griff stars Ryan Kwanten from HBO’s True Blood as the lead character Griff. He is a misfit of an office worker through the day with desires of becoming a super-hero who protects the innocents of his community by night. We see his struggles and poor relationships with his coworkers and his brother. It isn’t until he meets his brothers’ new girlfriend, Melody, played nicely by Maeve Dermody, (a misfit in her own right) that the story takes off. The two falls in love and their willingness to be there for the other, in all things, creates an atmosphere where an action hero movie turns into a good love story. Unfortunately, a love story may not be what people expect when they watch this movie.

Despite what some may expect, I found myself liking the love story in Griff more than I did the hero movie. It is as the two characters develop their relationship that the real chemistry between the actors takes place. Kwanten has done a good job of playing innocents in the past. His portrayal here in some ways is similar to his character in True Blood. While innocent in nature, he does not always make the best decisions. As his love for Melody starts to develop he comes into his own and while predictable in style, it is still done quite nicely and in a respectful way for those watching the film.

Griff touches on the concepts of going after ones dreams and the importance of caring for those who have been hurt. I appreciated the ability to display the importance of one taking care of their self before venturing out to take care of the world around them. It is as Jesus admonished people to do, ‘to love your neighbor as yourself,’ that we get to the place of ultimately being able to love and care for others. Just like Griff in the movie though, there are often barriers in life which seemingly prevent one from loving and caring for themselves. Unfortunately, until we are able to do this, the level of help given to others is diminished. Just as Griff has to learn to value himself before he can adequately help others, so must we. It is through the love of another that Griff ultimately learns the importance of this. For some in life, that love comes from God directly and they are able to recognize it, for others, it comes from another whom God may have placed in our lives to demonstrate that love.

While Griff The Invisible is not quite what I expected, it is still an enjoyable movie. I especially liked Ryan Kwanten. I wish the movie had focused on either a love story or the superhero movie though; it seems to lack direction which in return takes away from the enjoyment and credibility of the movie. While worth watching it is not a movie I would recommend owning. The Blu-ray transfer had little if any value over that of a standard DVD. The visual quality of the Blu-ray and the soundtrack quality have nothing spectacular. There are numerous special features that are fun to watch and the director’s commentary gives some good insights into the film. That all said, I recommend the film as a rental as opposed to a purchase. I enjoyed it but there really is nothing new here to get excited about. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching, I would recommend it for a romantic viewing with a loved one instead of an action movie night though. If doing that, I think most will be pleased.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9NBxXbbmk0


Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

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Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

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MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

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To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Friday, November 4, 2011

Without A Home

Without A Home is a documentary about homelessness now hitting the DVD market. From the outset, I must state, I have been homeless and I have worked with the homeless for over 30 years now. I also pastor a church that serves as a primary point of ministry, The Homeless, not just in a serving way but a communal becoming a part of the family way. It is with that in mind that I give my input to this documentary. I had a measure of expectation and hope for this documentary which has received a great deal of praise, and while I recommend the film, it is with some hesitation. I have some fear and concern the film could perpetuate the stereotypical attitude of the homeless.

The film starts with young filmmaker Rachel Fleischer taking her camera and following several homeless people, recording the experiences. The desire to help is something many have, knowing what to do, and how to do it is something else all together. One of the positive attributes of this film is we see this lack of knowledge and the learning experience begin to take place in young Fleischer. We see that the desire to help is not always the end all to providing help, we also see that sometimes, if not careful, there is a price to pay. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Fleischer’s dedication and desire to help, I am not so certain though that the representations we see of the homeless portrayed on screen are actually all that accurate of a general perception of all homeless persons, the featured individuals in the documentary certainly fall into the category of what for some is stereotypical expectations. Of course Fleischer focuses on the ‘Skid Row’ section of Los Angeles, in reality though this population group does not represent all of the homeless population across the country. While I don’t think Fleischer assumes to present this as so, there will be those who see this documentary that bases their generalizations about the homeless on this specific group which consist of a high percentage of mentally ill and drug and alcohol abusers. While there are large percentages of these groups among the homeless, the dynamics are changing.

As a documentary, Without A Home does a decent, but not great job in its technical merits. There are at times the things that could be expected from a young film maker, poor lighting, less than adequate sound, and editing that appears at times jumpy. There is also some disunity in story at times, but overall, even though the film is lacking in some ways, (it certainly isn’t a big budget film) it makes up for it in some of the stories told on film. In that story there could have been more insight and hope presented. I was left wondering, what the purpose of the film was? Was it to educate about homelessness? If so, it only gives a partial history, one that is dated over the last 3 years especially since many of the homeless now, at least that I am working with, are homeless due to the economy, foreclosures, and more. There is actually less substance abuse on the streets than some may imagine, and while mental illness plays a role for many, it is far from all. So if wanting to provide insight to the homeless, Without A Home was somewhat lacking in the total picture it presents.

If the purpose of Without A Home was to provide hope for the homeless I found the stories, while real and relevant at times, it could be discouraging and difficult for many of the homeless seeing it.

One of the things the film does a good job of is presenting reality, especially in the case of one subject matter, to which the film is dedicated. Mike a former heroin addict is introduced as a recovering addict who now advocates for the homeless. We see the totality of his story, from recovery to relapse, and from a person of impact to tragedy. There are other characters, some 6 which the film follows, but I challenge there is another character in the story whose story is quite interesting, that is of the documentary filmmaker Rachel Fleischer. We see her eagerness to get involved, and ultimately her realization that she can only do so much.

I am moved by a film that has as a point of story, a filmmaker who has the heart to care and do something for the population of people she is cataloging in her film. I am moved that someone is willing to address the ongoing need of the poor and the homeless. I cannot look at something like this and not think about the mandates of my faith, and the message of Jesus to love all, especially the command to love and serve the poor and needy, the orphan and the widow. Some go so far as to use Matthew 25:31-46 from the Bible as an illustration that we will ultimately be judged by what we have done or not done for ‘The Least of These.’ There is no doubt as to the heart and concern of Rachel Fleischer, but there are lessons to learn and hopefully the film provides a catalyst where others can learn.

One of the things I hope we learn is the difference between passion and knowledge on how to help the poor. As I regress back to my experiences, I must state, I am speaking personally here based on my own experiences. One of the greatest dangers in serving, ‘The Least of These,’ is an enabling attitude along with a method of service that seems to be provided and in some situations, is expected. One component of my faith is the hope it provides, a hope that doesn’t just start in Heaven, but starts now. Don’t take me wrong, there are those who need hope now due to their situation, but there are others that need to be helped and encouraged to go after their dreams, whatever their dreams may be. Helping one accomplish those dreams may be easy if the dream is to find peace, yet, for those who have dreams of independence, of more than being on the streets, of escaping addiction, there is the need to walk along side of, be there with, on an ongoing basis, learning to access the appropriate resources in the community. Of course those resources are difficult to obtain at times, especially when those providing those services are over worked and have become disillusioned to both the system they work within, and towards those they are blessed to serve. I am not sure that this needed understanding is presented in Without A Home. I am not so sure because the true place where home is (the heart) is not really addressed as it could have been. It is when finding that place called home; within the heart that progress can be made. Then one can share in family and community.

I reluctantly recommend this movie; for individuals who watch it and are moved to help the homeless, get to know them, try to understand their hearts. In the end the director of this documentary has done that; I will follow up though, watch from a distance, and hope and pray the homeless she touched in the filming of this documentary will discover the hope and possibilities that exist, the truth is, they deserve it.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYgGI8ZQRkw



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

The Keystone Kid/Virtual Pew Message Boards

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tallgrass 2011, One Of America's Best

Over the last few years I’ve covered one of America’s premiere film festivals, The Tallgrass Film Festival held in of all places, Wichita Kansas. This growing and developing film festival has grown to be recognized by many filmmaker and experts as one of the top 10 festivals in the country. This, the 9th year of the festival, has me doing something different. While I have covered and reported on the films in the past, this year, I am going to also report on being at the festival as a filmmaker who has a contributed film in the festival. My film, The Long Walk will be appearing on Sunday afternoon but my experiences at the festival will involve much more than just the showing of my film.

So far I have had the opportunity of being at other festivals with my film but the expectations for Tallgrass are high. It has garnished the attention of filmmakers around the globe, and this year, films from over 40 countries were submitted but there are also many films and short films from the United States. There is an annual recognition award that goes to individuals whom have made significant contributions to film called the Ad Astra Award. Award recipients from the past include Cloris Leachman, Don LaFontaine, Dan Glickman, Seymour Cassel and numerous others. This year’s recipient, Elliott Gould is also making an appearance at the festival where 2 of his films are being shown, including his new one, an independent film titled, The Encore of Tony Duran.

One has to wonder, what it is that makes Tallgrass such a respected festival, I think, from word on the street and observation, it evolves around three particular areas. One is its effort to obtain and provide quality, world class independent film. Tallgrass has a reputation, which they have helped promote, of being ‘stubbornly independent.’ That is something I have to agree with, from year to year, some of the best movies I have seen in any given year I have seen at this festival. I have already seen one exceptional film this year among the best I have seen over the course of the year titled Hermano, a dramatic sports film from Venezuela which features brothers caught up in poverty and the violent nature of their community. There is the possibility of football, (soccer) to provide a mechanism of escape from their environment. There struggle is breathtaking and thought provoking.

In the past, Tallgrass has also included such films as Do It Again, a documentary of the story of Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe reporter, who has the desire to reunite the popular band The Kinks. The festival has also included powerful documentaries such as Saving Luna, a newly reedited film featuring the story of a Killer Whale that got lost from her pod and lived her life in a local fishing community. That particular film has made its way to the big screen in the last weeks, and Do It Again is currently playing on PBS stations in a reduced and edited version across the country. These are but two examples of the incredible films offered, both among my personal top 10 of the year during their release.

There is a second thing that makes Tallgrass exceptional; the way they treat the filmmakers in attendance. While it may surprise many, Wichita KS is a fun town to visit. If you are a filmmaker who has been blessed to have your film accepted into this festival, the Tallgrass staff and volunteers will treat you like royalty. There are ample opportunities to enjoy the long weekend and they will provide assistance in obtaining lodging, travel, speaking opportunities. They also take pride in taking care of you and this is something most filmmakers really appreciate. There is an ongoing VIP Lounge open to filmmakers throughout the festival and the food and beverages are exceptional.

There is a third thing that makes Tallgrass the quality festival it is. The community base of volunteers is second to none. Tallgrass is a community event, using community persons, who work year round in various capacities of film, from presenting terrific educational opportunities for filmmakers, to presenting quality presentations of independent film in the community, of all styles and in various venues. I would challenge, there are as many volunteers at Tallgrass, as some festivals across the country have in attendance for the duration of their festival. While some may not know of the benefit this program brings to the community, it attracts the filmmakers, movies, and response it does for a reason, it is run by quality individuals who in my opinion, put on one of the top 2 or 3 events, hands down, in the state of Kansas, and one of the top film festivals in the Midwest, if not the top film festival in the Midwest. I challenge, there is no single event as well planned, structured and entertaining in the city of Wichita as The Tallgrass Film Festival. It is, that good!

In the past I have had the blessing of seeing this first hand as a member of the press and one who loves film and is actively involved in film. This year though, I get to see it with new eyes and with new experiences, this year I am here not just as a reporter for Hollywood Jesus, I am here as a contributing filmmaker. For filmmakers across the country, looking for a festival to submit your film to in the future, you can hardly do any better than Tallgrass. It isn’t easy to get in, but when you do, you know you are in an established, quality festival that is garnishing recognition across the globe.

Independent film has produced quality, quality that is seemingly lacking in many of the studios over the last few years. There are those who complain about ‘Hollywood,’ but some of the best film in any given year is at a film festival in your community, and that filmmaking is from places like Tulsa, Portland, Wichita, and even smaller communities you may have never heard of like Sedan. If you are lucky enough to have a Film Festival in your community, support it because when you do, you support the future of filmmaking. I am blessed, I can support my local festival which is one of the best in the country. This year, I am also blessed because I happen to have a short film showing at it. On this weekend in October, Wichita is a heavenly place to be, thanks to the filmmakers, city, and especially the volunteers who make Tallgrass happen. Now I have to finish this report up so I can get a free massage being offered for filmmakers through the duration of the festival. While I’m enjoying that, my wife will get to enjoy her makeover being offered to those who would want one this weekend. As for me on that one, I’m happy with my scruffy beard.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BkDfZUv5Ww



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

The Keystone Kid/Virtual Pew Message Boards

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Monday, October 17, 2011

HBO's How To Make It In America Season 1

I love premium network programming, HBO, Starz, Showtime and others have not only provided quality series programming, they are telling story that is worth watching, at least most of it. One new series, now entering Season 2 is How To Make It In America starring Bryan Greenberg as Ben Epstein, a young clothing designer who dreams of making it big, and his friend, Cameron ‘Cam’ Caldereon, played by Victor Rasuk, a street hustler who refuses to give up while looking for short-cuts. This well acted, well told series is one that many may have not heard of, but it is good enough to deserve an audience as it looks at the lives of those living in the rough and tough streets of New York, aspiring to make it in America.

One of the frequent criticisms of premium channel series is the use of nudity and sexual situations. While there are certainly sexual situations in this series, there is no nudity. I only mention that to illustrate the excellent story telling. The direction, editing, musical score and virtually everything else about How To Make It In America has its focus on story. This series recognizes the importance of quality attributes in all areas of filmmaking. The quality demonstrated here adds to the overall enjoyment of the program and draws the viewer in.

The development of character is something many television programs do because they have the time to do so, unfortunately, being able to develop characters does not mean they actually do it. In How To Make It In America we get to know the characters and care about them. The program develops the characters in such a way the viewer can likely relate to them and their experiences. We see the good and bad experiences of life exhibited not only in the primary characters but also in the supporting cast. One such character is Cam’s cousin Rene, played by one of my favorite character actors Luis Guzman. Rene has just been released from prison and on parole in the shows time-line. He has difficulty getting away from his old ways but he is challenged to do so. We see this not only in his character, but in others. We see various individuals working to make it in America. The development of character in not only the starring roles, but also the supporting roles helps make this program worth watching.

How To Make It In America follows the dreams of its characters who have lived in and grown up in tough communities. Each character has dreams that are hard to achieve. That doesn’t mean they don’t go after their dreams though. We see the importance of family, friends, and a self-determination that won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. In each character we see strengths that allow them to help out others, whether a friend or family member. The strengths and love portrayed are admirable and appreciated. They reminded me of what should occur in faith groups, but unfortunately often times don’t. We see a love and appreciation where each character is willing to sacrifice for others; even during the times where there may be sacrifices to pay as a result of standing up and caring. One of the things I also appreciated is the willingness of the characters to go after their dreams. So often it seems as if we live in a hopeless society, with little hope, yet, hope is exhibited here in a powerful way. It is the hope of a better future, a brighter tomorrow that often drives one to move forward. This series illustrates the importance of that concept called hope.

I loved this show! I had never heard of it until getting the DVD for review but I will make plans to follow up on it during season 2. One of the only negatives is that season 1 is only 8 episodes. I wanted more. There are also some very good special features on the DVD, among them a follow up on a character in the series, Wilfredo Gomez, based on the real life character of Javier Nunez, a New York Skating legend. While one may not realize the significance of the backdrop story centering on skateboarding in the series, I expect that to be developed more in season 2. The action and commentary on skateboarding in the special features will make this a worthwhile purchase for skating enthusiast. I suspect that most people who love good drama, with a little humor mixed in will appreciate this series produced in part by Mark Wahlberg. I know I did, it was like finding a buried jewel, and that is just what How To Make It In America is, a jewel of a series.


To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZe2A2BOAOg



To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wivb8NbRYDY



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

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Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

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ABC's V Season 2 on Blu-Ray

What happens when a much heralded and praised television series decides to go long on special effects and short on respect from the studio releasing it? It goes the way of V, and turns from one of the most enjoyable shows on television to live a life that turns to disappointment and only 2 seasons of television. The program based on the 1983 miniseries that turned into a television series in 1984 where aliens come to various locations around the world to ultimately take over the human race by intermingling among them as humans until their ploy is ultimately discovered. The series was reinvented in 2009 and 20010. Much like the original series, it unfortunately continues to a place where there is no real ending. It is a shame because this well acted, well conceived program had much promise and I believe the story, although week at parts it would have succeeded if ABC gave it an opportunity, including a consistent time slot and programming hours but as of now, there are no plans to my knowledge to renew the series, in fact if it is renewed, it appears it will be on a network other than ABC as they have officially canceled the series. This isn’t unusual for ABC though; there were no less than 4 shows I really enjoyed this year that went the way of cancellation, all unresolved and open-ended.

The DVD version of the series actually works much better than the television series itself. There are not the interruptions and we know when the next episode will air. It airs when we play it, ABC was so inconsistent in the programming of V it is a wonder it went as far as it did. It had no options but to lose viewers because when tuning in from week to week, one may find anything airing that particular week, except for V.

Technically, this program was fun to watch and the special effects were most of the time on par with theatrical releases. Unfortunately special effects alone won’t carry a television series. I was also pleased with the acting in this program, ranging from the beautiful Alien Mother Anna played by Morena Baccarin, now appearing on Showtimes, Homeland, to the equally beautiful and talented Erica Evans played by Elizabeth Mitchell, noted for her role in Lost. There was also an abundance of other characters in the story line. The real beauty was the science fiction concepts and the special effects. They were on par with most movies and certainly beyond the realm of expectation for a television series.

V takes time to develop the characters. I found myself rooting for some, and wanting justice for others. We follow the exploits of Erica Evans, a single mother who also works for the FBI. Evans suspects and later discovers the plot of the Aliens, led by Anna to destroy the human race, eventually stripping the earth of her nutrients and leaving the human population for dead. Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off, one needs to watch season 1 to fully understand season 2. This is especially so in the understanding of the characters which are developed in season 1. The characters are well developed though and we see and discover the backgrounds of each which helps us understand and appreciate the show even more so.

One of the things I especially appreciated about the program V is its incorporation of contemporary social issues such as nationalism, health care, the role of religion in society and more. It takes on each of these areas in what I believe to be a fair an impartial way. If anything it takes on a position which addresses the need of society to be aware of the political ploys of those in power. There are those who promise things when in reality there is no intent to deliver the things promised. I was reminded of Biblical concepts which warn of such things. We see a beautiful angel of light, which will promise the world, yet in reality, has no desire to do anything more than steal the soul of those it pretends to love. In that intent to do harm is the message of peace, perfect health care, an acceptance of all people, yet in reality, manipulation and greed drive those making the promises. Just like in V, there is a warning that those things which take us away from family and faith, in reality will ultimately destroy us. Just like in the Bible, that enemy comes to devour and destroy. These images along with current events show us V, like all good science fiction was ahead of its time and should have been embraced and supported. This is true especially regarding people of faith as there are so many parallels brought forth in this program that relate to contemporary society.

I liked this series a great deal and the DVD especially the Blu-ray is quite nice in its transfer and provides excellent sound. I was also pleased with the special features offered. While the special features are not the easiest to navigate they are there for the viewing of any fan. While I think the plot weekend somewhat during the 2nd season, it is still good. That said, it is not as weak as some have reported it to be and the DVD of season 2 where one can follow the series helps illustrate that. I would recommend for the fans of science fiction, as well as those who may be a little more conservative in their mind set (the positions V seems to take supports especially more conservative political positions) purchase both season 1 and season 2. See for yourself, and enjoy, this is a series I personally own all V episodes ever produced, from the television show and mini-series of the 1980’s through and complete through the last season on ABC, which should not have been its last.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OqasiTOnzw



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

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Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Elvira’s Haunted Hills on DVD

I have to tell you, over the years I just haven’t been that big of a fan of Elvira, the character created by Cassandra Peterson. The big busted, in your face character resembling of someone from The Adams Family and the original Vampira the horror movie hostess just hasn’t been one I care that much for. Elvira has for the last number of years hosted bad horror movies on various television shows, and at horror events. She has made a career out of bad horror, and her own exploits into film, especially in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, are actually more frequent than many may imagine. From the various roles to cameos, Peterson has milked the character for as much as anyone could. One would be mistaken though to take her ability to make a buck off of the character as her primary interest in the genera. The truth is, Cassandra Peterson actually loves the genera and especially the old horror classics of Roger Coreman, (The King of the B movie) and actors such as Christopher Lee and especially Vincent Price to whom this film is dedicated. What transpires on screen is a surprising, entertaining, fun romp that pays tribute of these genera, especially the movie The Pit and the Pendulum among others.

In Elvira’s Haunted Hills, we see Elvira and her handmaiden, Zou, Zou, played by Mary Joe Smith decide to go to Paris. Along the way they catch a ride on a carriage and spend the night at a scary castle. While there, they come into contact with Lord Vladimere Hellsubus and those who occupy the castle. It isn’t long before we see the likeness between Elvira and Lord Hellsubus long lost, departed wife. There is a plot to keep Elvira on site and horror ensues. As to serious character development, don’t expect it here. Instead expect something that resembles in some ways more so The Rocky Horror Picture Show than a serious film. That isn’t to say the film isn’t fun and while I am not proud of the things I laughed at, the truth is, I did found myself laughing.

Peterson put up approximately $1,000,000 of her own money to make this film, many will speculate it may be lacking since most budgets are considerably more. Peterson was able to get a cast of respectable horror actors, including, Richard O’Brien, noted for his role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show due to their own love for the genera. The quality of film was also magnified as they filmed on location in Romania. The set design, location, and effects greatly add to this tribute of the old classic B Horror movie. The direction provided by Sam Irvin is quite nice and while there is choppiness at times in the editing, the style actually fits the old style of horror this movie pays tribute to. There is the appearance at times that the film appears too polished.

In watching movies I always try to find something spiritual, sometimes it is hard, and while this movie is fun I thought I would never find anything spiritual in it. While watching the special features I did find something spiritual, at least I saw it that way. I was amazed and impressed during the commentary features at the cast’s appreciation for the era of horror films this film is dedicated to. The old Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and others carried a meaning often lost on today’s horror fans, but more than that, is an apparent lack of appreciation of those great forerunners by the contemporary filmmakers themselves. While Peterson and Irvin may not be the absolute best at these genera, they have a love for it that translates nicely.

The love of the genera by Peterson and Irvin caused me to reflect on something that for me is quite spiritual, that is the appreciation of those who have walked before and made the history of that which one loves. The need for us to do this could be said about various groups, from union workers to civil rights leaders, but it can also be said about people of faith. The contemporary church seems to be so caught up in the present that they often forget about the sacrifices of those who endured the past. While this film is campy and not all that great it still finds a way to be fun and yet respectful of past films, filmmakers, and actors of the genera it seeks to pay tribute to. There is effort to go out of the way to make sure this takes place, even replicating scenes from some of those old movies. How much better off would we as a society, or those involved in a church be if they made the effort to recognize, respect, and replicate out of respect some of the pioneers of the past? The need to be perfect in what we do isn’t nearly as important as the point that we do something. When I was young I didn’t have the measure of respect for history I do now. I regret that, I regret it because I could have learned more that could have led to a more productive life, but I also lost out on the joy of those experiences. Peterson and Irvin enjoy what they are doing, and while I don’t appreciate all of the humor, I appreciated the tribute they pay to the history of their craft. Many people of faith, whether involved in music, or a different mode of teaching know little of their past, an example here, is many now use film in church to illustrate spiritual points, but the early history of that goes back to Hollywood Jesus. The challenges of some of those involved in the process, such as David Bruce and others include valuable lessons, lessons on how the some people of faith responded, and still respond, yet the dedication to move forward and share ones on position on faith. Yes many now use this media, some have taken credit and speak out on the topic, but some of us here at Hollywood Jesus started it all, not for anything other than the desire to share our faith in a rational, reasonable way with those who love movies. Yes, there are lessons of the past we can all learn from and pay respect to, funny that it took Elvira to remind me of this. But all faith traditions have heroes, some of those heroes can still speak to us if we seek to listen.

Elvira, Haunted Hills as mentioned earlier isn’t a great film, but for those who love the old classic horror movies, it can be quite fun and enjoyable. It isn’t scary, there are adult themes, and some pretty campy acting at times, but that is what they wanted out of this product. I was also pleased with the special features. More is provided than most products and the content adds to the enjoyment of the DVD. I would recommend the product for ownership to those who enjoy the old B Horror films, otherwise, if you just want a good time, it is certainly worth a rental.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmTG1Wg7rJk



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

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Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

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To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Child's Eye on DVD

I love horror from the Far East, the recent DVD release of The Child’s Eye from Hong Kong helps in some ways to illustrate why. There seems to be a sense of telling a horror story in a different light, but in a way that illustrates meaning to society. This particular movie does just that. Released by Lionsgate to the USA Market via DVD this film will likely pick up viewers, the question is, will it keep them long enough to enjoy the conclusion of the film where its ultimate meaning is exposed.

The Child’s Eye is a unique story of three young couples who are vacationing in Thailand. While there a revolt takes place and they are forced to stay at a less than desirable motel as the airport closes and they are prevented from returning home. The lackadaisical attitude of some of the vacationing individuals causes them to make a series of bad decisions. They care little for each other, and don’t take their surroundings seriously, including the political environment. They soon learn there is more going on at the hotel they are staying than they realize and the more time they spend there, the more they are caught up into the horrors of this place. The hotel is haunted and the haunting involves them in ways they would never expect. There is the intent to do harm, but they don’t know why.

In the past I have marveled at the quality of foreign language film, in some regards while this one falls just a tad short in its acting and special effects, there are some rather nice accomplishments. The lighting and story are done quite nicely as is the location shooting and direction on the film. The director of The Child’s Eye also does a nice job in keeping the story flowing, yet, there are times when the acting is less than acceptable.

In the unique style of Asian film horror is told in a refreshing way. Horror isn’t with the intent to scare as much as there is a story to be told. One of the weaknesses of The Child’s Eye is the lack of character development. We learn about one particular couple of the three and we learn about the ghost and her story. There are just too many characters involved in the story that we don’t know about. It is one of the weaknesses that left the movie less than great. While the Direction moves the story along nicely, a better script would have helped and could have turned this from an entertaining movie, to a potentially very good movie. Unfortunately that isn’t what we have but it is still fun.

One of the things I appreciated is the emphasis on the dangers of any individual existing just for the sake of existing. There is a world around us and there is more than any individual. Each person matters and as a society, we have to see the needs of those around us. Many go through difficulty and are unwilling to listen to the needs of the community. They instead are selfish and care for little other than themselves. We also see the value in one being aware of their surroundings. It is as we become aware of the needs of others, care for them, and respond accordingly that we collectively can face the dangers around us. The Child’s Eye illustrates the collective strength of people working together in many situations including the work-place, church, or family unit. We also see in The Child’s Eye the backgrounds of the one who would do evil. Those ghosts have reasons to do and behave the ways they do. There is sympathy for those who have gone through hard times and as we realize that, we realize the potential of hope. Ultimately those who have been mistreated seek revenge; those receiving the consequences of that revenge are often innocent but as illustrated here, while the innocent may be innocent of certain things, they are not innocent of all things. All are guilty and deserve judgment. Thankfully through the life and blood of a child, through the one willing to make sacrifice, there is salvation.

I have to admit, the first 45 minutes or so of The Child’s Eye was just okay. The last 45 minutes were quite good and the conclusion of the film makes it worthwhile. While some will be turned off due to the subtitles of the film, they are actually done quite well and it the film is easy to follow. The film originally shown in 3-D does transfer over nicely, although it was obvious this original 3-D movie could have been more enjoyable in the theater. I was also a little disappointed in the special features, while they exist and are entertaining; the menu selection is quite poor. You have to watch all of the features together including cast and crew interviews and commentary. In those features we hear and see them speaking quite about the 3-D process even though the DVD is not 3-D, therefore the special features provide little knowledge. I did like the strong female characters in the film. There is the realization in this culture of the significance of women and the need to go beyond the expectations of society.

This is a good film, not great, but good. It would provide for some fun moments especially during the Halloween season. While the film is rated ‘R’ there is no language, gore, or nudity issues. There are frankly some scenes more horrorific on American television and in my opinion the ‘R’ rating is not justified. While I can’t say the film is worth owning, it is worth watching, but stay until the end as the last 30 – 45 minutes of the film is actually quite entertaining and thrilling.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-C0GZjL014



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

The Keystone Kid/Virtual Pew Message Boards

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
6441 N. Hydraulic
Park City Kansas, 67219

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Glee The Complete Second Season on DVD

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review the DVD of Glee Season 2 Volume 1. This unique release had the 1st half of the season of the series out and running during the same week the second half of the series started on television. The sensational Fox series has now just released the complete 2nd Season on DVD. To see my review of the first half of the series, click here, if the link doesn’t appear, go to the link at the bottom of the page. One would think that from that review, the high praises would continue, unfortunately, the praises are not as high as they were when the series started. The magic that was there, up to and including the first half of Season 2 has dwindled and fallen by the wayside. That isn’t to say there isn’t some magic here, but I am starting to wonder. Unfortunately, for some, like my wife, the series has started to wear thin and some of the subject matter is difficult to watch, as a result, many of the previous viewers have moved to other programs.

Technically, a well filmed, acted, edited, and scored program still exist. There are times the magic makes an appearance and while I may not like all of the characters, I see the talent of each actor, none more so than Sue Sylvester played by Jane Lynch and Will Schuester played by Matthew Morrison. While neither is realistic as to a real school teacher, their roles are fun and the two play well off of each other. This is due largely to the story, cinematography and especially the musical scores and choreography that support the program. The quality of performances on screen is not the only quality of this show, I also recognize the talent of the filmmaking crew involved.

As the series progresses, it continues down a path that addresses several themes, especially noted in this particular season is the self discovery of Kurt, a gay character played brilliantly by Chris Colfer. We see his character grow, develop relationships and address the important issues of homosexuality, bullying, and acceptance continue. Unfortunately in the character development we see other characters also making decisions that are obviously not to their benefit and it seems as if the direction of the programming and script allows for this. The series at times even seems to promote negative behavior, for example, the episode Blame It On Alcohol which has the show ending in a drunken party. Without sounding old fashioned, there are certain behaviors such as underage drinking where the adult characters in the show seem to promote the negative behavior. I said in my earlier review of Glee that the show was treading on thin ice regarding some of the behaviors and actions it seemed to promote. If anything, they are crossing that line more and more, and this was the case in season 2 with the storylines, ranging on everything from sexual activity, to the selfish displays centered on what some would call love.

With the negatives of the show, it is still at times promising and is at least opening up doors of discussion other programs are not. While we may not always like the answers to the questions being asked, at least they are asking the questions. There are some open and honest discussions related to life, God, death, and the beyond. There are even episodes about love and acceptance that display the aspect of loving your neighbor and doing unto others themes. We also see situations where characters who are not seen in a positive light change and recognize that others do love and care for them. This is especially true with the character Sue Sylvester, but not just her character, we see it in others on the show. We see the importance of coming close and showing love in difficult times, such as death, or for a teenager, even the break-up of a dating relationship. There are many who desire to experience real friendship, yet are unwilling to go the extra mile. While we see characters that use others, we see also episodes like A Very Glee Christmas or Funeral where we see people come together. Unfortunately it seems as if the show ends on a low note in more episodes than not. While there may be a joyous, entertaining song being played out for us on screen, that doesn’t guarantee a positive theme.

I still enjoy Glee, but I, like many other viewers am at the place of wanting more. I want more for the characters; I would like to see more positive role models, especially for a program with so many teen and gleek followers. If the show is to continue and grow in viewership, they need to seriously look at the direction they are going as they are currently loosing more viewers than they are gaining. It is a sad that while into only their third season, they have lost more steam than they should.

I have to wonder, how much of a reflection on current society is Glee? I honestly don’t know, I hope there is more hope, with more potential than is displayed on screen. Like my last review of this show, I would still like to see more positive roll models, or even a person of faith portrayed in a respectful way. I don’t mind the themes, I don’t really mind so much the answers they come up with, what I don’t like is the lack of hope and potential for good. While the show addresses spiritual themes, I wish they took those themes more seriously and showed more respect than they do. There is an arrogance about Glee and the makers of the series that does not sit well with me.

The DVD package is a good one with ample special features that are fun and entertaining. The low pricing of the DVD will keep fans happy. I wish I could be more positive, but it is what it is, like so many others, if things don’t change, I likely won’t be there for a Season 4 and Season 3 is already slipping. It all started that downward slide with Season 2 and unfortunately, it continues.

To see the video posted below, click on the video, if the video doesn’t appear or appears in distorted form, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWd_xAADLK8



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