“MacAskill’s Imaginate” Enter Danny’s Mind / Red Bull BMX Video with Danny MacAskill

Danny MacAskill
I can’t believe how awesome this video is on so many levels.

Conceptually—the little boy’s dream coming to life.

Technically—Danny’s riding abilities.

Production and design—epic.

Watch for the little “behind the scene’s” bubbles that pop up to suspend the film and get additional footage before resuming (there’s even one at the very end too!). Just brilliant.

And yes, it really is that beautiful in the Highlands. Jenny and I drove one of the routes they showed. It’s spectacular.


Review of The Hungers Games Movie


I finally went out to see The Hunger Games with my Dad yesterday. After reading the books by Suzanne Collins right when they came out, I was excited to hear the manuscripts would be hitting the silver screen.

As a fan of such works as Brave New World, 1984, and Lord of the Flies, I’ve thought THG’s off-beat premise is one of the more compelling in the last few years. I admire stories that seem to have their own gravitational pull, not just because of their characters, but their absurdly outlandish yet dangerously plausible scenarios. It’s fiction enough that you feel safe for the time being, but inwardly you’re thinking, “Dang, I sure hope this never happens to me.”

Given that Collins wrote THG in first-person present – not only the hardest point of view to write from, but also the most grueling tense – I had even higher hopes for the film. Yet how often have we all been disappointed by the on-screen adaptation?

Early screen shots released on the Internet last year had me worried. It looked like it was shaping up to be a made-for-TV movie, not a piece of cinema. But fortunately that was the marketing firm’s fault. Within the first thirty seconds I knew I was in for a good show.

If anything, my only complaint was that the film employed too many close ups, not enough wide shots, and the Director of Photography and his crew had IV’s of Jolt as the camera shaking was a little over the top. Granted, I got they were trying to build intensity and probably capture Collins’ first-person present POV; but when things are distracting and not complimentary, the art is missing the point. It could have been toned down and still gotten the same message across. Hungry? I was starving for the steady, wide shots when they finally came.

Having Collins on as one of the Producers ensured the story stayed true to the book – an absolute must for a piece like this. It also made sure the casting was impeccable.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) was feminine enough that she was beautiful, yet not so dainty that you didn’t fully believe she could hold her own and survive in the woods. Peta was exactly as I pictured him, as we’re Rue, Kato, Glimmer and others. And I thought bringing in Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks were all great touches.

My dad poignantly commented that the score (James Newton Howard, T-Bone Burnett) was understated, a welcomed change to many hyped-up flicks, and exuded the naturally tendencies of the tribal, the hunt, and the melancholy. Strings, drums, and Celtic-folk undercurrents were extremely complimentary.

Obviously the movie had to cut out a lot. But on our ride home, hearing my father bring up a lot of the exact emotions I’d experienced while reading the first book lead me to know Collins had helped invoke her same intensity into the film versions of her story as well.

For those concerned about the content or premise: yes, THG aren’t for everyone. But I found the themes of self-sacrifice, overcoming tyranny, confronting personal demons, and the mob-lust of a pleasure-saturated and flamboyant elite society all strikingly relevant. Not just entertaining, these are reminders that our culture needs to hear.


For When the Real Bullets Start Flying

[Screen shot of Act of Valor.]

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to write.

I know that goes against our Amendment on the freedom of speech; and if it were just about that, I get it.

But some people write such utterly base commentaries it degrades the entire human species.

I’m not even sure who reads the New York Times anymore, but their review of the movie Act of Valor boiled down to them not liking it because they had no real actors as Navy SEALS.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that the point of the film when they promoted the trailer with “Filmed with active duty Navy SEALS”? To a generation that craves the authentic and the genuine, isn’t that a selling point? Tragic that the reviewer missed the point.

Granted, watching some of the SEALS carry on dialog was a bit like watching some of the acting from a Sherwood Pictures movie, but it didn’t diminish the film. Put them in an action sequence and no actor could do it better! And the whole thing was well balanced with the remarkable performances of sinister bad guys Jason Cottle and Alex Veadov.

My father and I had a movie date yesterday, something we did all through my childhood. I love movies today because my dad loved movies back then. And when my good friend Mike Kim said it was one of the best movies he’d seen, I knew it was going to be brilliant.

And it was.

Daddy and I walked out of the theatre astonished, grateful and humble. And I couldn’t help but think about our own flag raising incident two years ago at the US National Cemetery in Normandy, and how seeing this film made that privilege all the more overwhelming.

It’s not for young viewers, nor those that have a hard time with intense battle sequences or f-bombs. But it is for patriots. For those who still believe we live in an incredible country. For those who want reminding about just how valiant all the members within our service branches are.

Magnificent heros. And as they say in the film, damn few.

My grandfather would have loved this movie were he alive. My dad agreed.

Here’s to all the men and women that give their lives everyday in service to our nation, and to my family. I admire and honor you all.

And here’s to the nearsighted self-proclaimed pundits who still don’t get why they used real US Navy SEALS. May God grant you protection for when you’re asking where the actors are if real bullets ever start flying. ch:

Expelled: Ben Stein and the Crazy Right Wing Christians

ch-ichat-logo.png Here we go again.

Ben Stein’s new documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” hits select cities nationwide tomorrow. You can watch the trailer below.

But come on now…

When will they stop trying to force feed us their brand of religion? How long do we have to put up with this? Don’t they know that we’re trying to live our own lives here? That we’re sick and tired of their invasion into our privacy? Telling us what to believe and and how to believe it? Trying to comprise our public schools and universities with their doctrines? With things that can not be proven? That require faith to believe in? Give me a break. I believe those are called theories–not facts as they would say.

How can they be so close minded?

How can they can they be so narrow?

This is downright offensive. It shouldn’t be allowed to even be entertained.

But then again, this is their religion, after all. I’ve got to cut them some slack. I’m not just attacking their scientific opinions on the cause and purpose of life–if it can even be considered science–I’m actually attacking their belief system. Their religion. Their faith on why things are the way they are. And that’s deep rooted stuff.

So no wonder this subject stirs such a debate. It’s no longer scientific; it’s a clash of belief systems. Last I knew, this sort of cataclysmic collision pitted nations and families against one another for centuries. And apparently, it still does.

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer that died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”

G. Richard Bozarth , “The Meaning of Evolution”, American Atheist, 20 Sept. 1979, p. 30

So true, Mr. Bozarth. But if this could be true, then the converse could also true. If evolution is wrong, than it proves God is real, Jesus’ sacrifice is the only means for salvation, and consequently, makes all of mankind accountable for their own sin.

No wonder mankind doesn’t want Intelligent Design to be real: It would prove that not only God is real, but as Mr. Bozarth implied, that we are in need of His mercy through Jesus Christ.

My comments at the top were not about Jesus Believers, they were about Evolutionary Believers. Because we’re all believers in something.

To some, Science is god; to me, the God of science is. It’s just so much more logical and requires a whole lot less, well, faith.

Thanks for reading.