Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 139:23 & 24

Psalm 139:23 & 24

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my anxious thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Has anyone had the courage to pray like this, because it scares the beans out of me. To ask God to search for any and all iniquity contained in your heart is both an awkward and terrifying request. Many men and women, wiser than I, have stated that we are transparent in front of the Lord. That would mean that God sees directly through us, as if we were invisible. I believe we are not transparent, but fully exposed, an open book, as if God has a MRI of our soul. If God knows everything about us, what would be the need to utter this supplication? This petition has everything to do with us. It is an appeal of unyielding humility and faith, of ultimate obedience to God that demonstrates total trust and confidence in Him. Asking God to find every scrap of corruption within us, to explore areas of our spirit that we have shut off to everyone else, and submit totally to the move of God in every aspect of our life. Requesting God to examine or challenge us, so that our faith may be sharpened and His wisdom unveiled. It is praying that God lead us through the darkest parts of our heart so that we may reach a path of a deeper relationship with Him. God knows us better than we will ever know ourselves. He wants us to come to terms with that, allowing Him to accomplish a marvellous work within us without any resistance from us. What does that resistance to God look like? Try one or more of these on for size and see if any or all fit; I am not a sinful person, but a decent person, God already knows what I am going to say so why pray at all, or if it were that awful God would have dealt with me about it. To answer the latter, He probably has, and it was missed mistaken for misfortune or a lousy day. To understand the need for this conversation with God, we have to understand that sin exists and its determent to our souls. If sin does not exist, if it is just an idea established by the self righteous, then Jesus was born, died, and resurrected for a cliché, a lie. Christ's sacrifice on the cross, not only allowed us forgiveness of sin, but escape from its eternal consequence. Even after grace, sin still exists. We may be forgiven, but sin is a supernatural virus that attempts to regenerate continuously. We all have issues with sin, some unconscious, some we refuse to accept. Those issues must be left at the altar of God before we can proceed further into a relationship with our maker. It is only when we recognize the necessity of the Lord's intervention in every facet of our existence that we begin to be refined and molded by Him. We can not hold anything back from God even if we think we can it is ignorance not reality. We can, however, hold God back from working powerfully in our lives, by our resistance. Who loses out then? Now I could explain sin in its various forms, but that would be wholly useless. We know what sin is and notice its effects when we allow it to influence our lives, and if not, we are in bigger trouble than we first imagined. God gives us the discernment to know when we not only step, or many times sprint, into the sin minefield. God wants us to avoid the explosions, shrapnel, and destruction that accompany. Why do we, time after time, resist Him? God knows our humanity and comprehends that we need this passage if only to realize the only protection we have from, sin, or ourselves, is grace. Do you dare to have God search you and deal with you inner most fears, desires, and pain? Could you ask God to try you, to strengthen your faith? God never forsakes us or gives us more than He can handle through us. The only fear is the possibility of losing control. That is a control that is more of an illusion than reality. God bless.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Another entry in the Dramedy category, a phrase I coined thank you very much. This time starring Steve Carell, much to no one's surprise, as the hapless and clueless romantic, a role that is fast becoming stale and repetitive. However, in this film I give him a pass as it works well.  His transformation from dull dude to man about town is subtle, comedic, sharp, and completely unlike any other dud becomes stud fare, which typically overreaches and ends up as cheesy as Chedder. Ryan Gosling plays the part of his casanova mentor, Miyagi style, with all the style and swagger of James Bond but the wit and timing of Cary Grant. Their relationship feels real and genuine, immersing the audience in Carell's makeover. Julianne Moore is as tedious as she is in every movie she has ever made. Her stoic demeanor and cold reactions are in no short supply this go round. The one fault of this movie is the utter lack of chemistry between leading man and leading lady. Gosling and Carrell share much more of a dynamic than Carrell and Moore, can anyone say Bromance. Although there is not much originality here, Ficarra and Requa are able to add enough subtle twists, turns, and surprises to keep the film alive and engaging, Kevin Bacon co stars, apparently contracted to be in ever film for the next decade. However, the way he phones this performance in he should change his last name to Verizon. Emma Stone is delightful, and Johan Bobo steals the movie as Carrell's love struck son. Overall, an amusing story and Gosling, Stone, Bobo, and Carrell keep it entertaining. The humor hits in all the right places without overdoing it, and the dramatic piece plays close to the vest, with just enough emphasis to impact the story without shattering it. It has a valid message that marriage requires effort love can not be forsaken, and family always comes first. 3 out of 5 Kernels, good date night rental.

Monday, December 26, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 119:105

Psalm 119:105

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

How is God's word a lamp and a light, brightening the road I travel? How many times have you heard someone say, "I wish there was a guide book for my life?" Is there an instruction manual for our existence? Is there a GPS that advises which direction to take to arrive to my goals? The answer to all these questions is clearly yes. How? There are several reasons that explain my position. Let's look at four. One, God's word is timeless. God's word has no expiration date, the same issues and struggles of those that lived before, while, and after it was written, are the same tribulations and obstacles we face today. They battled temptations, limped through hardships, felt the weight of tragedy, suffered illnesses, desired achievement, hungered for power, loved and lost, lusted and lost, tried to scratch out a living, and continually developed relationships with their family, friends, and enemies. The only difference between them and us, they wore sandals out of need, while we wear them because they are stylish, just not with black socks, please. Two, the bible has a historic element with purpose. Why were the accounts in the scriptures chosen? God knew that the personal conflicts, situations, trials, failures, and victories in his testaments would serve us in our times of need. Whether it is; facing challenges of faith (Abraham, Isaac, Daniel, or Paul), demonstrations of heroic or extraordinary acts that could have never been accomplished without God's intervention (David, Daniel, Samson, Joshua, Nehemiah, Gideon, Moses, or the Disciples), deliverance from internal pain or disease (the woman with the issue of blood, the Centaurian's servant, or Paul), principles to absolutely live by (Jesus' entire ministry), and struggles with sin and obstinance (David, Solomon, Samson, and The Rich Young Ruler). Third, the greatest value of God's word is that it introduces us to Him, how he works, how much He loves us, how he wants us to succeed, how we can avoid the trappings of sin, and why He makes the decisions He makes. Some call it a love letter to His people I consider it so much more; it is a map through the minefields of this world, a testimony of the greatness of God, a treatise of His sovereignty, and the history of His soul. Finally, God's word is not filled with as many mysteries as many would like you to think. It is true we will never fully understand the full scope of our Lord or why He does everything He does. However, it's treasures are more accessible than many portray. How does one truly explore and comprehend the scriptures? It is as straightforward as the difference between the meanings of looking and seeking. Looking is defined as directing your gaze on something, searching with your eyes, or considering something. Seeking is defined as physically searching and striving for something, to head for and attempt it. We can read God's word, study it, but that is the looking part. To understand His word, devour its components, explore and discover its treasures, moving closer and closer to its author, requires seeking. It is seeking God through His word, with a focused, quiet, meditation desiring with all your heart and mind to have God reveal Himself through it. It is a respect and passion for it, an agreement that it is absolute truth. It is a commitment to its precepts and guidance, the revelation that it provides a closeness between us and almighty God. It is so awesome it became flesh in the person of Christ Jesus. It moves beyond the communciations of Facebook status, tweets, messaging, and email. It is God's silent, authoritive beacon in a world of noise. How influential is God's word to you? Is it a guide for your life? Is it the definition of truth in your spirit? How do you read it, do you just look through it, or seek its wisdom? If you want to know God, then seek Him out within his living biography. God bless.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 92: 1&2, 4&5

 Psalm 92: 1&2, 4&5

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To declare thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.

For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep.

The book of Psalm is a book of reminders. The passages contained remind us of; the greatness of God, depth of His mercy, sweep of His love, His unconditional desire to share an intimate connection with us, and how profoundly lost we are without His presence in our lives. In a world, where it is so easy to forget God's continual forgiveness, provision, and faithfulness; the psalms take inventory of all of the Lord's gifts to us; gifts we have never earned or deserved. It is a good thing to praise the Lord, to give thanks, daily and nightly. Why? There are three undeniable reasons. The first, remembrance. As stated before, it is such a quick and simple thing to forget, especially in adversity, how gracious God is and has been to us. The more we dwell, moment by moment, on God's providence, the more we get very little has to do with us. When we take stock in God's goodness, we realize that the troubles of the second, minute, or hour pale in comparison to the legacy of deliverance and blessing God has presented to us. Second, it draws us deeper into a selfless relationship with the Lord. If we truly seek to experience God's intervention in our lives, selflessness is required. There has been no better expression of this very personal revelation than John the Baptist, who as his ministry ended and Christ's on earth grew he stated so clearly, "I must decrease, so He may increase." The less we care for ourselves and the more for God, the more God crafts us into the person He created us to be. Finally, it is the ultimate remedy for self pity and despair. How great are thou works, I triumph in them, God has made me glad, your thoughts of me are extraordinarily deep. God thinks about us all the time, an unimaginable reality. However, we only seem concerned about Him during times of crisis and complaint. Well God's complaint department policy is straightforward; I know what you are going through, and I am with you, trust in me, take account for all the ways I have been with you, and be glad in it. In this entitled selfish culture that we have shaped it is a hard position to accept. We are taught me, me, me. That life's purpose is to feel happy with ourselves no matter what we are up to. This runs opposed to what God wants; to give ourselves to him, lock, stock, and barrel; and to look to serve the needs of others. To daily discover a deepening relationship with our maker over all else. What are you thankful for? What gifts have you opened and then forgot? Which gifts have you received lay unopened and ignored? What gifts of God would you return? What have you given to God? Thankfully, He never forgets us. To God, we are the greatest gift He ever created, an incomprehensible love that escapes the finite mind of man. God bless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 91: 14-16

Psalm 91: 14-16

Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him, and honor him. With length of days will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.

Imagine God, creator of the universe, master of all, sovereign, almighty, all powerful, whose one greatest desire, of all things, is that we love Him and "know" His name. He waits for us to trust and follow Him, so He may in turn, deliver us from the condemnation of our sin, not His. He will set us on high above all consequence of sin and makes us righteous through His grace. When we call upon Him in need He hears us, and answers us. Whether we appreciate that answer or not. He carries us through troubles, trials, and tribulation. He honors us, even though we are ineligible and incapable of earning or deserving that honor. He provides us strength in dark times, light to overcome shadow, saves us from every enemy, from ourselves. Why? The answer may be beyond our comprehension. God loves us. As simple as that may sound it is a love that is infinite a mystery to mortal souls. There are actually three types of love. Two we know well. The third passes through our mental grasp like sand through a siv. The first type, we are all acutely familiar with, it is the force that, at first, provides attraction. Eros, the sexual love, also called infatuation, attraction, and puppy love. It is the "hotness" we see in a future mate, makes the heart beat fast when you touch his or her hand for the first time, and contributes to countless cold showers if one practices abstinence, as they should. Eros is the simplest of love, and the most fleeting and temporal. It is by no means what any relationship should be based, however, unfortunately, it is what most relationships are based in. The primary driver of a 50% divorce rate in our culture. Eros can develop into lust and worse if unchecked. pool when compared to God's love for us. This is the love you feel for your children, parents, sibling, and friends. The love that forgives, forgets, allows you to see past the eccentricities of our relations and love them despite themselves. Of course, the same may be said for the way they think about us. This love transcends physicality and appearance it is substantive and selfless, but still limited. Finally, there is God's love, Agape, unconditional, unrelenting, unending, and unreasonable. It is unreasonable because we have done absolutely nothing to gather or justify His love. We are a rebellious, stubborn, ignorant, and self destructive people who, before God's intervention through His grace, were thoroughly oblivious to His principles, love, and desire for unity with Him. Yet God determined for reunion sent His only son to die for our sins, so we could have an ever deepening and breathtaking relationship with Him. It only makes sense to Him, an infinite, wonderous, miraculous God. What a world this would be if we could only hold a grain of that love and give it to others. Wait, we can, because God gives us the ability to tap into it if we only let Him. Dear God live everyday through me. Granted that one request, how utterly brilliant life would be. The impact on this world for you would be inconceivable. God bless.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 51:16 & 17

Psalm 51:16 & 17

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

What is worship? What is the meaning of real worship worthy of the one and only God of all? What does that look like? Is it singing praises and hymns both modern and traditional in church? Is it dancing before the Lord as David danced? Is it testifying to others or spending quality time reading and meditating on the scriptures? What is worship? First worship is not for our own edification but  a complete focus honoring God. We may be amazingly blessed in the process, but that is a wonderous side effect and not the primary purpose of worship. It is the act of selflessly seeking to respect, love, and submit to our Lord and Saviour. Even though, we are always the first thing on God's mind, we should be the last person on ours. Second, worship is not an act, it is a lifestyle. It is not a scheduled response or time sensitive process. Worship is a continual, fluid, commitment to serving God as He leads us. Finally, worship is obedience. Before Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, the cleansing of sin and act of true devotion to God was through burnt offering. One was bound to this process in order to commune with the Holy God. That action irraticated through the cross as the veil between God and man was torn in twain. Now we have direct access to God through His Son. However, the identity of worship never changed even though the process did. Worship is still dedicating our lives to Christ, submitting to Him wholly, to forgive and cleans our sins. He gives us the strength, wisdom, courage, and perseverance to be utilized by Him to further His kingdom. What an awe inspiring opportunity, able to have God use us for His glory and will, impacting the world with His love, mercy, and grace. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Singing songs of praise, witnessing to others, concentration on His word, all these things are part of worship if they are focused on God and not to feel good or righteous about ourselves. We deserve nothing God gives us everything. All He asks in return is that we allow Him to work within us to transform us into the person He knows we can be. A transformation that will take you places and show you things that will shake the very core of your soul, and raise you higher than you could have ever imagined. Seek ye first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Forget about what God can do for you, He has you eternally in his hands, seek Him first and His righteousness, for there is no greater purpose or goal than a deeply intimate relationship with the Most High and creator of all. God bless.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 51:10

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart O God:  and renew a willing spirit within me. 

What other supplication is more powerful than the one requested in this verse? Of all the lamentations and prayers, we lay at the Lord's altar, what could exceed this sincere but crucial plea? We ask God for; help, healing, strength, wisdom, protection, and providence on a regular basis. If we truly sought out a clean heart and willing spirit, everything else would seem insignificant. A man or woman who submit themselves to God and His purposes live extraordinary lives, far beyond anything they had comprehended or understood. What is a clean heart, anyway? This is not a final state of being, but a continual process. A clean heart is one that seeks freedom from the trappings of sin. But how? By avoiding those things that would draw us into temptation. Temptation itself is not a sin. It becomes sin when we dwell too long in the places we know better than to visit, both physically and figuratively. A clean heart is the honest and humble admittance that we need God to keep us from the snares created by the enticing of our own lusts and desires. Those things, we know deep within our spirt, are hazardous and detrimental. So what is a willing spirit? The hardest thing to obtain is a willing spirit, because, despite our conversion, we are still fleshly beings who struggle with very real internal issues, past hurts and resentments, anger, conflict, turmoil, and temptation. So is it an impossible thing? Fortunately no. The willing spirit is the decision to seek God first in all things, allow him to work within us, submit our goals and agendas to Him, and look to His word as the foundation of how we live our lives. It is a tall order and takes a lifetime on earth, and an eternity with our Lord to accomplish, if then. Those who seek to have a willing spirit want God to work through them to accomplish something greater than themselves. It is a commitment to living a life according to God's word. Not an easy path, but God provides the strength and support to journey down it. What are your deepest desires? Is God any part of them? The irony is, even when we keep God out of our plans, He always keep us in His. God bless.

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 51:1-3

Psalm 51:1-3

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

I am one of the few people who do not prescribe to a "sinner's prayer" as there is no specific mention of one in the scriptures, but was an idea contrived via church tradition and practice. I firmly believe recognition of sin emanates at the moment the Holy Spirit enters and awakens us from the slumber of iniquity. He quickens the spirit and reveals the unmistakable necessity of God's grace and presence. Once this supernatural event occurs, one is irresitstably drawn to God becoming desperately aware of the need to seek forgiveness of sin and the strength and courage to repent. With that said, this Psalm is the closest thing one could consider as a thoroughly sincere and heartwrenching appeal to God for His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. These verses are in response to the prophet Nathan as King David laments his adulterous affair with Bath-sheba, a sin that also resulted in the eventual death of his close friend and loyal soldier Uriah, who was also her husband. Was this person the one God called, a man after His own heart. We learn three things from this passage. One, historically, David haunted and tormented by these sins brought him to a place of utter contempt and ruin. Two, personally, David realized that only God could forgive him of his transgressions, not because of any good thing within David, but because of the unconditional love and mercy of God. Finally, that forgiveness is extended to all who recognize their transgressions, sin nature, and desire for God's forgiveness, cleansing, and renewing. As a reference, one need only to look at a particularly obscure verse, not mentioned much, John 3:16. In our current culture; the mere mention of sin is politically incorrect, churches forgo conversations about sin and its consequence for fear of empty pews, and rationalization and equivocation replace accountability and truth. Without the salvation message, what is Christianity? What was the need for God to become flesh as Jesus Christ? What was Jesus' purpose if the recognition of sin and its cost is folly? Strip away the need for renewing of mind and spirit through Christ's ultimate sacrifice and we have transformed theology into philosophy. Christianity metamorpjizes into a concept rather than a reality. Does God judge sin? Yes. Does He forgive sin? Yes. Does He provide  escape from sin to share an intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ? Absolutely!  It is a matter of faith, which is the precise essence of Christianity. For you, there is only one question left, is God's word just conceptual or reality? God bless.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 46:1

 Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
In today's times, atheism and agnosticism are on the rise, and steadily becoming more and more popular especially among the next generation. God has been portrayed as everything but who He is. Most misconceptions fall into three main ideologies. The first compare Him as a fairy tale like character, used as a crutch by the week minded. Others believe Him to be a brutal judge and a ruthless dictator just waiting for us to slip up or fall into sin so he may exact his revenge. Finally, the third group, picture Him as a hippie figure existing in a Woodstock like heaven doling out forgiveness and love without any regard for any personal responsibility or consequence of sin. All are inacurate views of a sovereign, almighty God whose primary focus is reuniting us with Himself and provide us life truly worth living through a continually growing relationship with Him. The Psalms demonstrate that perfectly. This verse gives us a snapshot into the true identity of God, one of shelter, protection, care, strength, and ever presence in our lives. The next verse states, and I paraphrase, we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and mountains be carried away. Talk about your definition of strength; incomparable and boundless. Even when we may not feel His presence, He is there, protecting us from the pains and dangers we do not see, or those to come. The shepherds hand is always on us, guiding the willing, protecting His children, carrying us over uneven ground, and illuminating the darkness through His unquestionable and infallible word. The periods we are unable to feel Him near may be a failure, on our part, to comprehend His presence. We try to construct it using our own limited beliefs, rather than seeking to understand His working and methods by His scriptures. The pain you are experiencing is real, your trauma evident, and struggle acknowledged. Nothing is more powerful than the move of the Lord. His peace surpasses all understanding if we are willing to seek it out and accept it. Fear not, God is always with you, He never deviates from His promises, and will never forget or forsake you. God bless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 42:1-4

Psalm 42:1-4

As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteh for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before my God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say unto me. Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with a multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept the holyday.

Okay, there is alot going on within these verses. The three take aways that I treasure most about the Psalms are: that they contain both labour and triumph, are filled with numerous examples of God's eternal providence, and they exmplified pure worship wondrously and continuously which is demonstrated in their tone and substance. With that said, I would like to focus today on the theme presented in my preceding devotions, broken heartedness. In the first two devotions, we examined the broken heart, or crushed spirit, that may result from individual pain, spiritual struggle, physical ailment, or emotional distress. Here, the broken heart is personified as a deer thirsting for water, that thirst driving him to find sustenance, quenching, and relief. Here, the broken heart, I believe, represents that moment of submission or surrender to the absolute necessity to have God restore and revive us. It is a longing to draw close to God for no other reason but to experience Him in every facet of our lives. It is when we seek to shatter the shell of cynicism and bitterness encasing our hearts, having it fall away to reveal that God is our only sustenance and provider. The psalmist so intensely desires communion with God that he weeps day and night for it until God responds. He compares his submission to the very pouring out of his soul. How many times have we said a prayer that barely lasts several minute or, even, seconds, asking God for His support and comfort as we; shower, drive to work, or during our exercise regime then remaining silent to Him for the rest of the day. Then we wonder why God is silent to us. We sip from the brook, rather than immerse ourselves in it, attempting to satisfy a thirst that permeates every inch of our soul with a mere lap of our tongues. God answers all prayer, sometimes in ways we may not agree with, but He undoubtedly knows best. To move past that, into truly building a relationship with our Lord and Saviour, requires a desperate and endless longing to have Him fill our spirit to the point of overflow. We pant for so much in this world; money, position, power, relationships, strength, popularity, stability, materialism, political opinion, and personal satisfaction. We place the most high God in second, third, and even, last place in our lives. We only go to Him when needs have become to great to understand and too heavy to carry. Can we only imagine how extraordinary life would be if we hungered for God like we are famished for the things of this temporal world. We are judged by what we hold must dear in our lives. What do you thirst for? What does your soul literally long for? When you decide, measure it with the possibility of a deepening relationship with your creator. Where God sizes up against those desires say alot about who you are and where your life has been, and is going. God is always waiting for us to return to Him, what an amazing and incomprehensible love He has considering our track record. God bless.

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 34:18

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be crushed in spirit.

God has many promises, none are more profound than his commitment to draw close to those who suffer both spiritually, emotionally, and physically. A broken heart understands the absolute need for God's intervention, and the undeniable truth that we are entirely lost and naked without God. It is when we are broken, that God can truly repair whatever suffering and damage we face brought about by; poor health, tragedy, loss, emotional dismay, or the consequences of sin. How many times have we limped along, trying to heal our own wounds, manage our own pain, with no success, instead causing more harm than good? If our vehicle's engine light comes on, but the car still operates, using the excuses of lack of time and money, many times we wait until it completely breaks down before we even think of repair. Much to the delight of most tow truck drivers and mechanics, usually creating more cost than it would have required if we were more proactive. God knows because of our nature of stubbornness, most times we have to completely break down before we recognize how desperately we need his assistance. We think, on our own, we are stronger and in more control of our lives than we ever could be. That is where God's waiting and never ending patience plays its part. It is at the moment that nothing else but God makes sense that we allow Him to do his perfect work within us. It is also evidence that God is ever present, there when we need Him most. So what is the difference between a broken heart and crushed spirit, nothing. They are one in the same, as the spirit is the center and wellspring of the heart. Even when faced with the difficulty of our trauma, God carries us through it. Whether we experience immediate healing or rectification, or we must endure our trial until its end, God is with us, providing the courage, peace, and strength to navigate the storm. God is always there, as the fanous poem states, when we see only one set of footprints it is because He has carried us through our pain and suffering. God bless.

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Minute Devotion: Psalm 27:14

Psalm 27:14
Wait in faith on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.

In this smart phone and microwave generation we exist in, waiting is not a popular concept. We can order movies on demand, pizza via the internet, and search any piece of information, small and large, via search engines like Google and Bing. Technology has revolutionized the world so that patience is no longer even necessary. With that said, the Lord continuously tells us to wait. Why? God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, why would our Lord, who is sovereign over all, require us to wait for anything. He created this world, our entire universe in the near blink of an eye, with that kind of power, any type of hesitation or pause seems utterly absurd. So, I ask again, why would He ask us to wait? For just a moment, let's revisit technology. I know, every time I seem to obtain the latest, "thing" it is already outdated before I leave the breezeway of Best Buy. The industry is in such a rush to expedite the latest and next best thing that instead of waiting for the Iphone 5 we get the IPhone 4s. I guess the s stands for sucker. We willing except the in between model, because we have to be the guy or gal with the newest gadget, after all, is not the world's current slogan, "he or she who has the most toys wins?" So you get stuck with something slightly better but not quite as good as it could be or should be. God does not work like that. He asks us to wait, because when He delivers it is not only the best, but what is best for us. He looks to bring us to the next level and not some, holdover until good catches up with great. God understands, even when we do not, that we appreciate things more when we wait for them. In fact, we learn more, when we wait. Remember, faith is not really about by the target or gift, but the way we are permanently affected by the journey towards it, or, it has little to do with the product but more so with how we grow in the Lord in the process. In those wait times we actually begin to see how much we truly trust in God. Some of us would rather move God out of the way, as we could do so much better by ourselves. This is a foolishly arrogant notion that results in complete failure every time. God understands what it takes to wait. He knew this time of progress and technology would come, once again demonstrating His word is timeless. That is why he begins with; "be of good courage." It takes real courage to wait, more courage than most things in life. Notice also the assurance that we miss when we get stuck in considering the waiting part. "He shall strengthen thine heart," what a wonderous guarantee and gift. A heart that is strong in the Lord can face the trials and turmoils of life with the peace and confidence in our creator. A strong heart moves mountains and changes lives. Like any other muscle, you have to consistently excercise and utilize it to make it strong. Waiting is that workout. It is a continuous process, notice it says strengthen, which notes a fluid promise. There is no finality to it, rather, the indication of growing and developing. God knows best, I know that is not popular idea right now but for those who have experienced God's intervention, it is a complete and undeniable truth. Learn to wait, with the courage to overcome all fear and stress that God provides, and your relationship with God and the strength of your faith will continually move forward into experiences that will forever change your life and the lives of others. God bless.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: The Smurfs

Not to long ago, I had a conversation with a fellow film buff and jokingly made the comment, "Hollywood has made so many bad films it is apparent they have run out of good ideas, the next thing you know they will make a movie about the Smurfs!" I have now learned the indispensable lesson, to consider what one says. So how does one measure a movie about the subject of Smurfs in this brave new world? Good question, obvious answer, it was goofy, sappy, and cartoonish, which in this case can play as either a positive or bad review depending on how one looks at it and your age range. The cartoon itself was ridiculously sappy and annoying, so in the case of staying true to form, it is a win. However, that would suggest that sappy and annoying is enjoyable. A fan of any Jack Black, Adam Sandler, or Will Ferrell vehicle might fare well riding the little blue wave. If one enjoys good cinema, it would not be rented in the first place or even heard of it, so the point is mute. The special effects are ok, but nowhere near the caliber of other live action meets CGI fares. As far as the acting, if Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, (and if anybody can, please let me know who she is), if their performances were any more phoned in they would have needed a long term contract with Verizon. Now, there was one upside, Hank Azaria, one of the least known but most talented character actors on the market, steals what there is of this film, rebooting the role of Gargamel. He brings a level of quick wit and satire with such lines as, "I can not quit you, " as he laments to the infamous Azrael the cat among many other subtle quips that I giggled to. The film finds moments to poke fun of itself, but the story is just too immature to retain any interest. The ending is too predictable and silly to bother. 1 out of 5 Kernels: this was a smurfing tragedy of a movie, and I'll never recover one smurfing moment I wasted watching it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Spy Kids: All The Time in the World

My surround sound system blew up while watching this movie. I think it may have committed suicide. If so, it was justified. I know the thought crossed my mind several times as I endured this atrocity. This has to be one of the worst kids movies I have ever seen. The humor was entirely unfunny, even for its juvenile target audience. The premise, apparently, is to utilize the word time in as many lame one liners as possible. Every one falls flat, and the sheer number becomes a quick and complete nuisance. The acting was dreadful, the story was ridiculously complex for a kid flick, and the action was hokey and uninteresting. The young actors are continuously annoying I do not know if that is intentional or not. In fact, the entire cast is a real dissapointment. This film should be called Talent Takes a Time Out. Add in the all the 3d gimmicks, for an absolute, hi tech mess. This is the fifth installment in the franchise and its predecessors do not fare much better, but watching grass grow or paint dry would be far more enjoyable than this tragedy. 0 out of 5 Kernels; do not waste your valuable time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1

First, and foremost, I want all to understand, my only purpose in viewing these movies, is to make my wife happy. As most of my fellow, loving husbands will agree, when the wife is happy, everyone is happy. So expectations for this film were lower than Lindsey Lohan's sense of self and tolerance for alcohol. With that said, I will try to be as subjective as possible. As far as the franchise goes, this is the best of the four, which may not be saying much at all in comparison. This installment could very well stand alone among its predecessors. It possesses; engaging storytelling, fluid, natural, and sometimes raw, performances, effective chemistry among its characters, and action sequences that contain decent levels of testosterone. Now, keep in mind, this is the series that reduced vampires to brooding, love lorn, "sparklers, and werewolves to whiny, clumsy, consistently shirtless, back street boys. The main wolf, Jacob, obsessed with Bella, is bordering on a restraining order. The most applaud worthy aspect of this adaptation is the superior make up effects that gradually transform the young, naive, and lovestruck Bella into literally death warmed over and one particularly gruesome birthing scene. The special effects used to create the lycans is sleek and stylish, as well, although they are apparently the most repulsive aspect of the film to the original author. For a fourteen year old girl, this is a masterpiece. A 30 something wife thinks this is one of the best films she has ever seen. A 40 some male grins and bears it, thanking God for smart phones with Internet access that, fortunately, work in the theater. Stay for the credits, as the Voltaire make an appearance, which was a little goofy. The final installment is due out in a year, which for the fans is probably a lifetime. 3 out of 5 Kernels: yes I gave it a three, I am just as surprised as your are, if only they did not make them sparkle, geesh!

One Minute Movie Review: Puss in Boots

The first two Shrek films were absolute classics in their own right. Myers created characters that have both endeared and endured woven into a story that created a well balanced tapestry of humor and heart. However, the third and fourth installments are simply horrid, losing all the freshness and humor of their rpedescessors, replacing them with corny jokes and parodies and inferior plot devices. This newest conquest is no exception. To think that the stories of Humpty Dumpty and Jack and the Beanstalk combined would appeal to anyone was a stretch, to begin with, especially the writers of this cat-astrophe utilized them. Why the so called creative team thought that a movie about Puss in Boots should not tell the story of Puss in Boots from literature escapes me, but most recent ideas floating about in Hollywood usually do, and judging by box office numbers I am not alone. The comedic timing is off, the plot is uninspiring and silly, the action is okay, and the acting is mediocre at best. It had a lot of potential but utterly miss the mark. These boots were made for walking, but they limped along at best. Like a Bobby Ewing shower scene, pretend all the later flicks in this series are an awful dream, and focus on the original movies that are true cinematic gold. 2 out of 5 Kernels: this film is a little better than watching Puss cough up a hair ball.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon: Gift of the Night Fury and The Book of Dragons

The original, is by far, one of my favorite CGI animated films to date. My children positively loved it. So I was excited when I heard that these "shorts" had been released; however, that was tempered by a history of similiar endeavours falling far short of their originals. I am happy to report, these featurettes deliver in every way. They capture the feel, creativity, and fantasy of the first film, adding a new and exciting layer to the tale which hopefully will not replace the possibility of a true sequel. The Gift of the Night Fury is the best of the two titles and has a sincere, beautiful, and engaging story. The characters, in both 30 minute stories, are thoroughly entertaining, emersing you in their world with ease.  The GCI is remarkable in scope and quality. With attention to detail, sweeping backdrops, and unique characters, this film flies high above all of peers. The Book of Dragons combines the two artforms , creating a short that is quirky and entertaining.  Look for some cool extra features. 4 out of 5 Kernels: a true delight for adults and children alike.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Green Lantern

As the glut, of comic book movies finally begins to roll to an end (unless a Hawkman or Aquaman movie is in the works), it seems the wheat is separating from the chaff and the cream is rising to the top. Marvel and DC are now in a dead heat to see who can turn out the best retelling of their comic fare. As the tally continues, Marvel has scored with Thor, Captain America, and Ironman, while DC has had hits and misses with the Batman franchise revamp and RED debut as significant wins and the Superman reboot and Losers effort being critical fails. Now DC has moved into the lesser known, but equally compelling B list characters that do not generate the same mainstream following as the Dark Knight or Krypton's finest has. Green Lantern is such a hero, who is better known among fandom (or geekdom depending on your point of view) rather than the general public. With this feature, DC scores a small victory. The real highlight of this movie is the special effects which are exquisite, creating a world that rivals Pandora. Rather than stand on that alone, as most films of this category, unfortunately, rely on, the director throws a curveball and weaves a quite imaginative and engaging story with solid acting and character development. The action sequences are cool and exciting and in a fascinating and unexpected move the film becomes downright creepy at times. Ryan Reynolds has quickly moved from quirky sitcom star to action film wannabe and quite handily holds up the story and film. He has a sharp and quick wit displayed in all his portrayals with his interpretation of Hal Jordan being no exception. The most notable thing to remember is this is a comic book flick, so any expectation for Oscar level performance or storytelling should be checked at the door. 3 out of 5 Kernels; definitively one of few at the top of the class and managed to leave room for the predictable sequel in a "as corn free" way as possible.

One Minute Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

I was told this movie lived up to its name, at least the horrible part.  So I went into this with extremely low expectations, that is, possibly, why I was more impressed with it then most.   A definitive guy film, with profanity in abundance, sexually charged innuendoes and comments that would make Dr. Ruth blush, and the ridiculous notion that Jason Sudeikis is a player and can score with anyone woman he chooses.  That last fact may make it more of a fantasy film, whatever.   The humor was not half bad, and the story, though confused and chaotic, was entertaining.   I think the most endearing aspect, if I can use that word in reference to such a feature, is the acting and chemistry between all the characters.   Bateman has perfected the straight man bit, ala Lou Costello.   Day plays his role like a rabid hamster who has just been neutered (the reference will be understood after watching the movie).   I have already mentioned Sudeikis role as the irresistible lady's man, which is as, believable as Sudeikis as an Oscar winner.   Spacey, Anniston, and Farrel play their parts with such momentum that they truly propel the film forward.   There is a sick satisfaction that is evident in their portrayals, deriving enormous pleasure in behaving badly.  The quick, witty, and generally funny banter between the three leads is the most effective and entertaining aspect of the film, and these three have perfected that style of comedic timing and dialogue.  The ending is anti climatic and goofy, but this vehicle should be judged on the overall ride and handling.  It is not the Ferrari of comedies but , at best,  a fully equipped Camaro.  Without a doubt, not for the kiddies, in fact, do not even put the DVD in any proximity to them.  2 out of 5 Kernels;   not horrible, a little stronger than tolerable, and somewhere between amusing and outright silly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

There is a plethora of kiddie movies out there, and in my experience, the quality seems to worsen film to film. The plots, acting, and overall feel of these flicks are so goofy and disorganized that they quickly devolve from entertainment to annoyance. I understand the direction at the younger set, but that does not negate the fact that they should be at least tolerable by parents forced to participate. My daughter, 6, loved it of course, so it scored big with her because of the juvenile humor, never ending slapstick, and erratic characters. My 3 year old son, however, lost interest in about 15 seconds. For those who desire a mindless romp that has no cohesiveness or point than absolutely rent this feature. There are, however, many children’s' films that engage in a dynamic manner without sacrificing their quality or producing mind numbing dribble. It seems Hollywood now believes that this what the public deserves, and how I long for the days of Charlotte's Web, The Never-ending Story, The Peanuts Episodes, and their like.  1 out of 5 Kernels, any Disney film, would be a better alternative.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am exceedingly happy to report I am permanently changing my political affiliation to Independent. I no longer support the Republican establishment which is just as corrupt as the Democratic machine. I have also decided that if Romney is the nomination, he will not get my vote. I would rather send a message to the establishment that I want neither Mitt the Cyborg or the Hillbilly Hick Perry, or let the GOP fat cats continue their standard M.O of saying much and doing little. The Karl Rove's of the world who brought us the worst Republican president in history, in George Bush the latter, will not steer my choice or will his cronies, who serve their own agendas and have no real desire to improve or change the system that has brought us to this brink. Furthermore, I believe we should bring every solider home. Until we get this country's priorities straight, there is no need to sacrifice another one of this nation's brave men and women's lives for the sake of; wars we have no intention on winning, to assist allies who act like enemies, and to give terrorists more rights and better conditions than the criminals in this country's justice system. We need to; reduce taxes, discipline spending, rework all entitlement programs to return us to a culture of accountability and personal discipline, become fully energy independent, limit terms in order to end the opportunity for career politicians to become career politicians, end the power of lobbyists, bring about TORT reform to take control away from the trial lawyers, remove the government's stranglehold on this economy and private businesses, and reduce the pay and benefits to all those who serve in congress. That, my friends, should only be the beginning. If we continue to accept the same ole same ole, we will have no one, but ourselves to blame when freedoms become a mere memory. A reality we face, in greater abundance, every day. Occupy that!

The Gospel of Rocky

 1) Just because you are taking a licking, doesn't mean you are losing
2) To win means to believe in something greater than yourself
3) The only bums in life, are those who choose to be bums
4) The only losers are those who never try
5) Real victory comes from the love of a good woman
6) Respect your opponent and never underestimate yourself
7) Champions choose to be champions
8) Anything can be accomplished through the sweat of hard work and perseverance
9) The most important piece of equipment required to win is heart

and most importantly, according to Mickey...

10) "There ain't no can't!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Let Me In

Based on the award-winning Swedish movie Let the Right One In, which was adapted from the best seller by John Ajvide Lindqvist, this Americanized version is both subtley and effectively terrifying.  This film is deeply troubling, darkly eerie, intensely engaging, at times almost unbearably uncomfortable to watch, and immerses the viewer in a world of constant loneliness and hopelessness. With all this considered, it is, without a doubt, an instant horror classic. The story replaces the cheap thrills, quick shocks, corny dialogue, and gore galore of other like features with suspense, haunting and captivating characters, and the emanation of the overwhelming sense of increasing desperation. A villain has never been portrayed with such innocence and malevolence simultaneously. Chloe Moretz is light years ahead in her talent compared to others of her age, or most in Hollywood, for that matter and Kodi Smit-McPhee delivers a performance that is flawless, real, and unrelenting. You do not watch this film; you are entranced by it. It grabs you, addicts you, and then forces you to grapple with concepts that violate sensibility, as the audience becomes a voyeur, hopelessly ogling, the undeniable decent of innocence into the bowels of evil that serves as the only escape from the characters undeniable lifetime of misery and torment, which in itself is a contradiction. The film makes you think, and few cinematic expressions do so anymore. This is the return of the true Horror genre, leaving the audience to think more than mindlessly stare, and to leave with its rich symbolism and haunting tones and ideas still in tow.  4 out of 5 Kernels;  a modern masterpiece of suspense in a world of uncreative gore fests, unimaginative creature focused blockbusters, over the top effects, and aimless sequels that seem Walmartesque in their assembly line, one size fits all, glut like existence.

One Minute Movie Review: Winnie The Pooh (2011)

While a young'en the VCR was introduced. We were one of the first on the block to own one and the Atari 2600, oh the memories. One of the first movies my father brought home for us was the original 1977 version and I remember, even as a young boy, sitting there mesmerized at the screen, immersed in the many adventures of Pooh and his friends. I am embarrassed to admit, years after, I still have those moments, where the classic tune, "I'm just a little black rain cloud," pops into my head. So I was excited when the initial write ups for this 2011 release indicated the return of the series to its traditional roots. This was my chance to see if my children, 3 and 6, would have the same reaction as I did many moons ago. So I placed it in my DVD player and hoped for the best. I am happy to report, their eyes never left the screen, lost in the hijinks of that silly ole' bear, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and Christopher Robbins. Suddenly, that warm, soothing blanket of nostalgia covered me like so many Snuggies. Add in hot chocolate and popcorn creating a memory that I will never forget. As a bonus, Pooh as the little black rain cloud returned in a short clip as a special feature, completing the experience for my children. It is positively refreshing to witness that some of life’s little pleasures can still stand the test of time and breech the generational gap. 4 out 5 stars; one of those films that truly create a moment, a precious rarity.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: The Fifth Quarter

This is one of those movies you look forward to seeing but afterward leave with the nagging sense that they entirely missed the boat. There just could have been so much more accomplished. A film, I can honestly say, that fails in comparison to the trailer. Rather than a well constructed story, (based on a true story, so they already had it spelled out for them), with dynamic acting, heartbreaking drama, and hopeful anticipation, the audience ends up with a hodgepodge of ideas that are either coherent or satisfying. The film cannot make up its mind on whether it wants to be an attempt at moving tale of a family's journey from tragedy to triumph or a docudrama about Wake Forest's most successful and historic football season. In the end, it tries to do both unsuccessfully, lacking in any emotional engagement or fluid storytelling, instead creating a final product that is a movie riddled with highlight footage and not much else. The cast, which is rich in acting talent, is as engaging and effective as swimming in glue. They either lack the capacity or desire to make this story passionate and heartfelt. The editor had a field day in cutting this film together like a Raggedy Ann doll that just emerged from a wood chipper. The scenes are lackluster, lack any continuity, never focus on the workings of the inner family, and leave more questions than answers. It all feels like they had a plethora of football clips and decided to join the dramatic scenes as filler rather than focus. It was disappointing, to say the most, and here was never any connection with the characters or the plot. 1 out of 5 Kernels, this would have been a truly inspirational story if they fully utilized the inspirational true story.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Captian America

This movie was so over hyped that it gave me considerable concern, figuring, that once again, the promotion would not match the production, and the fact that the comic book genre has now officially been done to death. I am happy to report, that this film exceeded all my expectations. Without giving away any spoilers, this movie is a return to the cliffhangers of the past that made the Indian Jones series such a success. The production quality is excellent, with an unmistakable nostalgic fee, through the sets, costuming, and cinematography. The origin storyline is fluid and marvelously designed. This feature attempts to fit a sizeable portion of the comic series into this first installment which is a bit ambitious but, for the most part, works it out. The character development is significant for a film of this type and the audience cheers for Rogers from the get go. The love story is a bit muted and predictable but is one of only a few weaknesses of the movie. The humor is appropriate, effective, and the character chemistry is strong and fleshed out. Hugo Weaving, again, plays a villain, the Red Skull, with the total dedication and emersion into his character that he portrays in all of his on screen identities. Chris Evens plays the Captain as he should be played, a true hero with the purest of intentions and ideals. Tommy Lee Jones is unquestionably brilliant as the tough, non nonsense, commander who delivers one liners with more impact than the Captain's shield. The costume revamp is one of the best I have seen. The action sequences are cool, sleek, and Bayesque. The story is straightforward but engaging and exciting. 4 out of 5 Kernels, by far the best comic book to film transition I've seen (and I am a huge Batman fan, the Keaton version, of course). Good to see the American Soldier as the good guys again, maybe Hollywood is finally learning its lesson.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Win Win

This is another striking example of the concept of the Dramedy, a moniker I proudly coined myself. Drama and humor are in near perfect balance, where the comedy hits all the marks yet remain soft enough to avoid overreaching or becoming sappy. The story is slow out of the gate, but that is necessary for the set. However, the audiences will find itself thoroughly engrossed by the middle of the film and thoroughly satisfied with the final product. The chemistry between characters is exceptional and totally engaging, by far, one of the best casts of the year. Paul Giamatti is one of the best character actors of our time, but has the uncanny ability to chose the worst films to spotlight his unique talents. This movie is a departure from that, highlighting his extraordinary ability to balance subtle, heartfelt mastery of dialogue with uncomplicated, quite, but moving body language. Amy Ryan is superb as Giamatti's wife and reluctant "foster" mom and Bobby Cannavale lives the role of the troubled yet wise teen. Most independent genre films try to hard and fall definitively short, but this movie escapes those trappings and becomes a human, deeply natural, and wonderfully thought provoking commentary. The only down side was the over use of profanity which could have been entirely absent without any effect on the story. 4 out of 5 Kerenls: a win win, for both those on screen and in the audience.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Bridesmaids

This is the first attempt at a testosterone fueled "chick flick" that I have ever seen. The writers and directors of this fem film must have thought that if a movie had women spouting continuous and meaningless profanity, added in bathroom humor, had a porn inspired intro to the film, and inundated the story with high school level jokes it would attract a male audience. Wrong. Instead, it is a goofy, highly predictable farce that could have been a fairly decent feminine focused comedy. I even heard some state, with a straight face, that this was the gal powered equivalent of the Hangover. In order to come to that nonsensical conclusion, one would have to be suffering from one or utterly unconscious while the film played. The characters display as much chemistry as stagnate water. Rather than an ensemble cast, the actors interact as if they are participating in some lame house party coming off disconnected and uninteresting rather than cohesive and engaging. The comedy and acting are like a lousy SNL skit if there are any more palatable ones and is more chaotic and unorganized than funny or compelling. The ending features a full performance of 1990's all gal group, and cure for irregularity, Wilson Phillips, which pretty much, puts a stamp on defining the whole mess that this film is. Overall, it tries to hard to be edgy and ends up over reaching so inept that it just becomes trite and ridiculous. 1 out of 5 Kernels: as far as quality and creativity goes, this film is a bridesmaid and never will be a bride.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Zookeeper

Apparently, while we all were sleeping, Adam Sandler began producing his own films, and in great quantity, not quality, as well. For the most part, Sandler has produced more dogs than a Springer Spaniel in heat, but he may have scored one in the win column with this feature. Although, James has a terrible habit of overreaching and overdoing the slap stick bit, he is both endearing and genuinely funny in this flick, and, surprisingly, pulls of somewhat of the romantic lead role. His romantic interests, Dawson and Bibb, honestly never connect with the audience, they play their respective parts well, but they are predictable and mundane at best. Jeong is proving to be one of the most under used comedians of the time, even in a ridiculously small and goofy role as a horny Herpetologist, he adds some of his maniacal magic. It was fun figuring out who voiced what animal, and I will leave it to the viewer to choose Sandler's role. The plot is weak but fun. The comedic timing is on, but it's one of those films they could have done so much more with. Definitely Dr. Doolittle for the older set, perdictable, yes, corny, yes, but one of those few films that you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy.  3 out of 5 Kernels, it's fun for the family or a date night.

Friday, October 7, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Hanna

The one word that best describes this film is overreach. In its attempt to be overtly avante garde and stylish, this thriller falls flat right out of the gate. The characters are uninteresting, the story overtly convoluted, and the acting is as dry as a Dean Martin Martini. By the film's end, every question posed is only vaguely answered. If you even care at that point. There is utterly no connection with the audience, and you are left with an independent film genre that tries unsuccessfully to be an action film. I caught myself, many times, watching the clock in the hopes it would be ending soon. I thought this might be the upgrade to the movie Salt, I was wrong.  0 out of 5 Kernels, one of the worst movies of the 2011 season.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: The Rise of The Planet of the Apes (2011)

In a world of reboots, remakes, and adaptations, this film is the definitive king of the jungle. It may be one of the best remakes of its time. It is certainley one of the best overall films of its time. A carefully crafted, seamless storyline that holds true to the groundbreaking original while still possessing the ability to add a new and unique twist to the tale.  This time replacing the fear of nuclear holocaust with a more prevalent threat predicted to cause human elimination. The story’s tapestry is woven effortlessly together adding landmark features of the original to a creative retelling of the mythology of the Apes franchise. John Lithgow's performance as Franco's father battling debilitating and terminal Alzheimer's is deep and emotional. The one and only downside to this movie is James Franco's dull and mechanical performance as the lead character (originally portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in the 3rd and 4th installments of the original franchise). He lacks the energy and wherewithal to pull off any of his dramatic encounters and seems to float through his scenes rather than leave an impact on them or the audience. Even worse is his romantic relationship, which has all the passion and emotion of cold bologna. In fact, you experience more connection and attachment with the CGI created apes than we do Franco. Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) is the actor who portrays Caesar, and this is by far his best character role. Caesar demonstrates a depth and dimension that rivals flesh and blood actors on screen. The chemistry between Lithgow and Caesar and Caesar and the plethora of his CGI counterparts is moving, exciting, and engaging. This is remarkably reminiscent of what Cameron achieved with his groundbreaking film, Avatar. With that being said, the effects are the best yet, setting the standard for all those who will come after. They are fluid, natural, believable and are an engine to the story rather than just superficial paint and primping. This is a true compliment to the original and a tribute to what science fiction films were, story, substance, and morale tellers of modern times rather than blockbuster gimmicks and multimillion dollar vehicles for overrated action heroes. I don't know how they can continue without creating an update or retelling of the original. And if so will they fall into the same muck pit that Burton did with his awful remake. But if the same story talent that created this modern classic is at the helm as they may be able to surprise us all. 4 out of 5 Kernels; Heston, McDowall, and Dr. Ziaus would all be proud.

One Minute Movie Review: The Beaver

Few films offer the potential to disturb, confuse, depress, relieve, and entertain through a well told story, excellent directing, and masterful acting. This one does. Jodi Foster creates a powerful and engaging tale of the deepening journey and visceral wounds of chronic, tormenting depression as a father who desperately attempts to escape his nearly debilitating psychological disorder. Mel Gibson plays that father with extraordinary fervor and sadness that is palatable and sometimes too much to watch. Foster orchestrates an ensemble casts that demonstrate the kind of chemistry and evolution that most films miss. The relationships are naturally painful and make an unequivocal connection with the audience. The story flows like water with an ending that is both unpredictable and jarring. This is what film making is all about, true film making. This may become Gibson's swan song and comeback film. This movie is not for the faint of heart, so go in expecting to be affected. 4 out of 5 Kernels, silly name, unique concept, one tremendous achievement.

One Minute Movie Review: Rio

In the plethora of 3D animation movies, this has to be one of the sappiest, goofy, and predictable. The animation is rich and brilliant, but that is the only positive aspect of this feature. The acting is bland, the chemistry between characters is underwhelming, the romance boring, the musical score is cliché, and the comedic attempts try too hard and fall flat every time. The most compelling example of my criticism of this flick was the fact that my 6 year old, who begged me to rent it, was utterly bored all the way through. There are far better animation choices so don’t waste your time on this flop. 1 out of 5 Kernels, this is the cinematic equivalent of the bird flu.

One Minute Movie Review: Life as We Know It

I am, by no means, a supporter of the infamous genre known as the, "chick-flick." However, being a husband of 19 years now, I must suffer through this kind of estrogen driven joyride for the purposes of continuing a happy marriage &, more importantly, marital relations. In the rare occurrence, one of these drippy, romantic, “Oh my God when will it end”, cinematic endeavors, there is a diamond in the rough. This film is that kind of find. Achieving what seems an impossible dream in cinematic features today, this movie is a truly, harmonious balance of humor and drama that most of their equivalent fail. In fact, this movie does such an excellent job I have given it, it’s own categorization, which I am so dubbing a Dramedy. Feel free to steal the term. The stars, Katherine Heigl & Josh Duhamel, are unquestionably marvelous together & demonstrate realistic, natural, & truly engaging chemistry. These two could quickly become the Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan of the next generation. The acting from the entire cast is masterful, funny, & effortless. The humor hits all the right marks. The dramatic sequences are touching & connect with the audience on all points. The tone & tempo of the film are well orchestrated & never miss a step. It is a well written story that is neither sappy nor overtly predictable, although, I felt the ending was a little anti-climatic. But as my wife reminded me, & she is always right, it matched the mood & the pace of the story. 4 out of 5 Kernels, yes I said 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Henry's Crime

There are many obscure films out there awaiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Some are regular demonstrations of the art of film making. This is not one of them. Instead, this movie defines why some obscure films, are just that, obscure. Starring; Keanu Reeves, who either phoned his performance in, long distance, or his character is supposed to be that dull and melancholy, James Caan, the one redeeming aspect of the film, and Vera Farmiga, who is unrecognizable because I had no idea who the hell she is. The chemistry between Reeves and Farmiga is about as exciting as Reeves' overall performance, apparently if he is not dodging bullets from Agent Smith he positively lacks no cinemantic presence at all. However, Caan attempts to carry the film, but the weight of this dud is just too much to bear. This film tries and fails to create a story within a story. Interlaced within the plot of a man falsely accused of robbing a bank and then decides to do just that, is the lead characters, Reeves and Farmiga, participation in a play adapted from Chekov's final story the Cherry Orchard. I believe, the director actually attempts to reflect the play's storyline of a man who captures the love of a woman only to break her heart and steal everything she owns with the relationship between the two. The humor is non existent, and you can only take Reeve's mugging of the camera and Farmiga's profanity so long before you feel queasy. It just became tedious, in fact, it felt as if the run time kept expanding. However, if you are in need of a decent sleep aid, better than Sominex, this is the ticket, as I observed with my wife who only awoke to have me stop the film briefly, and give our children their nightly baths. This is to be missed. 0 and out of 5 Kernels, the only thing these bank robbers stole was about an hour and 48 minutes of my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Something Borrowed

This film attempts a new take on an old formula, the best friend of an
obnoxious free spirit falls in love with her lifelong compadre's fiancée. Don't
forget to add an infeminate male friend of said best friend as comedic relief and the recipe is complete.  So, with that said, you would think, this would be predictable, boring,
romantic slop, and, normally, you would be right. However, this flick is able
to accomplish somewhat of a unique spin on this sophomoric idea and create an interesting
and mildly engaging fare. Ginnifer Goodwin is cute as the best friend but her
acting is a little too "Dariaesque" for my blood. At points Al Gore
has demonstrated a bit more personality. Kate Hudson plays the obnoxious free
spirit (huge surprise and stretch) who plays the part so well she moves the
needle from annoying to just barely below overkill. Colin Egglesfield, who I
have never heard of before but is sure to be the next Tom Cruise, plays the fiancée
and starts of strong but ends on a dull note. His range doesn't reach dramatic,
it stalls at barely concerned. The romantic chemistry between Goodwin and
Egglesfield has its hit and miss moments but never really attains a real
genuineness. The relationship between Goodwin and Hudson is good, but Hudson
plays her character so over the top, it eclipses the emotional value of their
interactions. And to complete the ensemble, John Krasinski is inserted as the
comic relief, and I have to say, does a fairly decent job utilizing his dry and
quick wit. Don't expect any laugh out loud moments though. Overall the story moves
rather fluidly and naturally. The comedic timing is sound but the dramatic and
romantic moments quickly move from sincere and touching to goopy and
lackluster. So it's a chick flick but not one of the best, if there is such a
thing. 2 out of 5 Kernels, it could have been more than it was.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: Morning Glory

Stop the world I want to get off. This is the second, "chick flick" I have watched in a week and if that wasn't spooky enough, it is the second film of its caliber to impress my normally testosterone driven preferences. The all star, A list cast including; Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, and Jeff Goldblum work superbly together and make real connections with each other and the audience. Ford's performance, once again, stands out as the delightfully curmudgeon veteran news reporter forced into the ridiculous world of so called daytime news shows. Keaton is at her finest and McAdams finds a way, as unbelievable as it sounds, to balance between cute and sincere. The romance storyline is lame, uninspired, and uninteresting, which my wife reminded me is not a key element of the film. However, the chemistry between McAdams and the remaining cast is natural and engaging. The humor is fluid, quick, and on point. The plot is basic, but well told, and the ending was poignant and satisfying. Overall, it is a really solid film. 4 out of 5 Kernels, taking a break from the more feminine focused features but if they continue making them like this, I could become more of a fan. I had to say that, my wife is in the room.

One Minute Movie Review: Paul

I am consistently impressed that just when I think you have seen the most moronic, predictable, senseless film another one arrives in your local theater or mailbox and raises the bar of being a ridiculous waste of time. Setting aside the blatantly agnostic message that portrays Christians as dirty, stupid, gun toting, trailer trash you are left with a failed attempt to pay tribute to some of history’s favorite science fiction flicks and the geekdom that adores them.  Laden with borrowed one liners from a plethora of sci-fi greats that seem overused rather than appropriately and effectively placed and utilized. This movie boils down to a satirical send up of ET portraying the alien as a pot smoking, foul mouthed, atheist, who enlists two British nerds and a goofy, and even more so foul mouthed, "true believer" converted to agnosticism to assist him in escaping the unfunny and juvenile agents who try to capture and kill the cosmic comic. The humor is great if you are fourteen and bored. he effects are good and Paul’s physical appearance on screen is realistic and somewhat cool but as far as creature creation is predicable and somewhat unimaginative. This is the only redeeming factor of the entire experience. Seth Rogan could have done so much more with this character but rather than create a truly funny and creative persona that would have been a cinematic touchdown he punts and goes for cheap and adolescent bathroom humor that seems to be the new norm in these so called edgy and contemporary comedies. This is a complete fail when it could have been a terrific satire. The acting is stale and sub par. Especially given the fact that this outing recruited some A List talent like Bateman and Weaver, what a waste of skill and presence. But at least LA is consistent in producing this type of dribble. 0 out of 5 Kernels, I wish this ET would have stayed home.