Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

As I write this, I am washing my friend Joseph's sheets for him. I took a look at them and they were some of the grossest things I've ever seen in my life. I decided to do him a favor rather than have him live in complete squalor.

My room mate went home for a weekend, so I have had the room to myself for a little while. It's been nice. Not nice that he's gone of, course, but nice to have a bit of solitude. We all need that every now and then. It's given me time to clean up the room and get some homework done without distraction.

I saw Pan's Labyrinth at the theater today with Jason. I am very glad that I got to see it on the big screen (first time was on the computer) because it's such a great film ... one I would definitely not hesitate to see again. I appreciated it so much more the second time around. It's a beautiful, brutal, passionate, film that's filled with subtext. I have no doubt that upon a third viewing it will become one of my favorite films.

I read the Focus On The Family review of Pan's Labyrinth and was extremely disappointed with it. It seems as if their reviewers go into a film with a checklist. The checklist has a list of every swear word and so they can tally up how many they here. It has a spot for them to detail every violent act or implication. It has a box for sex, too, but they didn't need that one for this film (although in order not to keep the box empty, they had to mention that the main character takes a bubble bath during the course of the movie). They make these huge paragraphs listing everything they find offensive and them often sum it up vaguely at the end with either a very bleak or very hopeful paragraph.

In this case, the last paragraph describes the film as a "Saw-meets-Narnia-like film." This could not be further from the truth. Pan's Labyrinth is very violent, but it is not a violence meant to titillate a group of teenage boys with raging hormones. It is a serious, horrifying kind of violent. Saw is a sadistically violent gore fest with absolutely no meaning. Disney's Narnia film was a second rate envisioning of C.S. Lewis' classic tale. Pan's Labyrinth is a cinematic masterpiece ... through and through. It's a story about magic, innocence, and so many other things.

Go see it. Find it at a theater. Sit in your seat and be engulfed by it's beauty ... and it's horror. It's not a film for children, so leave them at home. If you're like me, you'll leave the theater very affected and having seen one of the best movies in recent years.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One week down ... too many to go!

The first week of the spring semester went pretty well. I got a fitting introduction to all my classes and I think most of them will go well. I'm a little mad that I have to take intermediate algebra, but that's the way it goes when one side of your brain doesn't work well. I'm really looking forward to Biblical Foundations class this semester because I really want to learn to study the Bible well and study it accurately. I'm enjoying English so far as well (which has surprised me). I think it's because I'm more interested in the material. I do miss chorale, but that's OK. My audition for Spring chorale was probably my worst musical performance ever in history period.

Speaking of music, I sent in my Csehy counselor application on Friday and have contacted all my references (although one hasn't replied yet). As said before, a year without Csehy would be very hard.

Since this is the first week of the semester, there hasn't been much homework at all. I've had lots of free time where I've done alot of reading and movie watching. I'm reading Fahrenheit 451 for class (I've read it before, but it's worth reading again), Perfume by Patrick Suskind for fun, and some more Spurgeon sermons for general edification. I'm trying to read more this semester. It's definitely something I don't do enough of. As Doc Noebel said this summer, "If you want to be a leader, you have to be a reader." He also said that at our age we should be reading at least a book a week. So much for that. I miss that man ... he was fun.

On Monday, Brett let me use his car and I took a load of books and other things to McKay's where I got a whopping $105 check. Needless to say, I was happy. I signed it and sent it home the other day so my parents can put it in my bank account. After I got done at McKay's, I drove down to The Rave (movie theater) and saw Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men.

I expected alot out of this film and it does deliver in a few ways. The performances are great and the cinematography is astounding (there is a very large shoot out scene done in a single shot that lasts about 10 minutes and goes from upstairs, to downstairs, around buildings, etc). I was disappointed in this movie because it took what coluld have been a powerful statement about valuing life and children and turned it into a political statement about illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. It also acts as a New Age retelling of the Nativity Story in that women can no longer have children and there is one baby waiting to be born that will save the human race. From what I've heard, the original novel by P.D. James (called The Children of Men) was a book that came from a Christian perspective that ended with the new baby being baptized. In this new film version, the ending is a bit different: we hear a Hindu/Buddhist chant, praying to the gods for safety. It's also a very dark film and, essentially, not enjoyable. But that's just my opinion. I've talked to other people who have liked the film.

I was thinking this week about those hymns that we never sing anymore. In fact, the one I have in my head right now is one I only recall ever singing at Csehy ... never anywhere else. Just take a look at these awesome lyrics:

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.