Movies


thor-2-dark-world-posterIn continuation of the Marvel Comics movie franchise, Thor: The Dark World hit theatres this autumn. As Thor is my personal favorite of the Avengers heroes, I went to see the film for the sheer enjoyment of it (and enjoyable it was), but while taking in the entire spectacle, something in the film’s opening monologue piqued my curiosity.

Odin, Thor’s father, explains that before the present universe began to exist there was darkness. From that darkness arose the Dark Elves, bad guys who have returned for revenge. This little tidbit got me thinking about the beginning of the universe.   (more…)

173540430Well, the ocean’s top predators certainly seem to be making a splash around the Internet and on television this month. The July 11 premiere of Syfy’s ultra-campy monster flick, Sharknado, lit up Twitter and even fueled a lunchtime discussion in the RTB break room. For those of you (like me) who missed it, Sharknado is about a freak storm that picks up sharks from the ocean and then sends them raining down on Los Angeles. I’m not making this up. (more…)

iStock_000011683229SmallIt’s a good thing RTB theologian Kenneth Samples has an end times booklet in the works because the apocalypse is making a big cultural splash at movie theatres. Doomsday is a perennial topic of interest, but it seems to be getting extra attention from Hollywood this year. There are post-human Earth stories (Oblivion and After Earth); Brad Pitt fighting zombies (World War Z), and this week presents a crass comedic take on the rapture.

The raunchy This Is the End isn’t my cup of cinematic tea, but an online description of its plot caught my attention (spoilers ahead). (more…)

MOS_1920_capeIn case it’s not already on your radar, the highly anticipated reboot Man of Steel releases next week. Most are familiar with who Superman is—understandable considering this cultural icon (and first comic book superhero) has been around for 75 years.

For nonnatives to the comic book world, here’s a quick recap: Young Kal-El is placed in a rocket ship and transported to Earth just before his home planet of Krypton explodes. Taking the name Clark Kent, the child grows to become Superman. With his superpowers, Superman protects the earth and its people.

What might be less familiar to some are the religious analogies drawn from Superman. (more…)

star_trek_into_darknessStar Trek Into Darkness, the second installment in director J. J. Abrams’ reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise, warped into theatres this week—and in case you don’t care for spoilers, skip down to the next paragraph. The film begins with Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) violating the United Federation of Planets’ “Prime Directive” (surprise, surprise) by revealing the technologically advanced USS Enterprise to a primitive civilization during an effort to save First Officer Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) life.

Wikipedia explains, “The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of alien civilizations.” (more…)

Great-Gatsby-wallpaper_01“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic, The Great Gatsby, reveals a mystical tale of a man (Jay Gatsby) infatuated with opulence, obsessed with reliving the past, and secretly engrossed in loneliness. (more…)

pixar_brave_2012-wideWe’re big movie fans in our house and we love to see how our favorites were made. While exploring the “behind-the-scenes” featurettes on our copy of DisneyPixar’s Brave I stumbled across a little gem called “Wonder Moss.” In it, sets forest development artist Iñigo Quilez explains the complex mathematics used to create the film’s beautiful Scottish setting:

Most people think of mathematics as something boring and mechanical—but that’s not the way we see mathematics at Pixar. For us, maths are a tool to create images, movement, richness, and fun, actually. (more…)

1920x1200_lookingbackEbbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, April 15, 1947 — “The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind.”1

On this spring afternoon, a young baseball player sporting the number 42 would take first base and change the history of the game forever. The support and criticism following Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the “color barrier” in baseball served as a microcosm of the racial tension that persisted across the country in the 1940s. Nearly 66 years later, Jackie Robinson’s story unfolds onscreen in the feature film 42. (more…)

LR_DWP1280x1024“We don’t want any adventures here, thank you!” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

When you’re a hobbit, adventures are “nasty disturbing uncomfortable things” that make you late for dinner, which a hobbit never wants to be. So you can imagine poor Bilbo Baggins’ frustration when an unexpected party of 13 hungry dwarves and one tenacious wizard (the only expected guest) showed up at his door craving food and drink, and then Bilbo’s company on their quest. (more…)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me….” (John 14:6)

If you ask Christians what they are most thankful for out of everything in their lives, you’ll likely find that Christ’s “amazing grace” tops the list. For those willing to accept the offer, Jesus’ sacrificial death paid the way to heaven even though humans do not deserve it and cannot repay it. Salvation by grace is an idea unique to Christianity. In 7 Truths That Changed the World, RTB philosopher/theologian Kenneth Samples writes, “Christianity at its heart is a religion not of self-help but of divine rescue.” (more…)

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