In case you're computer isn't on 24-7 like mine, here's some goodies you may have missed.
Cinemarati's Dan Meyer on The Last Kiss
Nick on the actressy ups and downs of The Hours.
NY Times' AO Scott on the always divisive DePalma.
TIFF passes out its awards. Peoples Choice went to Bella. The Peoples Choice has done wonders for other films but Bella doesn't have a release date.
Music is My Boyfriend on James Bond theme songs and Casino Royale
As Little As Possible on the ravishment of Birth
EW Popwatch on the Saw III poster. I agree.
Warning: Politics and Religion ahead...
I've been in a horrid mood these past few days. The current downward spiral of the world is a contributing factor. So I was reading about movies to distract myself and came across this old news regarding the film version of The Golden Compass. I'm not sure how it escaped my attention before. When I was reading the Phillip Pulman trilogy, His Dark Materials, I kept thinking to myself: How will they get away with this pro-humanity anti-religion message on film? I guess they're not trying to. Hearing that they're neutering it has me losing interest. If you take out the progressive worldview of His Dark Materials, you're left with cool magic bits, talking animals, and action setpieces: fairly normal elements of fantasy. But the story itself no longer has deeper meaning. It's disposable. We've already had a religious film fantasy (Narnia) so why can't we have a secular one, too?
Religion has been a major part of my entire life: embracing it, questioning it, moving away from it, searching for it, leaving it behind --lots of soul searching. I've run the whole gamut. I've read several blog entries lately about the pope's speech and Islamic fundamentalism and though I tried not to go here I feel like I need to get this off my chest.
It comes down to this: I really can't tell the difference from one religious radical to another. It's the same mindset. Since religion does not pretend rational critical thinking it's super dangerous as a worldview (unless you're an inherently peaceful person like, say, Jesus Christ and unlike, say, his followers) since you need critical thinking skills in the real world. So it's out of the frying pan into the fire if Americans continue to vote for candidates who want to abolish our separation of Church and State (i.e. Republicans). Maybe I'm wrong --god, I hope I'm wrong --but I assume the only thing that keeps radical Christians from devolving into the violent atrocities of radical Islam is that they mostly live in countries which are not officially controlled by their own religious views and in which, though it's not exactly encouraged, diversity of opinion and freedom to express the same, is very much allowed and par for the course. In modern countries the less rational impulses of religious types are kept in check by civilized secular laws. This way people can enjoy their religions and the non-religious or otherwise-religious can enjoy freedom from religious opression.
Maybe I shouldn't brain vomit like this but I figure the more non-fundamentalist voices we hear the better because it comes down to this: I've seen very little evidence that organized religion is healthy for mankind. Certainly spirituality can benefit people. But religion? I don't see the positive effects. It closes minds, even those of good people whose kindness you can see in their actions otherwise. I don't care if people are Jewish, Scientologists, Muslim, Christian, whatever. When it comes to the process of zeroing in on absolute stated beliefs and joining those beliefs with other people there are inherent traps: demonization of others (who think, live, or feel differently) and rigidity of thought (due to echo chamber socializing) being the two most noticeable. I fail to see how organized religion does anything but diminish our capacity for peace, love, and understanding. Ironic, isn't it?
This may read as enormously naive but the only religious concept needed for a good life is also a secular one: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That's a pretty easy law to remember, pretty adaptable to everyone's particulars, and pretty hard to misinterpret. Imagine if everyone just lived by that. Peace is what you'd get. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men. Finally. But we'd have to leave religion behind to get there. Which sucks because nobody will. Which means we're all doomed.
(Told ya I was in a bad mood.)