MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT



MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT is Woody Allen’s light comic attack on the supernatural, with some thoughts on the nature of romance. It’s a really entertaining movie, but its humanist, atheist worldview doesn’t really deal with any of the real philosophical problems in such a worldview. To its credit, however, it does let one character ask a question of the movie’s atheist protagonist that he can’t answer. On the other hand, the movie has a lot of dialogue so one question or one argument really isn’t all that much.
The movie opens in 1928 in Berlin. British magician and committed atheist Stanley Crawford poses as his alter-ego, a Chinese magician, to amaze an audience with his tricks. After the performance, an old magician friend, Howard Burkan, asks Stanley to come to Southern France and expose a young medium named Sophie. Sophie and her mother are about to bilk a family out of part of their fortune. Also, the family’s young handsome but vacuous heir, Brice, is smitten with Sophie and wants to marry her. Howard tells Stanley that, despite his own knowledge, he was unable to determine how Sophie was accomplishing her occult tricks. Stanley, however, prides himself on being able to debunk any psychic anywhere and agrees to help expose Sophie.

When they get there to the family’s estate on the Riviera, however, Sophie is able to escape all of Stanley’s “rational,” scientific attempts to reveal her alleged fakery. Could Sophie be real? Is there really an afterlife? If so, it would upset everything this hardcore atheist believes. Making matters worse for Stanley is that he seems to be falling for this beautiful, interesting younger woman, even though he’s romantically involved with another hardcore, “rational” atheist like himself.
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT is extremely well done and often funny. It also has some fun twists and great dialogue that will captivate most viewers. Admittedly, however, the second act seems to drag a little bit. The twists at the end make up for this problem. Or, at least they seem to do so.
At any rate, MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT has some interesting, entertaining debates concerning atheism versus religion and mysticism. In the end, however, since Woody Allen is himself a committed atheist, the movie comes down firmly on the side of atheism. Thus, in the end, it eventually rejects all religion, not just the occult. This atheism is tempered by the movie’s contention that, although materialist science is the ultimate truth, there’s a mysterious “magic” in romantic love between a man and a woman. Humorously, Stanley’s hardcore atheist materialism doesn’t let him really understand this magic, but he comes to accept it nevertheless.
Despite the movie’s ultimate endorsement of a hardcore atheist worldview, one piece of dialogue undercuts this worldview and gives hope to believers in God. At one point, Stanley is encouraged to start praying for something. In the middle of his prayer, he stops and rejects the whole idea of praying. Later, however, Sophie points out to Stanley that, although he stopped praying, another person went through with their prayer for the very same thing, and the prayer was answered in a positive way. So, she points out, there’s really no reason for Stanley to believe that prayer doesn’t work.
Of course, as any intelligent God believer knows, although God may answer a prayer request with a big fat “No”, praying to God for something is a positive end in and of itself because it gives us an attitude of being dependent on God. Thus, Jesus Matthew 6:9-13 encourages us to ask God for “our daily bread,” as well as to ask Him to “deliver us from evil.”
These basic points of Christian, biblical theology, which are perfectly rational and reasonable, are, apparently, lost on atheists like Woody Allen. In fact, most atheists the MOVIEGUIDE® staff encounters appear not to seem familiar with such arguments. Certainly, however, this new movie by Woody Allen, for the most part, seems to stack the deck in favor of hardcore atheist materialism. Strangely enough, MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT accepts the mystical, mysterious or “magical” quality of romantic love. It accepts this as a human truth even though the movie’s atheist materialism clearly can’t account for it. Christianity, however, has a broader view of logic and truth. This view, which comes from the Bible, teaches us that a Rational Creator created man and woman as helpmates for one another. Thus, romantic love isn’t a totally mysterious, irrational event but a perfectly logical, and even scientific, part of God’s rational plan for mankind.
Because of its rather pat endorsement of atheist materialism, MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT ultimately is abhorrent, despite its high entertainment quality and lack of any really crude or lewd content.

AND SO IT GOES



AND SO IT GOES follows the transformation of Michael Douglas playing Oren Little, a hard-nosed grouchy realtor who lives alone.
After his wife dies of cancer, Oren retreats to a small house as a temporary residence while he waits for his old house to be sold. Living alone in a temporary house lends itself to Oren’s tendency to be cantankerous and generally unpleasant. In his stage of life, he cares little what his neighbors might think of him. All he wants to do is sell his house and retire.
As he patiently waits for the right buyer, his estranged son Luke turns up to ask his father for a favor. Luke wants his father to look after Luke’s daughter, Sarah, while Luke’s in prison. Oren knows of his son’s past struggle with drugs and hasn’t forgiven him for his wild and rebellious adolescent years. So, taking care of his granddaughter, especially on the verge of selling his house and retiring, is out of the question.
A few days later Oren awakes to the sound of his son dropping off Sarah in his front yard. The commotion also brings Leah, Oren’s charming and beautiful next-door neighbor, to the yard, where she immediately accepts the child under her nurturing wings.
Over the next week, while Leah looks after Sarah, Oren tries to track down Sarah’s mother, intent on finding her to relieve himself of his responsibility to the child. When he does find the mother, a very unstable drug addict, Oren has a change of heart and begins to love and care for his granddaughter. When the real reason his son was imprisoned is revealed, Oren is spurred to fight for his family, but is it too late?
The acting in AND SO IT GOES is very good, but this is by no means one of Director Rob Reiner’s best. It does have enough humor to keep the audience’s attention and the Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton combo is sure to help those from the Baby Boomer generation reminisce on the movies of another era.
Regrettably, this movie is not in the least bit original and is sometimes excruciatingly predictable. That being said, the movie doesn’t even try to be either of those things. One can’t help but wonder, if instead of trying to make an autumn romance, the filmmaker should have focused on the much more compelling story about the father, son and granddaughter relationships.
Another negative feature of this movie is the all too candid discussions about sex, and a brief fornication scene is certainly unnecessary to create conflict between the two leads. In addition to these crassly themed conversations, there’s frequent profanity from multiple characters and a number of lesser obscenities often used in a comedic context.
All in all, AND SO IT GOES is a fun, if predictable, movie for an older audience. Younger generations probably won’t relate to the characters and it certainly isn’t an acceptable movie for kids.

HERCULES (2014)



Brett Ratner’s HERCULES stars Dwayne Johnson as the mythical Greek hero and demigod Hercules. It twists the mythic legend into a more human tale.
The movie begins with his legend being told. Born the son of the Greek god Zeus and a human woman, Hercules is feared by all, but the gods look unfavorably upon the demigod. As he grows, they decree his strength must be tested by battling the greatest beasts. As legend has it, Hercules conquered each of “twelve labors” put before him and became the greatest, most fearsome warrior the world has ever seen.
Now, Hercules travels with his small band of fellow warriors, fighting as mercenaries to whoever will pay and living up to the heroic tales most people believe to be true. What the people don’t know, however, is that the tales are merely stories, conjured up and exaggerated to help spread fear of Hercules and his name.
The king of Thrace and his beautiful daughter summon Hercules to help defend their kingdom from a ruthless army supposedly pillaging villages and killing men, women and children. With promise of payment, Hercules agrees to train Thrace’s weak army into a deadly force.
Hercules is haunted by a past involving a dead wife and three children, who were murdered by an unknown assailant. The mission for which he is being rewarded and the circumstances surrounding it become more and more mysterious and unclear.
HERCULES has three things going for it, a unique take on the mythical tale, some campy humor that works in its favor and entertaining action. Otherwise, this movie is a big miss. Instead of focusing on the fantastic mythology surrounding Hercules and the great beasts he defeats, this version avoids the unexplainable for the most part. Yet, it still shows the pagan Greek religions as a backdrop embedded in Greek culture. The movie has some moments of redemption where Hercules and his men (and a woman) fight for the innocent and are willing to lay down their lives for each other and other people. In the end, however, it has a ridiculous message that states, “If you believe you are a hero, then you are.” Dwayne Johnson brings little to the legend other than his massive physic. Also, the writing is, for the most part, canned and unimaginative.
Thankfully, the violence is more action-oriented than titillating, but the movie’s pagan worldview and some brief foul language still warrant extreme caution.

Mendacity and Perfidy



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Mendacity and Perfidy

By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher

The news media, whether consciously or unconsciously, by commission or omission, has supported the transformation of the United States from the Land of Freedom to the Land of Socialist Tyranny.

As Paul Johnson points out in his classic work MODERN TIMES about the 20th Century, the sea change in the intellectual community occurred in the 1930s when the press was supporting Joseph Stalin, who was killing millions of peasants and farmers in the name of Marxist, socialist communism. When Stalin opposed Hitler, who was doing his worst in Germany too, the press opposed Hitler. When Stalin switched and signed a treaty with Hitler, Duranty at the New York Times and other communists elsewhere supported the fascist communist axis until Hitler invaded Russia, and they flipped back again, calling for the United States to support Russia at all costs. In fact, the United States ended up giving more aid to Russia than it did to Great Britain!

In our own day and age, the press has not only whitewashed but commended heinous acts of the government such as: the IRS scandal, the lies about the 2012 murder of four Americans in Benghazi in Libya, ATF “Fast and Furious,” Sebelius demands payment, Solyndra, and I’ll pass my own laws. Now with the surge of illegal aliens and drug dealers, including thousands of unaccompanied children, at America’s southern border, the press has either taken the tack that this is a humanitarian cause or that the President was ignorant of the situation. In the first instance, the media falls into the hands of the Marxist socialists like Cloward and Piven who think the best way to destroy the United States is to appeal to the kindness of the Christian American base to such a degree that the country is bankrupted. In the second instance, the media lets the President and his minions publicly deny all responsibility, something that Hitler and Stalin did frequently. Either tactic is either an amazing act of mendacity (deceit) or perfidy (treachery and disloyalty).

What’s happening in the current border snafu is quite plain, however.

What prompted this new border invasion the President ordering the federal government not to deny immigrant children residence in the U.S. and even government funding. He aided this action with extensive pre-planning by giving charities millions of dollars to house and teach these children, some of whom are gang members in their late teenage years. This follows the Cloward and Piven goal of bankrupting the social welfare system and the federal budget. Then, if there’s a strong enough reaction against this goal, then the President can call for tyrannical controls and even more consolidation of power, including getting rid of his enemies through legislative devices such as IRS regulations or The Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point”, which kills off any business that opposes his imperial reign.

It’s interesting that some of the people who’ve been speaking up against the President’s policies regarding the southern border are the homeless. They and other poor people are asking why they haven’t gotten homes while these illegal immigrants who’ve broken the law are getting homes. Also complaining are some towns and communities headed up by liberal potentates who don’t want the tax flow being redirected from their smarmy pockets into the federal government.

The answer to all this mendacity and perfidy is to always proclaim the Truth that sets men and women free. The Truth starts with the facts in spite of the deluge of misinformation from the useful idiots in the press. It continues onward to the Ultimate Truth, which is Jesus Christ, who sets us free from bondage to our personal addictions as well as bondage to tyrannical idolatry.

One of the best expressions of a sound immigrant policy was Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy said we want people to be part of this great country, but we must always teach them what it means to be an American. The beginning of that education means teaching them that freedom only begins with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

The Swine in Church



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The Swine in Church

By David Outten, Production Editor

A popular expression is to say there’s an elephant in the room. The implication is that there’s a huge problem right under everyone’s nose that no one wants to address.

The church faces just such a problem. Surveys show that almost 50 percent of men in church have a problem with pornography. All too often the pastor is one of them.

I was one of them. I came to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord, in large part because I was drawn to pornography, even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. I wanted help. I was in a battle that I wanted to win, but kept losing. At risk was my marriage. At the time I had a son. I dreaded a life of child support and visitation. I knew my desires were getting uglier. They were going in directions I felt no control over.

When I accepted Jesus, I would love to say the problem ended. That would be a lie. I did make progress. Over a period of time my failures diminished. Today, I can work in a room alone on a computer with a 27 inch monitor and never go to a pornographic website. I’ve been married 40 years, have two children and three grandchildren. I thank God every day for my freedom, for my marriage and for my family.

Two recent news events have brought me to write this article. Elliot Rodger, a young man obsessed by the idea girls should have wanted to have sex with him, killed six people in Santa Barbara. His mind was warped by pornography. The other involved a young woman who died while a boy took pictures of her naked, hanging in a noose.

These tragedies make me sick. My heart goes out to the victims, their families, and to the perpetrators and their families. While I never came anywhere near such depravity, I battled the swine that would gladly have taken me there.

One of the Scripture verses that helped tremendously in the renewal of my mind was Proverbs 11:22. As I used to quote it to myself, it went like this:  “A beautiful woman lacking in modesty and discretion is as a gold ring in a swine’s snout.” You can’t walk through a mall without seeing posters of women lacking in modesty and discretion. You can’t watch a football game without seeing women lacking modesty and discretion. You can’t even read news stories on the Internet. What’s important is that you see past the woman to the swine. You need to see lust as a demonic swine out to destroy your life.

Lust is a very cruel slavemaster. It can be like hunger. When you’ve had a meal and you’re full, you’re satisfied. A few hours later, you get hungry again. Pornography feeds lust. The more you look at, the bigger your appetite grows. The bigger your appetite, the more you want variety. The stories above are of people whose hunt for variety had deadly results. These are very rare cases.

More commonly you get what happened to me. Your wife is not variety. She looks the same every day, and may even put on a pound or two. She’s not enhanced with Photoshop software. She becomes less desirable. Your eyes and thoughts wander. Marriage becomes a sexual disappointment. She knows. It’s a disappointment to her that she’s not as desired as she should be. It’s grounds for jealousy. It’s a path to the destruction of marriages and the breakup of families.

God healed my marriage. He renewed my mind and enabled forgiveness.

The swine is in the church. There are men who have not finished the renewal of their minds. There are men who have not started the renewal of their minds. I used to bring the swine to church with me. My heart aches for those who still do. Freedom is possible.

We are all born sinners, selfish, envious, rude, and disrespectful. We are born to have hormones kick in at puberty. We are born susceptable to lust. What comes natural is not always healthy. If everyone grows up to live by their sinful nature there would be no civilization. We would be brutal animals fighting for food and sex. Controlling lust is as crucial for a civilized society as controling theft. It’s crucial to the church. It was so crucial to the early church that it gets mentioned in several letters of the Apostles.

These letters give the solution. Of course, the first step is salvation. Asking God’s forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus referred to this as being “born again.” Baptism symbolizes your commitment to die to your human nature and be raised in a new life led by the Spirit of God.

This commitment is like a marriage vow. It’s amazing the day you make it, and it comes under assault thereafter, by sticking with your commitment and weathering storms, your marriage grows stronger and stonger. By sticking with your commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and weathering storms, your mind is renewed and you become more and more like Jesus himself.

Prayer, persistence and perseverance lead to freedom. The cartoons of someone with the devil speaking in one ear and an angel speaking in the other isn’t so silly. They’re real. The Spirit of God will speak to your heart every time the demon of lust demands that you seek gratification. You will choose whose leading to follow. Sometimes you may make the wrong choice. Satan will tell you, “See, you can’t stop. You’re hooked. Even God can’t help a case like you.”

I’m here to tell you God can. I stumbled, I struggled. God did not give up on me. Today, I’m a free man. I would rather be locked in an actual prison, and be free of lust, than live free to go where I wish and be enslaved by lust.

Using the logic of the sexual revolution, I could claim I was born to be a pedophile. By that same logic, I could claim I was born to be a thief. Some could claim they were born to be alcoholics. Rather than focusing on whatever evil we were born to enjoy, we should focus our minds on what God wants us to be. When we accept Jesus Christ, and are born again, our future is in righteousness, not sin. Our goal is to love, to be kind, to be honest, to be hard working and charitable. When one’s mind is renewed, you can become a model husband, father and citizen.

Lust, be it heterosexual or homosexual, leads to disaster, not just for individuals, but for society. Faithful marriage – God’s design for human sexuality – has tremendous personal and social benefits. Lust is the driving force behind the sex slave trade, child molestation, rape, abortion, and all the horror stories like those mentioned above. Lust celebrates human suffering. It throws a party when priests become pedophiles. It rejoices with every rape. It rattles the chains of those in Hollywood who everyone fears exposing. Lust is one of the greatest enemies of mankind.

Jesus Christ came to set free those held captive. On the cross He defeated lust. As the body of Christ, the church is called to proclaim this victory and to live it. We are called to chase the swine out of the church and then go on a rescue mission to free the slaves outside the church.

Not all of lust’s slaves want freedom. Some revel in their slavery. But, there are a lot of men out there who know in their heart, like I did, that pornography is wrong. They want freedom. To them I say, don’t give up. God can, and will, help those who earnestly seek Him.

HONOR DIARIES



HONOR DIARIES is a very important documentary about the evils and abuses against women and children in the Muslim world in the name of honor. Although this concept of honor is clearly a Muslim perversion of real honor, the nine women who discuss the problem defend Islam several times and suggest the same problem occurs in other religions.
This may be true of Hinduism and Buddhism, but they also extend it to Christianity, which is NOT true. To set this record straight, Paul says there is no male or female in Christ. So, there is no Scriptural basis for the horrors created by the Koran and other Islamic texts.
That said, nine women (eight of whom are Muslim) discuss the disparate ways that the Muslim concept of honor is a patriarchal device to abuse women and children. Right up front, these women agree that honor is the concept by which the patriarchal male-oriented society controls women. Muslim men don’t let their women have an education. Very few have made it into government or any significant career.
When the women westernize, Muslim men burn and/or torture and/or shoot and/or beat and/or stone the girls and women. There are hundreds of millions of women who have been oppressed in Muslim countries.
Then, the women get into more specifics, such as female genital mutilation, which has happened to 150 million women, half of them before they’re 18-years-old, some of whom have died.
Then, they talk of child brides and little girls who commit suicide or die of the sexual act by some perverse, older Muslim man. Finally, they get into the honor killings themselves and the horrible way these women who have offended the family’s “honor” are killed.
There are several key points in HONOR DIARIES.
One is that mothers and other women often become the enforcers, not just for genital mutilation but also for honor killings. There’s footage, for example, of a woman, who says she threw acid in her daughter’s face and would do it again. According to the nine, by enlisting women to enforce the honor system of Islam, the men can say, “I didn’t do this. Women want genital mutilation. They want to protect family honor too.”
Then, number two, there’s the response or lack thereof of western authorities and officials. The nine women talked about little girls in Britain taken out of school to have genital mutilation, but the schools look the other way. They also mentioned honor killings in western countries where the men got lighter sentences because it’s “part of their Muslim culture.”
It’s clear from talking to the producers that they were interested in making a movie that would not be Islamophobic. Therefore, it has a clear feminist and humanitarian viewpoint trying to get western governments and individuals to stop excusing the horrible abuse of women and children under the concept of honor. In the process of taking this fine line, the program defends Islam and suggests that Christianity in a minor way is part of the problem, along with every other religion.
However, God is not the problem. Faith in Jesus Christ is not the problem. Jesus came to set the captives free. Christianity was essential for the freedom in Western Civilization from the evils that can be seen in Islam and other systems. Professor Alvin Schmidt’s book HOW CHIRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD should be read by everyone. Hospitals, education, equality, self-government all flow out of Christianity. The evils exposed in this movie were evils that existed before Islam in pagan cultures such as Rome, Sparta, Babylon, and Persia, not to mention the Aztec culture where the pyramids ran with the blood of sacrifices, usually young women and children.
All that said, HONOR DIARIES is to be commended for clearly presenting the case that legal action must be taken to protect women and children, and that this religious and cultural behavior should not be condoned but must be condemned thoroughly.

THE LAST SHIP: Phase Six



THE LAST SHIP is a new TV series about a U.S. naval destroyer crew that believes they’re on a weapons-testing mission in the Arctic, only to discover they’re actually the secret vaccine-testing base against a worldwide pandemic disease and aren’t allowed to return home until they find a cure. The pilot episode, “Phase Six,” has a strong moral, patriotic worldview, with a strong Christian undertone containing an extended Christian funeral scene for a sailor. However, it’s marred by a brief pro-homosexual portrayal of a lesbian sailor discussing her “girlfriend.”
Commander Tom Chandler (Eric Dane) opens the show eager to return home after conducting successful weapons testing in the Arctic. Just as he’s about to bring his ship home, he learns that two scientists on board (Rhona Mitra as an American scientist, with a Russian counterpart) are actually trying to create a vaccine for a pandemic that’s wiped out most of the world’s population during the destroyer’s several months at sea.
The scientists themselves are in great danger, as a team of rogue Russian soldiers attacks them with gunfire and helicopter missiles in an attempt to steal the vaccine from America. Soon, a nuclear missile heads the destroyer’s way and flies over into the U.S. instead, making it too dangerous to disembark as planned on the U.S. coast.
These factors combine to set up a tense face off between the lead scientist and the commander, which bodes well for the series as it has several exciting angles to pursue.
THE LAST SHIP has a solid cast that portrays courage and patriotism well and handles action with aplomb. Eric Dane in particular makes a lively hero out of Chandler without going over-the-top, and Mitra fires sparks aplenty with her own feisty portrayal of the lead scientist. The show also features MOVIEGUIDE® favorite Adam Baldwin of the 1983 movie MY BODYGUARD and TV’s CHUCK. Director Jonathan Mostow has done expert action movies before (the MOVIEGUIDE® Award winning U-571 and BREAKDOWN) and handles everything with style to spare and great tension. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that executive producer Michael Bay (the director of the TRANSFORMERS movies) helped guide this show, which seems better written and more coherent than nearly any of Bay’s movies.
With barely any foul language, no visible sex or nudity, and plenty of exciting yet tastefully shot action, the pilot episode of THE LAST SHIP is rousing viewing for teenagers and adults.

LUCY



French filmmaker Luc Besson always seems to be wrestling with philosophical issues. Unfortunately, he’s brought his ill-informed, drug induced, gnostic musings, complete with pseudoscience, to the big screen with LUCY, starring Scarlett Johansson. Besson is commended for making his vision his movie, but beyond that, his vision is a mess.
The movie opens with Lucy being manipulated by Richard in some Chinese town to deliver a small silver briefcase. Lucy resists while trying to recover her moral perspective. Richard handcuffs the briefcase to Lucy and pushes her inside the hotel.
With fear and trembling, Lucy asks for Mr. Jang. When he shows up with his army of goons, Director Luc Besson starts inserting documentary nature footage of an antelope being attacked by cheetahs. Clearly, Lucy is the antelope, and the villains are the cheetahs stalking their prey. Besson also introduces the supposedly first primate humanoid, the one which evolutionists long ago labeled “Lucy.”
Meanwhile at some point, the movie states that the world is billions of years old. This flipping back and forth between documentary footage of a mouse getting caught in a mousetrap and the dramatic movie creates a very goofy feel. The audience doesn’t need nature documentaries to tell us that Chinese villains are coming after Lucy.
Back at the hotel, the evil Chinese shoot Richard through the door. Then, they drag Lucy up to the hotel room where everything is splattered with blood, and corpses are seen lying around the bedroom. Lucy is ordered to open up the silver case, while the tough Chinese goons tremble and hide in case the case explodes.
It turns out the case includes several bags of an extremely potent, LSD type drug called CPH4 (which is supposed to be like an atomic bomb going off inside your brain). The Chinese give a snort to a man who goes insane and is executed, before hiding the bag inside Lucy’s abdomen.
Lucy and a few other human mules (or drug carriers) are sent to Europe with the drugs inside of them to be retrieved by the bad guys in each country to eventually sell. Lucy gets waylaid, and one guy punches her in the stomach when she resists his desire to rape her. This releases the drugs, which starts the process of her purportedly being able to use more than 10% of her brain.
With her newfound intellect, Lucy escapes, contacts a professor played by Morgan Freeman who lectures on the evolution of the brain, and the movie shows percentages on the screen as Lucy’s brain increases from 10% to 20% to 30% and so forth.
Lucy informs a French police detective to capture the other human mules. Meanwhile the Chinese go on an all-out war to recover their goods. Lucy takes a moment to torture, but not kill Mr. Jang, then she goes to Europe where car chases ensue, and she finally meets the Professor. Lucy goes on a binge to take all the drugs so her brain can reach 100%.
[SPOILER ALERT] She then becomes the great “I AM” (the one true Creator God’s name for Himself). She travels to the past or follows her genetic memories to touch the first female, Lucy, imparting her knowledge to her.
Although you might not want to read the spoiler, this movie is so toxic that it might help you to not waste your time watching this movie. The good news is that Luc Besson seems to be looking for the meaning of life. What he finds is a gnostic, highly materialistic, evolutionary answer without God. The movie states that the only purpose of life is passing on knowledge. However, Lucy’s intelligence doesn’t help her become a better human being. Thus, at one point, she mentions to the professor that she’s losing her humanity; such as: her fear, love, feelings, and compassion. This is demonstrated when she tortures the mob boss and indiscriminately slaughters people, including a hospital patient in the operating room.
The direction of this story not only is depressing. It also seems like the ultimate LSD trip, except in this case, the hallucinogen mind expansion drug is a natural hormone that supposedly starts a baby’s thinking in the womb. Thus, the plot is a confused mixture of pseudoscience and Gnosticism.
If the ultimate goal is for us to become one with everything, then we can no longer individually experience love, joy, peace, and all the other cardinal virtues. What a sad, nihilistic vision of mankind’s future!
To make the movie even more absurd, Luc Besson uses all this documentary nature footage to illustrate what he’s clearly saying. He also inserts several lectures informing viewers didactically about his silly Gnostic beliefs.
LUCY the movie pushes a heavy-handed evolutionary agenda. It’s interesting that Scarlett Johansson gives one prayer to God before she goes on her “mind expansion” journey. The acting is serviceable. The music is irrelevant and adds nothing to the story.
The good news is that movie is action packed and very short. The bad news is that it’s going to give a lot of false beliefs to many susceptible individuals and contains a lot of graphic violence.

A MOST WANTED MAN



A MOST WANTED MAN is a spy thriller based on a novel by acclaimed novelist John le Carré. Never a patriotic spy novelist (unlike the creator of the James Bond novels), le Carré has turned increasingly Anti-American and Anti-West in his novels. So, this story is a leftist critique of President George W. Bush’s rendition policies, the policy of kidnapping terrorist suspects and sending them to other countries for interrogation, countries that might engage in torture activities that go beyond practices such as enhanced interrogation or waterboarding. In his more recent fiction, Le Carré stacks the deck so that Americans, or in at least one case, Israelis, are the worst characters and Muslims or patriotic communist spies and leftists become innocent victims of the evil Americans or western capitalism. This is pretty much what happens in the novel and the movie version of A MOST WANTED MAN, although the movie’s main American character doesn’t turn out to be really bad until the very end.
The story of A MOST WANTED MAN centers on Gunther, a chain-smoking middle-aged man who runs Germany’s secret anti-terrorist division in Hamburg, the port city where the leader of the 911 hijackers was stationed. Gunther is focused on co-opting Abdullah, the head of a large Muslim charity group, who launders some of his charity monies to a shipping company in league with Muslim terrorists overseas. A young Chechen Muslim named Issa is a key to Gunther’s plot. Issa entered Germany illegally and is trying to become a German citizen. Issa’s mother was raped by a Russian military officer with lots of money in a secret German bank account.
Gunther and his team co-opt a beautiful young attorney named Annabel, who’s helping Issa get legal papers. Issa doesn’t want his father’s money. Instead, he wants to use only a small part of it to get his citizenship papers. So, Gunther and his team convince Annabel to convince Issa to give his money to Abdullah’s charity. Then, Gunther will have leverage on Abdullah to convince Abdullah to help Gunther get the goods on the terrorist leaders behind the shipping company.
Can Gunther convince the heads of the German spy agency and the local chief of the CIA’s bureau in Germany, a woman, to go along with this plan? Even if they do, will Gunther’s plan succeed?
As in many, though not all, of le Carré’s work, the hero here is a master of manipulation. However, A MOST WANTED MAN is another case where the manipulative hero is himself manipulated and even betrayed. Although this makes for thrilling, intricate, compelling storytelling, the tendency to make the western powers, especially the Americans, the bad guys, and the Muslims or leftists the good guys (or at least the innocent guys) continues to be annoying and evil. Le Carré’s more recent stories, thus, have become too much like ham-fisted leftist propaganda rather than well-written novels of intricate intrigue.
The worldview seems highly Romantic, but sometimes borders on misanthropic. Thus, the characters in this le Carré story, as in many others of his, are part of a world where the social and political order has corrupted people, who seem born good. Still, one also gets the sense that le Carré sees people as incapable of being transformed for the better. Thus, le Carré’s world is a world without Jesus. Ironically, the hero here makes an offhand remark about the saving power of Jesus Christ, but it’s clear that he himself doesn’t believe in it, despite the inner sense of decency that his character sometimes displays.
MOVEIGUIDE®, therefore, can’t commend A MOST WANTED MAN. Ultimately, it seems to side with the bad guys, the Muslims who either commit heinous acts of terror or let them occur under their nose. Some of le Carré’s earlier stories, such as THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY or TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, seem to be much better, more rewarding examples of this style of fiction and of le Carré’s best work. Clearly, the Richard Burton version of THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD and the TV version of TINKER featuring Alec Guinness remain the two best versions of a le Carré novel. Le Carré means “The Square” in French, by the way.

 

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