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Nonstop Flights, Faith & Fading Democracy Foretell Spring Flick Line up
Unlike reality, “Nonstop,” which unintentionally became a precursor for the ongoing (at publication) , search for Flight 370 which disappeared from radar, compresses the rogue pilot, hijacker, mechanical failure, terrorist, and psychotic passenger scenarios into a two hour loop. Liam Neeson (Bill Marks) thrusts him into beyond do your duty mode where pivotal twists eventually pit proactive “United 93” passengers into uncertain choices that will determine their survival.
Cramped in the vessel, Neeson and the hand full of active characters speculate the seemingly obvious--- an extortionist on board --- which flies into a wide open playbook of suspects and gunplay evoking heightened 9/11 inspired perils, particularly where security loopholes persist past the much publicized shoe and body searches.
Credit nervous, talkative passenger Jen (Julianne Moore), flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and a blue ribbon for adding emotional empathy and intimacy to the manifest of strangers bound only by a common destination.
Faith, Fitting in New Cinema Offerings
Faith inspired flicks had a genre all its own typically laced in a gladiator, sword and scandal re-telling of prominent Biblical accounts from “The Ten Commandments” to the recently compiled “Son of God.” Though, “Son of God” approaches the life of Jesus more extensively than Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ,” which focused on hours before his death, the impending release of “Noah,” rejuvenates blockbuster mode.
And, the inevitable --- how closely does it follow scripture?
Directed by Darren (“Black Swan”) Aronofsky , who calls himself an atheist, the Genesis story of God’s judgment on a sin filled world becomes an ecological disaster flick , where the word “God” is not once uttered.
Instead, Noah (Russell Crowe) has been given the role of “judge” in determining who and what will be saved from the pending environmental cataclysm . It’s not unusual that a cinematic interpretation of a religious icon blasts cries of blasphemy , however, the complete muting of sacred nature (the Pope has refused to watch the picture) flies against the grain of filmmakers discovering a cluster of movie-going regulars by recognizing the magnitude of faith inspired perspectives.
Hollywood’s acknowledgement of faith fundamentals have been mostly limited to Christmas/Christian miracles told by “The Bishop’s Wife” , “Belles of St. Mary’s,” or “Heaven Can Wait.”
GOT IS NOT….
Enter, “God is Not Dead,” wherein a brash philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) demands that his philosophy students sign a stipulation that “God is Dead” on day one or fail the course. Freshman Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) refuses to sign, setting up a semester long pass or fail debate on the existence of the Deity .
Eliminate the drop this class immediately option. Rejecting parental and peer suggestions, the student accepts the duel as a matter of personal faith, leading him on a journey to persuade class members that God exists. Elucidating modern tough to believe in God hurdles, “Not Dead” mostly substitutes entertainment for preachy allowing a cancer stricken reporter, Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robinson, and intolerant attitudes towards other beliefs as heart opening infusions.
Faith continues challenging viewers on April 16 as “Heaven is for Real,” recounts the life-changing near death experience of a young boy who innocently describes pre-birth events and his glimpse at Heaven.
Finally, Shailene Woodley (“Secret Life of the American Teenager”) trades “Amy” for “Tris” as her “Divergent” character elevates her into the same young heroine hierarchy as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Belle (Kristen Stewart) .
Tris has multiple dominating personality traits in an era where following a society altering war individuals are defined at 16 by one "faction" (be it intelligence, honesty, or bravery) for life. Her genes ignored, she's allowed to join a soldiering tribe known as the Dauntless.
Amplified by near perfect world gone amok Chicago elevated train accents, this fear based society robustly harkens to its science fiction Hunger Games counterpart, where a penchant for diversity indicates rebellious traits that could challenge autocracy. Juxtaposing Chicago’s streetscape and a simplistic, robotic lifestyle seizes greater emotional reflection than the generic Capitol City of “Hunger Games,” etching a darkly sobering other worldly unease on viewers particularly since the release coincides with new Cold War ignitions from Russia.