Cinema In Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman leads the Santa Barbara Free Methodist Church.
Posted 5/13/10 at 9:15 AM | Denny Wayman
The inspiration for this film is a fascinating yet simple idea that director Thomas Balmes gives credit to producer Alain Chabat. He thought that it would make an intriguing study to follow four babies from birth to their first year of age in four very divergent cultures. With virtually no dialogue, filmmakers take us inside the homes and very private moments between parents and children as they take their first meal to their first steps.
By interweaving their lives, the film makes it clear that wherever a baby is born and however dissimilar their surroundings, they are far more alike than different. From sibling interactions FULL POST
Posted 5/10/10 at 11:04 PM | Denny Wayman
Being a preacher's kid myself (Denny), and having raised two sons in a parsonage, I was intrigued by Stan Foster's film "Preacher's Kid." As both writer and director, Foster reinforces some of the negative stereotypes about "pk's" while also creating a naïve and unforgiving pastor-father who is unlikely in such a place of responsibility. But with these shortcomings, Foster also creates a moving tale of innocence lost and redemption achieved.
Weaving together several threads into a single theme, Foster reinforces his message by telling it in three different FULL POST
Posted 5/6/10 at 10:29 AM | Denny Wayman
The beauty and power of the ocean to impact and sustain life is undeniable. To communicate that truth in an experiential rather than a scientific way, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have us imagine that a young boy asks the question:"what is the ocean?" To answer that question, the film takes us into these amazing bodies of water that surround our continents. Similar to Perrin and Cluzaud's earlier film "Winged Migration," their love for nature permeates the film.
The English version of the film is narrated by Pierce Brosnan, FULL POST
Posted 4/29/10 at 10:02 AM | Denny Wayman
Robert Burns' observation that "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy" is humorously presented in Alan Poul's film "The Back-up Plan."
Written by Kate Angelo, who writes for such television shows as "Will & Grace" and "The Bernie Mac Show," the FULL POST
Posted 4/28/10 at 7:45 PM | Denny Wayman
It is a cliché to present a used car salesman as being greedy. However, to suggest that such behavior can destroy a person unless he turns away from his self-centered greed is a visual parable. Written and directed by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, "Flywheel" is a small budget film which is surprisingly effective. Better in some ways than their more financially successful film "Fireproof," this earlier film focuses on business practices while "Fireproof" explored marriage.
Staring in the leading role, Alex Kendrick presents a believably ambitious and troubled FULL POST
Posted 4/22/10 at 2:50 PM | Denny Wayman
It is a healthy practice for married couples to keep their romantic relationship vibrant by continuing to go out together on "date nights." But for many, these evenings become as obligatory as the other chores their shared lives require. This reality is the theme of Shawn Levy's "Date Night."
Written by Josh Klausner (Shrek 3), the couple at the center of the tale is Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey). With two young children at home, the Fosters have replaced their romantic moments FULL POST
Posted 4/12/10 at 2:07 PM | Denny Wayman
Approaching life through the eyes of a child is to see the world with faith-filled hope. It is no wonder that when a child's life is threatened by disease, we marvel at his or her ability to see the world clearer than we do as adults.
Children absorb what they know about life by watching others, and, in particular, their parents. They don't know why the world operates the way it does, but they have an innate trust and belief that their parents and other role models can be counted on FULL POST
Posted 4/12/10 at 2:04 PM | Denny Wayman
Marriages have qualities that are both similar and unique. They are similar in that the frustrations and temptations are common to all couples, and they are unique in that every couple finds their own way to express their love. So when Tyler Perry wrote and directed this film on marriage, we all identify with the question he chose as the title "Why did I get married too?"
Although every married couple will have a unique answer to that question, Perry's film FULL POST
Posted 4/5/10 at 4:22 PM | Denny Wayman
There is no better depiction of hell than Henrik Ruben Genz Danish film "Terribly Happy - Frygtelig lykkelig." Beginning with a sardonic parable of a village in South Jutland which was plagued with problems until they buried a freakish creature in their bog, the film depicts life in which evil is buried and life is emptied of morality and love.
Although the leading character is a troubled marshal named Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren), it is actually the town itself that is FULL POST
Posted 4/1/10 at 10:59 AM | Denny Wayman
Dragons have long been a symbol for the fear of the unknown. Using the phrase "Here be dragons" map makers of the 16th century would denote the edge of their knowledge and warn that from there unknown dangers may be found. Taking this symbolic language literally, directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders join forces once more to create an animated tale of dragons and a Viking village's fear of them.
Based on a story by Cressida Cowell, the central character is a small Viking named Hiccup (voice by Jay Baruchel). Hiccup is unlike the others of his village not only in size but in imagination. Compensating for his FULL POST