Archive for ‘Artist’s Picks’

August 6, 2012

Batman Review!

Guest post at Barefoot Hippie Girl today. The long-awaited Batman review! Check it out!

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July 9, 2012

Brave Review

***SPOILER ALERT***: My reviews are intended to get art-observers to engage with what they have already seen and heard and may include some spoilers.  So if you haven’t seen Brave yet, and don’t want to know what happens, you probably don’t want to read this post.

***

“My son, keep your father’s commands
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
    fasten them around your neck. 
 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
    are the way to life.”

~Proverbs 6:20-23

Brave is a moral tale. It is a call to abandon pride and self-sustenance for selflessness and community, as with Pixar’s Wall-E except Brave is set in Scotland’s dark ages instead of the future and is presented through a mother-daughter relationship instead of a lonely robot.

I found the following particularly commendable:

– Legends (stories, movies, and in our case, art) teach lessons. This is what I love about Pixar: they are always trying to get something across. (Mind you, I don’t always agree with it, but at least they are trying). This story in particular teaches about how destructive and divisive pride can be and how humility can heal and unite.

– Merida is not ready to get married. Not in a “she wouldn’t be a good wife because she’s not a lady” kind of way, she’s just not emotionally ready to be in that kind of relationship. She’s no less strong, beautiful, or interesting, and the movie gets that across. Her not being ready to get married isn’t portrayed as a slight against her, like it is in a lot of movies today. (Thank you, Pixar).

-Merida is flawed. She doesn’t do her chores singing sweetly like Cinderella and Snow White – in fact, she’s not thrilled about her duties as a lady at all. She actually has to go through a learning process to be more willing to give up what she wants for what is best for everybody.

-Merida and Elinor both have to learn to understand each other. (Yeah, I know. Someday if I have a daughter this is going to come back to haunt me). Merida is certainly self-centered, and it falls to Elinor to try to get her to see beyond herself. Merida is stubborn, doesn’t listen, and gets herself and Elinor into a situation where she has to yield and give up some of the things she wants. Elinor helps Merida get out of the predicament, and in the process, learns the value of being a fighter. Mostly though, Elinor is right. (And so are my parents).

The animation was good, but I thought the character development could have been deeper and the storyline could have been far less predictable. I know it’s intended to be a children’s movie on some level, but I felt that development-wise, Brave reminded me more of Dreamworks than Pixar. 

Overall, I liked Brave. It reminded me of my own relationship with my mom. I would have liked the male characters to have been stronger – not dominating by any means, but more than narcissistic showboaters. Ah well. I guess you can’t have it all. (Until I start making movies, and then we will have it all, haha).

***

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film. She is passionate about reaching artists for Jesus Christ. She is also a lot like Merida.

June 15, 2012

In Honor of Dad: Famous Dads in Art

The Counsel of a Father

My children, listen when your father corrects you.
    Pay attention and learn good judgment,
for I am giving you good guidance.
    Don’t turn away from my instructions.
For I, too, was once my father’s son,
    tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
    Follow my commands, and you will live.
 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
    Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
    Embrace her, and she will honor you.
 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
    she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

~Proverbs 4:1-9 (New Living Translation)

The Prodigal Son Returns byRembrandt van Rijn (c. 1662)

Based on Jesus’ parable in Luke 15, this painting expresses a father’s joy at the return of his son. 

George Banks, Father of the Bride

When his daughter returns from Italy engaged, George learns the hard way that he isn’t the only man in her life anymore while coping with putting on a wedding. He is a slightly milder version of my Dad. 🙂

Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof

Father to five girls, Tevye tries to balance his faith in a changing world.  In some aspects he changes over time, while in others he remains staunch.

Mr. Porter, College Roadtrip

Safety regulations and protective spirit aside, Mr. Porter is nothing like my Dad. He is good dad as far as movies go, though, and he always cracks me up.

There aren’t many good examples of movie/literary dads. We have some decent examples of manhood, but not really fatherhood. When I began the thought process for this article I was watching The Lord of the Rings. When it came to the Faramir-Denethor relationship, I thought, “Wow! Denethor is a really bad father.” And then I got thinking of all of the Grimm and Disney fairy tales where the father figure was completely absent.  It’s not a great comment on fatherhood in our society.

I know not everyone has had a good father. Many fathers are emotionally and physically absent and that is being reflected in our art. A lot of that gets blamed on the women’s lib movement of the sixties, where women allegedly emasculated men. I think, however, that just as women’s sin issue has been one of dissatisfaction since the beginning, men’s sin issue has been that of stepping up in leadership. Our society doesn’t just need better art examples of  fatherhood, but real life examples of good fatherhood.

I had to point that out because it’s clearly an issue, but it’s not to say that I don’t have a good dad. My Dad is the very best dad.  🙂

My Dad prays and is a prayer warrior. My Dad teaches and leads by example. He invested countless hours with my siblings and I, making sure we hid God’s Word in our hearts. Unlike a lot of people, my Dad doesn’t assume I have everything all figured out (not even the common sense stuff). My Dad speaks the truth boldly, even to me. My Dad is a disciplinarian (in the very best sense).

I am so thankful that my Dad is present. I am thankful that my Dad is protective. I am thankful that I know my Dad wouldn’t do anything to harm our family or me. I am thankful from where God has brought my Dad from and where He’s bringing him to.

Thank you to all dads who are there for your families physically and emotionally, who are a Christ-like example of fatherhood.

We love you and appreciate you. It is our prayer that God raises up more men like you.

June 7, 2012

Artist’s Pick: Mirror, Mirror versus Snow White and the Huntsman

“I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.”

~Ecclesiastes 7:26

I’ve already somewhat analyzed Mirror, Mirror in Cross-Examination: Profile of a Witch. Today I want to revisit  part of that analysis, but compare it instead to Snow White and the Huntsman.

Growing up, Snow White never was one of my favorite Disney Princesses (or even Grimm Princesses). No, I’m a Cinderella kind of girl.  However, I enjoyed both Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman more than I’ve enjoyed the “real” adaptations of Cinderella. Both adaptations follow the traditional Snow White story – you know, beautiful (but evil) queen will do anything to hold on to her beauty.

The art direction in Mirror, Mirror is bright and extravagant, mirroring (no pun intended) its more comedic and ridiculous storyline.   On the other hand, Snow White and the Huntsman‘s art direction is toned down – with costuming and coloring befitting the Middle Ages.  In a couple of instances, it discreetly nods to the animated Disney movie – like when Snow White is running through the forest with trees and shadows clawing at her and Ravenna’s crown and the ravens associated with her magic. Both movies have interesting but distinct takes on the Magic Mirror. Both also use the dwarves for comic relief (which is a separate analysis all together).

I enjoyed both movies (really), but I liked Snow White and the Huntsman better. It did a really good job with character development (with the exception of the dwarves who were significantly under-developed).

I especially appreciated how they dealt with Ravenna’s obsession with beauty: she wasn’t just obsessed with it, for her it was her power, a way to control. She wasn’t your typical “I just want to stay young and beautiful forever” character. When I was watching the movie and thinking about Ravenna’s character, the Ecclesiastes verse above came to my mind. This is truly her character. Someday, I would really like to see a movie where this “damaged woman” archetype is redeemed. In these fairy tales, her heart just explodes or her eyes get plucked out or some such business. Why not let the damaged woman heal?

I also liked Snow White as a battle princess. In the end, it wasn’t the Huntsman who “saved” or “rescued” her. She did battle for herself. In compassion at the end of the movie, she tells Ravenna, “You cannot have my heart.” I just liked that. For those of you who don’t know me well, I really like the concept of the warrior or battle princess. There is something very powerful about a woman who fights for who she loves and what she believes in. I don’t like that Snow White is portrayed as just good, like it’s something in and of herself. All women need redemption, not just the wounded ones.

The Huntsman was (at least in my experience) a pretty accurate portrayal of modern manhood. Guys, I’m not hating (really). I just think men in our society are a little bit afraid to step up to the plate as men. (And probably for a lot of reasons that since I am not a man, I will not get into). That was disappointing to Snow White, but not so disappointing that she turned into the damaged woman.  Eventually, he deals with his complicated background, and does step up and ride into battle with Snow White.  He cannot rescue or redeem Snow White (that’s not his job), but he fights along side of her. *Happy sigh*

Yeah, uh, so now that I’ve watched it to analyze it, I’m going back to watch and enjoy it. 🙂

***

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film. She is passionate about reaching artists with the good news of Jesus Christ and discipling them in the arts.

May 12, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day! Famous Mothers in Art

Madonna and Child

I don’t actually know that much about the fine arts so I’m not going to attempt to interpret this image for you or anything.  Madonna and Child representations date back to the early church in Rome, but the icon by the Eastern Orthodox Church is probably one of the most famous early representations. People have been trying to nail down that complex mother-child relationship for ages.

Mrs. Bennett

This woman inspired the opening line of Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” A lot of times I think we look at Mrs. Bennett as what a mother should not be, but I think in her day and age, she was just looking out for what she thought would be best for her daughters: a single man in possession of a good fortune.  My favorite Pride and Prejudice quote is in the most recent film adaptation. Lydia has run away, and Mrs. Bennett moans, “Lydia must know what this is doing to my nerves.” It’s just something I could see my mom saying about me.

 

Mrs. March

Mrs. March is perhaps my favorite literary mother of all time.  Her transcendental philosophies are a little way off, but I love that she teaches her daughters about true feminism and morality. Based on the real-life Mrs. Alcott, she reminds me a lot of my own mom, and she’s the type of mom I would like to be someday. Minus the corset references.

 

Mrs. Weasley

This woman is the matriarch of the red-headed, gangly Weasley family in the Harry Potter series. Sometimes controlling (like Mrs. Bennett), but always concerned about the safety of her family. She also reminds me of my mom.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlImg2bm28

Mama Said – The Shirelles

 

My Mom

All of the moms in art don’t hold a candle to my mom. She’s the one who always told me it takes pain to be beautiful (context being my sisters using me as their personal mannequin for years) and that someday I might want to know how to play the piano (to which my response was when am I ever going to want to play the piano? Well, now I know). She is up front and honest (if you ever wonder where I get it from), so she’ll let me know when I’m not doing my best or doing something I shouldn’t be doing. 

My mom taught me kindergarten through highschool (along with my other seven siblings), so you don’t need me tell you about her patience and dedication or how hard she works.

Our society doesn’t think very highly of women who choose to be mothers right now, and when society thinks something, it starts showing up in our popular art. FortyOne20 Ministries challenges the “popular” view of motherhood, and will continue to challenge it in our articles and the art we produce, because moms are so incredibly valuable and irreplaceable. So to moms everywhere, from the bottoms of our hearts at FortyOne20 Ministries, thank you for all you do.