April 28, 2009

Movie Review: Knowing


First published in the Cary News on April 28, 2009

--> -->
John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), a professor at MIT, knows which side of the debate he falls on when he teaches his students about choices. Are they random or determined? Stuff just happens, he tells his class. He tries to live his life accordingly. When he’s not teaching in class or taking care of his partially deaf son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), he drinks away his sorrows. He’s unhappy that his wife passed away in an accident and has taken a passive seat on the life bus. Although like everyone, he wants desperately to know that life isn’t a waste, his highest goal has become keeping his son “safe.” If stuff just happens, he won’t let anything happen to Caleb by keeping him home.

One day, something happens which challenges his beliefs to the core. His son’s school is opening the time capsule a class buried in 1959, 50 year ago. Each student gets to open a letter from a student describing the future. Out of all the letters possible, Caleb gets the most disturbing one, a letter covered with seemingly random numbers. During one of his typical drunken stupors, John studies the numbers carefully and decides the same thing that Richard Dreyfuss did in Close Encounters: “This means something.” Of course his confidantes all think he has lost his marbles, so John must seek out the truth in an alternate way. He finds a fitting colleague in the somewhat creepy, somewhat attractive Diana (Rose Byrne), who has a connection with the original creator of the letter Caleb opened from the time capsule.

April 18, 2009

Out There

Isolation
Loneliness
The corner between the wall and my shower stall
My hand placed on the cool tile
Neutral, white, so cold

Somewhere there is
a corn dog
piping hot and dripping with mustard
spilling down my chin
the warm pavement
grainy
when I find it
I will press my face against it

April 05, 2009

Transsiberian and Sin and Forgiveness


Today at my church service, the sermon was about forgiveness. How can we be forgiven of sins, and what is the proper response once we have been forgiven? This is an appropriate topic since I have recently been released from a bondage that has has held me down for more years that I care to share. As the preacher was talking, I was thinking about the movie Transsiberian. It's such a perfect picture of what sin does to your life and to others around you. It's also a perfect example of someone who doesn't understand the freedom that forgiveness can bring. The result is tragedy and a life of murky grays. There is no end. No freedom.

This writing will contains spoilers. In this film, a woman who we know has a wild past has married a really nice guy. This man is the type that participates in charity work and is genuinely likable. What we understand about Jessie (this is never spelled out) is that she married Roy and has tried to be a different person. She helps with the missionary work. She smiles and tries to play the saintly wife. But inside she still feels like the same wild, tainted woman.