Monday, July 30, 2007

The Second Chance DVD

One of our favorite reviewed films, The Second Chance, was recently granted another price drop. It's a steal at $12.99. Save This Page Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jon's Show Notes on The Passion podcast

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thoughts on the Passion

I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ(henceforth referred to by its original and superior title of simple, The Passion) since it was in theatres for its first release. At the time I had resisted going to see it for a long time, despite being really excited about it from the first trailer. My resistance began building the December before the film was released, when it first began to receive criticism for being anti-Semitic. I'll address that later, but the problem I had was that immediately right-wing conservative and christian pundits, leaders and politicians began defending the film from its critics. What bothered me was although both the critics and the defenders were basing their comments upon the descriptions of the few people who had seen the film, none of them had seen it. What really bothered me was that the defenders adopted the tactic of out-shouting and out-labeling anyone who criticised the film. Anyone who called it anti-Semitic was themselves labeled as anti-christian. In their attempts to defend the film from what seemed to me as honest questions about its content, they once again exposed the worst aspects of people who call themselves Christians. Of course, all this was nothing but beneficial to Mel Gibson and his film, since the controversy had elevated from a obscure art-house project to the number one topic of the day. Gibson and his company correctly realized that something like this was an opportunity that churches would want to participate in, so they flooded churches with promotional materials and arranged screenings for congregations across the country. This resulted in many churches not only organizing screenings or trips to theatres, but actively telling their congregants that the film was, quite literally, a must-see. All of this resulted in me having a distinct desire not to see the film. Not because I thought it would be bad, but because I bristle when someone tells me that I have to do something, particularly when someone in a church tells me that I have to do something that is quite obviously not connected in any way with Biblical principles(example, my old Baptist church telling me I couldn't drink or get tattoos). So I didn't go see it at first, but during that time I read a lot of reviews of its violence, and it sounded kind of excessive to me. Finally, my curiosity overcame me I went out and saw The Passion on my next day off. Since I was in Texas at the time for military training, I went by myself, sitting in a nearly full theatre on a Sunday afternoon. I just read my journal from that day, and at the time I pretty much felt what I feel now. The film is good, but not great. It does one thing, depict Jesus' death, and does it very well. At the time I wrote that I felt it was not violent enough, since I have read far more horrific descriptions of Jesus' torture than anything shown in the film(there is a reason no one recognized Him when he returned from the dead), but I'm also probably jaded. I'd heard of people vomiting in the aisles and what I saw was nothing of that level. What I will say now is that in my study of Christianity over the past couple years, I think I can appreciate more the necessity to consider the sheer violence done to Jesus on the cross. It is a stark contrast to the "tender Jesus meek and mild" that dominates modern American Christianity, and an equally sharp contrast to the "action hero Jesus" that has recently emerged in many Christian men's books. This Jesus, as both Don and Justin point out in their comments, is a portrait of restrained strength. As the Devil says to him earlier in the Gospels, at any time He could command angels to lay waste and loose his bonds, or simply reveal the power of God on Earth and remake reality, but He does not. He lays down His life for those who hate Him. A powerful message, one that resonates in the film. However, that message is only clear if you are already one of the faithful. I have to disagree with a couple of points that Don and Justin made, one on a historical level and one on a personal level. Personally, I don't feel that this film is an effective evangelical tool. Despite the church's efforts to use it as such, this film has no place being used to introduce people to Jesus. If you are not intimately familiar with the details of Jesus' life, this film will be exactly as Justin described it being presented to a child: mindless violence without purpose. In a sense, the film is preaching to the choir because you have to have a pretty good understanding of Christianity to understand and be moved by the film. Not just the gospels, but also some of the historical Church traditions and a pretty good full Bible knowledge to get all the symbolism and references that Gibson layers onto the film. If you do have that, it is a powerful film that I believe should be watched several times, perhaps with a couple of years in between, to keep it fresh in your mind how much Jesus gave up for you. Wow! That sounds like a pretty ringing endorsement. But, of course, I have to rain on my own parade with some nitpicks. Some of them are pretty major, but most of them have more to do with how the film was and is presented to audiences than with the film itself. I've already covered the problems with non-Christians, and even immature Christians lacking the background to truly appreciate the film, but my biggest problem was that during its release, and still in many conversations I have with Christians, the film is described as Biblically and historically accurate. As far as the Bible goes, this film expands generously upon the Gospel accounts. Not only does it incorporate the stations of the Cross, but it also adds a great deal of material from the 19th century stigmatic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich(published as The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ). All this is fine, filmmaking wise, but puts the marketing of the film and arguments for its "necessity" in dubious standing. Historically, the only thing I have to add that Justin didn't cover was that it is unlikely that the Romans and Jews would be conversing in Aramaic. Romans probably wouldn't have known that language, although Pilate could have learned it to better communicate with local leaders. The absence of Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the Roman Empire, is a huge historical over site, on par with the mixing of Aztec and Maya culture in Gibson follow up, Apocalypto. I also stand by the fact that the film does a very poor job of explaining who Jesus is or why He is wanted dead, but this is, as Justin correctly pointed out, a modern Passion play, not the life of Jesus. Ok, enough of what I didn't like, what did I like about it as a film? I think that this film is excellent in every technical way possible, and that Gibson is a talented director. He knows how to make his visuals memorable and iconic, and Caleb Deschenal deserves special praise for his amazing cinematography. One thing I particularly liked was the small elements of humor that found their way into the film. At one point, during His torturous walk to Golgotha, Jesus seems to intuit that Mary is recalling a childhood experience of His, and He cracks a joke. On the way to the cross, Jesus is cracking wise! Personally, I felt the crucifixion itself was the most powerful moment of the film, visually and emotionally. It stays close to the Biblical accounts, with a minimum of pseudo-mystical embellishment, making it powerful for sola scriptura folks like me. Some final thoughts on the controversy. There are many who claims that any so-called anti-Semetic imagery is simply a reflection of its historical setting. I would agree, with one qualification, that the film is not anti-Semitic. Justin describes this as a period film, but I would have to disagree with the period that it depicts. The problem I have is that the film is a period piece, but not a 1st century period piece. The film is a 13th century period piece, reflecting medieval passion plays and their imagery. Unfortunately, Gibson chose to ignore the last 800 to 2000 years of history and what that history has done to that imagery. Even if the imagery is historically accurate, it is the same imagery that fueled anti-Semiticism in medieval Europe and associated itself with that imagery forever. How Gibson expected to make a modern Passion play complete with costuming that, accurate or not, was iconically identifiable as Jewish caricature, and not be accused of implying that Jews are Christ killers, I don't know. Gibson should have toned down those elements in order to respect the awful history of the past 2000 years. So those are my thoughts on The Passion. I hope you've enjoyed them. I've run way long on this post so I'll hold my general notes on the podcast for tomorrow. Save This Page

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Quick word...

Hey, Jon here from the great state of Louisana, where I'm duitfully doing my duty in the national guard. It's actually not so bad, considering that I was laid off from my day job at the end of June, so even being away from home beats being unemployed. I'll only be here for another week or so, but I'm enjoying it so far. I just listened to the latest episode of the SuperCandid Podcast and I have to say that I was impressed. Justin did a great job as a fill in for me, especially considering the size of the shoes he had to fill. Seriously, he was excellent and insightful. I have a few thoughts, but I left my notes in my hotel room so I'll save that for another post. I thought I'd just offer some Christian cinema updates for those who are interested: Farenheit: Council of the 12!-A new documentary about Mormons, that pseudo-Christian group that is trying to get into the White House(Jon's opinon only, -ed.), draws strong parallels between Mormon founder Joseph Smith and Presidental cannidate and Massacheutes Govenor Mitt Romney. The film, titled Mormon President, details Smith's own run for President in the 19th century. I'd never heard about Smith running for President, and Romney seems to be the Republican front runner, IMO, so this might be an interesting film. Lionsgate will distribute the as yet untitled documentary on religion from Borat director Larry Charles. The film, starring Bill Maher as the host and narrator, examines religion from the Vatican to trailer chruches in the American South. Sounds to me like Maher and Charles are doing a cross between Michael Moore and Sascha Cohen, but I love this quote from the director: "Nietzsche said God is dead, but he didn't see the grosses for 'Passion of the Christ,' " Charles said." Beyond the Sun-a tale of Darfur. Art Ayris, a pastor from Florida, has signed a deal with Future Films(Bend it like Beckham) and Sixth Sense Productions(Hotel Rwanda) to produce his screenplay about a farmer trying to resuce his daughter from slave traders. Sounds like a great premise. I'll have more info on this as it develops. Finally, Jesus, the movie produced by Campus Crusade for Christ, has been translated into its 1000th language. The producers say they are planning to translate it into at least 500 more. You can click this link to watch the film, for free, in North American English. It is a testament to the translation effort that there are 3 versions just in English, and you can watch it in any language you choose here. There are 800 versions online now, with more to come. You know, I saw Jesus a long time ago, and I still remember the film, for one important aspect. I think that Brian Deacon, who played Jesus, brought a humanity to Jesus that almost every other filmed version lacks. This Jesus laughs a lot, smiles a lot, enjoys being with people. I highly recommend the film. Save This Page Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Tribe Online

Every Tribe Entertainment, the organization behind SuperCandid favorite 'End of the Spear', has recently launched a new online community, 'The Tribe Online'. Many of the bonus features, deleted scenes and behind the scenes footage fans of the film have been pining for are now available to stream right online. The site also features members benefits and community blogging. You can check out the site here. Save This Page Add to Technorati Favorites

Episode Twelve - The Passion of the Christ

Eh... The ending was too predictable. *zing!

Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' reviewed by the last two Christian's on the planet who had never seen the film. It's about the final 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Maybe you've heard of Him. So ready your sticks and stones and give it a listen!

We have a special guest this week, as Jon is training for a trip overseas. Our mutual friend/hetero-lifemate Justin, a history major focusing on the Greeks and Romans, joins me with some great historical commentary on the film. Justin is about the most clean cut guy you'll ever meet... and harbors an odd fascination with epic power metal. It takes different strokes people...

It's THE PASSION so what else can I say in this little blurb? Music, news and more...



The audio was jacked up AGAIN on this episode, and for that I apologize. A defrag of my hard drive is upcoming! As is the purchase of a new computer... eventually! I didn't think it was as bad this time, or at least not bad enough to redo the whole show. We now have affiliate links all set up though! So YOU can help us buy a new microphone just by using the links! For example... you click on our Amazon link to the right... and buy anything after clicking that link (not just DVDs) and we get a small kickback. If you dig the show, feel free to use the links as it's been all no-budget so far. Maybe I'll eventually pick up a grammar book and actually make some sense.

We at The SuperCandid Podcast in way condone illegally duplicating media. The burned disc that Justin spoke of has been long out of print. "Those industry fat cats try to put a price on my music, but it wants to be free." - KK Slider Right? Just spreading some fantastic music, that otherwise would go unheard.

Tegan and Sara are both identical twin sisters AND lesbians. Just to clarify.

'Deep Throat' is often cited for it's massive success as an independent film. The budget was around $22,000, while the revenue has been estimated anywhere from as low as $100 million to as high as $600 million. I wasn't just being dirty.


Here's another link to No, they're not paying us to promote them, I just REALLY love the site! You get free stuff, just for blogging about your favorite bands and making friends and what not. You can also find lots of music news, forums, interviews, blog posts, artist details, album reviews and much more.What's not to like? The people running it seem to be really kind and enthusiastic, so please check out the site and tell them the SuperCandid Podcast sent you! They'll have no idea what you're talking about. - A Christian Music Community


Jon wanted these included... and I can't blame him... taken with a sense of humor, they're pretty good. Also, Jon will be blogging about his take on 'The Passion...' in the near future. Stay tuned.


Listener Feedback: An anonymous listener commented on our last show, specifically about the Chick track 'Angels?' that Jon mentioned. Apparently, there is a film called 'Hot Chicks' that is a series of 9 Chick tracts... brought to life! It looks hilarious... so much so that I already ordered a copy. I'm sure you'll hear more about the film here in the future... in the meantime, a link!


Golden Calf! Justin chose 'Unia' by Sonata Arctica, which as he mentioned, twice, has gone GOLD IN FINLAND! And some game called 'Halo 3'... never heard of it.

And Don's mixture of HD-DVD goodness... The Host, 300 and Hot Fuzz.


We launched a new website! And you're looking at it right now!





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Friday, July 13, 2007

Episode Eleven - Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

Why should the devil have all the good music? - Martin Luther Well said... five hundred years later and people are still down on Christian music. This week we watched 'Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?' by Heather Whinna and Vickie Hunter. It's a documentary on Christian indie music and was filmed by two non-Christians. They ask fans and artists about hot topics like faith in art, art in a stereotypical stale genre, secular music, homosexuality, abortion, mainstream reception and crossover into the mainstream view. Jon's input: Probably the most independent Chrisitan movie we've reviewed on this show is 'Facing the Giants', from way back in episode one. But that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release pales in comparison to this one, which got no theatrical release or major home video. Despite that, Why Should the Devil have all the Good Music? has received excellent reviews from the likes of Entertainment Weekly and Christianity Today. It is our first documentary film, exploring the world of independent Christian Music. With interviews and performances from Steve Taylor(director of The Second Chance), Pedro the Lion, Danielson Familie, (insert more bands here) this film by two first time, non-Christian directors challenges everything that you think you know about Christian pop music. I forgot to mention them on the show, but the disc has excellent bonus features. A director's commentary and several deleted scenes round out the disc. Not too shabby considering that the megacorporation that runs Fox Faith can't be bothered to even include the film's trailer. Also, enjoy this Chick track. Jack Chick, in case you've just returned from exile on the moons of Uranus, is famous for comic strips that extol the dangers of various "popular" things. Most famously, Chick wrote a strip that posited a direct link between Dungeons and Dragons gaming and Satanic Cult Worship, including human sacrifice. In this classic, Chick subtly critiques Christian musicians who are tempted by success over faith. Music, news and more... Notes: God I Hate 'Em! ie. the backmasked version of 'Burning Down the House' that I mentioned in the show. WSTDHATGM Website Axl Rose 'preaching' from the stage. (NSFW) Intro Music: Joy Electric - "The Ushering In of the Magical Era" from 'The Otherly Opus' Outro Music: Danielson Familie - "Did I Step On Your Trumpet?" from 'Ships'

Direct download: In_The_Devils_Territory.mp3
Category: podcasts -- posted at: 5:08 PM