Archive for the 'film' Category


there’s no out

the ten
i came upon this trailer for an upcoming film called the ten. hilarious concept. it’s a movie about our ability to find the loop holes in practically anything but particularly in this case the commandments, the Decalogue.
ten vignettes for each commandment. great cast too. don’t know how good the movie will be but a great idea nonetheless. what an interesting tagline too –

“If He’d meant the commandments literally, He’d have written them in stone.”

check out the trailer here
official site

i love some of the cheekiness of the story and that tagline.

this weekend i’m officiating the marriage union of my good friends
– web and lil soon to be hsu.
it’s my first…gasp!
my homily: with marriage there is no out. there is no exit strategy. you can’t be in one and try to live like you did before. you become something new. two becoming one is a mystery. the couple has chosen rev 21 to be read. what a beautiful picture of promise and fulfillment.

web is co-founder of lil used to be my local pharmacist.


tribeca film festival – west 32nd

[updated] something i always anticipate greatly in nyc is the tribeca film festival. one of the films that i’ve been following that i would really like to see is west 32nd directed by michael kang starring john cho (of harold and kumar fame) and grace park (battlestar galactica, which i miss so much – the new season doesn’t start up again until 2008…grrrr). watch the trailer here.
here’s an excerpt from my boy won kim at adiversity interviewing michael kang.

What was your motivation for writing West 32nd? Do you think there could be a mainstream pull for this movie?

I co-wrote the script with Edmund Lee. We both felt like we had seen enough “Asian American” films that dealt with race, identity and politics through family dramas. Our hope was to write a movie that was entertaining while layered with things we were interested in about the Asian American community. For me, the character of John Kim (John Cho) was on one level a passport for the audience into this subculture of the Korean American experience, as well as a representative of my own experience as a 2nd generation Korean American who didn’t grow up in a Korean enclave. Ed and I often felt like the movies we had seen dealt with an insulated 2nd generation experience and we really wanted to explore the relationship between the 2nd and 1.5 generation and new immigrants. But first and foremost, we wanted to do this in a way that wasn’t academic. Choosing the crime drama genre made it possible to explore these issues without forsaking entertainment value.

At the heart of it, I think the film is very accessible to a non-Asian audience. It’s also a peek into a world that I haven’t seen on screen before. The story is about ambition and moral ambiguity; those themes transcend race. I hope that it has mainstream appeal. But you can never tell. I have no idea how non-Asians think. They may assume that it is a foreign film because it has so many Asians in it. I hope that they can get past that and realize that this is a uniquely American story.



so now that i’m free, i’ve been learning how to relax and realizing how much work it takes for me to do just that. my goal is not to simply kick back but to be recreated, my soul refreshed. as a result, more able to love others and give myself to them. perhaps, my wife can glow more brilliantly. in addition to this learning is pondering which direction i need to take with my life now that i’m done with seminary. everyone has been asking that plagued question, what are you going to do now? or are you going to be a pastor? i really don’t know the answer to those questions. it’s just one small step at a time right now and really a whole lot of searching. so the first thing i turn to in my search to relax and ponder my life is…isolate myself in a dark box where visions appear before me and illuminate my mind a few hours at a time. yes, i go to the movies where i viewed the tense urban drama, crash and joined the hoards of die-hard fans for the midnight showing of episode iii. so far, so good. my summer movies have not disappointed me.

so what do these visions mean? i find my own life story weaving in and out of these stories of descension. both were equally difficult to watch as the viewer is engaged in a world where all things go wrong. the prejudices and choices that the characters in these movies make effect the universe around them. their decisions swing them between villainy and heroic. that tension is none greater than in anakin skywalker. our choices have such eternal ramifications. right or wrong, God’s hand is in it. that’s been the thread since my graduation. with episode iii, we watch it but we know the story. we know the future. there’s redemption and hope. there’s something comforting in that because there is a true sense of hope, the promise unfolds in episodes iv-vi. all is dark now it but gets wrapped up three episodes later. this is merely a shadow of the xn story of God’s redemptive plan – we too know how it ends but yet we don’t often have that kind of confidence in the word of God and take comfort in it. living out the xn life would be nearly impossible without this piece of the story. it’s nice being an observer and watching characters wrestle with these tensions on the screen. what would others see if my life in the story of God was illuminated on the screen? i do have real choices to make every moment and face reality in a world that wars against the reign of God. clouded my mind is. there is a sense of fear. weak. i am young skywalker, however, i bear the name of Christ.

for the fans ::

the hardcore at the midnight viewing of episode iii

watching the clone wars on my laptop to prep us as we wait inside two hours before the viewing


Fight Club

so, how we living? ::.

todd posted this quote recently from one of my favorite movies, fight club.

“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” – Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) Fight Club

i apologize for the expletive because i know some of you are sensitive to that sort of thing. i respect that. this movie has been in discussion on several blogs and it has been on my mind a whole lot. especially when it’s around the christmas season with all the consumerism feeding the frenzy. i don’t really enjoy the holidays as much as my wife does mainly because of this insanity contagion in people’s blood. it’s like the dawn of the dead. this quote captures in a sense the war waged over a truly transformational life. who’s blood should flow through our veins now?

last week i accompanied a friend to a new mercedes benz service center near us. the complex was huge, comparable to a mall. it was a quite an experience as i was invited inside the lifestyle that benz sells. you don’t just drop your car off for an oil change. you leave your car with a valet. go inside and help yourself to a variety of food and drink. while you’re waiting you can practice your golf swing, surf the net, get your shoes shined, shoot a game of billiards. there’s also a hostess to make your stay enjoyable and clean up after your mess. i looked out into the lot and tried to calculate the total cost of all the vehicles parked there. i could swear that we can afford a small nation with all that. man, it’s so easy to buy into all that, like that’s what we deserve.

Narrator: The first step to eternal life is you have to die. I just don’t want to die without a few scars. — Fight Club (Palahniuk)


great fear ::.

“the fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding” – job 28.28

i’ve been trying to grow in the fear of the Lord over the many years i’ve been a christian and i’m still a-slow coming. i used to fear people and things much more than almighty God. i realized, isn’t there something wrong with that? i mean, God is “God” (with mouth open wide and shoulder blades touching). there are many times when he reminds me that he could have at any moment taken my life. i’ve brushed shoulders with death many times over. each time i feel as though i’m a cat on my ninth. in getting close to death you realize what’s really important and start being bold about it. well, what does the fear of the Lord look like so we can live it? it is — loving good and hating evil (proverbs 8.13). it is trusting and obeying. listen to the persuasion of proverbs:

those who fear will fear nothing else (19.23)
it adds length to life (10.27)
it’s a secure fortress for the one who fears and for their children (14.26)
it is a fountain of life (15:16)
it brings honor (22.4)
it should be praised when we see it (31.30)

can you imagine if people truly hated sin, shunning all that is evil in ourselves and others? so that when we are hurt by others, we could cover the sin in love and humility or confront the other person in the same spirit. people would be listening to one another and asking forgiveness for their selfishness. imagine how many marriages would be saved. we would see beauty and goodness in everything. we would be living grace. we’d act upon injustice. as people experience revewal at summer retreats, too often the mountain-top experiences are quickly run-over-run-down by the forces of the world…God is once again diminished in the mind. we become like peter who stepped out of the boat, experienced the amazement for but a moment of vividly walking in faith and then seeing the wind became afraid and began to sink.— what do you fear?
resource: when people are big and God is small by ed welch

more fear ::.
“they told me there’s nothing out there. nothing to fear. the night my parents were murdered i caught a glimpse of something. i’ve searched for it ever since. i went around the world searched in all the shadows and there’s something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge — me.”
batman begins summer 2005

infernal affairs ::.
so scorsese’s at the helm. the title is, “the departed. the gangs are irish. matt damon is andy lau. leo dicaprio is tony leung. hmmmm… [source]

summerend ::.
i’ve layed off blogging for awhile because i’m in classes again and have had some busy weekends like all-day joy at shakespeare in the park (thanks kirbs & co.). but there are still some things i’ve got my sights fixed on for summer’s end.

bebel gilberto, aug 16, at joe’s pub (this is a wish)
going to jazzfest in chicago labor day weekend (fo’ sho)
visiting lil dan in chicago
getting a light fixed at my mom’s house
seeing a good friend on tv
one more day at the beach
re-reading the new testament in nasb
spending more time with the youth group
planning cmc2004


will to live ::. pop culture and faith

film and theology ::. (warning: a king arthur analysis)
there have been several good movies released since the passion that christians ought to go check out. the wife and i saw king arthur last night. now, i’m very into the king arthur legend and the order of knighthood, so much that i will probably fire-brand all our kids as a result. going into this movie i purged all my childhood notions of knights, sorcery and love triangles and put on an analytical hat. the movie attempted be a historical epic about arthur and stayed close to some of the assumptions made about this mysterious king but the truth is no one really knows who he is. there’s just too little information to establish it as fact. the tale here is demystified and placed in its possible historical context close to the fall of the roman empire circa 5th/6th century.

i think there are many things that a uninformed viewer would miss about this film. you may be asking at this point if i liked it. well, honestly, i think it’s braveheart ultra-lite with all the cries for “freedom” but there’s more here than meets the eye here. interestingly, there were some rather strong references to faith and the roman church. arthur himself prays for his men and most often finds himself at odds with the church and his pagan knights throughout the movie.

there is a thread that holds the story together. that is, the strong relationship between arthur and pelagius, the brit monk that was at odds with augustine and teaching declared heresy. in church history, pelagius held different views of man, original sin, and grace all of which are depicted here. what we end up with is a humanistic view of man and of the will that cries, “win your freedom” even if it means laying your life down for an unjust cause.

we do need to observe the felt angst of the world against the roman church in the film and in our world. it is a grievance not because of the Gospel but because of power and greed. all these themes still resonate today and should alert us to wake up. if anything, we ought sense the desperate need to indeed share the Gospel and let our actions declare His glory, that is, testify to the risen Christ, more than ever.

it seems like director, antoine fuqua (tears of the sun), has found a niche for long movies about questionable missions and men of interesting morality. however, king arthur is enjoyable and like tears of the sun, could have been taken much further. someday, we should watch a bunch of these contemporary epic war movies in chronological order — troy, gladiator, king arthur, braveheart, saving private ryan, tears of the sun etc…


go get em’ tiger ::.

saw spiderman2 today. didn’t think i would like it because i’ve gotten so weary of all the cgi in movies these days but afterwards i realized that i needed a movie like this. to me, movies are enjoyable and good when the story resonates with my own story. there are times when i need a hearty feel good movie but most other times it’s the art of telling a story. i was utterly suprised at how much i enjoyed spidey today. it did bring back childhood memories. i tried to remember if i had spidey underoos. but more than that, this spidey story is one that reflects the life of those — with a “higher calling”. i’ve had my share of struggles and times where i question, “when do i get to live my life?” so often, my heart is on the floor especially as i see my mother grow more frail, forgetful, alone. i want to love my wife more but so often duty calls. there’s a fear and sense of overwhelment as monthly bills encroach. i get tired. i’ve been in school long enough to become a doctor yet my degree will be lackluster to those desireable three letters phd. my grades aren’t that great but my scholarship depends on maintaining a B average. is it all worth it? then there’s the hypocrisy of living both a private normal life and the public life of ministry. sometimes i feel like i can help others through just about anything but wonder why it is so hard to help myself and those i love most. i wonder if i have a superhero complex?

this sunday at service, i sat in my father’s house. i sang his songs. i stood with those who loved him and not just our voices but our hearts were melodious. i heard his voice, his truth that brings wholeness. i looked then to see the faces of those who are called his beloved. i remembered. i love my God. i love his people more than my own life.

to the pastors and heroes of our churches, to the everyday saints that wonder whether or not it is all worth it. remember you are beloved, chosen. may God send you that touch of love that you so desperately need. the touch that may even save you. look at the cracks, holes, uneveness, the pure junk on the inside of our hearts. that needs to be dealt with and God wants to heal us. Jesus’ healing touch must be the dominant reality of all our lives. so…go get em’ tiger.


stumbling ::. we stumbled onto one tree hill las…

stumbling ::.

we stumbled onto one tree hill last night and was captivated by this one scene – regarding pornography. it resonates with my heart.

[ haley ] :: it’s bad enough with all the girls in school and what, now i have to compete with porn stars as well?

[ nathan ] :: i’m a guy, it’s what guys do.

[ haley ] :: dont be a guy nathan. be a man.

i was pretty surprised. i dont usually watch it but i’m more interested now. at least, in this episode, haley’s really got it going on. she further mentioned that the issue is ultimately about protecting her heart. go GIRL.

::. mandy moore’s new upcoming movie, saved! looks like a whole lot of fun. the trailer rocks, lots of good laughs showing how silly sometimes the church does look from the outside. it’s got a really interesting premise, taking place in “american” christian high school (mandy’s got a great knack for this kinda stuff), and some real twists. macaulay culkin is in it too, all grown up but playing a high school student. it’s too weird to see him back. mandy, however, plays a sorta…pharisee..of pharisees. she even used that famous southern baptist word…”backsliding”… it demonstrates further the idea that just because folk go to church, youth group, and even a christian high school doesn’t mean they know how to really deal with the realities of being human and are living the xian life. the group of characters try to navigate through a xian high school together and hopefully in the end find out what it really means to be saved…dunno how this movie will play out true faith but looks like it’s worth checking out. it seems like someone’s noticing an interesting phenom in america worth exploring on the big screen and cash in…


love…actually ::

love…actually ::
thanks to all you who have blessed me and lauren on our special day through words of encouragement and love. we truly love you, our friends, and wish that we would have more time to spend with you, and more love to bless you. this week will have passed with seeing some good friends from both near and far, celebrating having each other in our lives. these are the best type of weeks. it’s my last week of classes too so i can soon breathe easier.

two years ago on this day…i declared my love for one woman. life took on new meaning and direction. we are a testimony that love is not just about the good feelings and floatin on cloud nine. but rather, “i do” means making harmony out of the dissonance in our lives and world. who would ever put two people like us together? only love reconstructed in his image born in our hearts. now, i know 2 years is not really a significant mile marker but in the statistics of our day, it’s practically a miracle for two broken individuals like ourselves. i celebrate daily. i

cloud nine ::.
some believe that cloud nine was derived from the us weather bureau. according to them, clouds are defined by an arithmetic sequence so that level nine is the very highest cumulonimbus cloud, which can reach 30,000 or 40,000 feet and appear as glorious white mountains in the sky. therefore, if you were on cloud nine you were at the very peak of existence.

taking this illustration a little further, severe weather systems can be directly associated with cumulonimbus clouds. violent updrafts and strong winds along with the amount of precipitation involved with these clouds make them very important to the meteorology community and the safety of the general public. intense cumulonimbus clouds that contain wind shear in a deep layer and strong convection usually produce severe local storms. the summer season in the central united states experiences more intense cumulonimbus storms accompanied by the violent and destructive forces than any other region of the world. tornadoes form from the most intense cumulonimbus clouds.

yeah..marriage can sorta have those moments too.

btw ::. good reading…found a great blog that celebrates marriage in a hostile world…the happy husband

more love ::.
we saw 13 going on 30 on a date night. it was a much needed fun movie after a string of intense real life drama and revenge movies. it’s no “big” but was greatly enjoyable. kinda like a cross between big and some teen movie. but hey it’s jennifer garner.

plus…love actually comes out today on dvd ****

. . .

love and congratulations to our dear friend, “dr” ku. what a journey brother.
. . .

the pepsi itunes give away will expire at the end of the week…get your tunes on.


mediameditations:: there’s been so much going …

there’s been so much going on in the news this week that concerns what we think we know as xians…i wonder how many people actually read the bible and use that as a basis for their statements rather than saying what they think the bible says or how they feel about something based on misguided ideas.

…:: the passion of the christ
as you are preparing (and i hope ‘preparing’) to watch the passion of the Christ. . .
here are some questions to wrestle with ::…
how well do you think you know the Christ? —
“he asked his disciples, “who do people say the Son of Man is?” — mt 16

… how does this movie challenge your thinking about the Christ story?
… what kinds of conversations does this open up among its viewers?
… what are the makers of this film trying to communicate?

in the past two decades many scholars have been on a quest to construct a more ‘historical jesus’. i don’t think this is what mel gibson intends but rather do a better telling of the story about the suffering of the Christ for our sake. Christ’s passion was for our sake. now when we pray we can be confident of being heard [heb4.16] because of what christ had accomplished on that cross. i find myself praying more and more these days, “God hear me and answer because of your son, for what he did on that cross. for his sake. for his glory…please”

the press has focused its attention on the gore of the crucifixion and the jews’ responsibility in sending this man to its employment. well…the crucifixion was a bloody mess from our understanding of roman punishment. and no, the jews aren’t solely responsible for his death but our sin alltogether is what sent him here to die. he went to the cross.

critics ebert and roeper got it right :: two thumbs up

“it focuses relentlessly on the price that Christ paid for redemption,” Ebert said. “and it emphasizes that Jesus wanted this to happen. His death was the instrument of his purpose, and we should be grateful to him instead of critical of those who were the instruments of his will.”

many times we read the bible as if it was rated PG but it’s much more comfortable with certain realities than we are.
for reference, here are a few biblical accounts of the crucifixion
…mt 26.67/68 :: “…then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. others slapped him and said, prophesy to us, Christ. who hit you?”
…jn 19.1 :: “…then pilate took Jesus and had him flogged”
…jn 19.32/34 :: “…the soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. but when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”

roman punishment was cruel. there are more disturbing things in the bible. just read it. however back to the film, i think it is important for us to know just how real the suffering was. sometimes we just need to see these things. we can be so numb to it. but we need to see and also respond. in addition, be prepared like i said. this will be one gory mess to stomach.

more from roger ebert [ thanks loren] “I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. It will probably be the most violent you have ever seen. This is not a criticism but an observation; the film is unsuitable for younger viewers, but works powerfully for those who can endure it. The MPAA’s R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic.”

…:: bush supports constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is it a front? prehaps but frankly i dont care. is it a good thing? well, i think we need definitives in a time where everything is blurry. i’m not very black and white about many things but the scriptures clearly seem to show that the Gospel changes the societal status of individual groups like women and slaves except for homosexuals. i stand firm on created order. on the news i saw these signs saying God wants gay marriage. that’s not the same God i know. we’re gonna hear a lot more about this issue.

…::scorsese on infernal affairs :: last week variety reported that gangland king, scorsese, is in negotiations with WB along with brad pitt and jennifer aniston’s production company, Plan B, to re-make the Infernal Affairs trilogy. o boy o boy o boy

miramax will be releasing the original movie in the states this summer

…::update :: just saw the passion…still processing. hard to talk about a movie like this afterwards.

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.


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