Film Facts:

The Book of Eli – Released in 2010, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman, and directed by Albert and Allen Hughes.

The Apocalypse Scenario:

A global nuclear holocaust, presumably the result of a global thermo-nuclear war, although it isn’t explicitly specified. Civilization has essentially been wiped out and there is significant environmental damage, including irradiated water, lingering radioactive fallout, and vast desert wastelands.

The Year:

The film takes place 30 years after the nuclear holocaust, only a few survivors still remember “the before time”. The actual time of the holocaust isn’t specified, but judging from the items that are left, namely iPods, KFC wet-wipes, RPGs, and station wagons, the nuclear destruction happened right around this week. I think it’s safe to say that the film takes place within a couple years of 2040.

What They’ve Run Out Of:

Basically everything: shampoo, batteries, gasoline, and chapstick are all hot commodities. Safe drinking water is very important, as is safe food, and in its absence many people have taken to cannibalism. However, what the film centers on (if you haven’t guessed it already) is books, and one book in particular: the Bible. Many books were lost in the destruction and afterward any remaining Bibles were burned, apparently many people saw it as the cause of the nuclear war. Eli, the protagonist, is carrying what is, presumably, the last one left on earth.

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

While most of the content is well conceived and depicted, it’s also pretty standard: roaming biker gangs, cannibals, bows and machetes used along with guns, desert wastelands dotted with ruined overpasses. What sets this film apart and also makes it a whole lot more interesting, is a surprisingly strong Christian element. All of us here on Shut Up agreed that it was the most overtly Christian film since The Passion of the Christ, and that’s no overstatement. While the film avoids explicitly mentioning Jesus or God, Eli quotes Psalms and talks about faith. The film acknowledges that the authority of Scripture can be abused by dictators, but it also depicts the depravity of humanity and the necessity of God’s Word. There is also a surprise ending (so don’t let anyone spoil it for you) that only makes sense if you factor the providence of God into the events of the film.

Book of Eli

Luke’s Rating:

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A solid four zipped-lips; it’s not perfect, but it’s well made and surprisingly good. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it. If you have, see it again with someone who hasn’t, you’ll certainly talk about it afterwards. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our movies in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!

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Well, here it finally is: my ‘Top 25 Films of the Decade.’ Now, this list is inherently subjective. In the first place, I certainly haven’t seen every single film that’s come out in the last ten years, for the most part I’ve seen films that looked good to me, so my sampling pool for this list is already skewed. So really, this is my top 25 films, my favorites of the decade. Treat this list as my recommendations to you. Now obviously not all of these films are appropriate for everyone, but if a film on this list sounds interesting to you, then check it out. But before I start counting down films, I thought I’d briefly explain what I looked for in the films that I chose to include in this list. Here, summarized in four points, is what I looked for:

Stunning Visuals: I like films that surprise me with how good they look, whether that means the special and visual effects, like V for Vendetta, the cinematography, like in Mongol, or simply how the scenes are shot and edited, such as in Hot Fuzz.

Exceptional Acting: This should be a given, and I don’t mean above average acting, I mean exceptional acting.  I mean acting that really stands out, such as Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, or that connects you emotionally to the character, like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, or that leaves you in stitches, just like George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, or in the case of an antagonist, such as Christopher Lee in The Lord of the Rings, acting that gives you a villain that you love to hate.

Something Meaningful to Say: Not all films need to have a complicated message, sometimes the simplest messages are the best. But a film with an interesting premise, like Sunshine, or an inspiring story, like The Lord of the Rings, have a lot more going for them. Now, not all of the films on my list are particularly strong in this area, at both ends of the spectrum  in fact (X2 and Hot Fuzz namely), but they make up for it by being remarkable in one or more of the other areas.

Entertaining: A film has to be entertaining. Duh. But really, that’s the point of a movie. If I didn’t enjoy watching it, it’s not on this list. And conversely, if a film was lacking in a couple of the other areas, but was nonetheless extremely enjoyable, it can still find itself in my top 25. I wouldn’t call Death at a Funeral ‘visually stunning’ nor does it have anything particularly meaningful to say, but it was so much fun to watch that I couldn’t help but include it.

So, all that said, I hope you enjoy my ‘Top 25 Films of the Decade.’

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These are my 25 favorite movies of the decade.  They may not be the ‘best’ films of the decade, as there are many artistically and/or technically exceptional movies that I just didn’t enjoy watching, (like Requiem for a Dream, or City of God) which, while they may indeed be some of the ‘best’ of the decade, they are not among my favorites.  That said, these are all excellent films in their own right.  Obviously, while these movies all come highly recommended, a word of warning, a few of them are very decidedly R-rated.

Sweet Home Alabama25. Sweet Home Alabama (2002):

Yes, it’s a chick flick.  But it’s a good chick flick.  It’s pretty original…for a chick flick.  For one thing, it’s not set in New York.  Also, “The Guy” isn’t some sexual Ghengis Khan who magically realizes the error of his philandering ways because he decides he wants the one girl he hasn’t managed to conquer.  Nor is “The Girl” some neurotic, uptight overachiever who meets a fun-loving but slovenly guy who she initially hates, but then they learn from each other and discover that opposites attract.  Is it predictable?  Yeah.  Is it fluff? Yes, but it’s extremely likable fluff that is lots of fun.  Lets face it, if you’re going to watch a chick flick, you might as well watch the best.

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