Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Which Movie Will You See Valentine’s Day?

There are two completely different movies coming out on Valentine’s Day this year.  One is called “50 Shades of Grey”, and the other is called “Old Fashioned”.  This video helps parents help direct their kids to the right movie.  But it also is a great reminder to dads of the responsibility we have to not only be an example to our daughters, but teach them the type of man they should be seeking in marriage someday.

Check this out:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Bible Series – Review

The Bible series, aired on the History Channel, wrapped up on Easter.  It brought viewers from the Garden of Eden to the promise of a new heaven and new earth, given to the writer of Revelation.  It was the most watched cable television event of 2013.  (Final Episode Ratings)  Millions were glued to their TV sets, watching the events of God’s Word unfold.  The cast and directors of the film claimed miracles were happening as they recorded the scenes.  Was it as powerful as the Passion of the Christ or was it a train wreck like the “Noah’s Ark” on NBC in 1999, where they mixed up Noah & Moses (will never forget that, even people on Jeopardy would know the difference)?  Here’s my take:The-Bible-Miniseries

The Good:

  1. Record Ratings.  13 Million people watched The Bible.  Did you hear what I said (well, wrote, but you know what I mean)?  It was a record event for cable television.  People were watching the story of redemption, the Word of God, the Bible from their living rooms.  That is more than good!
  2. Did That Really Happen?  Along those same lines, it got people reading the Bible again.  How could it not?  You want to go back and check the stories that were portrayed after viewing each scene.  It was exciting to follow along in God’s Word as actors portrayed its wonderful contents.
  3. The Holy Land Meets Hollywood.  This was no ordinary Bible film.  They did not sugar-coat the battle scenes, or comb over the violence, or baby the conflict.  Heads were severed, killings did occur, and blood was spilt.  In one of the first episodes, when they showed the angels go all “Jet Li” on the people of Sodom, I knew this was not going to be like Bible movies of old.
  4. And the Emmy for Best Cinematography Goes To…  Sure, it did not have an Avatar film crew or a Star Wars budget, but it was a level above in terms of cinematography from other Bible films.  This was a show on History Channel, so let’s get our expectations where they should be.  And in my mind, the sets were well designed, the props and costume design were well done, the parting of the Red Sea was awesome, and the holes in Jesus’ hands were memorable.

The Bad:

  1. Yeah, That’s Wrong.  There were times where the poetic license of the writers was taken too far.  Sure, there are some things you can fill in where the Bible is not specific like the childhood of Biblical characters or where certain people may have been during Biblical events.  But, unfortunately, there were inaccuracies.  How does this happen?  The script was written 2000 years ago.  Use it!  Here are just a few:
    1. It was a ram, not a lamb.  Sure they rhyme, but still doesn’t make it an easy mistake to make (another rhyme).  Sarah also running up to the mountain like a crazy mother…yeah, not true.
    2. Wise men….noooooo.  It’s the most common mistake made in the telling of the Christmas story, why repeat it here.  I actually said, “No wise men, come back in a couple of years, turn around.  Aw, nuts.”  The wise men were early.
    3. Jesus’ Sayings:  What Jesus said during his early ministry was said in later events, and vice versa.
    4. (Here are some more)
  2. Disappointing Edits.  I joked last night “Joseph of Arimathea didn’t make the final cut.  I guess we will find him in the deleted scenes”.  But there were more serious edits, like the Baptism scene.  That would have been a perfect opportunity to display the Trinity, but they left out that whole part.  Disappointing.  Although it is only a 5 night series, I’ll let some edits pass, but this one was a bummer.
  3. Gospel.  This may have been the biggest.  Could people have gotten saved through this movie?  Was the Gospel clearly presented…I think it needed more.  Give more detail of what Cornelius prayed, dig deeper with Nicodemus, and explain how people became Christians.  The Gospel was in there, but I wanted more!
  4. Ethnicity and Age of the Characters.  It was good to see Mary & Joseph young, since they were probably teenagers in the birth story.  However, the disciples (except for Peter) were most likely high school age as well (not older men with beards).  Also, I was a little surprised that they went with the classic representation of Jesus.  Sure, that man looked exactly like the drawings of Jesus we have seen drawn for centuries.  However, it was very likely Jesus, and many other of the Biblical characters, had darker skin.

 

The Grade:  B

This review will be put in a pile of thousands of others, who will review The Bible (the series, not the Bible itself, because that definitely is ALL good, and deserves an A+).  Sure, there are inaccuracies.  And this disappointing, when all the writers had to do was look in the Bible, your material is right there!  That was my reasoning for not giving it an A.  So, my warning is to take what you watch with a grain of salt (and also be careful of the little ones, since it does at times get a bit violent/gory).

However, the reason for an above average grade is because people were able to watch the story of God redeeming His people from the Garden to Paul on the road to Damascus.  And maybe there were people watching that realized they need a Redeemer in their lives too!  Bibles were opened that may have had previously been dust collectors.  The Bible is being discussed on Twitter, Facebook, and other social mediums.

In my mind, this series served its original intent and purpose…to produce a film that increased the discussion of the Bible, exposed America to the book that it once was founded upon, and revive the reading and knowledge of a book that many just know as of something they find in the drawer in hotel rooms, or what was read to them by their grandmother.  If that was what deems the series a success, then it hit the mark.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Review Time – Movies, Books, & Curriculum

Grab some popcorn, your milk duds, and a large coke (unless you live in New York City, then it would have to be a large water and add sugar later)…because it’s time for some reviews!

Let’s begin with book reviews, because if I started with movie reviews, you may stop reading this article:

Move – by Hawkins & Parkinson

An interesting concept – take a survey of churches across the country varying in size, denomination, and landscape…and see who is successful in developing Christ-followers and what is done to develop those Christ-followers.

The Good:  As I said in the summary of the book, it certainly is an interesting concept.  Church leaders should read this book to gain a better understanding of what works in developing Christ-followers.  The people at Willow Creek were humble enough to admit there were some parts of their model that failed or fell short.

The Bad:  Did not need to be as long as it was.  Could have been reduced, partly because the charts that were given told you the story and the verbiage explaining it seemed repetitive at times.

Recommendation:  Worth a look.  The research is valuable to any church.

Sacred Marriage

Could it be that personal holiness is a higher priority than happiness in marriage?  How can drawing closer to the Creator make me draw closer to my spouse?  This book has the answers.

The Good:  Let me put it this way, I can already see a difference in the way I treat my wife as a result of the principles in this book.  It is a great teaching tool to understand communication, how to treat your spouse, and most importantly, how your relationship with God will affect all the above.

The Bad:  That I didn’t read this sooner in my marriage.

Recommendation:  But it.  Read it.  Allow your marriage to enjoy the benefits.

Radical

What if the “American Dream” is ruining the “American Church”?  It is time for a radical faith that Jesus calls for in the gospels.

The Good:  What a challenge.  It takes you from feeling comfortable to feeling convicting.  This book provides some powerful illustrations and challenges that take you to task.

The bad:  Some of it seems a little out of reach, and could cause some confusion.  I hate to say anything bad about Dr. Platt and this wonderful book, but I could see some younger in the faith seeing poverty as righteousness, and you need to be careful in making that comparison.

Recommendation:  If you want to be challenged, then read it and let it change your heart.  If you don’t want to be challenged, keep reading Calvin & Hobbes.

 

Movie Reviews

Courageous

Sorry, I am a little late to the party here.  We just recently showed this movie at our church, and man was this a powerful movie.  I know I was the first to pick up my kids from the children’s ministry after this movie!  What a challenge to parents and grandparents.

The Good:  It got to the heart of the issue in our families, the need for the fathers to step up.  It was challenging, convicting, and heart-warming.

The Bad:  It doesn’t have a Hollywood budget, so I should cut it some slack, but the acting at times was a little robotic.  Getting better though!

Recommendation:  A must see for Fathers.  Christian films are getting better and this should help erase some of the stigma that has been created from some previous films.

The Avengers

All of the latest comic book heroes in one place, and in the same summer as the Spiderman and Batman movies…I might as well start riding my bike down the block, get my Super Nintendo out, and start wearing tube socks again…because I feel like a kid again.

The Good:  The action was non-stop, and the storyline was very well done.  Loved the humor that was built into many of the scenes.

The Bad:  Could always clean up the language, but overall was pretty clean.

Recommendation:  If the box office ratings tell you anything…

 

Curriculum

re:View -by Cedarville University

Students need to understand how to engage culture, while maintaining truth.  How do you accomplish this balance and what is culture teaching?  Some good questions and answers for this series to tackle.

The Good:  The clips are well-done and Dr. Brown’s teaching segments are dynamic and informative.  If you want your students to influence culture, instead of allowing culture to influence them…then this is for you.  This gives you a great tool to allow for some incredible discussions and helps prepare students for life outside the church.

The Bad:  You need creativity or it could become a routine.  With an DVD curriculum, you need to change up the routine so the students stay interested.  For example, don’t show both clips everytime or at the same time.

Recommendation:  This is a tool I have been looking for…something that allows students to engage their culture and promote quality discussions with their friends that lead to the gospel.  Walking out of this series, the students will be more prepared for the real world and their culture.

 

Hope this helps guys.  As always, love to hear your feedback from what you are reading/watching/using.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Reviews

Bedtime Stories

If you are looking for a movie with an outstanding plot and over the top special effects…you won’t find it here. This movie is full of kid related humor, including a hamster with huge eyes that has gas. Great movie for the kids, but you may hear rumblings from your teenager. Cute story, good for some laughs and nice to not have to worry about violence or cussing.

Grade: B-

The Dark Night

May be a little bias here, because I have to admit I saw this on opening night with my batman mask on…however, I will give you honest opinions. This is not safe for children like a comic book would be. This movie has violence and is very dark at times. The hype surrounding of Heath Ledger’s performance was not in vain. He deserved all the awards that he certainly will win. If you are looking for a non-stop thriller leaving you on the edge of your seat, here you go! Beware of dark themes and violence.

Grade: A-

Hancock

The beginning is a bit disappointing, because the cursing is a bit much in the outset. I guess I wasn’t really ready for it. The movie is unique, full of twists, and provides a relief from the normal everyday movie. Some were disappointed, but I actually enjoyed this rollercoaster of a film. Great action flick that was pretty clean, outside of the foul language primarily in the outset of the movie.

Grade: B

Ironman

This movie, considered by some as one of the greatest sci-fi films in the past 10 years, may have given me too high of expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great heroic thriller, but I thought there would be more. Do me a favor, when you see it, don’t go into the movie with super high expectations. The special effects and action were fun to watch. Warning: the main character is a bit of a playboy and has a small scene of sensuality. Not quite as clean as Spiderman or Pirates of the Carribean, but has just as much action and the older kids should enjoy.

Grade: B+

Hope this helps. Like to hear from you too!