Holy Week Viewing: 7 Films About Jesus

We're about to enter the most important week of the Christian faith. As we commemorate Palm Sunday this weekend, our attention will then turn from the Triumphal Entry to the road to Gethsemane in preparation for Good Friday and Easter. And as such, I find it might be an interesting time to revisit films about Jesus.Over the years, I've come to love movies about Jesus. Cinema gives us the great opportunity to view this beloved story from different angles and through a variety of viewpoints, … [Read more...]

The Road to Easter: “The Passion of the Christ”

It's been 12 years since "The Passion of the Christ" was released to a storm of controversy and a flood of money. Its detractors called it torture porn, and it was accused of anti-Semitism. But believers were moved and went to see it in droves; its $370 million gross was, at that time, the highest ever for an R-rated movie. Churches bused in audiences and hosted free screenings. People left in tears, many saying their lives were changed. This film still stands as one of the most controversial … [Read more...]

The glorious mess of Fox’s “The Passion Live”

Before saying anything else, let's just appreciate this fact: last night, in a time slot usually reserved for Will Forte pooping in a margarita pool, Fox spent two hours observing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.If nothing else, the network's much-hyped, Tyler Perry-hosted musical event "The Passion Live" presented the story with sincerity, reverence and creativity. It didn't attempt to water down or re-invent the story; near the end, Perry talked openly about Christ's … [Read more...]

The Road to Easter 2016: “Easter Mysteries”

When I started this series, my intent was to get away from standard cinematic depictions of the Christ story. I'd seen enough Easter cantatas and church pageants to last a lifetime, and I was interested in films that examined who Christ was and how he affected the lives of his followers, not somber recreations of biblical tales.So it's a bit amusing that the film that affected me most was originally written as a church production and could easily be performed by a congregation with a skilled … [Read more...]

The fleeting fame of Palm Sunday

We love celebrity. Our televisions and computer screens are constantly filled with the latest information about the rich and famous. We declare our support for politicians on bumper stickers, and voice our love for movies stars with our hard-earned money. When someone entertains us, moves us or promises us something great, we don’t hold back on our praise. We lavish it.But we’re also fickle. We’ll turn our back on artists when they go stale. Politicians who don’t deliver on their promises bec … [Read more...]

Producer Ron Simons talks “Easter Mysteries”

 On Tuesday, moviegoers can see a unique look at Jesus' life during a special cinematic performance of "Easter Mysteries," broadcast to select theaters by Fathom Events. John O'Boyle's oratorio tells the gospel story through the eyes of Christ's disciples. It's unique in that it's a stage show performed live for an audience, but filmed for the cinema. Like most oratorios, the story is almost completely told through song, with characters in costume but minimal set dressing and props. … [Read more...]

Detroit area readers! Win free tickets to “Easter Mysteries”

This seems to be the year of the Jesus movie. We've already seen "Risen," tomorrow I'll be writing about "The Young Messiah" for my Lent column, and on Palm Sunday, Tyler Perry will host Fox's live passion play.There's one last film event happening this Easter season that I'm particularly interested in. "Easter Mysteries" is a one-night only theatrical film that will presented as a Fathom event at participating theaters on Tuesday, March 22. Fathom — which often does these one-night pres … [Read more...]

Review: ‘Risen’ is a fresh take on the gospel story

"Risen" isn't a movie that will change the world. It's not going to take home an Oscar. It isn't likely to win over skeptics or make much of a dent outside the community of people who already believe its story. But those who want to see their faith portrayed on screen with some sincerity and imagination could do worse.It's not much of a pull quote, but it's high praise in a world of wretched faith-based dramas like "War Room" and "God's Not Dead." Competently directed by Kevin Reynolds and … [Read more...]