‘The Identical’ a lot of Elvis but a little odd

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"The Identical” is an odd film.The fictional story is that identical twin sons were born to a poor young couple in the rural south in the middle of the Great Depression, William (Brian Geraghty) and Helen Helmsley (Amanda Crew). That night, William attends a tent rally where the preacher, Reece Wade (Ray Liotta), teaches “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Then he asks for prayers for his wife, Louise (Ashley Judd), because she has just miscarried again and the doctor t … [Read more...]

“Moms’ Night Out” held together by wacky character actors

Andrea Logan White, Sarah Drew, Patricia Heaton and Sammi Hanratty star in a scene from the movie "Moms' Night Out." (CNS/Provident Films)

 Right on time for Mother’s Day comes “Moms’ Night Out,” an angst-ridden comedy from Sony’s Affirm Films, a label aimed at evangelical Christians, and Provident Pictures, that has given the faith audience “Fireproof” (2008) and “Courageous” (2011).Allyson (Sarah Drew) is mother to three and married to Sean (Sean Astin), an architect who travels a lot. She is also a mommy blogger without any followers. She obsesses over germs and being a perfect mother, and seems addicted to the very … [Read more...]

“Heaven is for Real” is a compelling story, not a canned sermon

Connor Corum in "Heaven Is For Real" (CNS/Sony)

By now, most people know that I am not a fan of the "Christian" movie genre when these films are more about teaching than storytelling and making sure audiences get "the message" rather than trusting them to use their own moral and religious imagination to savor the story. These films might be movies, but they are certainly not art. In response to the film "God's Not Dead," I wrote an essay called "How movies can save people," and I make the distinction between "Christian" genre films that are … [Read more...]

A decade later “The Passion of the Christ” still raises questions of anti-semitism

Actor Jim Caviezel portrays Jesus on the cross in a scene from "The Passion of the Christ." (CNS/Icon)

 Feb. 25 will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Mel Gibson's hugely successful and controversial "The Passion of the Christ."Right after Christmas, I had the opportunity to sit down with two friends, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and Yvonne Gomez, a Christian research consultant, to watch "The Passion of the Christ."Back in 2004, I reviewed "The Passion of the Christ" as a horror film, and this … [Read more...]

“Son of God” to sweep theaters nationwide on February 28 – and my review

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As The Hollywood Reporter noted in an article on February 12, "Son of God: Church Leaders Buying Out Theaters for Screenings," thousands of people across the country will be seeing producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's new film that tells the life of Christ when it opens on February 28. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles and Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, DC have endorsed the film.Here's my review on "The INNdustry with Sister Rose" on the Jesuit run INNetwork  where I ask Roma and Mark how m … [Read more...]

Survey about Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” for 10th anniversary

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 The 10th anniversary marking the release of Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is approaching. I am preparing some articles on various aspects about the film and others that dramatize the life of Jesus and his passion and death. If you can take a few moments to reply to my survey (only six questions) I would be most grateful.Thank you and may God bless you!CLICK HERE to take the survey … [Read more...]

“Last Temptation of Christ” author’s “Christ Recrucified” acquired for film

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Deadline Hollywood broke the news this morning that Nikos Kazantzakis  1954 novel "Christ Recrucified" has been acquired by Grindhouse Pictures, a company that seems to have only one other film to its credit, "Gabriela", 2001.The new film will be re-titled "Christ is Risen."Click here to read the entire article on Deadline Hollywood.Amazon's description of the novel says:"The inhabitants of a Greek village, ruled by the Turks, plan to enact the life of Christ in a mystery play - " … [Read more...]

“Unconditional” works

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Samantha Crawford (Lynn Collins) is a children’s author. She and her husband live on a Tennessee ranch where she has her own horse and life good. But when her husband is killed Sam loses the will to live. She is relentless in trying to identify her husband’s killer to the point that the detective (Bruce McGill) doesn’t want to hear from her any longer.Through two children that Sam meets and befriends she reunites with her best childhood friend, Joe (Michael Ealy).  Joe’s work is with inner ci … [Read more...]

I AM GABRIEL straight to DVD

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This fantasy story takes place in a broken-down rural Texas town where people are being evicted from their homes and farms, others are ill, lack faith, or face other challenges.Then into their midst comes a 12-year old boy who utters words of faith to encourage and invite people to faith. All he will say is, “I am Gabriel.”He then proceeds, in an attitude of severe humor deprivation, to be a voice of encouragement to the good towns people. And he knows things about them no one else does; … [Read more...]

Soul Surfer – Based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton

  This is a film about a teenage Christian girl who loses an arm in a shark attack in Hawaii. There are some perilous moments, but they are handled well. The surfing sequences are excellent - and by the way, Helen Hunt (she plays the mom) did her own surfing scenes, and AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Bethany, took lessons from her and did her own surfing as well. I thought the faith dimension was handled well; I cannot imagine what losing an arm to a shark would have done to me if I had wanted … [Read more...]


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