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Found 22 results

  1. God's Not Dead (2014)

    This is the first I've seen of this movie, which has some intriguing qualities to it, IMHO. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMjo5f9eiX8&feature=share&list=UUKRU6yh8rHqmRuX2htuFDNg - Full trailer. Is Dean Cain playing... Satan? The first few bits of the trailer, with Dean Cain and the Robertsons, seem like they are from a different movie than the rest of it. Also, it seems kind of like a Christian college student's fantasy. But I guess a lot of it will depend on how the film plays out the conflict. Certainly, I have had a lot of experiences with Christian college students being challenged sharply over their faith by atheistic professors. And I do know stories (and have been part of one story) in which Christian students helped bring atheistic professors to faith. So I'm curious how this one is going to play out.
  2. Amazing Love (2012)

    Link to our thread on 'Movies and the OT prophets' (Nov 2011). Link to the blog post in which I provided a few links for Oversold (2008), a half-hour short film based on Hosea which starred a former porn star. This popped up on Netflix today: When five teenagers embark on a youth group weekend camping trip, a confrontation occurs between two of the teens, giving the opportunity for their leader to share the touching Old Testament story about the prophet Hosea. Starring Sean Astin as a youth pastor. (His mother, Patty Duke, is also listed in the credits.) Directed by Kevin Downes, whose only previous directorial credit at the IMDb is Six: The Mark Unleashed (2004); he also has a writing credit on The Morning After (1999), producer credits on Mercy Streets (2000) and The Visitation (2006), and acting credits on Thr3e (2006) and Courageous (2011), among others. I'm about 20 minutes into the film right now, and it seems to be *mainly* about a youth-group camping trip... but the opening credits played over scenes set in ancient Israel (and the IMDb says part of the film was, in fact, filmed in Israel), so I imagine there'll be more of that down the road. This is interesting to me, as I can't think of many other filmic interpretations of this particular biblical book.
  3. I've just received notification of a new endeavor from Jonathan Bock: As1. The As1 mission statement: Frankly, I'm surprised that there hasn't yet been a Christian adult contemporary vocal group called As1. Bock wraps up his appeal like this: I'm always troubled by language like this: "Through our demographic size and collective buying power, we will unite to impact the culturally influential art of our time." But the line in this mission statement that worries me most is this: "As we have throughout history, we will generously reward the artists who tell our stories." Our stories? As opposed to their stories?
  4. Grace Unplugged (2013)

    In his CT review, Ken pretty much confirms what I'd suspected...
  5. Alone Yet Not Alone (2013)

    Link to our thread on this year's Oscar nominees for Best Original Song, which is how most people first heard about this film. Link to my blog post on this film from a few days back. There's been some discussion on my Facebook wall about the fact that the film's website trumpets its endorsement by the Dobsons, Rick Santorum and other socially-conservative, religious-right types. Now Fred "Slacktivist" Clark has a post entitled 'How the most famous white evangelical with a disability became the public face of the white evangelical campaign against the rights of persons with disabilities', in which he charts the filmmakers' connection to the Home School Legal Defense Association, something called Vision Forum, and Patrick Henry College.
  6. Facing the Giants (2006)

    Haven't seen a thread on this film, although as a Georgia native I've been aware of it for a few years now. It was also apparently screened at this year's Biola Media Conference... Looks like a "what you'd expect" kind of Christian film starring a football coach in the south. It's making the news today though for getting a PG rating by the MPAA because of its spiritual message. Link to the Article QUOTE The MPAA, noted Fuhr, tends to offer cryptic explanations for its ratings. In this case, she was told that it "decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions. It's important that they used the word 'proselytizing' when they talked about giving this movie a PG. ...
  7. Mercy Rule (2014)

    MovieGuide: Mercy Rule is a family movie starring and produced by Kirk Cameron. It follows the ups and downs of a father trying to save his business from lobbyists while his son struggles to succeed on his little league team. This well-written story shows how a family comes together in the midst of trying circumstances and stands strong for one another. Mercy Rule depicts a middle-class, suburban American family, the Millers. The father, John (Kirk Cameron), owns a scrapping and recycling business, Dante, started by his father. His business has been successful for many years while operating with honesty and integrity. However, a cunning lobbyist named Evan Trufant (James Bladon) pays John a visit one day in an attempt to undermine the business. He attacks John with a pro-environment agenda, accusing John’s business of recycling hazardous waste and toxic materials. John feels crushed by the liberal laws and policies that make his company’s death seem imminent. He draws strength from his wife, Maddie (Chelsea Cameron), who lovingly encourages him, and from his brother, Uncle Ben (Tim Hawkins), whose friendship likewise keeps him afloat. Meanwhile, John’s son Cody (Jared Miller) is working diligently to succeed on his little league team, and dreams of being able to pitch for them. Cody pleads with his eccentric but familial coach (Bas Rutten) to be able to pitch, and eventually gets his chance. Mercy Rule weaves together the story of John’s struggle to save his business and Cody’s struggles and triumph on his baseball team. It has a very strong Christian, moral worldview, with strong pro-capitalist elements. MERCY RULE is exemplary in terms of its content. It’s a very positive and uplifting movie.
  8. A Calling of Courage (2014)

    The Dove Foundation: ... This is an inspirational movie in every sense of the word. It features a story about a teen named Zoey (nicely played by Savanah D. McMahon) who while driving one evening is struck by a drunk driver. She winds up in a coma and the plot centers on her father, Sgt. Kurt Roberts (Klor M. Rowland Jr.) and her mother, Julie (Kimber Leigh), and their attempt to keep their faith in God and trust Him in a very difficult situation. Julie’s faith begins to wilt and Kurt has the extra pressure of believing for a miracle at times all by himself. He does find support in the faithful nurse that attends to Zoey almost every day, Lynette (Julie Van Lith). Zoey shows hopeful signs every so often, such as moving her finger or her arm, but as Kurt takes heart by these signs Julie is afraid to hope. This remarkable story has a terrific ending and clearly demonstrates that while trusting God is not always easy, it ultimately is the best thing one can do. We are quite pleased to award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve plus, due to a few intense scenes and the tension between the parents. However, parents should consult our content listing as some will be fine with their children a bit under twelve watching the movie. This movie is the story of a remarkable journey of faith and has earned five Doves ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwkAIiyhcEc
  9. Blue Like Jazz (2012)

    http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/ "To say we�ve given the book a Hollywod treatment is an understatement. The book itself would be, of course, difficult to turn into a movie, and so we took creative liberties. But in my opinion, the movie will be infinitely better than the book. Essentially we�ve taken the major, real life characters from the book, and gave them a story all their own. The end result is provactive and humorous and in my opinion quite moving." I wonder if we're going to start seeing this as a trend, what with this and that Purpose Driven Life movie they're supposed to be making and all.
  10. Courageous (2011)

    Links to the threads on Facing the Giants (2006) and Fireproof (2008). - - - Sherwood Pictures Announces Courageous Sherwood Church, home of the hit independent movies Flywheel (DVD only), Facing the Giants, and Fireproof, at its Sunday evening service tonight, announced the theme and title for Sherwood Pictures' fourth movie. Senior Pastor Michael Catt, Executive Pastor Jim McBride, and ministers Stephen and Alex Kendrick--collectively the leadership team of Sherwood Pictures--made the announcement. "The movie is about fatherhood and the title is one word: 'Courageous,'" Alex Kendrick said, briefly outlining the plot. "Four fathers who are all in law enforcement--who protect and serve together--go through a terrible tragedy," he said. "They begin looking at their role as fathers... and they begin challenging one another to fulfill God's intention for fathers." That single-word title, Pastor Catt said, echoes God's call for men to "rise with courage" in their homes and as leaders. This at a time when 4 of 10 marriages end in divorce and more than a third of all children live away from their biological fathers. "The statistics on fatherless children are devastating," McBride said. "And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love." "God led us," co-writer and producer Stephen Kendrick said to the audience of church members, many of them volunteer crew, cast, or catering in earlier Sherwood movies. "We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children." . . . ComingSoon.net, November 15
  11. The growing "Christian movie industry"

    NPR has a report on Christian moviemaking that makes me want to... well, never mind. I'll let you decide for yourselves.
  12. What Would Jesus Do? (2010)

    Christian Filmmaker Takes On Popular WWJD Book I know, I know. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. In the meantime, by far my favorite part of this whole thing is how on the DVD cover it says in bold print "OVER 40 MILLION SOLD" but uh, I'm going to tentatively guess that the smaller print will then explain that the bold print is referring to copies of the book, In His Steps, not actually to the film ... yet anyway.
  13. To Save a Life (2009)

    Samuel Goldwyn set for 'Life' Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to faith-based teen drama "To Save a Life" and set a Jan. 22 release for the New Song Pictures production. . . . Goldwyn said it's working with Outreach Films and New Song Pictures to market "To Save a Life" and noted it's released other faith-based titles including "Fireproof," "Facing the Giants" and "Amazing Grace." . . . Variety, October 27 - - - FWIW, I blogged this film a year ago, almost to the day, back when it was known as HOW to Save a Life (and the movie's official website was howYOUsavealife.com). The movie's website is now here.
  14. The Shroud Codex

    Catholic Online: Are you ready? Here it comes.
  15. Fireproof (2008)

    QUOTE ALBANY, Ga. (Baptist Press)--The two brothers who directed "Facing the Giants" now are working on another cinematic release -- "Fireproof," starring Kirk Cameron -- about saving a failing marriage. Stephen Kendrick, co-writer and director for the newest movie from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., along with his brother Alex, wrapped up five weeks of filming their latest Christian drama in December. Earlier releases "Flywheel, The Movie" in 2003 and Facing the Giants in 2006 received strong reviews and calls for another installment in the feel-good, faith-based, family values vein. Facing the Giants drew $10 million in box office receipts and remains a best-selling DVD. Fireproof is scheduled to hit theaters in August; like Facing the Giants, it will be distributed through Provident Films, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures. The storyline focuses on a young couple, Caleb and Catherine Holt, whose seven-year marriage is on the rocks. Caleb is played by Cameron; Erin Bethea, a member of Sherwood Baptist and a graduate of the Baptist-affiliated University of Mobile in Alabama, plays Catherine. Caleb's father tries to persuade his firefighter son to delay divorce for 40 days while secretly going through a process he calls the "love dare." Although reluctant and skeptical of his parents' newfound faith, Caleb agrees and embarks on a spiritual journey that redefines what love means to him. As he takes the day-by-day dare with suggestions of how to unconditionally love his wife, he eventually comes to realize that he doesn't know the Giver of love. As he slowly becomes changed from within, he seeks to win back the heart of his wife who is suspicious of his motives. Full story here.
  16. The Second Chance (2006)

    As per a message I just posted to the Steve Taylor thread in the music forum (a thread which, I might add, is mostly about the movie rumours that have circulated around Taylor for years despite the fact that no actual movies have been made), it seems Michael W. Smith recently gave an interview to Billboard in which he said he would be appearing in the film. The film will reportedly be called The Second Chance, and it will reportedly be about a pastor who is sent against his will to work in the inner city and, of course, comes to love the people there. I really, really hope the film isn't as Hallmarky as it sounds.
  17. [This thread began after another thread became too... um... heated. It is an attempt to raise a question and address it with caution and respect among the participants.] What if we started this conversation over? What if we began by linking to Peter's review of The Last Sin Eater, and several other reviews ... like Facing the Giants, The Second Chance, Hangman's Curse, etc.? (Film Forum would give us some good cross-sections of reviews on these films.) And then, what if we tried to discuss the central issue all over again ... those of us who have seen the movies ... in order to re-consider what a Christian critic should take into account when reviewing a "Christian film"? What if we wiped this slate clean and tried again, hopefully wiser and more cautious? (Personally, I'm in favor of locking the original Last Sin Eater thread because too much damage was done, inadvertently and directly, there. But we need to be able to discuss the issues at the crux of that debate. And we need to be able to consider, praise, and criticize that film for its strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, from JoelC's opening post, there was some "attitude" going on there. I refer to his declaration that another �brilliant masterpiece� was coming from FoxFaith. That attitude was not unprovoked, mind you. FoxFaith got off to a start that made many of us disappointed and a little frustrated. I sympathized with JoelC, and have spoken with plenty of similar frustration myself. But considering the current climate, better to surrender that mess-of-a-thread, and step with extra-extra care and try to start again.) Let's not make these threads about FoxFaith's not-so-glorious beginnings. Or about anything said on the radio about whether or not CT's reviewers have full-time jobs, or whether we�re Christians or postmodernists or any derogatory, demeaning labels. Let's talk about the issue: Should Christians give extra slack to Christian movies that are less than excellent examples of the craft? Or should we always give at least three stars to movies that "preach" the gospel? Is a Christian being "anti-evangelical" if he gives one star to a movie about Christianity made by Christians? Should preachy movies be embraced as expressions of evangelical conviction? Or should the terms "preachy" and "movies" remain mutually exclusive? Is there a place for altar-call moviemaking, and if so, what is that place? Should those films be subjected to critical assessment of aesthetics and storytelling and performance? Should it make a difference to us if the film was made by a Christian or not? When does criticizing a Christian filmmaker stop being constructive and turn into something detrimental and "mean"? What's the difference between constructive criticism of a work and "slamming" a filmmaker? I ask this, mind you, because in my work as a reviewer I want to do what is right and good. I am motivated, for what it's worth, by evangelical conviction. I have no doubt that I have things to learn about that. And so I'm listening. So, in the interest of celebrating the privilege of art, and to explore whether or not Christian filmmakers should be held to the same standards of excellence as any other artist, let's discuss these issues. It is a crucial conversation, the crux of what concerns the folks here at Arts and Faith: the difference between proselytizing and art, between preaching and poetry, between 'delivering a gospel message' through argument, and 'manifesting the truth of the gospel in art' (which is about excellence in form as much truth in content). Many of us got involved here in part because we were so weary of mediocrity in religious art, and were finding profundity beyond the borders of "Christian entertainment." How do we keep from throwing the baby out with the bathwater? I think this conversation is worth continuing whenever we get another film that clearly presents the gospel (whether that be Sophie Scholl, Dead Man Walking, Chariots of Fire, or The Last Sin Eater). Which films deal with the gospel in an exemplary fashion? Which films don't, and can we, in good conscience, graciously discuss where they go wrong? Let's talk it over, receiving each other's opinions with grace, and without making presumptuous claims about the hearts of people we do not know. Most people I have met here speak out of Christian conviction, and they have done so from the foundation of this board. I see no reason to suspect each other of anything less, unless someone has plainly declared that they speak from some other kind of conviction. Yes, there is objective truth, but none of us can claim complete comprehension of that truth on this side of glory. As we attempt to engage in respectful dialogue, maybe we can work our way closer to a fuller apprehension of that truth. Or at least practice grace.
  18. The Last Sin Eater (2007)

    So our favorite film distributor, FoxFaith, is releasing it's next brilliant masterpiece of contemporary Christian cinema, 'The Last Sin Eater'. The storyline is based off a book by best-selling Christian fiction author Francine Rivers. QUOTE In 1850's Appalachia, 10-year-old Cadi feels responsible for her little sister's death, so she searches ou the one man she feels can take away her sin - The sin eater. Could actually be an interesting concept, if not muddled by FoxFaith's tendency to produce rather preachy films (see film description on website). Comes out Feb. 9.
  19. Christian Film ideas

    Hi, Faithful City ---- Isaiah 1:26 You remember that movie about how it was illegal to read books. They should make a futuristic movie how it is illegal to worship Jesus. (At least it would be an intersting idea for a movie) Thanks. God Bless. Aaron.
  20. I saw the June conference on the calendar. What is International Christian Visual Media? Pros and cons?
  21. Hangman's Curse (2003)

    How do I write nicely about a movie made by Christian folks that falls short on almost every level? I'll be honest. I hope that's okay... if folks connected with the film are reading this, I hope they'll take this in the spirit in which I intend it. That is: I want to encourage Christian filmmakers to excellence. And I am tired of seeing money and resources spent on things that are not only shoddy, but will be transparently obvious to a non-Christian audience as an agenda-driven, preachy, and out-of-touch piece of work. I'm sure the filmmakers like what they do and have good intentions. But there is too much "niceness" in circles of Christian artists. We feel like it's "mean" to say that something is sub-par. But if we can never call mediocrity (or worse) what it is, how will we ever learn and grow? So here goes... a first impression. If you want to see a movie in which the storytellers have obviously experienced and comprehended what teens in public high schools currently survive, try Thirteen. If you want to see what some evangelical grownups THINK high school problems are about, and how easily and simplistically they think those problems can be solved, check out Hangman's Curse. It's a movie so transparently agenda-driven, betraying so little comprehension of what kids experience in their daily school lives, that it makes an episode of Boston Public or Dawson�s Creek seem like reality t.v. I just previewed it. It's the latest film by Christians (including Frank Peretti) trying to put an 'alternative product' out there in the mainstream. It's a horror movie about a series of killings in a high school, as well as a "spy family" flick. And I was indeed spooked. But not as I was intended to be. I'm sure it will please a lot of pastors and youth group leaders. It looks and sounds like what many Christians think horror movies must be like. The girls are pretty, the boys handsome ... in a teen-TV kinda way. Or, to be more specific, the ethical characters are "pretty", while the rebels and troublemakers are made up to look unpleasant (i.e., heavy-set) or dangerous (i.e., with pierced noses and black clothes, listening to hard rock music.) But for all of the important questions the film awkwardly tosses around about moral relativism and the causes of Columbine-like tragedies, the film offers simplistic answers in a condescending sort of way that will put off audiences. The "good" kids in this film look like and talk like some conservative Christian parent's fantasy of the way kids should be. And, strangely enough, the Christian parents look like what an American evangelical Barbie and Ken doll might be like... what most parents (most white upper-to-middle class parents) either wish they could be or think that they are. There's never a speck of honesty or realism to these folks. They're living in a trailer by the river (because they're a government-supported Spy Family on the move, you see). And yet, even their casual clothes look like the wardrobe for a detergent commercial, sparkly and zestfully clean. The young heroine looks like Katie Holmes except for those moments when she looks like Natalie Portman, and she sounds exactly like young Wynona Ryder. She's stereotypically sexy, stereotypically superior to all of her schoolmates, and stereotypically incomplete until she has a boyfriend. And the boyfriend is our token Black Person (there's one, sometimes two, in every evangelical film.) Of course, the only thing Christian movies can find to talk about when it comes to boy/girl relationships is the fact that they shouldn't sleep together, so Boyfriend's scenes exist solely so the girl can make her Stand Against PreMarital Sex, which makes Dad just beam with pride. (Apparently the parents are unconcerned about the boyfriend's qualifications so long as he doesn't move in for the kiss too quickly.) So here's the deal: Kids are dying in the high school after suddenly falling into fits of hallucinogenic hysteria. What's causing the fits? Who's killing them? How? The mystery, and the answer, and quite convoluted and far-fetched, but that's par for the course with the X-Files horror genre, so no surprise there. Our high school heroes are part of a family of government secret agents who get sent out on "cases", to investigate strange behavior and get to the truth. I guess they're called the "Veritas" project. That's what the prologue tells us, but there's very little to explore this operation or how it works, or how a whole family became trained and qualified. Anyway, these Spy Kids head out to help a bunch of high school kids who certainly don't talk like public high school kids. I've already mentioned the camera-ready clothes, and should also note the hair that's never out of place, the football team doesn't even get grass stains during the game. But enough about the lack of realism. There are worse problems. The film takes the same tactic that many Christians complain about when it comes to portrayals of Christians in film... it just turns the tables. Every conversation that deals with ethics feels contrived. The ethical characters make their points with smug arrogance, and the unethical characters are made to look ridiculous. The very first time a teacher opens his mouth, he�s talking in the most simplistically general terms about why school prayer is bad. Before he�s even finished his sentence he�s been branded as an idiot, and the smart sexy girl has humiliated him in front of the class, for which the other students congratulate her with wide-eyed awe. These are the same cheap tactics, used against moral relativists, that other bad filmmakers use when they want to mock Christians. They turn it into a belittling contest instead of an honest and earnest look at issues. They stack the deck and oversimplify things so it doesn�t look real, smell real, or feel real. Just as the Christian good guys are perfectly groomed, the school �rebels�, made up in boilerplate goth gear, are accompanied by loud "goth metal" wherever they go, the music arriving as abruptly as they do, as though they have boom box speakers sewn into their jackets. Don't worry... those "goth" kids that get saved from their wicked ways make their salvation evident by turning into giggly, preppy, clean, trouble-free kids at the end, hanging out at happy Christian family picnics. After all, you can't be saved and expect to keep your piercings and makeup. The brother-sister-Gap-clad team are supposed to be the role models, and yet they take to sneaking around the school in the middle of the night, alone. They even separate, the girl tiptoeing down dark stairways by herself to solve the case. Their parents shrug and roll their eyes. "Okay, but be careful." They're real role models... for how to be stupid and get into trouble. The movie condescends so low, they must assume the audience is made up of idiots. treat us like we're idiots. For the first hour of the film, every time someone mentions �Abel Frye�, someone adds �the boy who hung himself,� in case we�ve forgotten the film's opening scene. When the Spy Parents (government agents, remember) stumble onto difficult words like "pheromone" and "aphrodisiac", someone has to explain the definitions of these bizarre technical terms. Now THAT may be the scariest moment in the movie. Evil is not really explored at all. We just see that some kids are so mean they'll throw eggs at people, and some are so evil they'll wear makeup and piercings. Evil comes clad in all the usual symbols that Sunday school teachers told me were connected to the devil... pentagrams, goat�s skulls, the most obvious stuff. But at the end, that's all brushed aside by an explanation that makes you wonder what all those cultish subplots were really about. I remember having similar problems with episodes of Scooby-Doo. And there's Frank Peretti himself in the middle, overacting as if he wants to be Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor. But there�s a problem. He�s not funny. At all. Further, his character makes no sense. First, he's introduced to us as a specific brand of scientist... an acoustics expert, if I recall correctly. But soon he's an all-purpose expert, expounding on any subject that requires the use of six or seven syllable words. And he's a magician as well. He walks into the school lab carrying only a briefcase, and a few minutes later he's pondering a problem while picking at a banjo that he produced out of thin air... or somewhere... The scares aren�t scary at all� except to the girl with the flashlight descending the staircase, and the person conducting the soundtrack. Our heroine discovers a long line of Halloween costumes in the school basement, and walks along them one by one, touching them, shining her flashlight into their eyes� What're the odds that somebody�s in one of them? The mystery? I won't bother with spoilers. But it couldn�t be more obvious who the bad guy is. The implausibilities are astounding. Kids are dropping like flies to some sort of hallucinogenic... and the school doesn't close? We don't see parents protesting? Where are the police? (Don't count that token cop. That's not a policeman.) Or how about this: Two characters confront each other loudly. They shout at each other for a minute. Then a curtain pulls back and, hey, they're standing in front of an auditorium full of people. Huh? They're on a stage? In front of an audience? So, during the shouting, was the audience being perfectly silent so as not to be discovered? Were they just staring at a closed curtain, wondering why there were shouts behind it? Then there's the X-Files-esque creepy music loop that gets old and annoying long before the ending. As soon as the boy and the girl walk down the street, a bad pop love song starts. Here was an opportunity to show us an example of how this "perfect" "Christian" girl starts out in a good relationship. But the music swells and covers up what they�re saying. Then, when we hear them again, we wish the music would come back. The lines are agenda driven again, just marking off the points. �Any prejudice is bad.� And �I can�t invite you in. Close quarters.� So... getting to know each other, real relationship... this doesn't matter. All that matters is that he can't be your boyfriend if he wants to move too fast. Again, it sounds like it was written by parents dreaming about how they wish their kids would behave, not storytellers talking to kids at their own level. Then there's the spectacularly long Let Me Explain Everything Before I Get Rid Of You confession... a pet peeve that drives me crazy in MOST mystery and horror films. You have to wonder... if these moviemakers wanted to do something that would glorify God, wouldn't they want to do it with excellence? If so, why didn't they run the story by someone who can tell a good story from a bad one? Or a good performance from a bad one? Do they take the time to ponder what makes the best screenplays good? Do they study great actors at all to learn about subtlety or nuance? Have they watched enough horror movies to know what audiences have seen a thousand times over and what might really be new, interestingly spooky, or just a good solid scare? To be fair, it does build to one positively creepy scenario... but then the scene drags on for an eternity, so that we detach from the movie and start thinking about the holes in the plot. In the final moments, the film, which has gone to great lengths to avoid "Christian-ese" and preaching, suddenly loses its restraint and flashes its badge. The supposedly emotional finale plays to, of all things, the Doxology. It�s just the �Christian stamp� � and at the end of particularly shoddy film. It's like that little "gotcha" you find in some of the gospel tracts left in phone booths, when you turn the page and realize that the "hook" at the beginning was just to draw you in for the evangelical "ambush." (The problem is, you see enough tracts, you get to where you can smell the ambush without even picking up another tract.) Never for a moment does it feel like these filmmakers have much "true" to offer, because their film feels like a bad xerox of a FOX after-school special for teens, overly buffed and severely censored not only of expletives, but of artistry, and honesty as well.
  22. “Less blood!” No, I was gonna poll this one but realized it’s more than just a pick and choose question. If you could have creative input into a project, be it a secular project with Christian theme or a Christian project with a secular theme or what have you, what would you like to see? “Christian films” for the most part lack an essential element of what I call the Top Three: 1. A great script. 2. A great cast/crew (including director). 3. A great production value. (‘Bang’ for bucks). I’ve seen every combination of two out of three out there, but it’s very rare one will find all three in a nice package. I believe this to be part of the reason The Passion is doing so well—it has all three elements. The script could have been a bit more fleshed out (no pun intended, please believe me) in my opinion, but for the most part it’s solid, has a sound throughline and integrity to it. Please let’s not delve into this example as a tangential topic for debate. Secular films attempting to give a ‘Christian’ perspective often play at comprehending the ‘God experience.’ In attempting to capture the essence of faith, characters are alternately played as pious, fanatical, or cynical at best. There have been exceptions, of course, but rarely are Christians portrayed as people you might have as your best friend or, even more shocking, someone with crises as valid as anyone else. So I’m curious: you have the opportunity to convey to a production company what you’d like to see more of, less of, or any of when it comes to dealing with a Christian theme. Doesn’t mean it has to be Little House on the Prairie—but it could be. It could also be Ninja Smite: A Testament to the Fist of Yahweh. I’ll start: One thing I'd like to see more of: Subtlety. Oftentimes Christian roles or influence might as well be wrapped in neon and flashing LOOK AT ME. Likewise, evil is so blatant and painfully obvious that the audience has no choice but to throw popcorn at the Great and Powerful Oz-director standing behind the curtain. I'd like to see more of the insidious qualities of evil, such as the compromise of integrity--and the realistic qualities of Godly choices being extremely difficult at times. More later. Thoughts, anyone?
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