Review of New Ben Hur Movie

Ben Hur

Directed by Timur Bekmambetoz

Based on a novel by Lew Wallace

Starring: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Rodrigo Santoro

old film projector and movie objects

 

Review by Tamera Lynn Kraft

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

In the movie, Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur is a Jewish prince who lives a life of privilege and trying to keep his countrymen from rebelling against Rome. He knows it will only end in bloodshed. His adopted brother, Messala, who never felt he belonged in Judea, goes off to prove himself as a Roman soldier. When Messala returns, he falsely accuses Ben Hur of sedition and has his family executed. Ben Hur is sent to die as a galley slave, but he doesn’t die. He returns to seek revenge on the man he once called a brother.

I am an old classic movie fan. The old Ben Hur (1959) starring Charleton Heston, is one of my favorite Biblical sagas. Because of this, I doubted I would like this Ben Hur as much. I was wrong. The new Ben Hur is so much better than the old one. Jack Huston has done the impossible by making me forget about Charlton Heston. He came on the screen larger than life with a believably that Heston didn’t even have.

The chariot race is awesome with all of the special effects, but that isn’t what drew me in. The screen writers and actors did a top notch job of creating characters that seemed real. Even Messala wasn’t pure evil but had motives that made his actions understandable even if they were reprehensible. The best part was how Jesus was portraying. He didn’t have harp music playing in the background and everyone awestruck every time he came on the scene. There were no glows or halos, and he didn’t have blond hair or striking blue eyes. He showed what Jesus must have been like to the every day people living in that time. He wove in and out of the life of Ben Hur in a way that made sense.

I can’t say enough good about this film that really is a Tale of Christ as was the subtitle of the earlier movie. This one is a must see.

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Review of Do You Believe Movie

Do You Believe

Description:

A dozen different souls—all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ … even if they don’t believe it. Yet.

When a local pastor is shaken to the core by the visible faith of an old street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a faith-fueled journey that powerfully impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate.

This stirring new film from the creators of God’s Not Dead is in theaters now. More than a movie, it’s a question we all must answer in our lifetimes: DO YOU BELIEVE?

Cast:

  • Mira Sorvino (Samantha)
  • Sean Astin (Dr. Farrell)
  • Alexa Penavega (Lacy)
  • Delroy Lindo (Malachi)
  • Andrea Logan White (Andrea)
  • Cybill Shepherd (Teri)
  • Lee Majors (J.D.)
  • Ted McGinley (Matthew)
  • Madison Pettis (Maggie)
  • Brian Bosworth (Joe)
  • Tracy Lindsey Melchior (Grace)
  • Joseph Julian Soria (Carlos)
  • Valerie Dominguez (Elena)
  • Senyo Amoaku (Kriminal)
  • Mavrick Von Haug (Nefarius)
  • Delpaneaux Wills (40 oz.)
  • Liam Matthews (Bobby)
  • Makenzie Moss (Lily)
  • Shwayze (Pretty Boy)

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

If you’re looking for a Christian movie that is subtle and makes you feel good, this is not the right movie for you. This is an in your face movie that challenges you to live out your Christian walk in radical ways. Malachi, a street preacher, stops Pastor Matthew and asks him, “Do you believe in the cross?” Pastor Matthew explains that he is a pastor, so of course he does. Malachi challenges him. “If you believe, what are you going to do about it?”

That challenge is what this movie is all about. Pastor Matthew preaches a sermon about it, and the decisions that take place lead 12 people together for one event that changes their lives forever.

Contemporary Christian films are getting better with great directing, good acting, and terrific story telling. So many great films have come out during the last couple of years. This is one of the best, and I highly recommend it. I have one warning though. You’ll need tissues.

Movie Review of Left Behind

Left Behind

Directed by: Vic Armstrong

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassie Thomson, Nicky Whalen, Jordan Sparks, Lea Thompson

Left Behind is an apocalyptic Action-Thriller movie starring Nicolas Cage based on the New York Times bestselling novel that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times.

The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

The Steele family is caught on the razor’s edge of that darkness. RAY STEELE, an airline pilot, struggles to calm, and ultimately to save the lives of the passengers that remain on his flight, as the world below loses its ability to help his plane, and any other to safety. Running out of fuel, his equipment failing, his crew escalating into panic, Ray must guide the plane with the help of GWN reporter, CAMERON “BUCK” WILLIAMS who takes over the role of co-pilot in the face of the crisis. For Buck Williams, being trapped at 30,000 feet with a plane full of terrified passengers means a struggle to understand the incomprehensible.

On the ground, Ray’s daughter CHLOE STEELE struggles to find her young brother and mother, both of whom may have disappeared in the Biblical event. Forcing herself through the chaos, Chloe must navigate a world filled with terror and despair.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  and 1/2 ♥

I have mixed feeling about this movie. I loved some aspects and was that happy about others.

What I loved:

  • Powerful storyline that focused only on the rapture and didn’t try to cram the entire book into a two hour movie.
  • Great acting: What’s not to like about Nicholas Cage. I think the actors did a great job with the script they were given.
  • Special Effects: The special effects in this movie were awesome. There just weren’t enough of them.
  • Remake of song I Wish We’d All Been Ready

What I didn’t like as much:

  • Slow moving plot: The movie was about the rapture, but for whatever reason, they decided to wait until half way through the movie to show it. It slowed things way down to the point that I didn’t like the first half of the movie at all.
  • Cliché Christians: Every Christian shown before the rapture was one of those push their religion in your face type Christians. Considering this was a Christian world viewpoint movie, I found that odd.
  • Not enough special effects: What they had was good, but the previews made it seem like this was going to be a blockbuster type movie, and it fell far short of that.
  • Jordan Sparks performance: Jordan Sparks is a good singer, but she’s not that great of an actress.
  • Not a strong enough declaration of what had happened: At the end, they mentioned this was probably the rapture, but with all the build up, it didn’t quite proclaim it with enough conviction.

In conclusion, I wanted to love this movie, but I didn’t. I did like it. If it hadn’t been for all the hype to get me to expect a Nicholas Cage Hollywood blockbuster, I probably would have liked it more. I didn’t expect it to be a normal quality Christian movie. That being said, it is worth watching once.

The Giver Movie Review

Giver_Poster_NEW_200x300The Giver (2014)

Director:  Phillip Noyce

Starring:  Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

 

 

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

It’s difficult to write a review for this movie without giving anything away but I’ll try. This book is based on a novel I haven’t read but plan to read very soon. Rarely do I see a movie that I can’t stop thinking about days later. This movie literally portrays the perfect politically correct society. Everybody has given up their rights to emotion and individuality and have agreed to conform for the greater good. But the greater good turns out to be a greater evil. There is so much Christian symbolism in this movie, but at the same time, it is so subtle, you could miss it if you weren’t looking for it. The Giver makes one quote that I love. “We could decide to choose better.” This is a must see movie that is prophetic for the times we are living in.

 

Movie Review – Mom’s Night Out

Mom’s Night Out

Synopsis: A group of exhausted mothers venture into the city for a rare night out on the town, but their carefree evening without kids doesn’t go quite as planned in this family-friendly comedy.

Starring: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins, and Jason Burkey

Director: Andrew and Jon Erwin

 

My Review: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I love this movie. Love it. Have I said how much I love it. If you’re into vulgar comedy that uses cuss words and sexual innuendos to get a laugh, you won’t like Mom’s Night Out. This movie’s comedy is well thought out and uses situations from every day life that moms can relate to. That’s why it is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. At one point, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath. I didn’t disturb others in the theater with my outbursts because they were all laughing out loud as well. Yet it was also heartwarming. This is a family friendly movie with no bad language or vulgarity that is really funny. I loved it so much that I’ll probably buy the DVD so I can watch it over and over again whenever I need a laugh.

 

 

God’s Not Dead Movie Review

God’s Not Dead

GOD’S NOT DEAD features a talented cast of actors including Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD and JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ A lot of people have been talking about the movie, God’s Not Dead. I went to see it a couple of weeks ago and wanted to add my thoughts. I highly recommend it. It’s a great movie with many nuances and no trite answers. Here’s some of the things I loved about the movie.

I loved the storyline about a young man who wouldn’t deny Christ to bow down to the god of political correctness even though it cost him. He reminded me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they wouldn’t bow down to the king’s idol.

I loved that the story didn’t use a bunch of caricatures. Not every unbeliever was a jerk in this movie, and not every Christian wasn’t a jerk.

I loved that it showed a gambit of different beliefs and perspectives. Not only did it show athiests and Christians, but the girl who tried to hide her Christianity for fear of reprisals, the man from China who had been taught God is not real and would have to face political reprisals, the woman who was a Christian living with her atheist boyfriend, and the woman who thought she didn’t believe in God until she came face to face with her own mortality.

I loved that not everything turned out wonderful. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes there are costs to following Jesus. And sometimes bad people get away with horrific things with seemingly no consequences. This movie showed that.

I loved that the young man defending Christianity used science and philosophy in his argument. It is not illogical or unscientific to believe in God. In his ending argument, the main character showed that it is a choice to believe in God or not. But when a professor or anyone else tries to stop the discussion and force his atheistic viewpoint, he is trying to take away our choices.

There are other great things I loved about the movie, but if I said anymore, I would have to give a spoiler alert. All I can say is you should go see this movie. And take a friend who is questioning his belief in God.

My final comments about this movie – God’s not dead!

 

Movie Review – Son of God

I went to the movies and saw Son of God a few days ago. From what I understand the movie took in 26.5 million the first weekend at the box office. Nobody expected that since the movie didn’t even open in all the theaters. I was deeply moved by it and highly recommend Christians take their unsaved friends and family to see it. Even if you don’t take someone with you, it’s worth seeing for no other reason than to show Hollywood that this type of movie is a money maker. Here are my thoughts on the movie.

Accuracy: There were some creative licenses taken with the timeline of Jesus’ life and with the some of the dialogue for dramatic affect. Some parts were also left out. This was done to present a story dramatically to show the political intrigue of Pilate, the Pharisees, and Jesus as they reached the climax in Jerusalem. It in no way detracted from the story or caused me to pause at the changes. They were true to the concept of the Gospel even if they did rearrange it a little. Beside, if they had focused on the whole story of Jesus instead of a slice of His life and times, the movie would have been way to long. I’d have to give them an A minus.

Message: The message of this movie is that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, God Incarnate, who came to Earth and died on the cross for our sins, and that we can only obtain salvation through believing in Him. It was not watered down or said apologetically. Jesus declared it many times in the movie. It was the main theme. I’ll give them an A plus plus plus for this.

Remake of The Bible: Some have criticized Son of God as a remake of The Bible on the History Channel. This story did have a number of clips from The Bible. But overall, it made a compelling story even if you had seen The Bible. This didn’t feel like a remake. Instead it felt like the story told from a different perspective. But because it did use some scenes from The Bible, I’ll give this a B minus.

Interesting Features: I loved some of the interesting perspectives and features in this movie that were in the Bible but weren’t shown in some of the other movies made about Jesus. I loved how they showed that Pilate was not an innocent bystander of the high priest’s schemes. He was an evil man who sentenced a man to death he knew to be innocent for expedience’s sake. It wasn’t the first time he killed an innocent person. This is the historically accurate Pilate of the Roman Empire.

I also was pleased that they showed the women in Jesus’ life were disciples who followed Him just as the men were His disciples. Mary Magdalene, who was not a prostitute or Jesus’ girlfriend as some imply, was a main character in this movie.

The images of the Passover where the lamb was slain at the same time Jesus died as the Lamb of God were powerful. When Jesus died and an earthquake shook the temple and tore the veil, I was enthralled.

There were other great scenes in this movie like how the crowds would show up wherever Jesus went and how the children would follow Him around. I also loved how they showed that not all of the Jews agreed with the Pharisees. The High Priest, Caiaphas, made sure the people who would do his bidding were the only ones allowed to enter when Jesus’ fate was decided. Another great part of the movie was after Jesus ascended to Heaven and Peter told everyone that they needed to get busy. And there was a hint of Jesus appearing to John at the end of his life as He did in the book of Revelation to declare that He was coming again.

Overall Rating:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Overall, I give this movie five stars even with the problems I mentioned. I don’t know how this movie could have been made better. The message that Jesus is the Son of God was powerfully portrayed. At the end, after the credits stopped rolling, I sat there for a moment taking it in. I didn’t want to leave. I was deeply moved by this movie.