God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in the Darkness Movie Review

GoGod’s Not Dead 3: A Light in the Darkness

Director: Michael Mason

Writer: Michael Mason

Stars: David A.R. White, John Corbett, and Shane Harper

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God’s Not Dead 3 was the perfect ending to the God’s Not Dead trilogy. The first movie focused on a student being challenged by his atheist professor. The second focused on a teacher losing her job because of her faith. In both cases, Pastor Dave was there to help them through times of persecution. In both cases, the people being persecuted fought back to declare the truth.

In this movie, the story focuses on Pastor Dave. When it starts, his friend and fellow pastor, Reverend Jude, is picking him up from jail. He was arrested for not turning in transcripts of his sermons. He didn’t turn them in at the end of the last movie. It goes down hill from there. Through an act of vandalism, Reverend Jude is killed and the church is burnt to the ground. To make matter worse, the college campus uses this incident to take away the church land and building using imminent domain. Pastor Dave is confused and angry and decides to fight.

What I Loved About the Movie: The theme of the movie is when should Christian fight for what is right, and when should they allow themselves to be persecuted to declare the truth in love. Christians throughout history have tried to maintain this balance. Martyrs have willingly laid down their lives. Reformers like Martin Luther and Christian abolitionists have fearlessly declared the truth and fought to reform the culture. This movie allowed both points of view and showed that, yes, we need to preach the truth, but we need to preach it in love, not out of the anger everyone is feeling in today’s world.

The movie also discusses doubt people deal with and how the church should handle those doubt with the truth, but in a loving way. There was a lot of meat to chew on in this movie, and the answers to all of these questions are never easy.

What I Didn’t Love About the Movie: I would have given this movie five stars if I could have gotten past this. There was an incident in the movie, I’m not giving any spoilers, that was wrapped up in too neat a bow in a way that was so unbelievable it was laughable.

Even though the movie cheated the audience in one part, I highly recommend this movie. We have to speak the truth no matter the cost, but we can’t do it in anger. People around us should know we are Christians by our love. That’s what this movie was all about.

Advertisements

Paul, Apostle of Christ Movie Review

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Director: Andrew Hyatt

Writers: Terence Berden, Andrew Hyatt

Stars: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez

Trailer:

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

When I heard Jim Caviezel was starring in this movie, I knew I wanted to see it. I was right. Caviezel has been one of my favorite actors for a while now. He starred in some great Christian movies such as When the Game Stands Tall and The Passion of the Christ as well as some secular movies and TV shows.

The first thing that surprised me in the movie was Caviezel played Luke not Paul. The story was really about Luke as he struggled to support his friend, Paul, and help the Christians in Rome during their darkest hour. He was brilliant in his portrayal as was the actor who played a worn out, tired, old Apostle Paul who was ready for his martyrdom.

Another surprise was this was a story about one of the darkest hours of Christianity. The world was in chaos. It looked like evil had one. Christians, children included, were being lit on fire to light Nero’s garden parties and being thrown to lions in the Colosseum. Priscilla and Aquilla were struggling with whether to lead their Roman community out of Rome to escape the persecution or stay and show the light of Christ. Some of the younger men were struggling with anger and a desire for revenge. It was a dark time. At first, the movie seemed depressing. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it too soon.

This movie had an awesome theme of hope in the midst of despair and overcoming evil with love. It reminded me what true Christianity was all about. There was one poignant scene of Christians marching into death content and without fear. The only thing that was missing from the historical accounts was that in real life they sang hymns. I would have loved to have seen that. That is the only criticism I have with the movie, and that is minor.

This is a movie I recommend strongly for every Christian to see.

Review of Movie The Greatest Showman

Last week, I watched The Greatest Showman. I would love to give it a glowing review because it reminded me of the classic movies I love, but my review is somewhat mixed. First, here’s the trailer for the movie.

The Greatest Showman

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Zac Efron

Director: Michael Gracey

Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

What I loved about the movie:

For acting, storytelling, theme, and performances, I give this movie 5 stars. I loved they made in a musical. The romance between PT Barnum and his wife was heartfelt. The theme of everyone having value was well done. The character arcs of PT Barnum and his assistant Carlyle were believable and made the characters three dimensional and likable. The plot brought us on the edge of our seats, and in the satisfying end, caused us to leave the movie theater feeling good. This reminded me of the classic musicals that I love from years past. There were no loose ends to be tied up. If it had been a fictional story about a fictional character, I would have praised the movie and recommended it to all my friends.

What bothered me about the movie:

While the romance between PT and Charity Barnum rang true, very little of the story reflected the truth about PT’s life. First, the timeline was all wrong. Barnum didn’t start his museum until his forties, and he was in his seventies before it became a traveling circus. He was not the feel good person in the movie. He is credited with first saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He would do anything to make money including exploiting his four year old nephew, the real Tom Thumb, and buying a 80 year old slave even though he was an abolitionist and claiming she was the 169 year old nurse of George Washington.

I do understand poetic license and changing the events to make a good story. I could have forgiven the rest of it, but one thing they changed bothered me more than any of the rest. In the movie, Jenny Lynd, the opera singer who toured America, was offered the tour by PT Barnum. That part was true.

What wasn’t true was that PT left Charity to go on tour with Jenny or that Jenny was infatuation with PT to the point of kissing him in front of reporters to get back at him for rejecting her attentions. PT was devoted to Charity, and Jenny Lynd never did anything like that. All of this was fake. Lynd, one of the greatest singers of the 19th century,  toured America and cut ties with Barnum because he insisted on too rigorous of a schedule to make more money from her. She donated everything she earned from the tour to charity. To cast her in such a negative light was shameful. This soured the movie for me.

Another part of the movie I didn’t like was how it was implied the museum was burned to the ground by people protesting the freak show. While nobody knows who burned down the theater, it is more likely it was because of the strong stand Barnum took as a politician against slavery before the Civil War and for equal rights after the Civil War. This would have made the story more powerful, especially if they showed Barnum exploiting a slave, Washington’s nurse, in the 1840s and becoming an advocate of abolition and equal rights later in his life.

As I said earlier, I wish the story had been about a fictional character because in reality, it was.

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.

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.