Category Archives: CHRISTIAN TALK

Worthy Christian and Religious information and news of interest. This may include Christian movies.

THE YOUNG MESSIAH (2016) – My rating: 8/10

I haven’t seen many movies about Jesus as a child nor is their much scripture found on the early years of Christ.  I was curious to see if this film supported what little I did hear about the life of Christ as a boy.  I recognized a couple of incidents as being similar to stories I’d heard before but most were new.  I found it strange that bullying exited among the children as strongly as was depicted in The Young Messiah.  I always thought the children were more disciplined in that era and environment.  I was surprised that Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal)  was picked on and frequently beaten up.  My understanding of Jesus as a small boy raising another boy from the dead was when he caused the boys death but in this adaptation,  Jesus had nothing to do with the boys death even though he was accused of causing his demise. The Young Messiah is a name change from the original book written by Anne Rice as Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt “This new title better conveys how our film seeks to present a realistic portrait of Jesus as a child both grounded in faith and consistent with the adult Jesus revealed in the Bible.” (Quoted by the new writers, Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh and Nowrasteh).

From another source, I’d learned that Jesus fixed the size of the wood his father  carved to fit when it didn’t, in order to complete a project they were working on together.  This did not appear in the movie,  however Jesus healing Joseph’s dying brother in front of the village did.  There were other miracles performed by Jesus as a young boy depicted in this film up to Jesus disappearing for three days before being found in the Temple by his father Joseph (Vincent Walsh) and mother Mary (Sara Lazzaro).  Throughout the movie, Jesus was hunted by Severus (Sean Bean) sent by King Herod’s son (Jonathan Bailey).  Also, a Demon (Rory Keenan) appeared whispering in the ear of various persons who made every situation harder for Jesus. Mainly, at the age of 7, when Jesus returns from Egypt to his home in Nazareth with his family, he discovers the truth about his life.  He realizes he is the Son of GOD, sent by GOD, to be the savior of humanity.

I thought given the amount of information the new writers had to work with, the film not only held your attention, it gave forth some validity to Jesus’ young life while sending a profound message about the people of that time.  I can’t say The Young Messiah lends any new information to the Jesus’ life as a boy because as I mentioned, there is little to no scripture about Jesus as a child.  Other than what’s in the Bible already, movies like this only offer speculation.  The acting was brilliant and The Young Messiah was spot on and is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.  Check it out!

 

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THE SHACK (2017) – My rating: 8.5/10

Ever notice how the background music in most spiritual movies sound alike — slow and with an elevation as though something divine is about to happen. Somehow, the movements are different and the aura of the characters are different. What they talk about and the way they talk is different. You know right away it’s a spiritual movie. The Shack had a lot of these attributes but without giving anything away. It is just a story about a super nice family (rare these days) consisting of two girls, Kate Phillips (Megan Charpentier), Missy Phillips (Amelie Eve) and a boy, Josh Phillips (Gage Munroe) plus mom, Nan Phillips (Radha Mitchell) and dad, Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips (Sam Worthington). They actually hung out as a family, going to church, family picnics, school events and eating dinner together. While that might sound corny to a lot of the world, it’s a pretty nice existence in a world full of smart phones, TV, drugs and so many other interest outside of plain old family values.  All is good until something horrific happens that rocks this family to their knees, especially dad.  Months later, on a snowy day, Mackenzie receives an invitation in his mailbox, signed by GOD as Papa, to meet at the very shack where tragedy still loomed in his head.  Because there were no footprints in the snow, Mackenzie had no idea how the invite got there.  He had just checked the mailbox moments ago.  There was no stamp and no return address.

While not 100% accurate, according to scripture, The Shack teaches a wonderful, spiritual lesson that I believe many can benefit from, even if you’re not a Christian.  The movie focuses on abuse, alcoholism, judgement, healing, forgiving, evil, love, why GOD, and gives an acceptable answer to why bad things happen to good people.  If you listen with an open mind and heart, you might get something out of this movie — and for those who go in knowing their scripture, you’ll have more information to add to what you already know.  The Shack is not boring — it held my attention.  It’s pretty hard to say more about the film without revealing spoilers, so I’ll leave up to you to see The Shack for yourself.  Octavia Spencer plays Papa, Missy’s nickname for GOD while (Tim McGraw) plays Willie, Mackenzie’s best friend.  Aviv Alush plays Jesus and (Sumire Matsubara) plays Sarayu, who completes the trio (Trinity) representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I highly recommend The Shack, it really is enlightening!

 

 

THE FIGHT WITHIN (2016) – My rating: 6.7/10

TheFightWithinThe Fight Within was not a well advertised movie, probably because it’s faith based.  As it turns out, it wasn’t one of the best faith based movies I’ve seen but it was decent enough to hold ones interest.  Logan Chandler (John Major Davis)  is a boxer who doesn’t really want to be a boxer.  His dad, Rich Chandler (Dan Severn) owns a gym and was a pretty good boxer but died of a heart attack, leaving the gym to Logan and his brother Mason Chandler (Mike H. Taylor).  As in most of these boxer type movies, there’s a nasty, mean fighter, Haydon Dressler (Matt Leddo) who thinks he can beat the world, challenging the good guy who doesn’t want to be challenged for some unknown reason.  Logan meets a lovely girl, Emma Jones (Lelia Symington) who has her head on straight and her feet well planted in her faith and will stop at nothing to help Logan find his way.  Between Logan’s brother, and girlfriend and a mysterious old man, Michael (Wesley Williams) who appears to be homeless, they help Logan find his way.

The movie is a little cheesy and tries it’s best to be authentic but lacks substance thereby failing to deliver a strong enough performance to be convincing.  It had a “by the book” order to the plot and a predictable outcome.  While I still found it to be entertaining, I also found it to be unfulfilling in it’s message.  I originally was there to see Florence Foster Jenkins, but it was surprisingly sold out.  I absolutely love faith based movies, being in my own walk with GOD.  This one just wasn’t as good as many other that I’ve seen.  Of course this is just my opinion — you may feel differently.

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GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 (2016) – MY RATING: 8/10

GodsNotDead2God’s Not Dead 2 is another faith based movie where the existence of GOD is put on trial to prove HE is still alive and real. Like the first God’s Not Dead, the burden of proof is on the student. In this sequel, a teacher named Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is in danger of being fired and having her teaching credentials revoked because she referenced Jesus in the classroom where GOD is not allowed. Grace violated school policy when she was accused of teaching and or preaching religion to her students. Even though she was asked a question that required the answer she gave, the school still decided to have her prosecuted despite all she had achieved as a teacher. A student recorded  Grace’s comment and reported her. The board asked her to apologize but she stood by her beliefs and the fact, that in her mind, she had done nothing wrong. The student Brooke Thawley, (Hayley Orrantia) who asked the question in the first place, was instructed not to talk to or contact her teacher during the court proceedings. Brook’s parents were told, if they win, it would look good on Brooke’s resume and any college would be happy to have her in their school and even help pay for her tuition. Grace’s lawyer, Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe) an agnostic, was hell bent on winning as he didn’t like loosing any case and put his all into winning this one.  Pat Boone played Grace’s grandfather, Ray Wise played Pete Kane, the atheist prosecutor, Robin Givens played Miss Kinney, the atheist principal, David A. R. White plays Reverend Dave and Benjamin Onyango plays Reverend Jude. There were quite a few themes that had nothing to do with the actual movie like “God is not Dead” was not an issue. No one said GOD was not dead. Another was the student who recorded and reported the incident is actually a christian.

I thought the case was fairly simple since the teacher really didn’t preach or introduce religion into the lesson but only answered a question using the same words presented to her. It seemed everyone was against her except the students who loved her, including the student that asked the question. After reading many reviews by non-believers, it has become clear to me, that the opinion of the United States in these modern times has changed drastically. Most people just don’t believe any more. Many feel this movie is just propaganda and many feel it is pointless. There is one quote that come out of this movie I’d like to share. “I would rather stand with GOD and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by GOD.” GOD is Love — how many non-believers have read the Bible? How do you have an opinion about something you haven’t even read or studied? Regardless, GOD is not Dead 2 is a story about an incident that took place in a classroom and it’s validity was decided in a court of law. The acting was good and the story was inspired by several incidents that took place on several campuses, according to the credits displayed at the of the movie. I fail to understand why so many people are so offended because the story was told in a movie. I didn’t think this particular incident was worthy of a trial but since it did go to trial, I couldn’t ignore the facts or the findings.  Of course you would have to see the movie for yourself and form your own opinion.  It’s been documented that if you’re a believer, you’ll love the movie and if you’re not, you’ll probably hate it.    I did like it but thought it was a waste of tax payer’s money to bring it to trial since the teacher did not try to teach the Bible or bring her point of view or opinion into the lesson.  She answered a question truthfully with a fact that was presented to her by a student who actually was a believer already.  You probably should wait for the DVD.

 

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (2016) – My rating: 8.5/10

MiraclesFromHeavenGet the Kleenex ready. Miracles from Heaven (MFH) will have you balling whether you want to or not. Brilliantly acted, “MFH”, based on a true story, is about a little 10 year old girl who gets sick with a mysterious disease no one seems able to properly diagnose. This faithful family of five seems to be doing everything right, so why are they targeted for this pain and suffering as though they were common street criminals? After seeing several doctors, their daughter, Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) was finally diagnosed with a rare, fatal digestive disease. To make matters worse, the pain involved with this disease was so bad, 10 year old Anna said she would rather be dead than to live in this kind of pain. Determination and faith gave Christy Beam (Jennifer Gardner) the strength to go after the resources she needed to get the help she needed for her daughter’s survival. Christy traveled to Boston with Anna to see a specialist who had a reputation for curing the incurable but was impossible to get an appointment with.  There, they met and was befriended by Angela (Queen Latifah) who took them on a tour of Boston.  With no success, Christy gave up on her faith and began to journey into a darkness many of us find ourselves in when life doesn’t go our way.  Anger began to set in but Anna’s dad, Kevin Beam (Martin Henderson) stayed faithful.   After returning home from Boston, Anna was surly doomed to die when, on top of her tragic existence, she climbed an old cottonwood tree and fell headfirst into a three story hollow hole, that took the fire department more than 6 hours to strategically come up with a plan of rescue.  What happens next is a miracle but I will stop here.  Enough spoilers, see the movie for more.

Miracles from Heaven is an emotional faith based movie, based on a memoir written by Christy Beam about her 12 year old daughter, Anna.  I’m not sure why the script was changed to represent Anna as a 10 year old but in truth, she as 12.  The movie is well acted and whether you’re a believer or not, “MFH” has a profound message for all.  I for one, loved the movie and encourage everyone to see it.

RISEN (2016) – My rating: 8.7/10

RisenRisen is about a Roman soldier’s search for Jesus’ body following the Resurrection.  I’ve seen many stories of the resurrection and beyond, somehow Risen is different.  I liked it because there were no special effects or gimmicks to grab your attention or keep you interested beyond the facts.  I also thought the actors were closer to the way the people probably looked in that part of the world at that time and I was actually surprised throughout the movie even though I knew the story well.  Back in December 2002, CNN released a computer generated picture of what Jesus most likely looked like according to the time, place and history of the region where He lived, as illustrated in Popular Mechanics.  (See picture with partial story below.)  The actor (Cliff Curtis) who played the role of Yeshua (one of many names of Jesus and the name which was used in Risen) resembles that look more than any other actor I’ve seen playing the role of Jesus.

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Yeshua

Actor Cliff Curtis as Yeshua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risen is well acted and well directed by Kevin Reynolds.  The soldier in search of the dead body of Jesus is named Clavius, a Roman Tribune (Joseph Fiennes), who finds much more than he could have ever imagined.  Acting on behalf of Pilate (Peter Firth), Clavius along with Lucius (Tom Felton), at his side, was to find the body and bring it to be displayed before the people to stop rumors of a resurrection.  The journey is one the world will never forget.  Risen is a good film worth your time.  I highly recommend it.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE? (2015) – My rating: 9.5/10

DoYouBelieveOne of the best spiritual movies I’ve seen.  Do You Believe? is well acted with an unforgettable story.  12 lives eventually intersect with each other by the end of a fantastic journey.  Some learn, some remain the same, some die and some don’t have a clue.  Do You Believe? is suspenseful, thrilling, exciting, emotionally draining and even funny.  Kudos to Jon Gunn for directing a marvelous movie.  Mira Sorvino, who plays Samantha, gives a riveting performance and her daughter, in the movie, Lily (Makenzie Moss) steals the show. Others of the 12 include 2 brothers, Kriminal (Senyo Amoaku) and Pretty Boy (Shwayze) who are part of a gang, Joe (Brian Bosworth) a dying inmate, Pastor Matthew (Ted McGinley), his wife Grace (Tracy Melchior), an EMT, Bobby (Liam Matthews),  his wife, Elena (Valerie Dominguez), Elena’s brother Carlos (Joseph Julian Soria) who is also a Marine suffering from Post Traumatic Disorder, a young woman named Lacey (Alexa PenaVega) who cuts on herself and is in despair, an older couple, JD and Ten (Lee Majors and Cybill Shepherd, respectively, who lost a child many years ago, Dr. Farell (Sean Astin) who wants to take all the credit for saving patients, Andrea (Andrea Logan White) an Atheist lawyer, and Maggie (Madison Pettis) a pregnant teenager.  The movie opens with a verse from James 2:17 –  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (NIV)   Also, Malachi (Delroy Lindo) carries a large cross and ask the question: Do You Believe?  I love this movie — it’s very well done and gives a powerful message.  It’s worth every dime spent on the big screen.