Tag Archives: Jesus

GOING IN STYLE (2017) – My rating: 7/10

Going in Style is a 1979 remake of a totally unrealistic answer to a realistic problem in today’s society. Too bad we couldn’t all be clever enough to pull off a guilt free bank heist, (just kidding). Going in Style is also a delightful,  humorous story of three senior citizens who are lifelong best buddies who are getting the shaft every where they turn. Living off their less than modest pensions, in situations that afford them little to no extras in life, they are now faced with the company they worked for all their lives being bought out, causing their pensions to become a thing of the past.  Ironically, an unusual incident at the very bank that’s threatening to take what little they have, becomes the very solution to a peaceful, happy existence for these 3 old geysers and their families.

Joe Harding (Michael Caine) has a small house in which his divorced daughter, Rachael Harding (Maria Dizzia) and his granddaughter, Brooklyn, (Joey King) are living in with him.  Joe has been receiving pink foreclosure notices from the bank and will have 30 days from the forthcoming red foreclosure notice that will render them homeless. Despite Joe’s x son-in law’s, Murphy (Peter Serafinowicz), estrangement from his family, Joe attempts to get Murphy involved in his daughter’s life.  Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) live together, directly across the street from Joe. All three belong to the usual community clubs for the elderly and do the usual senior citizen activities like food shopping, frequenting the park, eating at the senior citizen shelter and for Willie, Skyping with his daughter, Cary Sachs (Melanie Nicholls-King) and granddaughter, Kanika (Ashley Aufderheide) who he seldom gets to see because of the long distance between them and his financial situation. Willie also learns that he is in need of a Kidney and should confide in friends or family members to get one asap or prepare for his funeral. In the meanwhile, Albert is having a much easier time at life being pursued by Annie, (Ann-Margret) a beautiful senior worker at the super market where he shops.

As Joe tries to deal with his foreclosure notice at the bank, he becomes a victim and a witness to a robbery in progress, carried out by three individuals wearing black masks. When, the robbers manage to escape with over 1.5 million dollars, Joe decides this might be a way out for the three seniors.  Of course the bank was no help to Joe regarding his foreclosure notice and any chance of getting their pensions reinstated was never going to happen, as they later learned the bank intended to steal their retirement.  Did I mention this plot was unrealistic but still fun to watch.  Here are some other actors and actresses that are definitely an excellent reason to see Going in Style:  Matt Dillon as Special Agent Hamer, an FBI agent who investigates bank robberies,  Christopher Lloyd as Milton, the guys’ lodge buddy, Annabelle Chow as Lucy, the child witness, Kenan Thompson as Keith, a grocery store manager, Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Mitzi and John Ortiz as Jesus, a man of unspecified credentials who agrees to show the guys the ropes.  Well done — no need to pick this one apart — just enjoy it for what it is, entertaining and funny!

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!

 

 

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.

 

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (2014) – My rating: 7.5/10

HeavenIsForRealHeaven is for Real was pretty good.   A 4 year old boy had a near death experience when his appendix ruptured.  He survived the ordeal only to tell his parents about people and events that took place in heaven that he couldn’t possibly know about.  He even met Jesus.  It is my understanding from the Bible, that we will not have these earthly bodies in Heaven and when Jesus returns, we will all be judged, therefore no one should be in Heaven (except the original angels) until the Rapture.  I was always under the impression when you die, you are in a deep sleep or unconscientiousness until judgement day.  This is only my interpretation so I could be mistaken.  Also, everything shown in the coming attractions was not shown in the  movie which is a pet peeve of mine.

I had the privilege of meeting the real family with their son at my church a few weeks ago.  They have their own ministry and moved out of their original hometown.  Their son is now 14 years old, as this happened 10 years ago.  Their ordeal reminded me of Resurrection because the town turned against them at first.  I’m not sure if anyone believes the story and I’m not sure how profound the message is.  I do believe the boy had a spiritual experience, I’m just not sure their story wasn’t embellished. It is a good movie, none the less.