Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ben Hur 2016 Review

Ben Hur 2016 Reviews

Editor's Notes: Have not seen movie yet but have read reviews by secular reviewers and of course most do not give it a high rating perhaps without them knowing that it is because of the Christian message in the film.

I do give Glenn Kenny a big high five as he has the most courageous review from a secular point of view.
See his review here.

I did not think CBN will mind if I reproduce their review here without any change and giving them credit for the review.

Ben-Hur: Movie Review

To say Ben-Hur is the biggest faith-friendly movie of the year would not be an exaggeration. One could even say it's the best Hollywood has done in a while.

This blockbuster remake is ready for a new generation. Director Timur Bekmambetov, who's known for his Angelina Jolie/James McAvoy assassin action flick, Wanted, takes the reins on this big-budget Paramount picture. And, he delivers.Ben-Hur, the 2016 edition, is both inspirational and entertaining.

If you were disappointed with Hollywood's epic faith films of the recent past (namely Noah and Exodus: God and Kings), then you'll find redemption in Ben-Hur.

Starring British actors Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell, and celebrated actor Morgan FreemanBen-Hur resurrects the storyCharlton Heston's legendary chariot race made famous. At the same time, this version is ready for a new generation of moviegoers. With a strong, God-focused narrative, compelling characters, and intense action, Ben-Hur, in some ways, may even be better than Heston's 1959 classic.

Based on author Lew Wallace's bestselling novel, published to wide acclaim in 1880, Ben-Hur reaches back into history to bring modern audiences an engaging story set in 33 AD Jerusalem. Interwoven into the days leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, the film connects the life of a Jewish nobleman with Christ's life-giving message and sacrifice. Judah Ben-Hur is the center of the story, with the Son of God (Rodrigo Santoro) playing a part in crucial moments throughout the film.

What's great about Ben-Hur, which was executive produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (The Bible miniseries), is how wonderfully the storylines thread through each scene, tying the drama and action together well. From beginning to end, we're taken on an emotional ride as two brothers, who at one time would gladly die for each other, fall into bitterness and hatred. The reckoning reaches its pinnacle in a grand battle of wills and chariots at the newly erected Roman stadium in a race honoring none other than Pontius Pilate (Pilou Asbæk). The takeaway is a timely one and one that convinces you of the sheer destruction of revenge and the absolute healing power of forgiveness. Ben-Hur has a message for moviegoers: forgiveness begets life and only death can come from vengeful hatred.

Ben-Hur's flaws are few, but worth mentioning. As the movie introduces its main cast of characters, it lags. At 2 hours and 21 minutes, it's a good hour and two minutes (or so) shorter than Heston's version. But, there are still moments that could've benefited from some cutting. Though the ending is powerful, some of the "resolutions" are too quickly resolved. Also, a couple of lines of dialogue aren't very clear.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and disturbing images, Ben-Hur is not a movie for children. Neither is it for the faint of heart. Battle sequences, crucifixions, and moments on a slave-driven ship may be to disturbing for some. Caution is advised.

All in all, Ben-Hur is an epic portrayal of how forgiveness can heal the deepest of wounds. Though not a Bible or Jesus movie, this historical adventure rights the ship when it comes to Hollywood's attempt at making a big-budget, faith-friendly movie. Paramount should be proud and make more films like it and Christians should see it opening weekend so they have a reason to.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

More Recent Family & Inspirational Movies

Most of these movies we found on Netflix. Of course Amazon may have most of them too.
  1. Unstoppable
  2. Amazing Love
  3. The Grace Card
  4. To Save a Life
  5. Grace Unplugged
  6. Daniel
  7. A Long Way Off
  8. The Ultimate Gift
  9. The Ultimate Life
  10. Woodlawn - Based on an amazing true story of Tony Nathan and how the football team at Woodlawn High School in very segregated Birmingham Alabama and their chief rivals actually accomplished great things by joining together in a common cause! Exciting action even if you are not a football fan!
  11. 23 Blast - Similar to Woodlawn but even more amazing in one sense! Have you ever heard of a blind football player? Well at Corbin High School, in Kentucky, it actually happened!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taken By Grace

Ellen and I just saw a tearjerker true story on Netflix. However it is one I wanted to share so
I just bought a copy. The ending made me tear up even more because it was the re-enactment of a true story!

Taken By Grace

A film about terror, forgiveness and salvation.
Shawn and Carrie Everett thought that their camping trip in a lonely forest would be just what they needed to reconcile and save a troubled marriage.

But their dreams are shattered when they are taken hostage by a criminal intent on revenge. What follows is a terrifying journey across the country in a fight for survival, a day of reckoning and finding forgiveness. Dove approved (12+).

Starring: Angus Macfadyen (Bravehart and Saw), Haylie Duff (Napolian Dynamite), Kevin Downes (Mercy Streets, Courageous)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Seven Pounds

My wife and I just saw an amazing movie, very inspirational
with Will Smith, called Seven Pounds. (You can look it up on Google if you wish but it will spoil the story if you like surprise endings!)

It has somewhat of a surprise ending. So I cannot tell you much. Some of you may question the ethics of the character that Will Smith plays. I do not because movies are entertainment and entertainment in its highest form inspires and highlights values far above what the average person, including myself, will ever have.

All I can tell you is that Will Smith plays a very good  character, one who makes sacrifices to help others less fortunate than himself. If I say any more I will give it away.

Most heartily recommended. There is only one scene that is somewhat "adult" but it is played down and not too vivid but may not be suitable for young children unless they are old enough to discuss the scene and understand rights and wrongs.

This movie inspires people to aspire to greatness, which sometimes requires personal sacrifices. Rated 4 stars plus. 

Key Words: Seven Pounds, good people, sacrifice, Will Smith. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nim's Island

A very fanciful clean family story of a girl and her scientist father who are living on a south sea island.

I cannot understand how they get internet access there. Must be a Starbucks nearby or something! Anyway the girl has been communicating with her author-hero, Alex Rover, who she thinks is a man for obvious reasons.

When her dad does not get back from a trip to a nearby atoll to collect specimens, she becomes worried and contacts Alex Rover and tells 'him' her fears.

However Alex Rover is Alexandra Rover, the female author of the series of adventure books about the imaginary hero, Alex Rover.

Now Alex has that dysfunction which makes her afraid of germs and just about anything else. She does not move out of her house for anything, even to get the mail if the postman leaves it at the gate instead of on her steps.

But in this wonderful story of overcoming, Alex decides to leave home and find the girl, Nim, because Nim does not know where her father is. He did not come back.

An amazing adventure of overcoming which ends happily when ....

But that would be telling you the ending!!! See the video and discover the rest of the story!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Akeelah and the Bee

Just saw this movie. Great movie. Once again, at least someone in the movie industry gets it. Gets what? Understands that movies like this one can inspire others to try harder than they have ever tried before. Maybe if Akeelah could do it, maybe I can do it. We could stand more of that kind of story.

This is the portrayal of a fictional person, Akeelah, a young black girl of 11 with an unusual gift of remembering the letters of words. I was hoping she was real. I am sure there are many real stories which echo the story of Akeelah in real life.

She lived in the wrong part of town. Her school was known many for troubles. And then those who originally thought she was a nerd, suddenly identified with her. They saw her as an example of hope. That people from poor neighborhoods, poor families, black single-parent families can make it to the most elite, the National Spelling Bee. And then it comes down to two. Akeelah and her rival. The amazing climax took me by complete surprise, a good surprise.

Highly recommended inspirational story!

My prayer is that whoever wrote the story keeps right on writing such inspiring stories. [Sorry I did not look the author up ... rushed right now.]

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

16 Blocks

16 Blocks
-The number of blocks that Bruce Willis alias Jack Mosely, a veteran cop, had to go to get a witness to the courthouse to testify against some cops.

The cops have all the advantages. The witness was a simple man who had been in a number of scrapes with the law.

But now he wanted to change and open a bakery. But first he had to get to the courthouse and testify against the rogue cops. What are the chances of them letting THAT happen?

16 Blocks [Blu-Ray]
16 Blocks [HD-DVD]

Bruce Willis risks his life repeatedly to save the witness. Then he tells the witness the truth and lets him go. Lets him go to get away from New York City and set up his bakery.

Just before he does, he reveals the truth to the witness who was not to be a witness but free to be a baker in Seattle!

The truth of the movie is "People Can Change". The witness changed. A whole host of others have changed. And then two years later Jack gets a cake. On the cake is the list of people the witness quoted as having changed their lives... and the last one was JACK MOSLEY!

New Star Trek

Inspiring Movies

Let's simplify things.

Two basic kinds of movies. Yes I know there are more but I am talking about adult, non-cartoon, dramatic movies. There are great fantasy movies too. Movies that entertain. Movies that make you laugh.

There are documentaries and "pretend documentaries" like Michael Moore's which are actually political statement movies. Documentaries reveal interesting facts. Let's pretend documentaries are movies which attempt to move you to the point of view of the author regardless of truth. It is the author's or director's perception of truth that is important. "Don't confuse us with the real facts! My mind is made up" movies.

But here we are talking about movies that EITHER INSPIRE or DESPIRE you! Never heard of 'despire'? Don't feel bad because I just made it up.

Inspiring movies move you toward greatness. Despiring movies move you toward desperation! They do the opposite of inspiring you. I am sure you can think of a whole host of movies which show the lowest of the human condition, that make you feel cynical and hopeless. It is not my purpose to even mention them because they have already received more credit than their due.

Here we intend to point out movies that raise the bar of human compassion and inspiration. Movies that raise the bar not lower it. Movies which may not have been thought of by the Hollywood elite as particularly good in some cases but nevertheless move you to positive action not negative desperation.

The Passion of the Christ is obviously one of these. I have a DVD which outlines some of the amazing acts that Mel Gibson's movie led individuals to do. Did you hear about the man who murdered his wife, but was let go with no proof that he did it.

Later, in prison for another act, he saw "Passion of the Christ and confessed to the warden that he had also murdered his wife. Asked to explain how he fooled the crime investigators, he told them that he watched CSI all the time!

It is not my purpose to cast aspersions toward CSI. I enjoy the show except for the bloody dramatizations of how someone was murdered!

I hope that you some of you who read this will catch the vision and email me at and ask to make a contribution or suggestion about movies that YOU found inspiring!