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.

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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!