‘Risen’: Hollywood Gets Jesus Right

Overall, this film provides a stunning portrayal of the events behind the Christian teaching that this one man, after being fully dead, was Risen.

Risen isn’t just thematically and historically accurate, it also succeeds as a film. Impressive cinematography captures each powerful scene…. Events unfold in front of a frantic, soaring score, adding even more depth of emotion to such stunning scenes. The pacing is spot on, between Roman questionings, the pursuit of fleeing Jews, and the contrasting peace... Continue Reading

A Long Time Ago in a Galilee Far, Far Away

The dramatic appeal of Star Wars depends on the fact that there is something to live and die for

“To be fair to Mr. Lucas, conceiving of the mystery of life in a dramatically plausible way is no small task.  The poets of old balked at it.  And yet like so many of his generation, modern technology has made the path of wonder look so easy, so mundane.  Technological advance has fostered the vain... Continue Reading

‘Grandma’ Can’t Hide The Pain Of Poor Choices

Grandma, a new pro-abortion, pro-LGBT film showing in limited release, cannot hide the chaos that marks lifestyles out of step with God’s design.

For all the drama, the artsy Grandma (rated R for language and some drug use) is emotionally arid. It seems writer-director Paul Weitz, who made his directorial debut in 1999 with the raunchy American Pie, put his energy into setting up several not-entirely-inaccurate Christian and traditional-value straw men and knocking them down. But instead of... Continue Reading

When Hollywood Celebrated Christmas and Marriage

We’re no longer celebrating marriage as we once did. Hollywood certainly isn’t.

What strikes me about these and other films from Hollywood’s Golden Age are two things: First, Hollywood once made lots and lots of major films with major stars celebrating Christmas. Second, in each case, no matter how different the plot, there was always a common end-goal: marriage. From the outset, marriage is the assumed, unquestioned... Continue Reading

Star Wars and the Ancient Religion

The appearance of a new episode of the Star Wars film series is an important moment for Christian witness

I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical... Continue Reading

Review: Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (DVD Documentary)

The set comes with three DVDs, the primary one consisting of the 1:40 long film looking at the life (but primarily the preaching ministry) of Lloyd-Jones.

After viewing the film, I was motivated to climb back into the pulpit this coming Lord’s Day and preach the power of the Gospel afresh with the aid and help of the same Holy Spirit that filled the Doctor. If this film does anything, it helps to safeguard the power of preaching for another generation, especially in... Continue Reading

The Gospel According to Willy Wonka

The story is an allegory for the gospel itself

Where Wonka’s gospel fails is that it is rooted in moralism. Charlie is acceptable because he is too poor to be spoiled, too hungry to let his stomach guide him, too weak to be obsessed over chewing gum and too impoverished to watch television all day. I know from my research on the story that... Continue Reading

Peanuts Movie: Good Grief…Plus Fun…in 3D!

It's a wild ride as the beloved comic strip characters hit the big screen in 3D in this delightful family entertainment.

Why is Peanuts so popular?  It’s simple, lovable characters portray dilemmas, emotions and dreams most of us have experienced…or want to…or hope we never will.  Who hasn’t felt uncertain or insecure about love, friendship, or personal shortcomings?  We all know bossy know-it-alls (Lucy), loyal companions (Snoopy), “A-Dork-Able” nerds (Marcie), and soft-spoken sages (Linus).  We see... Continue Reading

Purpose-Driven Film

'Captive' breaks free from conventions

With the exception of opening with a Bible verse and ending with a hymn, the Christian references are subtle. Regular churchgoers will recognize small things, like Ashley’s meeting at Celebrate Recovery, a Bible-based 12-step ministry that many churches offer. This isn’t to suggest that the story should have gone fake, only that it could have... Continue Reading

God Battles ‘Straight Outta Compton’ For African-Americans’ Souls

How did we go from “Straight Outta Compton” to the “War Room”?

“If the church is the American institution that has the power to save marriages, why isn’t the black community in better shape? Why, given that members of black churches have the highest rates of church attendance and proclaim some of the highest levels of belief, are the marriage rates among the lowest?”   How did... Continue Reading