Reviews written by registered user
|95 reviews in total|
I submitted a 5 minute film in the Family Films Category of the 13th LDS Film Festival called FRANCES & THE BUGS. As a participate I was given a goodies bag that contained a DVD called BEST OF LDS FILM FESTIVAL 2008. WRESTLING WITH GOD was among the six Competition Short Films on the disc (all of them very well done). As I watched the three actors having an in depth religious conversation about the truth of Mormonism I recognized Adam Johnson from the wonderful film CHARLY. The other two in the conversation I had not seen before. The discussion between the three was so real that I felt that they were engaged in a real conversation and not something scripted (three amazing performances). The depth and sincerity of this heart-felt conversation moved me to tears. I have seldom seen anything so beautifully and powerfully done! The three filmmakers, Andrew James, Marissa Bernhard, Torben Bernhard produced, directed and wrote it. It came about from an actual conversation that they had. The reason that it seemed so real was because it was. The amazing thing was that they were able to get actors to convey their feelings so movingly on film. As I said, it feels as though you are participating in an actual conversation among three people. WRESTLING WITH GOD is one of most powerful films that I have ever seen! A spiritual experience . . . and that's the highest praise a film can receive.
Director T.C. Christensen said that when he made his pioneer handcart film 17 MIRACLES that he wanted to include the inspiring true story Ephraim K. Hanks but decided that it needed to be told in a film of it's own. EPHRAIM'S RESCUE is that film and indeed it did call for it's own telling. Darin Southam is excellent in the title role of a man willingly prepared to do the errands of the Lord. The catch-line for the film is "Decisions Determine Destiny" and Ephraim's life proves to be a wonderful depiction of how an ordinary man can be magnified to be an instrument for great good in the hands of God. Once again T.C. has created a script based on recorded entries found in pioneer journals and through fine directing, beautiful cinematography and stirring music created a film of great power and beauty. Many years ago President Heber J. Grant foretold of a time when the stories of the pioneers and the birth of the restoration would be told on the screens of the world. T.C. Christensen has certainly played a major part in helping to bring that vision to life. See this in a theatre if possible and look for it on DVD (hopefully in Blu-ray) down the road.
Elia Kazan's "Viva Zapata!" has been released as a DVD in the expensive Kazan Set and as an import title. Much to my surprise it is also available on Blu-ray. I found it by accident while tracking down rumors that Kazan's "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" had been put out in the Blu-ray format. It turns out the above two Kazan films are packaged with "Man On A Tightrope" and "Wild River" in a set called Kazan A Fox, Vol. 2 and are available exclusively from Fox Connect for $44.98 ($11.25 per title). The transfers of all four films are excellent and at that price real bargain. They also offer Kazan At Fox, Vol. 1 in Blu-ray with "Gentlemen's Agreement", "Panic In The Street", "Pinky" and "Boomrang!". So if you are interested in "Viva Zapata!" in Blu-ray, or any of the other seven Kazan films then you will be as excited as I was to find out about their availability. Remember they are offered exclusively by Fox Connect.
Originally I saw this film in a theatre in 1953 and remembered enjoying it but not being overly impressed with it. I discovered that Fox Connect was offering two KAZAN AT FOX sets, each with four Elia Kazan films in Blu-ray. Volume Two has in addition to Man on a Tightrope, Viva Zapata!, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Wild River. The price is $44.98 or $11.25 per title. I ordered the set mainly because I have wanted a better copy of TREE for many years and was very pleased re-seeing Man on a Tightrope again. Very well directed with a screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood (The Best Years of Our Lives) with location shooting that adds great atmosphere to the story. Not only is Fredric March outstanding but so is just about everyone else in the film. I found that I liked the film a great deal more then I thought I would. If you are interested in any of the listed films then this set is for you. It is offered only through Fox Connect. It is titled: KAZAN AT FOX, VOL. 2. They also offer a Volume 1 that includes Blu-ray copies of GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT, PANIC IN THE STREET, PINKY and BOOMRANG! I might add that the transfers of the four films in Volume 2 were beautiful!
The Tree of Life Blu-ray disc has only two Extras. The theatrical trailer and this documentary on Exploring the film. Both are masterful and worth spending some time with. Usually it is a mistake to watch the Extra section before seeing the film itself. In this case I think it would work well in watching these prior to seeing the film. THE TREE OF LIFE is not a conventional film in any shape or form. Having some insight into the film would better prepare a viewer. The film itself requires more then one viewing to even begin to fully understand the poetic and spiritual beauty that the it offers to anyone willing to watch and ponder the film several times.
T.C. Christensen's "17 Miracles" is something of a miracle itself. An independent film telling the true story of one of the most amazing pioneer migrations stories ever is beautifully written, directed, acted, edited and photographed to say nothing about the excellent musical scoring. Produced for less than $1 million dollars it achieves what no amount of budget can necessarily buy: a spiritual honesty that pays tribute to the people who followed their faith using wooden handcarts to carry their meager supplies as they attempted to journey to the Salt Lake City valley. While members of the LDS faith will mostly be familiar with the Martin and Willie handcart trek, most will be overwhelmed at the number of challenges and miracles that are depicted in this film. One can not leave from viewing this film without having a greater respect for these faithful pioneers and a deeper reverence for our Father in Heaven. "17 Miracles" is my kind of motion picture -- one that is an experience and uplifting. Highly recommended. If you have the chance to see it in a theatre DO! If not the DVD and Blu-ray are now available thru Deseret Book Company. This disc is certainly a must to own! Addition: Just saw the film for a third time in the theatre and find myself even more impressed with it then upon the first viewing. While all of the acting is outstanding special mention should be made of Jason Wade who plays Levi Savage. This handsome young actor could be the new Robert Redford. He is a very sensitive actor who has great range and power.
This is one of the films that the Russian film industry saved and a copy was turned over to the Library of Congress in the latter part of 2010. This was one of ten films that have thus far be returned to The Library of Congress. According to reports in the Washington Post there may be close to 200 silents that will in time find there way back to circulation. It seems that the Russians care more about the early art of film then Hollywood has. They cared enough to preserve titles that we have not taken care of. The first ten films includes titles directed by James Cruze, George Fitmaurice, Reginald Barker, Victor Fleming, Albert Austin, Edward F. Cline and Val Paul. They feature such stars as Betty Compson, Thomas Meigham, Renee Adore, Wallace Berry, Wallace Reid, Richard Dix, Lois Wilson, Harry Carrey and Jackie Coogan! In time we may have a chance to see an important list of films that have lost to history until now.
"Midway to Heaven" has a better than average story line setting up some very touching and humorous moments that most any audience looking for a thoughtful, romantic story should be able to identify with. The challenge of letting go of a deep relationship in order to move forward in life is handled, for the most part, very skillfully by Michael Flynn in his debut behind the camera as a director. All of the main actors sparkle in their roles, making you care about the challenges they are facing. While there are many funny moments to relish, it is the touching moments that make this a better than average romantic film. The music, scripting (from Dean Hughes novel), photography and music all blend well to make the film work. The beautiful Utah scenery of small towns is also a great asset. This is a film worthy of seeing in a theatre if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where it will be screened. It's one that I will look forward to purchasing on DVD later.
"Sing Your Song" opened this years 11th Sundance Film Festival and was certainly an outstanding start! The film received a heart felt ovation at its conclusion. I had the experience of seeing Harry Belafonte in 1954 when he toured with dancers Marge and Gower Champion in "Three for the Show". Shortly afterward I saw him in the film "Carmen Jones" only to learn that his singing voice had been dubbed! From time to time I would see him in a film or on a TV presentation or hear some of his recordings. Not until seeing "Sing Your Song" did I have any idea of the greatness of this man. This is an outstanding documentary that gives the viewer a portrait of an artist who had dedicated his life to help people all over the earth. I've always enjoyed Harry Belafonte as an artist, but now I respect and admire him for being someone who has done a great deal to lift up the downtrodden. This is a film that will touch the heart and inspire one to do more to help their fellowman. A GEM!
As of December 2010 Grapevine Video of Arizona a released a DVD of "Lucrezia Borgia" from a very rare 35mm full-length version that runs 126 minutes and features a powerful pipe organ score done by Blaine Gale on the famous Wurlitzer organ found at The Organ Loft in Salt Lake City, UT. If you are interested classic silent drama then you'll want to acquire a copy of this dynamic 1922 German epic. It's a film that you will likely need to watch more then once in order to keep track of all the characters, but is worth a second viewing as this seldom seen classic has an outstanding cast and a powerful story. The film may be ordered at www.grapevinevideo.com.
|Page 1 of 10:||         |