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101 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Spiritual Reflection of Joan of Arc, 6 December 2015
10/10

This TV documentary does a beautiful job of capturing the divine mission of the young maid who answered God's call to rescue France from falling to England in what became known as "The 100 Years War." It excepts that she was an instrument in God's hands and thus this is a uplifting experience for viewers of faith. Much of the production was shot at or near the locations of the historical story. While some people look upon the Joan of Arc story as a legend they are overlooking that her story survives from a detailed record of her actual trial. In 1929 Carl Theo. Dryer told her story in "The Passion of Joan of Arc" by using that trial record. It remains one of the most powerful films in the history of motion pictures and would be a great companion piece to this current documentary. Note: It should be viewed on the edition released on the Criterion label which includes a stirring score written by Richard Einhorn and sung by the Voices of Light women's group. This new documentary is a breath of fresh air and worthy tribute to one of histories great women.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Power of Forgiveness, 10 October 2015
10/10

This is a true story of a man who lost his wife (their unborn child), his second son and his only daughter when hit by a drunken 17-year old boy one evening as well as he and his youngest son being injured and of how he comes to be able to forgive the young man who was responsible. Unlike most films based on a true story this one stays true to the actual experience of Chris Williams. Actor Henry Ian Cusick has done an excellent job of capturing the pain and suffering of a good family man experiencing one of life's most challenging experiences. The scripting, acting and direction all come together in a way to give understanding and deep feeling for what Williams went through and for what brings a measure of peace and understanding into his life. This is a uplifting film that is well worth experiencing. Highly recommended.

13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
A Uplifting Family Film To Experience, 14 August 2015
10/10

I had the opportunity to catch this film as it was still be fine tuned at the LDS Film Festival in early March of 2015. It was being screened just prior to a session in which a film that I had made was being screened. I'm always interested in seeing what other LDS filmmakers are doing and this one (which at the time didn't have a final title selected yet) sounded like fun. "Once I Was a Beehive" turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival -- a delight from start to finish. I laughed and cried and thoroughly enjoyed the film from start to finish. McAllen Nelson, who directed and wrote the screenplay, has done a wonderful job of taking the viewer into a world of young women learning to value who they really are. The young players, headed by Paris Warner as a non-Mormon who has lost her father to cancer and finds herself at the girls camp when her mother remarries a Mormon man, are all very warm and believable. Special mention must be given to character actress Barta Heiner (who was so wonderful as the senior teacher in "The Cokeville Miracle") who lights up the screen every moment that she appears. Everything about this film works from the directing, fine script, excellent cinematography and the catchy score. I rank this as one the best films that a family could enjoy together. It's worth seeing in the theatre (if you have a chance with its limited release) and certainly purchasing on a Blu-ray or DVD. Did I say that it was for all ages? I was 76 when I saw it and went through at least six hankies!

Freetown (2015)
14 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
Powerful & Exceptionally Well Made, 5 August 2015
10/10

FREETOWN is not only a powerful and exciting true story of faith but it is also an exceptionally well made independent film. It is a film that is even better upon a second viewing as you come to know the individual people in the story better. Without well known actors it is difficult to keep the seven missionaries strait as they are trying to escape the rebel fighting to the safety of Freetown on the first viewing. The second time through they come alive. A helpful hint for viewers of this film on either Blu-ray or DVD would be to activate the sub-titles. While spoken in English the accents can be hard to follow at times and the sub-titles help greatly. The cast is outstanding down to the smallest part and the cinematography in Africa is often stunning. Incredible use of high shots done with a drone make the film look far richer than its small budget would normally provide for. Many of these are stunning and all had a dramatic life to the film. This is an independent film that looks every bit as good as anything a Hollywood studio would turn out. The direction, scripting, music and performances all work together to provide a experience that is uplifting and unforgettable. Garrett Batty, the director of "The Saratov Approach", is a talent to watch. Highly recommended.

19 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
More Than Just a Movie . . ., 7 June 2015
10/10

For me THE COKEVILLE MIRACLE was more than a movie -- it was a spiritual experience. A true story that has been faithfully told that explores the results of the combined prayers of children held as hostages in a grade school with parents and thousands following the story on the media. Director T.C. Christensen has previously explored the power of human endurance and faith in his hand-cart pioneer dramas 17 MIRACLES and EPHRAIM'S RESCUE which were based on factual recorded events, but THE COKEVILLE MIRACLE is a record of something that has happened in my lifetime that I read about at the time of its happening and it has given me a deeper understanding of the miracles that took place at that event. It is a powerful testament to the nearness of a caring Heavenly Father. True we do not understand why tragic things in life do not always turn out in the way that we would have them do but that does not change the fact God does hear and answer prayers according to His wisdom and purposes. The film is beautifully acted, written, directed and is a breath of fresh air for anyone seeking an uplifting experience. Highly recommended! NOTE: Since my posting the film has had a wider availability and we now have a number of extremely negative postings. Look what is coming in from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The people who actually lived the event depicted in this film would tell you that this is an accurate telling of the events. We live in a world with a lot of spiritual SICK people!

Stunning Visuals That Matches a Major Studio Production, 15 May 2015
9/10

I saw this ten minute short at the 2015 LDS Film Festival and was very impressed. A wide screen image was projected on a full sized theatre screen and it was visually stunning! Incredible shots of riders on horses pounding along the pony express trails with the images being captured by camera drones that were absolutely flawless. The dramatic setting of a darkened sky with an approaching storm was the perfect setting for the images of a young pony express rider (turns out to be a young woman) being chased by several men bent on retrieving the mail bag before it reaches it destination. One would have thought that they were viewing a major feature Western rather than a short. Technically it was just about perfect with the special effects work of Rob Field and the color correcting of Ben Hoffman complimenting the directing, scripting and photography of John Lyde. You can find this on YouTube and see for yourself just how well done it was.

14 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Beautifully Rendered Magical Story for Families, 6 December 2014
9/10

THE Christmas DRAGON, by Lord of the Rings standards cost very little, but this made in Utah fantasy film comes to life with amazing special effects and a wonderful musical score as it brings to life a tale of orphan children and a young dragon attempting to rescue the fading memory of Christmas. John Lyde's screenplay and direction do a first rate job in providing an exciting adventure for children and adults to experience together. It might be a bit too frightening for the younger members of a family but should hold the interest of older children, teenagers and adults. The cinematography and editing are top notch as are the special effects - - they really do look quite professional and show that even a magical story like told here can be done on a non-Hollywood budget. A lot of love and care have gone into this production and it deserves to find a large audience. The film should have had a theatrical run but has been released direct to DVD. I only wish that it had been made available as a Blu-ray.

47 out of 79 people found the following review useful:
Uplifting Look At Good People, 11 October 2014
10/10

MEET THE MORMONS was directed by Blair Treu who has done some work for Disney and did the 2001 feature film LITTLE SECRETS, which Ebert & Rooper gave "Two Thumbs Up!" I mention this film because I absolutely loved it and have wondered from time to time what future films Blair Treu would do. What he has done with MEET THE MORMONS is to create an insight into the lives of several members of the LDS faith in different parts of the world. The documentary is beautifully recorded and he has captured his subjects in a meaningful way that lets the viewer feel the wonder of having faith in God and striving to to use that faith in raising a good family and of serving mankind. Professional critics will find fault with it for not addressing beliefs of the LDS Church that non-members don't understand, but that's not what this film is trying to do. Members of the Mormon Church are not members of some cult group -- they are Christians who are trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ -- and their stories are as varied as each person is different. The film lets us share the lives of six different families who each meet the challenges of life by serving their loved ones and enriching lives of people they come in contact with. Members of the Mormon Church will be inspired by this film and people who know little or nothing about the LDS Church should feel a love and kinship with the people shown because they are men and woman striving to live good lives and serve their fellow-man. Blair Treu and the talents behind the camera have done a magnificent job of visually sharing the lives of some interesting people.

One of the Most Powerful Films I Have Seen!, 12 February 2014
10/10

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.

9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Outstanding Companion to 17 Miracles, 31 May 2013
10/10

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.


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