Reviews written by registered user
|12 reviews in total|
Based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a 13 year old competitive
surfer with big dreams and a courageous spirit. Coming from a family of
surfers, riding the waves is all Bethany can dream about. But her
dreams turn into a nightmare after a sudden shark attack takes her left
arm and her hopes of ever surfing again.
Soul Surfer is an inspirational film for the entire family about overcoming obstacles and turning tragedy into triumph.
Filmed entirely in Hawaii, it offers some gorgeous cinematography and wonderful surf-action shots and features an all-star cast including Helen Hunt, Denis Quaid, Craig T Nelson and AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany, the teen titan with a heart of gold.
Soul Surfer is a well produced film, that leans heavily on it's soul-lifting story, stellar acting and a rocking soundtrack on a moderate budget. It's encouraging to see such big Hollywood names doing such inspirational family fare without the inflated-sized salary demands.
Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid actually seem to be enjoying themselves alongside the rising talents of the young cast members, most notably AnnaSophia Robb, best remembered for her role in Bridge to Terabithia, Jumper and Because of Winn Dixie. AnnaSophia delivers a powerful and gripping performance that is sure to win your heart and leave you breathless as she struggles to overcome all odds. Carrie Underwood seems a bit misplaced as the youth pastor who comforts and encourages Bethany, but while her screen time is short, she proves that singing may not be her only talent.
For a film based on a true story, I got caught up in the action and well paced story-telling. I found myself entranced by and caring for each of the characters. When the shark attack scene unfolded, I found myself holding my breath and completely taken in by the film. A rare victory few films can achieve.
I admired the way the film presented Bethany's family and their Christian faith, being faithful to church and being such positive role models. But I was disappointed in the failed opportunity to present more biblical truth to a secular audience. Like many recent films being marketed to a Christian audience, the presented faith in Soul Surfer was played a bit too safe and generic to arouse any converts since it lacked in any gospel message, but if viewed with a Christan who knows how to use the film as a topic starter, it can be a great tool or ice breaker.
Another refreshing bonus was the lack of any profanity or sexuality, making it completely suitable and safe for viewing in a church or youth group setting.
I highly recommend this entertaining and uplifting film for the entire family.
Since Sherwood Pictures released FACING THE GIANTS and FIREPROOF, I
expected other churches to be inspired and step out into the field of
film making. The surprise success with Sherwood Pictures cannot be
expected to be reproduced, in fact, just the opposite is expected. Just
as Hallmark Pictures seems to reproduce every blockbuster hit that
comes along on a much smaller scale with poorer results, we can expect
other churches to release a few clunkers in hopes of attaining the same
success that seems to have graced Sherwood Pictures.
That was my expectation when I discovered that TO SAVE A LIFE was the creation of Jim Britts, youth pastor of New Song Community Church in Southern California and that over 80% of the cast and crew were locals, some with no experience at all.
Let me start my review off by admitting that I was HORRIBLY WRONG. As I sat in the dark during the advanced screening of TO SAVE A LIFE and began to wonder to myself, 'is it possible? Can lightning strike TWO churches with an unexpected success story?' I am pleased to announce that it does indeed appear that lightning has strike twice. NEW SONG PICTURES is the NEW Sherwood Pictures of Christian films and they are going to make quite an impact in Hollywood.
High school stud / jock, Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne) seems to have it all, popularity, friends and the girl. But when his popular lifestyle forces him to choose between his best friend and the IN-crowd, the results become deadly.
Now with the weight of guilt on his back, parents on the brink of divorce, and a girlfriend expecting a baby, his whole life seems to be falling apart, until he meets the local youth pastor and a few Christian teenagers. Now he must make the ultimate choice.
The story seems simple and trite, but it's so well-written and greatly performed, that it seems fresh all over again. Randy Wayne(Numb3ers, The Haunting of Molly Hartley) is no amateur actor, and his performance shines alongside a cast of true professionals, like Deja Kreutzberg (CSI Miami, As the World Turns) who plays Amy, the popular party girl who introduces him to the In-crowd and D. David Morin who has an extensive history in Christian films,(Time Changers, The Wager, Mercy Streets, The Moment After, The Ultimate Gift & A Vow to Cherish).
The quality of this film was surprisingly top notch and the results seem to touch and challenge the group of teenagers I reviewed the film with. They laughed at all the right spots and never once seemed bored or distracted by the engaging story. The rousing round of applause at the end was the final seal of approval by all who attended, myself included.
TO SAVE A LIFE will spark a movement among young people with the hard-hitting message that every person matters to God. The Gospel message is presented in a bold way, but not in-your-face, like witnessing a testimony unfold, instead of sitting through a preachy sermon. It goes down smooth and with flavor that leaves it's viewers wanting more. TO SAVE A LIFE will do more than entertain, it will strike a revival in the heart of teenagers and Christians alike. This is how Christians films should be done.
Set to be released in theaters on January 22, 2010. Make sure you don't miss this Christian movie event.
- Scott Green OneWayFilms.net
Another round of applause to Cloud Ten Pictures for adopting the newest
feature from independent filmmakers, Josh & Jeremiah Daws and their
film DANGEROUS CALLING. Cloud Ten Pictures continues to set the
standard for releasing powerful and thought-provoking Christian
thrillers that not only entertain us, but challenge us with biblical
As a student and critic of film, I have learned that it doesn't always take a Hollywood-size budget to deliver thrilling and exciting films. They help, but are not always necessary. Over the years, we have seen small independent films come out of nowhere, and beat down some of the larger, more popular, popcorn blockbusters that are expected to be big hits.
I've learned that sometimes, a well-told story backed up with a moderate budget and quality acting can be JUST as effective and more memorable than any action-packed, over-blown, star-filled Hollywood feature.
In the world of Christian films, we are seeing a surge of better quality, well-paced and professionally made features that are sure to make an impact among Christian AND non-Christian viewers. This is a welcomed change I have been ready to embrace.
I was not disappointed with DANGEROUS CALLING. Josh & Jeremiah Daws have done an OUTSTANDING job at creating an exciting suspense thriller that draws you in from the first scene and holds you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
A timely message for the church with nail-biting suspense.
"MISERY" meets "Psycho" in the characters of Sister Pat Hinton and her deranged son, Elijah who take church politics to a new level and God's justice into their own hands. Pat & Elijah are both disturbingly played to perfection by Jackie Prucha (Death of Seasons, The Last Adam) and Brandon O'Dell (The Mist, One Tree Hill) who give new meaning to dysfunctional families.
Stephen Caudill (End of the Spear) and Carrie Walrond Flightsts of Angels) round off the stellar cast as Pastor Evan and Nora Burke, who take on the new church and sister Pat.
A well-written and beautifully directed film that will challenge your church on issues that very few films are afraid to address. A bold and honest film wrapped up in a sticky web of horror and suspense.
Scott Green - OneWayFilms.net
Smuggler's Ransom Starring: Anthony Tyler Quinn, Marina Resa, Alexandra
Harber, & Katherine Norland. Written & Directed by Brandon Rice &
Some of the best movies I've ever seen were the independent low-budget films that came out of nowhere and made a huge impact upon everyone who views them. In reviewing Christian films, I'm accustomed to seeing low budget productions, but I have the ability to see past the quality, and see the heart, passion, and character behind the film, instead of how much money was put into it. As we all know, it's the STORY that truly makes a film shine or not, and how well that story was executed with what the cast and crew had to work with.
When I saw the opening scene for 'Smuggler's Ransom', watching a masked runner trek across the desert on a mission began to intrigue me. This was a wonderful job at setting up one of our main characters and giving us an insight into what his job is. Bill Donely works for the US Government, protecting top-secrets from international spies, and any undercover job that is assigned to him. After watching him complete one job, we see him receiving a whole new mission which sets up the premise of this film.
The daughter of a Soviet Nuclear Physicist, under US Protection, is discovered smuggling bibles in Romania. The communist party is willing to trade his daughter's freedom for his surrender back to their country, but the United States isn't willing to negotiate. Instead, they send in Bill Donely on a top-secret rescue mission to bring her back home safe and sound. Bill prepares for this new mission, but what he doesn't prepare for, is the impact that a young Christian bible smuggler can make on his life and how strong-willed she is to follow her own set of rules.
Anthony Tyler Quinn does a brilliant job as Bill Donely. Most of his work has been limited to small roles in popular television shows, but here, he gets a great opportunity to showcase his talent in a starring role. His on-screen presence is convincing, and very professional.
Playing opposite to Quinn is Marina Resa, who stars as Carman Gonsolo, the young bible smuggler. Her experience in acting is not as full as Quinn's, but with talent like this, it wont be long before we see her in more projects. Her presence is effective and strong. She delivers her lines with conviction and passion, which makes me wonder if she's already adopted the message of her characters faith, as her own.
The story is filled with enough action, suspense and drama to keep the pace rolling and doesn't depend on the gospel message alone to entertain you. But it doesn't lack on it either. The salvation message is clearly delivered and beautifully presented. I was impressed with the timing of it, and the way it fit into the story, without disrupting the pace.
Beautifully shot, and well directed, 'Smuggler's Ransom' has earned it's right among some of the better works of 'Christian' film. The only drawback, besides some minor lighting issues, would be the features length. 'Smuggler's Ransom' clocks in at just 45 minutes and ends rather suddenly. I was actually left wanting more, and since it was so short, I felt I deserved a bit more. How I wish we could have seen a reunion between her and her father back in America, and a follow-up to the already-saw-it-coming redemptive scene, which falls close to the end.
Had we been given more, this would rate more as a full-length feature, but instead it felt more like a short film by a group of well-seasoned filmmakers with a lot of heart, but low on cash.
"HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, 'Smuggler's Ransom' is filled with plenty of heart that will touch your soul." - OneWayFilms
Being such a HUGE 'Sons of Provo' fan (and I'm not even Mormon), I was
very excited when I saw on the main site that there is a NEW release or
EXTENTION on the funniest film since 'Napoleon Dynamite.' I ordered it
IMMEDIATELY and 2 days later, my order arrived.
It's WONDERFUL to know that the makers behind the original 'Sons of Provo' have recognized that they have built a large fan base, and they have honored that by giving us something new to enjoy.
'Sons of Provo: Confidential' is a 30 minute spoof of those VH-1 'BEHIND THE MUSIC' documentaries that reveal the secrets of bands who have come and gone. The extended story of EVERCLEAN is told through interviews with family, friends, and fans of EVERCLEAN who tell of the rise and success of the famous Mormon boy band, and ultimately, the fall and breakup.
Throughout the 30 minute feature, all we get of Will, Danny or Kirby are photos and film clips taken from the film. Not once are we given anything new from the trio, in fact, they're simply NO WHERE to be found in this entire production.
After watching this extended CONFIDENTIAL special, I realize what made the first film SO funny and enjoyable...it is the humor and chemistry between the three leads, and the music they create. Watching the first film leaves me in stitches, but the scenes that involves outsiders are only mildly entertaining, and are endured until the three leads come back on screen.
And it's that magic that's missing from CONFIDENTAIL. All we get are un-funny people doing poor acting jobs and talking about the ONLY thing that WAS funny from the first film, Will, Danny, and Kirby.
The ONLY thing that was amusing were the local commercials that Will did and was added on the disk in the special features. And, we get a short clip of Will in New York in rehearsal for an off-Broadway show. Everything else on the disk are easily found in the world of YouTube whenever you search 'Sons of Provo'. From the fake music videos of fans lip-syncing to their songs, to the same television commercials Will's done. Nope, nothing new here.
The only thing that makes this collection worth the price, is the CD that accompanies the order. We FINALLY get the song "I FORGIVE YOU" from the film that was sadly missing from the first CD, and we get 2 other songs and a MEGA-MIX of all the music from Everclean. (this is kinda cool).
I applaud the makers of "Sons of Provo" for attempting to give us something new, but what we REALLY wanted is simply more of EVERCLEAN. The scenes from this CONFIDENTIAL, look more like clips that were edited out from the first film and should have stayed on the cutting room floor. But at least my collection is complete.
I can eat a can of Alphebet Soup and a Hershy bar, and CRAP out a
better movie than DARKNESS.
Good God, where do I sign up for a REFUND?
I kept waiting for a camera crew to come out and tell me I was on a practical joke stunt for television, because this movie was SOOOOO HORRIBLE!
This movie will go down as the Film that KILLED Horror films. And here I thought 'Godsend', or 'Darkness Falls' was the worst. Nope, I was wrong...this movie breaks all the records. This movie SUCKED worse than them all.
I STILL have no idea what the HECK this movie was about, and I cant believe they even ALLOWED this movie on the big screen. And what the heck is this about releasing it at Christmas? That was worse than getting a lump of COAL for Christmas.
If I had to imagine what Hell must be like, it would be an eternity of watching this film over and over again. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
Many people wont like this one because they are spoiled to big, glossy,
million-dollar budget, blockbuster films. It's a shame that so many
independent films get over-looked because they don't have big-named
stars or eye-popping special effects. If that's what you want, then go
see Spiderman again.
Then, there are those who will sit back and appreciate the creativity, originality, and hard work that went into making OPEN WATER.
Granted, your first impression of the film is, "Oh wow, this is a cheap home-made film." Kinda like the ORIGINAL Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Blaire Witch where the grainy images from the cheaper cameras give you that gritty, student film feel.
But once you allow yourself to get over the poor quality, this film will grab you and not let go till the very last frame of the unexpected ending.
The plot is simple, yet effective enough to hold you and play with your fear of the unknown. What a journey to watch as our two main characters drift from confusion over why they've been left behind and when will their boat come back....to sheer panic and blood-freezing fear as they
realize they wont be rescued and float around, drifting into schools of Jelly fish, attacked by baracudas, and then finally stalked by blood-thirsty sharks.
What this film lacks in production, it's made up for in the story and amazing images during their 24 hour nightmare at sea.
I HIGHLY recommend this film for ANY film student who wants to see what can happen if you have enough passion in your story and see it though no matter what.
This film delivers a real punch IN SPITE of it's budget handicap. Move aside Blair Witch...we have a new classic thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I figured if I wanted to really experience this film the way it is
SUPPOSE to be experienced...I better see it quick, before the secrets
are revealed and talked about among my friends. So, I chose the first
night to check out this new installment from suspense master, M. Knight
Shyamalan, who in my book, is a modern day mixture of Alfred Hitchcoc k
and Stephen King.
After having seen THE SIXTH Sense, UNBREAKABLE, & SIGNS, I am warming up to Shyamalan's style of telling fantasical tales and saving huge revelations till the very end. This one is no exception. I wont be giving away any secrets in this review, so don't worry, you are safe.
There isn't much told about this film before going in, except Covington Pennsylvania is a nice quiet town surrounded by a beautiful forest where strange, and frightening creatures live. The people of Covington have a small, yet essential agreement with these creatures. Do not to come to our village, we will not come to your woods. It's as simple as that.
These creatures in THE VILLAGE are only a subplot to another story being told, much like the aliens in SIGNS were only a subplot to the real story about a man having a crisis with his faith in God. The real story in THE VILLAGE is a love story; warm, tender, and innocent. A love story that brings danger and opens the door to the entire town facing it's worst fears.
There are some similarities between THE VILLAGE and SIGNS, in that, there are elements of surprise in revealing the creatures and the part they play in the story. A few good jump scenes mixed in with some mystery about the creatures will bring back memories of the aliens attacking the house in SIGNS. But beyond that, the similarities end.
Does Shyamalan tell a spiritual story? Can God be found in THE VILLAGE like he can in SIGNS? No. Don't expect another Sunday School lesson. But one thing that I was pleased to find, was that this is perhaps the CLEANEST film of the summer. I cannot recall a single offensive word, and there is NO nudity, sexual matters, or even off-color jokes to be concerned with. The only justification of the PG-13 rating is for the level of suspense, a few frightening scenes. This one is safe, even for grandma, providing she's got a pretty good heart.
Joaquin Phoenix returns in his second Shyamalan film, and does a wonderful job as Lucius Hunt, the towns bravest soul who is willing to face his fears and risk it all to help others. His strongest points in THE VILLAGE is his ability to react to the other characters, as his own is often quiet and shy. But when he DOES speak, his words carry weight, even if it's delivered in the most humble and meekest way.
Bryce Howard (Ron Howard's daughter) makes a surprising debut in the role of Ivy Walker, a blind girl who falls in love with Lucius. Her love for him is tested as she is forced to put her fears aside and go where no one has gone before.
M. Knight Shyamalan has a wonderful way of building characters and a story and lead you right where he wants you, BUT does THE VILLAGE live up to Shyamalan's previous work? Do the revelations give you a worthy element of surprise?
I was not disappointed with his story. But I WAS disappointed in the fact that I was able to figure out the towns secret before the big revelation. I leaned over and told my wife what I THOUGHT was happening and it turned out...I was right.
But wait...there are TWO secrets to be revealed in THE VILLAGE, and I was VERY disappointed in the revelation of the other secret that COULD have been corrected by proper editing and a change in the order of scenes towards the end. How can I say this without giving anything away? Simple.
There are two scenes in the film towards the end...one with the purpose to place you on the edge of your seat, much like the nail-biting climax in SIGNS. And the other....to explain one of the BIGGEST secrets in the film.
Well, they explained the big secret BEFORE the most frightening scene in the film, which in my opinion...RUINED the element of SHOCK AND FEAR that he was going for. Shyamalan COULD have had me squirming on the edge of my seat in nervous fear during the big climax (which is what I was hoping for), and THEN exposed the secret, which would have made me go "OMG, I DIDN'T EXPECT THAT."
Instead, he gives the secret away TOO SOON and it actually RUINED it for me. Even my wife who normally believes that Hollywood NEVER makes a mistake, admitted that they should have waited another 10 minutes before revealing the BIG ONE.
Did it ruin the whole movie? No, the story is still well told, and enjoyable. I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good suspenseful tale, but warn...don't expect to be scared too much, and don't be afraid to let Shyamalan take you on this journey, because he will WARN you with the truth before it gets too bad.
My grade: B+ Great attempt...almost had me.
Once in a while, I will find a film on the video shelf that just BLOWS ME
AWAY. It doesn't happen very often, but that is EXACTLY what happened with
CAMP. I am a fan of musicals and always been. Let me just say...I had a
very emotional reaction to this film. The charactors were so realistic and
true-to-life, it made me remember my own group of peers while I was in high
school. Their personal struggles and conflicts were very real. The acting
was decent enough to pull off the story, but it was the TALENT that REALLY
carried this movie.
HOLY COW....the songs in here were SO POWERFUL. Those VOICES and all that PASSIONATE ENERGY gave me shivers up and down my spine. I broke into tears once or twice from sheer aweness.
The plot might be a bit weak, but there's enough power and passion in the songs and performances that make this film a SMASH HIT in my book.
I jusrt came home from BUYING this film...it's a KEEPER.
Veggie-Tales have finally gone and done it. They have jumped from the
screen to the big screen, and the transfer is incredible. The high-quality
computer animation that is used for each Veggie Tales video has been
upgraded and enlarged and introduces us to the most talented singing and
dancing vegetables around.
It's all there, from the vivid colors that make our characters look so delicious, to the humor that tickles our funny bones.
One of the most action-packed stories from the bible is now one of the funniest and most entertaining Sunday morning lesson to hit the big screen. A very bold and clear message about mercy and compassion make up this wild and adventurous tale that speaks not only to the tiny vegetable fans in the audience, but to the parents as well.
Like a refreshing fresh bowl of tossed salad that is low-fat but rich in flavor, this film screams for a second helping.
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