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Believers Enlist Hollywood Pros To Save a Life

If you're a serious evangelical filmmaker, there's one response you do not want to hear: "For a Christian movie, that was pretty good." Yet when it comes to the more impressive motion pictures produced by churches and ministries, this backhanded compliment remains the most ubiquitous—and often, the most deserved.

  • Jay Swartzendruber |
  • August 03, 2010 |
  • comments
Inner Beauty Question Answered in VeggieTales' Sweetpea Beauty

Sweetpea Beauty is the first VeggieTales production created specifically for girls. Answering the question, "What is true beauty?", the veggies teach biblical truth and entertain with the creativity and hilarity we've come to expect.

Futile Clash Leaves Titanic Sense of Disappointment

The ads for Clash of the Titans suggest epic entertainment, superb special effects and the catch phrase of the year so far—"Release the Kraken!"—but there's nothing epic about Titans other than the sense of disappointment it leaves in viewers.

Moral Lessons Found Lacking in Well-Acted Runaways

If The Runaways is nothing we haven't seen before in terms of its story arc, it's also notable for strong performances from Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon. However, the debauchery and hedonism on display make the film difficult to watch.

Cop Out Wears Its Juvenile Humor Like a Badge of Honor

In what's supposed to be a cheeky homage to '80s crime-fighting fare like Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon and of course, Die Hard, Cop Out is nothing more than a 107-minute string of bad jokes without the benefit of a punch line.

The Losers Lacks Passion and a Point

Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt and based on a series of comic books, The Losers wants to pay homage to its comic roots but never gives us a reason to care about its characters or to believe this story needed a big-screen adaptation.

Mutiny Should be Declared on the Joyless Bounty Hunter

These days, getting the girl looks a little different with Gerard Butler on the scene. Officially kicking Mr. Sensitive to the curb, his character's idea of a fun night involves throwing his ex in the trunk and carting her off to jail for a cool 20k in The Bounty Hunter.

Flimsy Finale, Depraved Behavior Doom Brooklyn's Finest

Brooklyn's Finest is tough going. Its solid performances (Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes) and hints of redemption make it better than many bad-cop dramas. But it spends too long wallowing in depraved behavior to qualify as recommended viewing.

Mythology Gets a Fun, Modern Spin in Percy Jackson & the Olympians

At first blush, it's probably tempting to simply dismiss Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as a poor man's Harry Potter. But the story, which is based on the first of author Rick Riordan's best-selling books for kids, definitely has its own action-adventure thing going on.

Green Zone Might Make You See Red

Before Green Zone, Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon teamed for two of the Jason Bourne films to much better effect. Although the third Bourne film revolved around issues, its main concern was a character. Green Zone is about an issue—the Iraq War—rather than about its characters.

Lack of Surprises Withstanding, When in Rome Still Plays Cute

While the movie's trailer definitely had that lackluster, made-for-TV feel, perhaps it's the presence of fresh faces Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, not to mention their winsome chemistry, that caused When in Rome to surpass my expectations.

Michael Cera Shines in Twisted Youth in Revolt

Michael Cera is a star. If you didn’t know it after his role on Arrested Development, or his turns in Juno and Superbad, or after he shared top billing with Jack Black in Year One, you’ll know it after Youth in Revolt.

Shivers Galore on Shutter Island

Dreamlike and full of haunting imagery and music, Shutter Island is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane and is a spectacular downer with several moments of great emotional anguish. But it ends on such a grim note that it's hard to imagine anyone enjoying the film.

Tim Burton's Wild Imagination Put to Good Use in Alice in Wonderland

Given that Tim Burton has been the guy responsible for everything from the lovable Edward Scissorhands to the grisly Sweeney Todd, it's not surprising that Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland would be a perfect vehicle for his unconventional filmmaking.

Uninspired Wolfman is a Howler

With so much going for it, The Wolfman should offer a moody atmosphere, a few good scares and actors who set the right tone for the material. But it turns out the new film is merely "inspired by" the earlier Wolfman—but doesn't exhibit much inspiration at all.

Even as a Sappy Romance, Dear John Doesn't Deliver

If you've read any of Nicholas Sparks' tear-jerking novels or watched the equally swoony big-screen renditions of The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe or Message in a Bottle, you've already got a pretty good idea of what to expect with Dear John.

Apocalyptic Road Winds to a Hopeful Place

The movie version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a story of a father and son trying to survive after an apocalyptic event. Although God is discussed, he is never embraced, yet The Road shows the importance of the power of hope to overcome bitterness and cynicism.

Chan's Charms Wear Thin in Humorless Spy Next Door

Ever seen Kindergarten Cop? How about The Pacifier, Daddy Day Care or Are We There Yet? Basically, if you answer yes to any of these, well, then you can safely skip The Spy Next Door, as it's essentially the same pseudo family-friendly movie, only far, far less entertaining.

Star-Studded Valentine's Day is Mostly Forgettable Fluff

Appropriately enough, watching Valentine's Day immediately brought those ubiquitous heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to mind—you know the ones where you're never quite sure what's inside until you take a bite.

Real-Life Heroics on Display in Extraordinary Measures

Extraordinary Measures won't take you to places you've never been, but sometimes it's enough to see a feel-good movie about real-life heroics. An affecting lead performance from Brendan Fraser and the inclusion of faith elements put a little air under the story's wings as well.

Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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