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Zwick's Defiance Reduces Life's Horrors

Edward Zwick’s films feel like they’re more interested in making $100 million than anything else. Defiance is no different as it reduces life’s horrors to genre elements, taking it as an opportunity to shoot bad guys and blow things up real good.

All Talk and Little Action in Valkyrie

Valkyrie is a surprisingly factual narrative about one of the most celebrated of attempts (by conspirators from within the Nazi ranks) to kill Hitler. The film feels more like a documentary, however, as far too many people are talking and doing very little.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 01, 2009 |
  • comments
Thanks to Liam Neeson, Taken Works

With echoes of Harrison Ford’s 1988 Frantic, where he searched for his wife through Parisian back alleys, Taken is a decent thriller. It could have been more creative and more subtle, but it works, largely due to Liam Neeson’s acting skills.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 01, 2009 |
  • comments
Less Is More for the Timely Wendy and Lucy

This story is extremely timely in these recessionary times, as well, and the message is one of compassion. Wendy’s plight is largely a result of those nagging little problems that life throws in our direction. Without money, transportation or friends to help, desperation can easily set in.

Fanboys Is for You, Star Wars Fans

Attention, all nerds. If you can’t get enough of the Star Wars franchise, if you’ve ever pretended to be Luke Skywalker, if you’ve ever acted like you were going to kill someone with your light saber, then tune in. Fanboys is for you.

Not too Late for Love in Last Chance Harvey

Writer/director Joel Hopkins infuses Last Chance Harvey with a gentle urgency that portrays love in a realistic, very credible way. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, it will leave viewers—especially older ones—smiling in recognition.

James' Comedic Talents Showcased in Paul Blart

Kevin James can take the most standard comic scenarios and spin them into comedy. He can make anything funny and anyone laugh—and he does just that in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, one of the best of its kind since Tommy Boy.

Benjamin Button Is Curiously Short on Life Lessons

Always lovely to look at, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button from director David Fincher, written by Eric Roth, provides so many captivating images that it takes a while for viewers to discover how little the film has to say.

Politics, Press and Principle Comprise Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth takes on a story ripped from the headlines: that of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was jailed after she refused to reveal the source who revealed the identity of CIA operative Valarie Plume. There, however, the similarities between the two stories end.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 29, 2009 |
  • comments
Don't Bother RSVPing for Bride Wars

Not only is every stereotype about women and weddings acted out in the course of 90 very long minutes of Bride Wars, but the main characters are about as likeable as leftover fruitcake long after the holidays have passed.

Frost/Nixon Proves to Be a Historical Curio

A fascinating moment in history comes to life in Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, an adaptation of Peter Morgan's stage play. Starring Frank Langella as Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as interviewer David Frost, the film stands out as a retelling of a landmark TV interview.

Powerhouse Wrestler Is Mickey Rourke's Finest Hour

In The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke plays Randy “the Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler who can’t function outside the ring. Past his prime physically, Robinson still performs regularly but struggles to make enough to pay the rent on his mobile home.

Bizarre Graphic Novel Nature Reflected in The Spirit

Based on the comic book series, The Spirit was adapted for the screen and directed by another graphic novelist, Frank Miller. His first directorial effort, it reflects the bizarre nature of graphic novels. Some do work on-screen, but this one doesn’t.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 20, 2009 |
  • comments
Bedtime Stories Reveals a Softer Side of Adam Sandler

Now that Adam Sandler has a couple of daughters of his own, he wanted to make a movie that kids could safely enjoy. And from both a moral and artistic level, he’s mostly succeeded with the imaginative Bedtime Stories.

Strong Themes Save The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux is fitfully delightful, and should satisfy most audiences. It’s not a perfect movie, and it departs from Kate DiCamillo’s book in some important ways. But overall, the story’s power translates well enough to be recommended.

No Doubt, Streep and Hoffman Are at the Top of Their Games

Meryl Streep dominates in another remarkably precise performance in Doubt. As Sister Alouysis, she is helping to preserve her school and church against a tide of change she finds unsettling. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn is her acting equal.

Yes Man Is the Perfect Channel for Carrey’s Wackiness

Longtime fans of Jim Carrey’s comedic charms will be ecstatic about the holiday arrival of Yes Man, a flick that’s more of a thinly veiled morality tale like Liar Liar than say, Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber.

Cool Special FX Can't Save The Day the Earth Stood Still

While some movies have benefited immensely from a modern-day makeover, filmmakers still would be wise to leave a few originals alone—especially if it happens to be a science-fiction classic like 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Haunted House Has Much Deeper Meaning

Like typical onscreen haunts, the House created by screenwriters Rob Green and Frank Peretti is creepy. Terrifying, in fact. But, unlike most C-genre blood flicks being churned out by Hollywood, this one has a much deeper meaning.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 07, 2009 |
  • comments
Vibrant Slumdog Millionaire Reaffirms Boyle's Talent

Slumdog Millionaire, an uplifting story about a young man triumphing on an Indian game show, is a colorful, vibrant film that reaffirms Danny Boyle as one of the more interesting filmmakers working today.

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