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Cultures Clash, Worldviews Collide in The Kingdom

In The Kingdom, the underlying theme is that all people are basically alike with the same loves, hates and desires. The problem is that it tries too hard to make Islam noble and beautiful. A film showing just as many scenes of praying, kneeling and supplication in an American church would never get made.

Rush Far Away from Rush Hour 3

If you’ve seen Rush Hour 1 or 2, then you’ve seen 3. While the first one was clever, edgy and funny, the second paled but managed to hold its own. Now, numero tres is like warmed over scrambled eggs: you can choke it down, but you really hate paying for it.

Marriage, Morality Get a Beating in The Heartbreak Kid

In The Heartbreak Kid, all the Farrelly Brothers seem to be concerned about is pushing the proverbial envelope and taking potshots against marriage, which makes the film merely a rude and crude excuse to exercise the full limits of the “R” rating.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 26, 2007 |
  • comments
Head the Other Direction from Eastern Promises

With its excessive violence, sex, voyeurism, language and dark worldview, Eastern Promises is a film that takes moviegoers in a very sad direction. All families should walk away from this one. Fast!

Kids Will Root for an Updated Underdog

Based on the TV cartoon series, Underdog has naturally been updated for the big screen. Diehard fans are bound to be disappointed, and parents won’t be mesmerized. The real joy, however, will come from watching this with the kids who will love it.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • December 20, 2007 |
  • comments
Music and Love Make the Story for Once

This film’s plot is so sparse that the main characters don’t even have names. But that doesn’t matter at all. Once is a short, but straightforward, story about two people who are looking for love, though neither realizes it, and who live and view the world through music.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • December 20, 2007 |
  • comments
Fans, Foes Will Find Plenty of Ammo in The Simpsons Movie

A feature-length movie based on the animated TV series, The Simpsons Movie includes all the antics, both positive and negative, that those familiar with the show expect. Such antics will prove too much for some Christian fans of the show, while others may see them, in context, as meaningful satire.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 18, 2007 |
  • comments
Balls of Fury - an Exercise in Truly Tasteless Humor

Sometimes a low brainpower movie is the perfect escapist entertainment. But even then, ping-pong farce Balls of Fury still doesn’t deliver. After all, the filmmakers’ idea of a good laugh is making fun of an Asian (because he’s Asian), a fat guy (because he’s fat) or an elderly man who swears a lot (because he swears a lot).

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 18, 2007 |
  • comments
Imaginative Stardust Casts a Silly Spell

Stardust is a lot of fun, if inconsequential. Its appeal is limited by some frightening moments and darker characters, but it concludes on a note of hope and love—a storybook ending to an enchanting summer’s tale.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 18, 2007 |
  • comments
Less Darkness, More Lessons in Fifth Harry Potter

In all the Harry Potter movies, witchcraft, wizardry, magic, spells and fleshly power look very appealing. The Order of the Phoenix stays away from some of the more overt dark images and teaches (whether intentionally or not) some interesting spiritual lessons.

Latest Bourne Offers an Uncomfortable Ultimatum

In The Bourne Ultimatum, the identity of Jason Bourne is, at last, resolved, while communicating an uncomfortable message about current events in the post-9/11 world: Those who “volunteer” to “kill the bad guys” are the victims of power-mad warmongers unconcerned about the humanity of their charges.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 11, 2007 |
  • comments
Fifth in Love's Series Shows Improvement

This is the fifth DVD in the popular Fox Faith series which all take place out West during the 19th century. With a new director on board, Love’s Unending Legacy is a major improvement over previous installments.

  • Annnabelle Robertson |
  • December 04, 2007 |
  • comments
Natural Collides with Artificial in Arctic Tale

With so much inherent drama, it’s surprising how artificial Arctic Tale feels. Impressively filmed but driven at times by tension that appears to have been created more in the editing room than by events that actually unfolded on camera, this nature film is a mixed bag.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 04, 2007 |
  • comments
Pirates 3 Goes Overboard with Confusing Plotlines

If you thought Pirates 2 was difficult to follow, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, I’ve never been more in the dark about whose allegiance is with whom, and what in the world Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Davy Jones are actually trying to accomplish anyway.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 04, 2007 |
  • comments
Parenting, Priorities Get Comedic Due in The Nanny Diaries

Although lacking the whip-smart, satirical edge of the novel it’s adapted from, The Nanny Diaries is still a pleasant surprise. In fact, there’s even a few food-for-thought moments on priorities and parenting that aren’t even patronizing or particularly cloying. Imagine that.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 04, 2007 |
  • comments
Waitress an Entertaining But Disturbing Slice of Life

Despite an engaging storyline and well-crafted performances all around, a particularly skewed worldview is what ultimately makes Waitress so disturbing to watch as a Christian.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 27, 2007 |
  • comments
Beauty, Heritage Span the Continents in Namesake

The Namesake, from Indian director Mira Nair, reminds us of a film axiom: Some of the best movies about the American experience have come from filmmakers born in other lands.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 27, 2007 |
  • comments
Hairspray Holds Up As a Solid Movie Musical

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a musical comedy make it to the big screen that was worth the trouble of heading out to the local cinema-plex. Yet easily the year’s most entertaining film thus far, the bright and cheerful Hairspray, gives us a reason to like musicals again.

  • Stephen McGarvey |
  • November 20, 2007 |
  • comments
Willis Shines in Frivolous Live Free or Die Hard

Proving that 50+ is apparently the new 30, Bruce Willis’ John McClane may be a dinosaur in the digital age; but he’s still got the killer instincts and witty comebacks in the face of many, many dangers in Live Free or Die Hard.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 20, 2007 |
  • comments
Santa Clause 3 an Okay Choice for Holiday Entertainment

The story has nothing to do with the Christ of Christmas, but rather extols an important - but way-secondary - theme of family. If you can look past that and just want a few good laughs with your kids, this is not a bad choice for holiday entertainment.

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