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January 2008
Take Precaution When Trying on 27 Dresses

While the chick-flick 27 Dresses does weave a cute romantic story with perils designed to surface “issues” needing healing, it is regrettably marred by the needless inclusion of rude language and sex.

 
Cloverfield Is a Thrilling, Edge-of-Your-Seat Ride

For those disappointed in I Am Legend, the New York setting is about all that film and Cloverfield have in common. From the get-go, there’s an air of mystery about J.J. Abrams’ latest that causes one to wonder exactly how everything’s going to go down in this edge-of-your-seat thriller.

  • Christa Banister |
  • January 18, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Misplaced Priorities and Greed Mark Mad Money

Unlike the nearly consequence-free environment of the Ocean’s film franchise, (what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, after all), the moral implications of a life in crime are explored in Mad Money.

  • Christa Banister |
  • January 18, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Kids Can Learn a Lot from Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

What’s a compelling way to convey to kids that they are children of a soon-returning king and potential heroes despite their fear and weakness? Try taking them to see VeggieTales’ latest, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.

 
Cell-Phone Scrutiny Follows One Missed Call

One Missed Call takes the mortal consequences of cell-phone use to a new extreme, suggesting that the dead can use cell-phone technology to transmit messages and warnings to the living.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • January 07, 2008 |
  • comments
 
September Dawn Sheds Light on Mormon-Led Slaughter

On their way to California, the Baker-Fincher wagon train made camp in Mountain Meadows, Utah, where the group was brutally attacked by a Latter Day Saint (Mormon) militia disguised as Indians. September Dawn examines this horrific slaughter.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • January 04, 2008 |
  • comments
December 2007
Kick The Bucket List to the Curb

“Find the joy in your life.” That’s the bottom-line message of director Rob Reiner’s The Bucket List, delivered by one of two characters who are facing death and trying to find meaning in their existence. But the film reflects another saying as well: “Everything old is new again.”

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 31, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Symbolism Runs Deep in There Will Be Blood

A film for film lovers, There Will Be Blood is not for those seeking fast-food entertainment. An adaptation of the classic Oil!, it is replete with symbols and metaphors that are destined to become film student fodder for many years to come.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • December 26, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Heavy-Handed Water Horse Still Has a Few Charms

If you overlook the obvious comparisons to E.T. and a predictable plot, The Water Horse isn’t a bad flick. Instead of the usual scatological humor that drags down so many movies aimed at the younger set, there’s actually a good story here about letting go of the things we love.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 24, 2007 |
  • comments
 
The Great Debaters Marred by Inaccuracies, Imbalance

Though The Great Debaters (produced by Oprah Winfrey) is filled with hope and inspiration, it is marred by historical inaccuracies and a marked imbalance in its racial portrayals.

December 2007
Exciting Book of Secrets Great for Family Moviegoing

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is an exciting, well-made film that families will want to support. According to friends in the industry, it is terribly difficult to make a family-friendly movie that’s not schmaltzy, that’s full of action, adventure, history, and romance.

 
Unrealistic P.S. I Love You Is a D-U-D

From the opening scene of P.S. I Love You where Hilary Swank’s character gets in a fight with her hunky Irish husband (Gerard Butler), branching out to a different genre quickly turns sour for the actress—and fast.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 21, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Sex, Patriotism, Skullduggery Part of Charlie Wilson’s War

Charlie Wilson’s War is a fascinating story of insider politics and war, but unfortunately the movie has an R rating for nudity and violence. It could easily have been toned down to a PG-13 and had a much wider audience.

 
Copious Blood May Make Sweeney Todd Viewers See Red

Unfortunately, the torrents of blood make Sweeney Todd disgusting in several spots, so much so that the film cannot be recommended, despite outstanding production design by Dante Ferretti, striking cinematography by Darius Wolski, and Tim Burton’s deft direction.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 21, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Intriguing Premise Turns Hokey in I Am Legend

In storytelling, it’s constantly been said that it’s far better to show than tell. But in movies, especially ones like I Am Legend that are meant to send shivers of fear up your spine, too much showing inevitably ruins the impact.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 14, 2007 |
  • comments
 
The Kite Runner Can’t Overcome Contrivances

An outstanding adaptation of a well-regarded book is currently playing at theaters. Unfortunately for fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, that movie is Atonement—not the big-screen version of Hosseini’s widely read book-club favorite.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 14, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Alvin Offers Something for the Whole Family

Alvin and the Chipmunks is adorable, and it’s even fun for adults to watch the combination of live action and stellar animation. With a sweet story that has tons of humor, romance, and even a memorable moral, it’s a delightful holiday movie for the whole family.

 
The Golden Compass: Innocent Adventure or Atheist Gateway?

Is The Golden Compass a threat? Will it lead children away from a personal knowledge of God? Or, will it become a key opportunity to talk to children about the real adventure of knowing a living God who wants to know them in a personal way?

 
Grace Is Gone Focuses More on the Family

Grace Is Gone is one of the first films about the Iraq war to explore the death of a female soldier. Another unique element is its focus on the family—a worthy subject that hundreds of thousands of families of deployed members are sure to appreciate.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • December 07, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Atonement Has Plenty of Style But Little Substance

Directed by Joe Wright, Atonement is both sumptuous and satisfying. With the exception of the gorgeous English scenery and attractive lead actors, however, there’s little else about the flick that’s truly memorable.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 07, 2007 |
  • comments
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