Lately I’ve been in the Christmas movie mood. In order to plan for a special movie night for my Christian movie group, I’ve been doing some recent research on finding more Christian Christmas movies besides the ones I was aware of thus far. Checking out a lead on Pure Flix’s YouTube Channel, I saw they just came out with the new movie Christmas Angel. The trailer actually looked pretty cute, and since it was also recently released on Netflix I couldn’t wait to test it out before it would arrive at my mailbox.
Christmas Angel is a story about some kids who discover a “magic” house which seems to grant certain wishes after the kids throw rocks at it. More is going on though than meets the eye in this Christmas story. Olivia is a 5th grader who is looking for a great guy to be with her mother, while she is also trying to solve the mystery of the “magic” house. Why is it that some of the kids’ wishes are granted while others are denied? What is the strange blue glow coming from within that “magic” house at night…? Is it really an Angel like Olivia thinks? And what purpose does Dr. Davis have for even owning the rundown building in the first place?
I absolutely loved Christmas Angel. The actress who plays Olivia and the rest of the kids themselves, are very cute and play their roles well. It was also really neat to see the grownup actors apart of the cast, very nicely done I must say to whoever arranged that. I really enjoyed the story itself as well, because it captivates many different moods appropriately while also providing a message that closely relates to the Christmas season. We need more films like this to be made, and someone ought to get Christmas Angel to be played on national television because a new trend needs to be set with our culture’s “entertainment”. We need to kick out all of the Holiday Fluff which is poisoning the purpose of this time of year. This is definitely a film you can enjoy with the entire family, and I am glad to have added this to my Christian movie collection. I am confident if given the opportunity, those I show this to will also enjoy it as well!
Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
I never saw Kevin Sorbo’s show Hercules, but I remember seeing promos for it on occasion when I was a kid. Obviously, I am also familiar with John Ratzenberger who plays characters like Hamm in the Toy Story movies and Cliff from Cheers. I even remember Kristy Swanson who’s been in movies like The Chase and Big Daddy; not exactly the most biblical roles she has had but I feel she’s a decent actress. After recognizing these actors, receiving an email about this movie being released on DVD, and seeing it was available on Netflix I wanted to watch What if… for myself to see if it was any good.
In What if… Kevin Sorbo is Ben Walker, a successful businessman, who thinks he made all the right choices. After buying an expensive car, he goes out for a drive, but eventually his car breaks down and the airbag hits him on the head. When he wakes up he sees a tow truck driver who says he is an angel from God. The angel reveals Ben’s life could have turned out differently had he kept his promise to return to his old sweet heart Wendy and had he decided to go into the ministry instead. Ben is transported into the alternate reality of being married to Wendy, having two daughters, living next door to the Little White Church (little cheesy, but some churches have that name too), and being the newly inducted Pastor of Little White Church. Obviously, it takes Ben a bit of time to adjust lol and others are a bit confused by his change in attitude.
I found it interesting while googling for information, I saw another review where they said What if… reminded them of the Nicholas Cage movie “The Family Man”. From what I remember of that movie, I agree there are certainly similarities between those two films. I don’t know if Kristy Swanson is a Christian, but I loved her response to her teenage daughter’s complaining about going to church: ‘if you can’t start thanking Jesus for everything he’s given you then maybe you should give somethings back like your cellphone‘ LOL; very funny yet so very true at the same time. Nothing personal against Kevin Sorbo, but he has this bassey voice which makes it difficult for me to understand at times, so during a few of his lines I had to turn up the volume… I appreciated the gospel message presented towards the end of the movie where Ben is talking to a dying man in a hospital bed. I was just thinking about the Laborers of the Vineyard Parable recently prior to that scene and it was well done in presentation. Overall I didn’t find this to be a horrible movie. I felt it could have been better in some ways, but I do feel those who like movies similar to “The Family Man” will like this film too.
TCP Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
The Nativity Collection is a book filled with 6 unique, short stories. As one could imagine, all of the stories are related to Christmas. The short story “Ollie” is about a family’s wonderful Christmas dinner with an elderly woman who mistakenly took their car. “Poet Boy” is about a man who is cast in his Aunt’s Christmas play, but he is forced to improvise when he forgets his lines. “Over My Dead Body” is about a wood-carver, famous for carving Swiss lamb figurines, who learns about the lamb of God. The Short story “Five Quarters of a Mile” is about a grandpa and grandson who are trapped at their cabin lot due to a storm closing the roads for the night. “Nativity Seen Smiling” is about a Newlywed couple whose marriage doesn’t start out so blissfully. And “Sugarplum and the Christmas Cradle” is about a husband who carves his wife a cradle for their expected firstborn.
I found it interesting that most of these short stories were related to wood, with exception to “Ollie” and “Poet Boy”. I loved how each story seemed to tie in Christ and or the Nativity scene, in fact I recommend reading Luke 2:1-20 or Matthew 1:18-25 for the birth story of Jesus Christ after all he is the “Christ” in the word “Christmas.” I would have to say my favorite story was “Ollie”, because it had a great sense of the Holiday season, I am half German so I was able to relate to the old woman, and the story made me laugh too. I also enjoyed reading “Five Quarters of a mile”, I loved the ending to that story. Though, I wasn’t so big of a fan for the short story “Poet Boy”, but then again I’m not much of a poetry fan. Overall, I thought the stories were decent and I loved the art work too.
Book Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Thomas Nelson Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus. This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”