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The Perfect Gift: A DVD Review

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A Kelly’s Filmworks movie

A while ago, when I still had Cable, I watched The Perfect Gift on JCTV. I remember when I first saw it I really liked it, but I never got around to purchasing it. Years later, when trying to think up some good Christian Christmas movies for my upcoming movie night, this was one of the first thoughts of which I was reminded. However, I didn’t completely remember why I had enjoyed watching Jefferson Moore’s The Perfect Gift so I had to re watch it again in order to properly write this review.

The Perfect Gift contains multiple stories, which all revolve around a drifter named Jes. Maxine is a spoiled rotten girl who is forced to make some new adjustments with Dad and his money no longer being in the picture. Maxine’s mother also has a burden forced upon her, but this mom’s trouble involves planning a politically correct celebration called “The Winter Gala”. Tony is an over burdened, Assistant Pastor who is in the process of setting up a Nativity Scene outside of the church; he also wishes the church was doing better. Blaine is an Atheist who is the head of an activist organization which claims to promote “religious freedom”. Jes is a drifter who peacefully arrives into town who looks a lot like Jesus Christ, is mysteriously a great carpenter, has a gift of wisdom, and somehow directly and indirectly affects the lives of all of these people and the rest of the town itself. What sort of lessons will everyone learn, and what makes Christmas… well Christmas?

After watching this I remembered why I LOVED The Perfect Gift. This movie is wonderful for many reasons, and certainly puts many Holiday Fluff films out there to great shame! One of my favorite reasons for enjoying this movie was the deep theological messages contained within the film without the actors hammering it into your skull. I was especially enamored with the way the townspeople respond to Blaine; it was awesome!!! Jefferson Moore is great as Jes, because he is able to cultivate a variety of moods appropriately, and I also liked how he passionately talked about Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and what he said to Blaine. In fact most of the actors did very well; Christine Fougnie wasn’t the best at first but got better with each scene. The story is very clever and quite realistic, and this was even funny at times. I am amazed I didn’t buy this sooner or tell people about this any sooner. I very strongly recommend this movie for your collection; especially if you like Christmas movies.

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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Christmas Miracle: A DVD Review

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A Vivendi Entertainment film

Going grocery shopping one day, I saw some of Wal-Mart’s recently released movies along side the checkout aisle. Some were terrible so I just ignored them completely, especially the Holiday Fluff films which companies claim to be representing the “Christmas” season, but I did see one film of interest: Christmas Miracle which inspired me to take a closer look. I read the description and saw the concept was interesting, and I also enjoyed the fact this was made from the same company who released A Mile in His Shoes and both WWJD movies; for those wondering one had John Schneider the other had John Ratzenberger.

Christmas Miracle concerns a group of strangers who get stranded together due to a snowstorm on Christmas Eve; how they all get stuck is suspenseful indeed. One car contains a father whose marriage is falling apart, one contains a widower who used to be a Pastor, another car has a newlywed couple with a bit of an age difference, another has an upper class couple who have been married for years but fight constantly, and the last vehicle is a former EMT worker. Each set of travelers contain their own set of baggage, and must band together within an old abandoned church in order to survive. What will they learn and experience within the old church? And will they have a good Christmas if even having one at all?

Right off the bat I have to say George Canyon, the actor who plays the EMT, is an excellent singer and I love the songs he sings in this movie. I also felt the events and lines written in Christmas Miracle were well done and for the most part were not unrealistic. The acting was very good, and although this was primarily a drama there were a few funny moments too. The theological messages portrayed throughout and at the end of the film I cannot help but feel are necessary for Christians and non Christians alike to hear; especially non-Christian viewers, because then believers can talk to  unbelievers about it. I recommend this as a good Christian, Christmas movie to add to your Christmas movie viewing pleasure and will tell my friends about it.

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Christmas Angel: A DVD Review

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A Pure Flix Film

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.

The Mark: A DVD Review

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A Pure Flix Film

One night when hosting my Christian movie night, the movie Escape was voted upon; great movie by the way. While we were checking out the previews before the movie, a preview for this movie: The Mark began playing. When my moviegoers and I saw this preview we were all like “Whoa!”, and some of them even asked me to check this out and see if it was worth nominating for a future movie night. Of course besides them asking me about it, I wanted to check out The Mark because I felt the plot was very promising and I was also just thinking of the whole microchipping thing…

The Mark concerns paid mercenary: Chad Turner who has been hired to protect some medical workers. In the middle of a chaotic attack, one of the scientists injects something into Chad’s arm… When Chad comes to he learns he has a very unique microchip which has been bonded to him for life. Chad is told by one of the members of Avanti, the corporation which designed the microchip, he needs to go to Berlin to present it before the G-20 conference. While on the plane for Berlin, Chad is warned by a reporter what he has in his arm could very well be the prototype to “The Mark of the Beast”… Does what she say have some legitimacy? And why are there people who will stop at nothing to steal the chip? What fascinated me the most about this movie is the fact they based the plot off of something real; the RFID Chip… It is scary to think about for various reasons.

One reason being the part where Eric Roberts says if the terrorists try to remove it from Chad’s arm that it’ll kill Chad and destroy itself, because that is real. Of course, another reason is the fact this insidious idea could very well be the actual Mark of the Beast described in the Book of Revelation someday… In regard to this movie, I thought it was pretty good. There was plenty of action and drama. If you don’t believe in the rapture you might not like certain things being talked about in this movie, but I think for the most part it is enjoyable to watch even if you don’t. The only downsides I have with this movie is that much of the movie is shown in the preview, and I also think they could have tied in certain details better. But then again, they showed immediately at the end of the movie that they plan to make a sequel! Overall this is a good movie and I plan to share it with others.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

A Mile in His Shoes: A DVD Review

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A Vivendi Entertainment film

Whenever the topic of sports is brought up when it comes to Faith based films, the first thought someone always has is Facing the Giants. It’s a good movie don’t get me wrong, but there has to be more than one great faith-based, sports movie… right? I mean there are plenty of sports out there like soccer, hockey, tennis, basketball, and even baseball. Baseball, oh yeah that’s right my wife and I recently watched A Mile in His Shoes. We originally watched this back in August on Netflix, because we were interested in seeing a faith-based, sports movie as well as the fact this was directed by the guy who did Angel’s in the Outfield (a movie we both liked as kids) intrigued us too.

A Mile in His Shoes concerns a failing baseball team whose coach is in desperate need of a better pitcher. The baseball team’s manager insists the coach, played by Dean Cain, finds a better pitcher or he’s fired. The coach hears of a potential prospect out in the country so he hurries out of the manager’s office, and on the drive there his truck gets stuck in a ditch. This seems like bad luck at first, until he receives some help which turns out to be a blessing in disguise. The coach while calling for a tow truck sees Mickey, a young man with Aspergers syndrome, who has an incredible arm; he notices Mickey is throwing apples at a target for his pig. After a brief conversation about baseball, Mickey joins the team. Will he adjust to these new, difficult changes and become a great pitcher? Will he be warmly welcomed and bring the positive change the team needs?

My wife and I loved A Mile in His Shoes. This had all kind of great stuff going on. There was some pretty funny moments, like when Dean Cain is trying to explain to Mickey how to do certain things. I also enjoyed what they had to say throughout the movie in their theological themes. The acting was well done and the story was very good as well. This is certainly a sports film which is worth adding to your library if you are one of those people who really liked Facing the Giants, because it is great for the whole family.

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

You’ve Got a Friend: A DVD Review

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A Gaiam America film.

So my wife wanted me to rent some movies at Family Video recently. I was looking around for a specific film she requested, when I discovered they had a few Christian based titles available for rent. Every single one except You’ve Got a Friend were taken, and I was thinking to myself “Hey I remember seeing an ad for this online, maybe I should watch it before actually purchasing it.” So I decided to rent this, because it’s a newer film and interestingly enough it has to do with Soap Box Derby Racing. Wait… Soap Box Derby Racing? That seems familiar… Didn’t I recently review a movie which involved Soap Box Derby Racing?

You’ve Got a Friend concerns a boy named Bobby Graham whose parents recently died; he is now staying with his Aunt and Uncle. Bobby isn’t fitting in well with his new family or his school itself at first, and is uncertain of how to move on… At least until he starts hearing rumors of a supposed, crazy Vietnam Veteran. The rumors alone spark an interest in Bobby meeting this stranger, but what intrigues him even more is when he also learns this same person was once a Soap Box Derby Racing Champion. Bobby wanted to build his own car and race with his Dad, but with his Dad no longer present he is unsure what to do other than seek this stranger’s help. What does Bobby need to know in order to become a successful racer? Will he even be allowed to race despite Bobby’s Uncle forbidding him from pursuing this “useless” hobby…?  I like much of the acting from actors like John Schneider as well the girl who played Sharona from the TV Show Monk, and I also thought the theological messages were nice too. However,  this movie’s script reminds me ALOT like 25 Hill…

Here are the following similarities I noticed between 25 Hill and You’ve Got a Friend: 1) Both main characters are grade school boys who have blonde hair. 2) Both boys have recently deceased fathers who were going to help them build/race a Soap Box Derby Car. 3) Both boys seek out mentors who were previous Derby Champions. 4) Both mentors are disgruntled about something; Corbin Bernsen’s more convincing though. 5) Both mentors are reluctant to take them on as pupils at first, but are convinced after they see the boys are very serious about the sport. 6) Both boys have seemingly unbeatable rivals; Trey’s is more legitimate though. 7) Both make it to the finals. 8) Both Boys count on their mothers for support when not involved with their mentors; Bobby’s Aunt who is his new mother is slightly more helpful than Trey’s. There is at least one more I could name, but I’d risk releasing a spoiler element and besides you get the picture… These obvious similarities are worth docking points for alone… Besides those points, I felt Bobby’s rival’s Dad was exaggeratively evil, the story ended too well, 25 Hill touches on deeper theological messages, and the title name itself just doesn’t seem to fit to me. If you’re unable to watch 25 Hill feel free to check this out because it is a decent film don’t get me wrong, but I won’t be buying it. I would recommend if you had a choice between buying 25 Hill or You’ve Got a Friend that you buy 25 Hill instead because it is the better movie between the two.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

The Penniless Princess: A VeggieTales DVD Review

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A Big Idea film

For the most part, I have always thought Veggietales movies were not just great but 5 star worthy productions; except maybe that one Easter movie they did last year that was ok… Having that in mind, I like to buy Veggietales movies every now and then, and while looking up movies one day I saw this new title which just came out. One thing I like about the concept for The Penniless Princess is that this is based on a book. Of course, the main thing to keep in mind, however, will this like other Big Idea films be worthy of a 5 star review or not…

The Penniless Princess is a story about a wealthy, little girl who is enrolled at a private boarding school while her father is away. Despite her Father’s riches, Sara is a very sweet girl who treats everyone including “the help” with equal respect; despite one of her classmates and the boarding school mistress’ disagreement. One day Sara learns her father died and since there is no sign of any Will, she is broke and must live the life of a servant in order to remain apart of the school. Will living a life no longer apart of the upper class make Sara more bitter, or will she teach everyone a valuable lesson about life?

The Penniless Princess is a great story, I nearly cried during certain moments of this film. This is the type of film which women will appreciate the most, but is great for the entire family. The silly song Best Friends Forever I thought was pretty funny, because it makes fun of how obsessive some people can be with cellphones lol. I also enjoyed what Veggietales promotes in regard to true value and how to treat changing circumstances; we need to be more humble in all of our life situations. Some people I have heard online have said “Veggietales isn’t as good as it used to be” and after seeing a movie like The Penniless Princess I must strongly disagree. Keep up the good work guys!

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.