Friday, November 11, 2011
A Big Movie Review Post
How's that for a catchy title? (wink)
Ever since Netflix made its big switch to separate the fees for DVD rentals and streaming, and I made the unilateral decision to keep both (Doug does not usually watch movies and has no interest either way), I decided we better use the heck out of both choices to really get our money's worth. Well, you know Hollywood and most of what comes out in movie form is just garbage, so it's often hard to find enough worthwhile movies to really make it work. Fortunately lately I hit the jackpot and so I'm here to share my picks.
First up is Amish Grace. This is a little bit like a Hallmark movie -- not a huge budget film, but a great story of forgiveness with the grace of God. The film is based on the book which is based on the true story of the October 2006 shooting in an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. I don't know the details of the shooting to know if the details of the film are authentic, but the reality of modern day culture encroaching on the lifestyle of the Amish is very real, and very believable. I like the young woman, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who stars as a young victim's mother. Some parts are inappropriate for children due to the nature of the story.
Next up is one of the best films I have seen in years: Of Gods and Men. This is the incredible true story of a small group of Trappist monks living in Algeria, in a Muslim community, who are faced with Muslim extremists in the community and are eventually kidnapped by them. The photography is beautiful, and the acting is very touching, sensitively showing the courage and love of God among the nine monks -- their doubts and ultimate sacrifice. Great, great film Again not appropriate for children to to subject matter (subtitled from French).
The Music Never Stopped. This is totally a movie I would not have watched if I had known what it was really about (I think the synopsis I read was not very accurate). Oddly enough, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a true story, based in the eighties, about a middle-aged (slightly older) couple living alone who learn that their son, who ran away years ago, was found with a brain tumor and no recent memories. Julia Ormand plays a therapist who helps reach him with music he loved from the sixties. As I am not a music buff, that aspect of the film was lost on me, but the story was a really good one -- about forgiveness and unconditional acceptance.
The Conspirator. Based on the story of the men who conspired to kill President Lincoln and the only woman to take the fall. A great historical film that tells the story of the woman, Mary Surratt, who gave her life to protect her family. Remarkably the film depicted her faith in God in a positive light. I really like the young man who plays Frederick Aiken, the man who defended Surratt.
The Grace Card. This is another sort of Hallmark-style movie, but I really liked it. A lot. And I talked my family into watching it, which they did with very little criticism (which is saying a lot) and they all said it was a "good movie."It's a story about a rough police officer, who has given up on God, partnered with a preacher/cop. They learn that God gives us what (who) we need, even if we don't want it. I won't give away the ending, but you will be glad you watched this one. Probably not for children younger than ten and there is some language if your teens are watching, but the message outweighs the language. Watch it first if you have any doubts, and you'll gladly watch again with the kids.
Mars Needs Moms. I am not a big animated film fan and will really only watch them under duress (girls' night with my daughter), but this one was not bad at all. The animation was like that in Polar Express and Joan Cusack was the voice of the mom, so that was a good start. It delivered a good message about obedience, and love, and appreciation for mom's hard work.
Mrs. Brown. This is not a new film, but I was so glad to have stumbled across it. It's the story of Queen Victoria after the death of her husband Prince Albert, for whom she mourned deeply. Mr. Brown, a member of the household staff at Balmoral Castle, supposedly brought the Queen out of her mourning and back to public life. The two became very close (hence the name Mrs. Brown) and he risked his life for hers on several occasions. It was very touching film, in the romantic style of a Jane Eyre style film, and I really enjoyed Judi Dench as the queen.
A Shine of Rainbows. Another film I stumbled across -- it is the very sweet story of a young Irish orphan adopted by a beautiful young wife. A shy young boy, he comes out of his shell and quickly learns to love his new mother. The story takes a tragic turn with her illness, but ends very well. Aidan Quinn, whom I like immensely, plays the reluctant father. It was sad with the mother's illness, but other than that not objectionable for children.