Posts Tagged ‘DWard Media. film’

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Noble” tells the true story of Christina Noble who overcomes the harsh difficulties of her childhood in Ireland to discover her destiny on the streets of Saigon. It is a very smart film, a wonderfully artistic movie, and is highly recommended.
When this film and press materials first arrived in my inbox, I must admit I was not excited with the synopsis. It is not the type of movie I would gravitate toward, but how wrong I was. This is an excellent motion picture, and one of the best films I have seen this year.

“Noble” follows three segments of Christina Noble’s life. We first meet young Christina (Gloria Cramer Curtis) during her early childhood in Ireland where she struggles to survive without a mother or father, forced to live in an orphanage, abused and alone. The next Christina (Sarah Greene) we meet is the seventeen-year-old young lady struggling to survive in the early 1960s. She is homeless and attacked, but it is here where she receives a vision of living in Vietnam, a place she would never have considered, seemingly out of nowhere. Regardless, the strange vision has a huge impact on her and it becomes her focus, and Christina (Deirdre O’Kane) eventually journeys to Vietnam, where we find her in the 1980s helping abandoned children living on the streets. The film moves back and forth in time, and this nonlinear editing approach by Mags Arnold works wonderfully. You know it works when, as a viewer, you are not hoping to get back to one of the other stories, but each one is enjoyable in it own right.
The acting in “Noble” is flawless, not a missed beat in the film. The three Christina’s are fantastic, and it is easy to move from one to the other. And director Stephen Bradley should be commended on keeping everything consistent. Good support from the other characters, too, with a stand out performance by Ruth Negga as Christina’s firecracker friend Joan.
The set design of Cristina Casali is also splendid, and particularly fine is the early Ireland time period, which is reminiscence of something out of Dickens – creating a great atmosphere and mood. One of the most impressive features of “Noble” is the sharp cinematography by Trevor Forrest. His use of the jib is very artistic, but all of the shots are topnotch, with wonderful lighting, too. It is a very pretty film visually, but not at all pretentious. Great stylistic approach, and it is consistent throughout the film. Even the use of stock footage from the Vietnam War mixed with new shots during her dream sequence is dynamite. Now mix in smart writing and dialogue and you have a great film. Kudos to director/writer Stephen Bradley.
“Noble” is not a Christian family film. It includes mature subject matter including rape, child abuse, prostitution, and drunkenness. That said, it handles these with taste and discreetness, but this is a film more for the high-school student and not the middle-school one. There are several moments of spirituality and faith, most notably when Christina talks to God, complete with her doubts and anger – very realistically and not “in your face” at all. I like that “Noble” is not afraid to consider spirituality and faith.
“Noble” is a top-notch film – quality all around – and one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Check it out – it will surprise you and leave you wanting more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

BTM

Beyond the Mask” is a handsome production. As a period piece set in 1775, the costumes and sets are spot on. Great work by Production Designer Nicholas Burns, as he cuts no corners and it is easy for the viewers to become transported in time back to the late 18th century.

The story revolves Will Reynolds (played by Andrew Cheney of “Seasons of Gray” fame), the leading mercenary and assassin for the British East India Company. Reynolds has just been double-crossed by Charles Kemp (John Rhys-Davies from “The Lord of the Rings”), one of the company’s supervisors, and is now on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of Charlotte (Kara Killmer of “Chicago Fire”), the woman with whom he’s never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte – as well as Ben Franklin – while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions.
The acting is strong in “Beyond the Mask.” As the rogue assassin turned masked super-hero, Andrew Cheney does a great job handling the romance and daring-do with equal aplomb. His Will Reynolds is very easy to root for; however, I did want to be able to identify with him better. This would have gotten me more involved with the action where and the story was headed. Kara Killmer as Charlotte plays through the ranges of emotions quite well, and John Rhys-Davies is quite delicious as the nemesis and bad guy. They all seem to be having a great time, and with all the action and adventure, it’s understandable why.


Beyond the Mask” is not a history lesson in the least bit, but it is quite fun to play around in Revolutionary War times, and we get to meet Ben Franklin and even George Washington, both played well by Alan Madlane (Franklin) and John Arden McClure (Washington).
The best thing about this movie is the theme of “not being good enough—not measuring up.” What a great theme for a faith-based film. And the theme is handled admirably. You have the added theme of sacrificial love, again handled with great style. The only wish is that the filmmakers would have stopped here and let the audience connect the dots. This would have taken the film to a higher level. Instead they include a Sunday School moment that explains what just happened, and it really dumbs-down the film and makes the audience feel somewhat cheated and manipulated. Why faith-based films seem driven to this is one of the biggest strikes against faith-based films: please respect your audience and let them work out the details for themselves.
Overall, “Beyond the Mask” is a solid film. How can you go wrong with a historical romance full of action and adventure, with a masked superhero and an evil scientist thrown in to boot? Maybe “Beyond the Mask” tries to do too much in this regard, but it is fun entertainment, and isn’t that why we watch movies? Look beyond the few faults and enjoy “Beyond the Mask.”

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

WTGST

If you like football movies, you’ll find plenty to like in “When the Game Stands Tall.” But this is more than a football movie, and “When the Game Stands Tall” is quite different than most football films you may have seen. It’s not about a losing team needing that one win to earn their self-respect, winning the game in the last half a second. In fact, the football field is just the stage for this collection of characters learning about hope and despair, success and failure, life and death.


“When the Game Stands Tall” is inspired by the remarkable true story of the De La Salle Spartans and their visionary coaches: Head Coach Bob Ladouceur, played by Jim Caviezel (“The Thin Red Line,” “Person of Interest”), and Assistant Coach Terry Eidson, played by Michael Chiklis (The Shield, Vegas). The team had an unprecedented 151-game winning streak between 1992-2003, shattering all records for consecutive victories in American sports. In spite of their 12 undefeated seasons (and the pressure of continuing “The Streak”), Coach Ladouceur stresses the value of purpose and significance over the glory of titles and streaks, with a focus on faith, commitment and responsibility. These traits and having a solid character, he believes, are much greater than winning. Ladouceur’s mantra: “We don’t expect you to play perfect, but to give a perfect effort.” This emphatic promotion of team play over individual goals comes to a head at one point when Ladouceur must confront a star player’s dad (Clancy Brown), who is only concerned about his son (Alexander Ludwig) breaking the touchdown record.
Ultimately, the struggle for this team – a new group of seniors – is not about winning that first game, but about not LOSING a game. When a tragedy sets the team reeling, the Spartans find their world disintegrating around them. And when their coach and mentor has a heart attack, it becomes apparent that the stress has taken a toll not only on them, but also on Ladouceur, and his wife (Laura Dern) and family, whom he’s neglected. The team has to learn to rely on each other and reevaluate what teamwork really means.
“When the Game Stands Tall” is directed by Thomas Carter (“Coach Carter,” “Hill Street Blues”), with the football action visually dynamic, and the drama textured and layered. One surprise is – given the median age of the cast – the acting is strong throughout. Jim Caviezel says he brought some of the same philosophy of Coach Ladoucuer, and how those before him have mentored him, to his interaction on the film with his young co-stars. He explained to them, “If you chose to not bring in your best work, it will look bad. I also expect you to boost each other and to work hard, and work on your scenes together, because you’re really going to carry this film.” As can be seen in the film, the results are there.
“When the Game Stands Tall” has so many layers to enjoy and reflect upon: teamwork, humility, stressed-out living, fathering, heart disease, mentoring, teaching, boys-to-men, that the actual football field becomes almost secondary. It’s not so much facing your giants on the field, but conquering them off the field that is most importance. As Ladouceur says, “Winning a lot of football games is doable. Teaching kids there’s more to life? That’s hard.”
“When the Games Stand Tall,” stands tall indeed. If you like a good football movie, you’ll like this – a good football movie… and more.

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If you like westerns then you’ll like “The Redemption of Henry Myers”. It is a good Western in the classic sense, complete with gunfights, damsels in distress, and yes, even an antihero in the Clint Eastwood mode. There are plenty of nice twists and turns to keep you on your toes, and a whole plethora of characters to love and to hate. There’s even a nod to the classic film “Shane,” and arguably maybe too big of a nod, but this is a Western, so strap on your six-shooter and come along for the ride.

Synopsis: Henry Myers (Drew Waters) lives a hard life, and he gets through life on the frontier anyway he can…even if it means robbing a bank. His latest heist goes wrong, and his partners betray him and leave him for dead. Henry survives, thanks to the extraordinary kindness of a widow (Erin Bethea) and her two children (Jaden Roberts, Ezra Proch), and influenced by this family, Henry begins to question the choices he’s made in his life. Just when things begin to make sense again, it’s all ripped away when his old partners show up.

I really appreciated the depth of characterization from the actors involved. Drew Waters, who has been racking up credits in many film and television shows, takes the rein of the main character in stride. The role takes him through the entire arc of a character, from bad to good, from death to life, from emptiness to fullness, and Waters handles all the emotions with aplomb. As the widow Marilyn, Erin Bethea, does an excellent job of handling the kids and this stranger who falls into their lives, and all the emotions that go along with this. (Most viewers may best remember her as Kirk Cameron’s wife in “Fireproof.”) And the two children do great work and their protrayals are realistic and to the point. A special thumbs up to Jaden Roberts as Laura, who will most likely steal your heart away (and who provides most of the moments of lightness and laughs). I think much credit is due director Clayton Miller, and we can expect great things in the years to come from him. (I remember seeing his short film “Forgive Me” several years ago, and it deservedly ran away with many awards from the various festivals where it appeared. Seek this film out for a viewing – mature audiences only.) The cinematography is topnotch in “The Redemption of Henry Myers,” and it is quite obvious that great attention to detail was taken to insure the best camera point of views. And included along the way are nice visual symbolism within the props and the set design.

There are plenty of Bible stories shared within the film, and they are inserted in a way that makes them a part of the story and not at all heavy-handed. This is a very nice touch. And the “redemption” (yes – a conversion moment) was handled in one of the best ways I’ve ever seen in a film (and this coming from someone who rarely appreciates these moments in a film). It is slid into the film in a very honest way, again very much a part of the storyline, and handled in a very realistic manner.

Things get wrapped up nicely and in a very satisfying way (even though I was looking for a different outcome, and maybe this would have felt more authentic? but surprises are nice, too). The John Williams-esque music is what would be expected in a sprawling Western, and I really appreciate the end credit song: “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGAYNKDyIU), a great song in its own right. All-in-all, two thumbs up for relative newcomer Clayton Miller and “The Redemption of Henry Myers.” If you like a good Western, you’ll like this – a good Western.

World Premiere March 23 at 9/8c pm on The Hallmark Movie Channel.

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“God’s Not Dead” is a very well-made and well intentioned movie about a college student and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (good performance by Shane Harper), who finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (solidly played by Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper to turn in as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads: having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? Of course, the easy road is not necessarily the right road.

The “God’s Not Dead” cast includes Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson. The subplots include a young lady (Trisha LaFache) facing life and death issues, as well as wonderful fun from David A.R. White and Benjamin Ochieng as two reverend friends trying to get out of town for a little R and R. The subplot of the muslim daughter struggling with her strict father seemed rather unnecessary and should’ve been cut. It added nothing to the story and the movie would’ve been shorter and tighter. And the ending is a little too tidy, but it does take everything to a firm conclusion. All in all, “God’s Not Dead” is well-acted and the movie moves along briskly.

The biggest concern for “God’s Not Dead” is that this whole idea of wrapping a story around apologetics is dicey at best. The audience is forced to watch a preplanned debate from the sidelines, and if any questions or concerns are not addressed, the viewer feels unsatisfied and empty. That said, this weakness can also be the movie’s greatest strength in that “God’s Not Dead” can definitely be a conversation starter once outside the theater. It can also be a good discussion stimulator for Youth or Bible Studies groups. If you’re looking for this kind of material this movie is dead-on. And there are great resources available on-lne at the website. Because of all this, “God’s Not Dead” gets three out of five stars.

“Son of God” is a new, big, grand, and glorious production on the life of Jesus Christ. Whenever filmmakers attempt such an undertaking – producing a work of a well-known and well-revered work and/or character – they lay themselves out there and exposed to criticism because of everyone’s preconceived visions of what this might look like, but with “Son of God,” Executive Producer Roma Downey and Producer Mark Burnett do a great job of creating the atmosphere and ambience, and most people will be agreeable to their visual representation of the scriptures. Actually, certain things were presented in a way that give fresh insight on how things may have actually played out, and answering some age-old questions in the process. For instance, the “Crucify him! Crucify him!” scene and how was it the Jewish people could have flipped so easily from the atmosphere toward Jesus upon his entrance into Jerusalem on Sunday. In the film, it is suggested that the Romans and the Jewish elite had separated those that were following Jesus from those who were unfriendly toward him, and the sympathizers were locked out of the courtyard and the vote before Pilate. Of course there will be those who will nick pick certain scenes: the wise men appear incorrectly at the nativity, and Jesus goes into Lazarus’ tomb to bring him back to life (dramatically with a kiss), instead of staying outside the tomb and saying “Come out, Lazarus.” But all in all, these moments are far and few between.

They recently talked at the NRB convention in Nashville about their message and purpose behind the film.

The movie begins with the apostle John reflecting on his life with Jesus from his cave on Patmos Island, and the opening verse to his gospel starts the film. “In the beginning was the Word…” and then we are shown several sequences to highlight that the Word was with Moses, that the Word was with Abraham, that the Word was with David, all brought to us in several opening minutes and using the stunning footage from the Bible miniseries: million dollar B-roll shots serve up one spectacular opening scene. (Perhaps they should go into the stock footage business and sell that great footage…)
This leads into the nativity and then the ministry of Jesus. “Son of God” proves one thing: that you cannot tell the entire story of Jesus in two hours, but I think “Son of God” delivers a good representation and sampling of scenes. Included are the lowering of the paralyzed man through the roof and his healing, Peter catching a boatload of fish, the feeding of the 5000, the aforementioned raising of Lazarus, and the passion of Christ, with his resurrection and ascension.

The acting is exceptional, and the use of a relatively completely unknown cast adds much validity to the film; otherwise those with star-power could detract from entering into the story and times. Executive Producer Roma Downey plays Mary the mother of Jesus (played by Diogo Morgado), and she is the most well known of all the cast members. And once again great music is provided by Hans Zimmer. All in all this is a great production and two hours well spent with the “Son of God.” Check it out.

You’ve read about this movie here, but this is our last week to get support for “My Life Is a Movie” – the distribution project. We hope to take the film and pitch it to at least 3 national distributors at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in a couple of weeks. Please check out the campaign by clicking on this link: “My Life Is a Movie” and then follow the red “Contribute Now” button to the next page. Thank you!

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