Beyond the Farthest Star — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Complicated
SUMMARY: A family and their hidden secrets shake up a small Texas town.

DETAILS: Complicated…. This is probably one of the best “Christian” films I’ve seen. It’s gut-wrenching honest dealings with issues of hidden pasts, parenting difficulties, and troubled relationships are sure to hinder the profitability in the traditional “Christian Market” for this film, but hopefully it will help it find a much broader audience who are hungry for this style of honest filmmaking. A pastor and his family move to a small town to start afresh. The pastor was once sold as the “next Billy Graham” but something has obviously changed. His daughter is dark and into cutting and burning herself, his wife hides deep secrets of their past, and his story is about to thrust into the national spotlight due to a civil liberties case. The denouement of this film is way too long, but almost necessary to unravel all the threads that make up this complicated, yet compelling storyline. Look for it next Spring in select theatres. My good friend (and editor of two of my own films) James Burgess did the editing on this film and it’s definitely worth a watch.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013 – Not Yet Released
RATING: PG-13

Tiny: A Story About Living Small — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Downsized

SUMMARY: This movie will make you consider downsizing your current way of life

DETAILS: A young man who is turning thirty searches for the meaning of “home” when he embarks on a mission to build a tiny house. What begins as a summer project takes over a year of his life as he struggles to complete his undertaking. I love the ideas presented in this film of living less cluttered and more simply. I wish the film would have dug deeper into the relationship between the main guy and his girlfriend who was helping build the house. In essence, that’s the deeper, real, more human story taking place. Will their relationship survive? Will they live happily ever after in this tiny house? Those are the lines I wanted to see explored and unfortunately it was more about building their house, than building their lives.

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013
RATING: NR
DOCUMENTARY

Cold Mountain — 4 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Sad
 SUMMARY: A beautiful and sad story of lovers held apart by the Civil War.
DETAILS: Sad… Jude Law and Nicole Kidman star in this beautifully filmed love story set in and around the context of the Civil War. A pure preachers daughter moves to Cold Mountain and catches the eye of a young laborer just as war breaks out between the States. He must go fight and she must stay behind and wait… and wait. It’s a story of women who need to be strong, of men who desire love more than war, and of the injustices that hunt them down. Their are strong anti-war themes and a couple scenes with strong sexuality in this powerful story.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2003
RATING: R

Truth or Consequences N.M. — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Gripping!
SUMMARY: Kiefer Sutherland has created a gritty, updated, Bonnie & Clyde.
DETAILS: Gripping… the evolution of chaos becomes the theme as a team of drug crooks pay the consequences for one decision after another. It’s like watching a finely orchestrated, 90-minute train-wreck, as things go from bad to worse. Kiefer Sutherland plays second-fiddle in their gang with Vincent Gallo & Kim Dickens at the helm. The plot takes them from stealing drugs from a dealer and taking hostages in Utah, to a play-gone-wrong in Vegas, and finally to the consequences of their actions in the dessert of New Mexico. Embedded in the group is an unlikely hero that certainly makes the film more interesting than your average crime story. This movie is heavy on language and bullets but certainly an interesting and entertaining ride.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 1997
RATING: R

Music and Lyrics — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Fun!
SUMMARY: A has-been pop star and the girl who waters his plants work together to write a new hit for today’s current hot act.
DETAILS: Fun!… Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore star in this romantic comedy about an unlikely pair who team up to write a song. Grant’s character can write the melodies but lyrics are not his strong suit… and his previous solo album (and its failure) are proof of that. Barrymore has a gift with words, but lacks the confidence needed to write them down. Together they create a great song and of course, they fall in love along the way. It’s lighthearted and fun, yet still teaches us about overcoming our pasts as well as our failures and shortcomings.

SCORE: 3.5 Stars out of 5

RELEASE: 2007
RATING: PG-13

God’s Not Dead — 1 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Ugh…
SUMMARY: Another “Christian Film” to help Christians feel better about being Christians 
DETAILS: Ugh… I don’t even know where to start. How many unconnected characters can we jam into one movie? Lots. Will everyone come to Jesus? Of course! Can we kill off our main antagonist? Yes, but not before he accepts Jesus as his Savior. Can we turn “witnessing to our friends” (via text message) into blatant self-promotion of the film? Yes! Can we tack on Christian Celebrity in a totally meaningless fashion that is in no-way connected to the storyline? Absolutely. I would like to continue this rant, but I feel the need to go vomit! It’s film’s like this that make me never want to be connected to the Christian Film Industry and why I refer to myself as a follower of Christ who happens to be a filmmaker and not a “Christian Filmmaker”.

SCORE: 1 Star out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG