THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a stirring, enthralling adventure epic about the importance of using courage and compassion to advance God’s kingdom. In it, Bilbo and the dwarves travel through a dark and evil forest to get to the Lonely Mountain, so they can rally the folk of Middle Earth to help the dwarves overcome an evil dragon and restore a lost kingdom, read the full review here.
Here are 5 life lessons from THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG.
1. Greed leads to corruption
2. Evil must not be ignored
3. Anyone can be courageous
4. Fight for your friends.
5. To destroy darkness, you must have the light.
GO FOR SISTERS has good dialogue, but it’s too long and contains some rough content requiring extreme caution.
Bernice is a parole officer who, regrettably, has her sister, Fontayne, as one of her parolees. When another police detective says Rodney is suspected of the murder of a low life named Fuzzy, Bernice finds out her son, Rodney, who hasn’t contacted her for quite a while, is mixed up in drugs and illegal immigrant trafficking.
Bernice enlists her sister, Fontayne, and a retired detective named Freddy to go to Mexico to find her son before the Chinese mob kills him. On the way there, they meet a lot of unscrupulous people and get into a lot of close shaves. It’s revealed that Fontayne developed a propensity for women in prison, and it looks like the Chinese are so mean that they cut Rodney’s ear off and mailed it for a ransom.
Will the Chinese cartel kill them? Will they survive Mexico? Will they rescue Rodney?
The bottom line of GO FOR SISTERS is that this is a story about a mother’s love. Also, Bernice always tries to do the right thing. In the process, she influences Fontayne and Freddy for the good. However, to get to Mexico, they have to violate Fontayne’s parole and several other laws.
Freddy actually talks about church and faith and has some positive Christian comments. The Chinese, on the other hand, are pagan and involved in the occult.
There are a lot of obscenities in the movie and a lot of unpleasantness. Clocking in at 123 minutes, GO FOR SISTERS would have been much better if Director John Sayles had cut 30 minutes out of it. The acting is good, the dialogue is often good, but the story is often repetitive and meanders, losing its audience.
By David Outten, Production Editor
What is Christmas?
It’s the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s gift to mankind.
This celebration has devolved into a very secular shopping season highlighted by days called Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For many children and adults Christmas has simply become a day to receive gifts and have a big meal. Some seek to have the holiday renamed “winter holiday.”
The truth about Christmas was proclaimed by angels in the Gospel of Luke, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.”
Messiah means “the anointed one” – the King declared so by God himself. Unlike most kings, the Messiah is an eternal King. He is King today and King forever.
Thus, Christmas is the celebration of God sending us a King. The “good news” (that’s what gospel means) is what this King has been anointed to bring. He is the savior of mankind who enlightens all people.
Also in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus declares, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Jesus declared that the kingdom of heaven has come. It sounds like some Christmas Carol you sing and don’t understand. So, let’s bring this into the real world of Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays.
Christmas is about declaring a whole new world. The world as we know it is not “the kingdom of heaven.” It’s filled with lust, greed, envy, pride, and selfishness. There are murders, rapes, robberies, and fraud. There are wars, epidemics, recessions, and depressions. We lock our doors, use passwords on computers, and don’t let small children out of our sight. Virtually any news program has much more bad news than good.
The Gospel – the real good news – is that Jesus Christ came to change the world. He came to offer a new world to each of us. In the midst of the ugliness of life on earth, Jesus came to offer us a life filled with peace, joy, love, purity, and integrity. He offers to take away fear and worry and to end addictions and bad habits. He is Lord of the kingdom of heaven, and He invites us to live in this kingdom – in this life and for eternity. This beats anything you can buy on Black Friday.
So, how do you get this gift? Do you go to a church to buy it? Can you order it online at god.com?
To receive God’s gift of a whole new world, you must trade in the old world. The old world is a world where your desires are selfish and lustful – not desires God wants you to have. In the new world, your desires are godly. You have tremendous freedom and opportunity to be creative, but your desires are kept pure by the Spirit of God Himself (Jesus is your Lord). To receive the constant guidance of God’s Spirit you must (1) renounce the old “sinful” desires, (2) thankfully receive the forgiveness God offers through Jesus Christ, and (3) follow God’s guidance. This is called “repentance.” It’s basically turning around and choosing to go in the direction of heaven rather than the direction of hell.
Your world is not just external. It’s not just all the stuff happening around you and to you. Your world is really how you understand and respond to what’s happening. This is your “worldview.” This has to change.
If your response to an insult was anger, it needs to become forgiveness. This change cannot come by sheer willpower. It comes through a renewing of the mind.
Think of your mind as a library. It’s filled with your education, your experiences, and your old understanding of life on earth. It may include horrible attitudes, addictions, and habits. The renewing of the mind is like changing the content of your library. The Spirit of God will help you.
If you have a physical library of DVDs at home, the Spirit of God will help you decide which ones belong in the trash. The same is true in your mind. God will help you replace lust with purity, pride with humility, anger with forgiveness, and depression with joy. God will help you replace selfish desires with desires to show kindness to others.
God will help you choose wholesome entertainment and good books. God will help you fill your home library and the library of your mind with healthy things.
The process is not instant. It took years to fill your mind with desires and habits. It can take time to renew the mind. How long it takes is in direct relation to commitment. If you make excuses for keeping what God wants gone, He’ll let you keep it. The more you keep, the less you experience all the good God has for you.
As more and more people experience more and more of the kingdom of heaven, society changes. Life on earth becomes more like the kingdom of heaven. The opposite is true as well. As fewer people live directed by the Spirit of God, society deteriorates – crime, cruelty, and poverty increase. Voters elect corrupt leaders, and tyranny increases.
Christmas is when we celebrate God’s gift of a King anointed to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. If we fail to accept God’s gift, and joyfully live in the kingdom He offers, we will live in darker and darker versions of the opposite.
When opening gifts this Christmas, make sure everyone present is aware of the ultimate gift for which the holiday is named.
THE CROSS is a television special that played on the Fox News Channel and Fox TV as part of the Rev. Billy Graham’s MY HOPE AMERICA. It was one of the most watched programs of 2013. Beautifully filmed, it has Billy Graham pour out his heartfelt hope that the people of America will find new life in Jesus Christ.
To illustrate the power of the Gospel, the stories of two people are woven throughout the program. One of them is an African America named Lecrae Moore who grew up abused and abusive. He was on the road to perdition taking too many drugs, sleeping around, and beating up people when he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his life was transformed. The other was a woman named Lacey Sturm. Her childhood was so dysfunctional that she wanted to commit suicide until she met Jesus at a church and became a powerful Gospel singer. At the end, Billy Graham comes on to talk about Jesus the His message of salvation.
MY HOPE AMERICA: THE CROSS is one of the most beautifully filmed TV specials. It is compelling, entertaining, winsome, and evangelistic. It received rave reviews from the secular media in spite of its evangelistic content. It is must viewing.
By Diana Anderson-Tyler, Contributing Writer
The basic cable and satellite channel WGN America is just eight months old, but isn’t wasting any time taking on ambitious, original projects. It has just teamed with the renowned Weinstein Company (THE KING’S SOPEECH) to produce a ten-part event series about the Ten Commandments, the first such endeavor since Cecil B. DeMille’s classic 1956 epic starring Chalton Heston. Each installment of the series, set to begin filming in March, will focus on one commandment, such as idolatry, theft, or murder, and will be presided over by a different topnotch director.
As Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Sandra Bullock’s THE BLIND SIDE, and this year’s THE BIBLE docudrama proved, religious themes perform phenomenally well at the box office and in living rooms across America. For example, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST exceeded the expectations of critics and skeptics alike by grossing over $600 million during its theatrical release, becoming the highest grossing R-rated movie in the United States. Similarly, the first episode of THE BIBLE was remarkably successful as it was tuned in to by 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date. In total, the miniseries has been seen by more than 100 million people.
Such indisputable data proves that biblical material and Judeo-Christian values are striking a chord within the hearts and minds of moviegoers and entertainment consumers at large. And, in light of society’s growing unfamiliarity with and disinterest in Scripture, the timing of such media couldn’t be better.
In THE SCANDAL OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY: IT’S OUR PROBLEM, the Reverend Albert Mohler writes:
“Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.”
It’s worth noting here that Barna Research Group has discovered that one out of every five adults (18%) contend that the Ten Commandments isn’t relevant for people living today.
“No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time,” says George Barna. “They don’t know what they are.”
While it’s certainly worth celebrating the fact that the Ten Commandments series will likely pique viewers’ curiosity and perhaps improve biblical literacy, what isn’t so certain is whether its underlying ideologies and subtexts will lead people closer to or farther from the truth of the Bible.
Harvey Weinstein, the series’ producer and major donor to President Obama, said recently in an interview with Piers Morgan that “Obama’s not embarrassing – the country’s embarrassing.”
In a nation where the Ten Commandments have long symbolized American ideals, it will be interesting to see just how the message of the millennia-old, Mosaic tablets and their eternal, God-breathed principles will be treated by leftist individuals such as Mr. Weinstein.
Editor’s Note: Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness. Her popular website can be found at www.fit4faith.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana also can be reached on Twitter.
- Source: Deadline, 11/21/13.
LONE SURVIVOR is an inspiring, gut wrenching true story based on SEAL Team 10’s failed mission in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.
A group of Navy Seals in are brought in for a mission codenamed Operation Red Wings. Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) along with three other Navy Seals, Michael, Danny and Matthew are informed of their target, a notorious Taliban leader that is killing American troops. Their mission is to capture or take him out.
A helicopter takes the four men into the mountains and leaves them there. On doing surveillance of the small mountain village where the Taliban leader is thought to be, they discover that the number of armed terrorists they’re up against is much larger than they originally thought. To make matters worse, while hiding up in the mountains, they stumble across a goat herder and his two sons. To avoid being found by the enemy, they capture the old man and his two sons to decide their fate. Marcus argues to let them go, and Danny responds that that will compromise the mission and possibly more troop lives. The senior officer decides that the only option is to free the civilians and abort the mission, knowing that as soon as they do so, hundreds of men will swarm their way.
The four men begin their walk to the pickup zone, but the mountains block their communication with home base. With little time and no communication for backup, it’s clear they’ll have to fight their way home through possibly hundreds of men, or die trying.
LONE SURVIVOR is expertly made and incredibly gripping. From the very beginning, the movie shows who these four men are and what they have to face. The action, though exciting at times, is more brutal than anything else, but generates a reverence for what American servicemen go through when fighting Islamic terrorism. Mark Wahlberg as the real life survivor Marcus Luttrell owns his role. His commitment shows a deep amount of respect for the men who died on the mission. The patriotism, courage, sacrifice, and endless perseverance the men show inspires a deep sense of admiration. Several moral decisions are made in surprising twists where random strangers help and even put their life on the line for the American Seal. There’s also a positive reference to God when a soldier loses his gun, finds it, and says, “God’s looking out for us.”
That said, LONE SURVIVOR is full of vulgar language and the violence is at times overwhelmingly blunt and gruesome. Though likely realistic of the actual battle that took place, the worst of the violence merely shocks the viewer and isn’t really necessary to convey the positive themes the filmmakers are trying to convey. Thus, extreme is advised for LONE SURVIVOR.
It is interesting that the MOVIEGUIDE(r) award winning movie ACT OF VALOR featured real military heroes playing all the characters, and they used very little foul language.
ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES is an epic-scaled sequel to the 2004 cult comedy ANCHORMAN: THE ADVENTURES OF RON BURGUNDY. ANCHORMAN 2 has a strong mixed pagan worldview, with seemingly countless innuendoes, vulgarities, and double entendres, but it also contains a lot of goofy fun, with a strong and even touching pro-family, pro-fatherhood message at the end.
The sequel picks up six years after the first movie left off in its depiction of San Diego local news anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his team of sidekick newsmen (Paul Rudd as a reporter, Steve Carell as the weatherman, and David Koechner as the sports anchor). Ron is now married to Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). They both share a job hosting weekend news in New York City and a 6-year-old son. When their channel’s top anchorman retires and offers to hire Veronica as his replacement while firing Ron altogether, Ron orders her to choose between the job and their marriage. When she takes the job, he winds up as a drunken announcer at Sea World back in San Diego.
Ron soon loses his Sea World job due to making inappropriate comments on the microphone. He tries to commit suicide by hanging yet fails comically. Just then, a producer from a new 24-hour Cable news channel called Global News Network (GNN) arrives. He hires Ron and his team to do the new channel’s graveyard shift.
Ron sees this as a chance to move back to New York and win back Veronica. However, he finds out she has a new lover. He also runs afoul of a young, better anchorman and winds up engaged in a bet that will change his life and the course of American news itself. He bets he can beat the other newsman’s viewer ratings, and then wins the bet by “giving the people what they WANT to see, not what they NEED to see.”
What they want to see is car chases on the freeway and cute pets running through American flags, as well as lurid stories of outrageous crimes. As Ron takes over the primetime spot and wins some Emmys, he finds his black female producer wants to have an affair with him. Ron suddenly has to choose between the wild trappings of big city success or the simple pleasures of a stable family.
There are many other plot threads running through the ambitious two-hour-plus running time of ANCHORMAN 2. Those who enjoy this kind of comedy may be astounded by the fact that Will Farrell and his director and co-writer, Adam McKay, have written a movie that never falls flat through all the complex antics involved. Artistically, it’s an amazing piece of work, with an impressive, unique level of inventiveness.
Better yet, the movie’s second half is about Ron learning to be a better husband and father and coworker after suffering a ridiculous accident that leaves him blind. This second half actually takes on a pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-fatherhood tone. In addition, its satirical points on how pointless and tawdry modern TV news has become makes some valid points without resorting to partisanship. One can hardly disagree with Ron’s final words to his viewers, urging them to demand that they are simply told the truth by their newsmen and their politicians.
With so many jokes packed across such a long running time, even the large amount of scatological humor and lewd innuendos are outnumbered by lots of somewhat innocent, goofy humor. However, though many of the movie’s crude jokes are silly and ridiculous, they warrant extreme caution. ANCHORMAN 2 also contains plenty of foul language, including some vulgar, scatological language.
Do you love LES MISÉRABLES and the faith filled message it tells. As a Christmas gift to you, Movieguide® is giving away a free iPod Shuffle and a copy of the Epiphany Award Winning movie!
LES MISÉRABLES is a movie version of the beloved musical play of Victor Hugo’s novel about an ex-convict whose life is redeemed but is hounded anyway by a legalistic policeman. LES MISÉRABLES is a brilliant adaptation of this inspiring, spiritually uplifting Christian story that beautifully depicts God’s transformational powers though the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it contains some harsh scenes showing the brokenness of humanity without God. Read the full review here and enter the giveaway below!