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Monday, September 14, 2015

Movie Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven

Movie Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven

After recommending the book, "90 Minutes in Heaven" for years I was very excited to hear that they were making a movie about Don Piper’s inspirational story.  I was certain after watching the movie that I was going to be able to write a raving review.  I am very disappointed to say I cannot in good conscious write a raving review.  Despite the fact that most scenes were tastefully presented and the strong acting performances by Hayden Christensen, who played Don Piper and Kate Bosworth, who played Piper’s wife Eva, the movie fell flat and did not live up to expectations.

The movie got off to a good start and showed promise to be one of the great inspirational movies.  In the opening scene we preview the accident and saw flashbacks to activities in the Piper house days earlier.

After the flashbacks we view the full accident, Don being pronounced dead, the arrival of another Pastor who felt called to pray, some blurry allusions to Don’s 90 Minutes in Heaven and his return to human life.  The movie appeared to be heading in a positive direction as we witnessed a flurry of activity to remove Don from the wreckage and get him to the hospital.  But once all the flurry of activity involving the accident and rescue efforts ended so did my interest. 

The movie then became very drawn out and flat.  Most scenes were of Don in his hospital bed.  While there was reference made to people praying for Don there were no scenes of the prayer vigils which took place at his church. One part Don’s recovery which could have been expanded on more was his interaction with a young lady who was undergoing similar painful treatment to her leg.  Instead they decided to waste time with a few scenes involving Don’s wife, Eva’s interactions with an incompetent personal injury attorney Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade). It added nothing to the movie and quite frankly, Blade’s performance was some of the poorest acting I have ever seen.

Towards the end the movie regained some life and a short while was spent on some actual scenes of Don’s time in Heaven as well as some words from the real life Don Piper.  It is a shame that the opportunity to share this inspirational story with a larger audience was wasted.  If you enjoy going to movies and your budget is not limited by all means see it, but if your movie budget is limited I would recommend investing in tickets to “War Room” or wait until next month when “Woodlawn” comes out. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Movie Review: War Room

Movie Review: War Room

I had the opportunity to watch the Thursday night preview of the new Christian movie “War Room” which premiered in theaters on Friday August 28th. This is another movie by the Kendrick brothers that promises to be a block buster. 

The Kendrick brothers’ previous hits include “Fireproof” and “Courageous”.    War Room squeezed out Compton for a first place finish at the box office on opening night and finished a strong second place during its opening weekend.  With War Room’s compelling story line and the strong performance by its cast it should continue to perform well at the box office.

The theme of “War Room” is prayer.  If your faith is on fire you will love this movie from start to finish.  But even if your faith is not on fire or even luke warm you will enjoy the movie, but there will be a few moments where you might wonder if it’s for you, but stay with it, you will be glad you did. 

War Room is a very compelling and touching story which revolves around an African American family, the Jordan’s, who are struggling as a family but this all changes when they meet an elderly God filled woman named Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), who introduces them to her “war room” and her prayer strategy.

Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer) is a real estate agent who is hired by Miss Clara to sell her house.  Over a cup of coffee Miss Clara directs the conversation towards Elizabeth’s personal and faith life.  This makes Elizabeth a bit uncomfortable but agrees to think about Miss Clara’s offer to mentor her prayer life. 

This proves to be a timely conversation as the Jordan family was definitely in the need of prayer and spiritual support. Tony Jordan (T.C. Stallings), Elizabeth’s husband, is very self-centered and caught up in his career.  He is also struggling with his family relationships and integrity issues.  Their daughter, Danielle (Alena Pitts) confides in her friend that her home life is not a happy one and that her parents always fight when they are together.

Fortunately, Elizabeth decides to accept Miss Clara to mentor her in her prayer life.

I will not go into a lot of details as I do not want to ruin the movie for you but what I just told you is the tip of the iceberg. Things really begin to spiral out of control, which motivates Elizabeth to engage in deeper prayer.  At different points both Danielle and Tony find Elizabeth’s prayer room and the experience touches both of them and leads them to develop a prayer life.

With the help of faith and prayer this family overcomes the challenges they face.  This is a story that will certainly touch your heart and hopefully will help move you to consider stepping up your prayer life.  I strongly recommend this movie to all.  I feel it is the Kendrick brother’s strongest production yet.