Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review- Action-Packed CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 is a Worthy Sequel


As much a political espionage thriller as it is a superhero film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds the hero's idealistic, WWII-era patriotism challenged in the modern world by the discovery of corruption in high places. The film rather shrewdly uses the comic book genre to examine the real-world dilemmas of sacrificing freedom in our quest for security. If that sounds too heavy, not to worry, this is first and foremost an action-packed adventure with fistfights, chases, and explosions bolstered by a winning sense of humor.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: NOAH is an Ambitious Disappointment


Noah is not at all the straightforward biblical epic that its trailers would suggest. Instead, audiences get a daring, if unsuccessful, artistic reinvention of the story. Gone is a loving God who gives clear and direct revelation in order to save the human race; in His place is a distant, petty, and silent Creator. Gone is a prophet who offers animal sacrifices and preaches repentance in a desperate attempt to save humanity; in his place is a vegetarian who wouldn't hurt a fly but considers killing babies out of a belief that the human race doesn't deserve to continue. At almost every turn, this film takes whatever the Bible story says and does the opposite.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Pop culture provides us with opportunities to engage with the people around us, share our beliefs, and clear up misconceptions. The Church’s high-road response to The Book of Mormon musical (purchasing ad space in the playbill, placing missionaries on the sidewalks outside to answer questions) is a fine example of this. What’s more, pop culture can inspire us to dig deeper and learn more, as was the case when The Prince of Egypt led to my father and I to bond discussing the actual Book of Exodus.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bluray/DVD Review: THE SARATOV APPROACH is a Must-Own Hit

Arguably the biggest crossover hit in the history of Mormon cinema, The Saratov Approach dominated theater screens across Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Idaho, earning itself a wider release across the United States. Earning praise from the likes of Larry King and Variety magazine, this true story about Latter-day Saint missionaries kidnapped and held for ransom in Russia struck a chord with audiences of all faiths. While never downplaying the religious affiliation of its protagonists, it portrayed universal themes of courage, compassion, and interfaith cooperation. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


In recent years actor Russell Crowe has become a regular punchline thanks to his much-maligned singing in Les Miserables, but this Oscar-winner is one of the finest actors of his generation and deserves, in my opinion, more respect. With Noah approaching this week, I thought this the perfect time to recap Crowe's best work.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: DIVERGENT is a Solid Romantic Thriller


The premise: A futuristic society keeps the peace by grouping people into castes based on personality type and eradicating "divergents" (individuals who are unpredictable and thus not easily controlled).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN is a Time-Traveling Romp

With impressive animation and a script that is equal parts witty and heartwarming, Mr. Peabody & Sherman will delight children and adults alike, even if it isn't quite an instant classic. Based on the cartoon from the 60's and 70's, this new tale finds the genius dog (voiced by Modern Family's Tye Burrell) and his adopted human son embarking on a time-traveling adventure to rescue the boy's schoolyard nemesis/first crush (Ariel Winter). The visuals pop and most of the jokes connect, thanks in no small part to the talents of its vocal cast, which includes Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, and Patrick Warburton (Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove). In many respects the film plays like a family-friendly version of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, although the central characters are hyper-intelligent and adorable instead of dumb and dumber.