Movie Poster: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion movie poster

Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: El Ambulante

Movies about making movies tend to be lousy to watch.  There is nothing about this trailer than makes me think this is any different from the majority of such productions.

Movie Trailer: The Strange Case Of Angelica

Isn't this considered necrophilia?

Movie Trailer: Ceremony

Fonzie's son, Max Winkler, wrote and directed this film about a young man in his early twenties who crashes a wedding to win the heart of the bride who is supposed to be in her thirties but is clearly in her mid-forties.  Regular readers already know that I find the constant use of may december relationships where an older man in his forties courts a twenty-odd-year old woman.  It's no better when the genders are reversed.

If their ages aren't important to the plot one has to wonder why they would cast actors of such obvious differing ages.  If it is important, who is the audience here?  Are we to believe this is going to appeal to both fumbling men who just got out of college AND pre-menopausal women who are attracted to young slobs?

Movie Poster: To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief movie poster

Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: Beware, The Watchers (2011)

Here is the trailer for Good News Film Reviews own Wayne Johnson's new film Beware, The Watcher.  It is being released today.

To learn more about this new release, check out the Facebook page.

Below is a summary and the trailer.  Enjoy!

Ryan is a loner with no friends. His only companion is his favorite comic book Beware, The Watchers and his peephole. After ordering the Watchers Device through a comic book ad, Ryan discovers he has amazing powers and can now pursue the love of his life, Mary, the girl who lives across the hall.

Beware, The Watchers_Trailer from WayneHJohnsonJr on Vimeo.

Book Recommendation: Drawn to Danger

PhotobucketMy friend Jeff Burton has a new book out titled Drawn to Danger.  I was lucky enough to get to read an early copy of the book and I can tell you it is hands down fantastic.  It is about  kids named Andrew who loves to draw.  He stores his drawings in a satchel left behind by his missing uncle.  To Andrew's shock, he finds a letter in the satchel asking him for more drawings of ships.  Andrew learns his drawings come to life in another world where a war is raging.  His drawings are the key to sparing a desperate people from facing annihilation as they defend against a stronger enemy.   

The Kindle version is only $2.  The paperback is $7.50.  If you have a boy in your life who likes books, this is a perfect gift.  They will enjoy it.

Click here to buy from

Aaron Eckhart's Chintastic Chinterview

It's chinetics

Movie Trailer: Immortals

More Greeks screaming their lines and jumping in slow-motion.

When did they decide to make a feature length film out of the outtakes from 300?

Movie Trailer: Even the Rain

A film crew, making a movie about Columbus' exploitation of the indigenous people of Boliva, come to commit the same sins as they use the locals to get their project completed.  This is an interesting concept and could be intriguing.

Star Wars - Longest Crash Ever

This is the height of comedy for my sons.  It doesn't matter how upset they are, if I put this in they laugh.

Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens

At Rest (Daniel 12:13)

PhotobucketKevin Jarre (1954–2011)

Kevin Jarre wrote a number of scripts during his career including The Mummy, Glory and The Devil's Own. He will be best remembered for his best script Tombstone, a screenplay which I believe is one of the best I’ve ever read.

If you are studying scriptwriting for either stage or screen, Jarre’s use of language in Tombstone is a manual on how to heighten characters during conflict. When screenwriters sit down and hammer at a script, they wish to be as good as he was during this time in his career.

Below is a collection of scenes.  While credit for the entire scene needs to be shared with the actors (in particular Val Kilmer - who deserved an Oscar Nomination for his work), the crew and director George P. Cosmatos, it is Jarre's script that made the production shine.

The escalating argument in Latin is sheer brilliance.  It raises Ringo from a petty psycho to a force to be recognized with.  Wonderful stuff. 

Warning: this clip contains language and violence.  Probably NSFW

Repost: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

Reviewer: Scott Nehring

Should I see it?

Director: Michael Apted
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroni
Starring: Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes and Tilda Swinton

Rated PG for mild violence.

Lucy and Edmund (Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) have grown older since their original trip to Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Their older siblings have moved on, leaving the two of them to be passed around to relatives in the English countryside as the war continues at home.  The pair find themselves bored and isolated, stuck in a simple home with their irritating cousin Eustace (Will Poulter).

The three children begin to argue in a bedroom when, for no particular reason, a painting of the ocean that hangs on the wall begins to pour water into the room.  The room floods, the children swim to the surface and discover they have reentered Narnia.  The grand ship the Dawn Treader picks them up and they meet up with their old friend Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes).  Caspian tells the children seven lords have gone missing and a mysterious green mist is consuming ships at sea.  The group heads off to uncover the mystery of the missing lords.

The opening act of this film is one of the more presumptive and forced openings I have seen in a long time.  The summary above is barely summarized, it nearly happens that quickly in the actual film.  Director Michael Apted spends next to no time setting up characters or situations in his opening act.  He is comfortable assuming you know, if you have not seen the first two Narnia films, this will be a huge issue.  You will be lost.

After the bumpy opening the movie finds its legs and becomes rather enjoyable.  The story is rather shallow and is a simple quest tale.  The kids move from one peril to the next without a solid antagonist thwarting them.  The lack of a notable villain always spells trouble for the ending - since it inherently means there is significantly less for the heroes to resolve.  This ending is no different.  I won't go into detail as to now ruin the ending.  It will suffice to say that it feels cut short and wanting.

PhotobucketThis is an enjoyable film from a mere entertainment point-of-view.  The Narnia series has always been the discount version of The Lord of the Rings.  The story has always been a little thinner, but this is mostly due to the target audiences ages being lower than LOTR.  As this film ends, it is made clear the journeys for Lucy and Edmund (the real centers of the series) have come to a close as well.  It is striking that unlike other trilogies, there is no grand finale - no great villain to be destroyed.  There is simply nothing left for them to do.  It isn't that they're too old to come back, it is that their quests have dwindled into nothingness. 

This production is far superior to the second outing Price Caspian.  It does stand on its own for sheer eye-candy and immediate emotional manipulation, but it doesn't work as a equal bookend to the first film of the series.  This again is the fault of the films not building on one another, but rather being the "continuing stories of Lucy and Edmund."

Will you enjoy the film, yes.  Do I recommend it, yes.  Apted is a veteran director (Amazing Grace, Gorillas in the Mist, Coal Miner's Daughter, Bring on the Night) and knows how to deliver a scene.  He has created a conventionally made family film that should entertain most audiences.  It will not provide any deep meaning or inspiration. If you simply want to be entertained, this will work just fine.  I took my nine and seven year old sons to the movie and they were thrilled and were engaged during the whole presentation.  This said, they both quickly forgot the movie after it was over.  That is the difference between being entertainment and being moved.


Related Reviews:Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews
Left Behind (2000)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)


Movie Poster: Tree of Life

Tree of Life movie poster

Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: Our Idiot Brother

I am left thinking it looks like The Big Lebowski without the wit. 

Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel 2009

I think it is important for regular audience members to see footage like this so they have in their minds how expansive the technical palate has become. It is important to remember that just because you see it, it doesn't mean it happened. We live in an age where the illusion often looks more real than reality.

Pass the Collection Plate, I Need More Time in the Editing Booth

Christianity Today has an article discussing the trend of churches making movies.

In the article, Mark Joseph, of MJM Entertainment Group, nails the larger problem with church-made films.

"These filmmakers are energized to tell their stories to the world, but if they're too successful as a genre, they'll wall themselves off and end up only making films for each other," said Joseph. "I don't think that's what they're intending to do, but once marketing folks and distribution folks see a genre here, then they will likely create an industry that will ironically cut them off from the mainstream."

The problem with churches making films is that you have people who have little to no training making the works. Often experienced, trained professionals are either not involved or overwhelmingly outnumbered by the novices. This naturally leads to amateur product and lowered standards.

Moreover, when you have a film begun from a clear and open agenda, you usually end up with a film with a clear and open agenda. No one goes to the movies to be preached at. Influenced? Argued at? Sure. Preached at - no.

This is an interesting trend and the article linked above offers some food for thought.

Finding Fatima (2010)

PhotobucketThis documentary tells the story of Our Lady of Fatima.

On May 13, 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, saw a beautiful lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." The lady told them that she would appear on the 13th day of every month afterwards and asked them to pray the rosary every day. Subsequently, the children learned that this woman was an apparition of the Virgin Mary. As promised, Mary appeared every month and told the children that on October 13 there would be a miracle. By this time crowds were flocking to Fatima for the 13th of every month and October saw record numbers gather. By all descriptions the sun "danced" on that day. The children were also told three secrets, two of which they revealed and one which was kept secret until very recent times.

Finding Fatima is actually more of a docu-drama than a straight documentary. It gives the details of the above events using the commentary of various Fatima experts, dramatic reenactments of eye-witness accounts, the testimony of relatives and friends of the seers and descendants of eye witnesses, and scenes from the movie The 13th Day. The story is told in a fairly straight forward manner and those who are interested in the Fatima story will learn about the events, secrets, and the basilica built upon the site.

As a side note, I will mention that, although I am Catholic, I have never felt attracted to the sites of apparitions of Mary. In my view, we've got God with us everywhere. However, I do know that shrines can be very helpful to many and certainly miracles have occurred at them. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is the full and final revelation of God so there is no public revelation after him (specifically after the last of the apostles died). This does not preclude private revelation to individuals, of the same sort as happened at Fatima. However the Church urges extreme caution be taken in accepting such revelations. After a revelation has finished occurring, the Church will evaluate it but the most "approval" that would occur is that there would be a statement that nothing objectionable was found. Therefore, we may or may not find such private revelations helpful personally once the Church has declared that there is nothing objectionable, such as Lourdes or Fatima or Our Lady of Guadalupe. However, we are not required to believe them. That is up to each person to discern. (More details may be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

I learned more about the details of the third secret than I had known before and found the account to match details I already knew. However, I was disappointed that there was a lack of follow-through on some testimony. For example, much is made of the hostile, anti-clerical journalist who witnesses the sun dancing, but he is never mentioned again. We can go to the internet to read his newspaper article detailing that he did, indeed, see the sun dancing but this is the sort of corroborating detail that the documentary should have included.

Likewise, several of the experts allude to "secular" explanations for the miracle of the sun dancing, but we are never told just what those explanations are. It would have strengthened the documentary quality of this piece if such opposing information were included and given context to the experts' refutations.

I was also surprised that there was no mention of Mary's request for the consecration of Russia to her "Immaculate Heart." This has been the source of much speculation over the years and also the source of much controversy. For that very reason, it should have been at least touched upon.

Negative points aside, Finding Fatima is an informative and moving work. I came away with more information than I knew before and with a desire to pray the rosary more often (as an aside, I go in and out of this meditative form of prayer depending on where I am spiritually and various other factors). It is probably the most informational of the films available and will not disappoint those who want to learn more about Fatima.

Related Reviews:Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews
Julie Davis reviews
Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)
The Castle (1997)


Movie Poster: Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris movie poster

Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: Monogamy

This one has potential.  This is the first fictional work from documentary director Dana Adam Shaprio who made the wonderful film Murderball.

Theo (Chris Messina), a wedding photographer becomes obsessed with one of his subjects who has hired him for a side job.  He becomes obsessed with the woman.  At the same time, he is about to married to Nat (Rashida Jones).  There is a very good chance this is yet another amoral, pretentious indie flick.  My gut is telling me otherwise.

Let's see how accurate my gut is.

Movie Trailer: Kaboom

Donnie Darko with limp wrists and mascara?  Something tells me I'm not the target audience for this one.

If this pervert has an impending sense of doom he's probably subconsciously worried he will need to sit through his own movie. 

Movie Trailer: Another Earth

I like the premise.  It is perfectly handled in this trailer.  The muted, haunting tone works nicely with the subject and the symbol of the second Earth is a very strong visual. 

Movie Poster: How I Ended This Summer

How I Ended This Summer movie poster

Click here to buy your copy   of  Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews
You Are What You See:
Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens

Movie Trailer: Raymond Did It

Love the "on the nose" dialog.  "Well, we did FRAME HIM FOR MURDER"  Cuz, that's just how someone in that situation is going to talk.

If the trailer has stilted dialog, why should we expect the full movie to be any better?

Movie Trailer: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Nader is wrong.  Even in your sleep the images and sounds of your world play a part.  Given our world is drenched in marketing, that marketing will seep into your subconscious.

I love that this film is made but other than Michael Moore, I can't think of a more obnoxious, self-important jack wagon than Morgan Spurlock to bring it to life.  This guy doesn't make documentaries.  He makes gimmickaries.  His "documentaries" are more about him than his subjects.  Ironic that a film about the troubles of marketing is being made by a man who's main focus is marketing himself.

One thing I did like was the pop-ups of the ads in the shot at the mall.  Watch any movie made and you could do the same kind of pop-ups. 

Movie Trailer: Beginners

Thank the Lord there is finally a movie made about screwed up and despondent urbanites.  At last the morally retarded have their say.

Seriously, what is it that draws independent filmmakers to make a continual stream of depressing flicks about characters that most people wouldn't want to know in real life?  This things looks like a cinematic pity party. 

Movie Poster: Lawless Frontier

Lawless Frontier movie poster

Scott Nehring Good News Film Reviews

Movie Trailer: Bridesmaids

I want this to be good simply because it has Wendi McLendon-Covey involved.  She is hilarious, IMO.

This is a good cast and I think the premise is strong.  The crude humor?  It just seems like it isn't necessary.  Then again, that could be just my ol' fashioned viewpoint that it is best if women don't belch, fart, etc. in public.  How 20th Century of me.


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