Archive

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Kevin Sorbo in God’s Not Dead made me question his niceness

May 16, 2014 3 comments

GND_OfficialPoster-2This awesome review of Kevin Sorbo‘s movie, “God’s Not Dead,” now in its 9th week in theaters according to the Kevin Sorbo Official Facebook Page, was written by a fan whose enthusiasm led her to dedicate Facebook and Twitter pages to it entitled, God’s Not Dead Movement and @GNDMovement. Many thanks, my dear friend, for your heartfelt words and efforts to spread the message about this inspirational production!

On opening day my family and I went to see “God’s Not Dead.” We went there not being sure of what to expect, and were we blown away!

First of all, the theater filled up faster than any other movie we had ever been to see before. The usher actually had to announce that we were not to put our belongings on the seats as it was expected to be a sold-out show (which it was, to my knowledge) and all seats were needed.

As we sat there waiting for the movie to start, we watched, as for the first time, other movie goers talking with one another, sharing stories of other movie experiences they’ve had, sharing smiles and laughs, and just enjoying themselves. We even had a delightful conversation with the lady and her daughter beside us.

Once the movie started all was silent, and it was then that I realized for the first time in my life (that) I was in a non-church setting with a room full of like-minded and -hearted people who loved God, too. My heart felt overwhelmed. I even glanced toward the ceiling and smiled and silently whispered, “This is all for Your glory, Lord.”

As the movie began to unfold you could hear all of us in the audience verbally responding to the movie. During scenes of shock, you’d hear gasping, and during scenes ofimage5 excitement, you could hear loud cheering and clapping. There were even moments when the audience was reciting known Christian verses out loud with the characters – that nearly brought tears to my eyes. It was probably the first time at a movie that my eyes didn’t leave the screen for a moment; I was actually part of the movie.

When the movie came to an end, as most movie-goers will nearly stampede to leave, people actually stayed in their seats and continued with the conversations they began before the movie, and it was late by then. Some started conversations about the movie and how they felt. Others said how nice the conversation and movie was and wished the person next to them God’s blessings (you could hear many saying, “Have a wonderful night and God bless!”).

All the way home my family and I talked about the movie and how much it had changed us, even though we were already lifelong Christians. I personally felt moved beyond what I thought possible by the movie. The actors did a fantastic job and were very believable in their roles. Kevin Sorbo most of all did an outstanding job to the point that I actually had to Google him to find out if he really was an atheist or not. I had seen him in “Hercules” and in “Abel’s Field” and always thought he must be a super-nice guy in real life because you can see it in his acting, but, his role in “God’s Not Dead” made me question whether or not his niceness in the other roles really was “just good acting” or not.

hadeelAlso, I absolutely loved Paul Kwo and Hadeel Sittu’s roles in the film. To have characters who have such strict fathers like that and still stand up for their new-found beliefs – the moment at the end of the movie when Paul Kwo said what he said to Shane Harper, I couldn’t help but clap and cheer out loud! It was the best movie experience I personally have ever had.

All the actors and actresses gave epic performances, and to know that for all of them (I assume) it really wasn’t acting at all, that they all really love God, makes the movie that much better. In fact, just a couple days after seeing the movie I felt God’s presence STRONGLY directing me to create a Facebook page in honor of Him and His movie. So, as God guided my fingers across the keys, I was His instrument in creating the Facebook page, God’s Not Dead Movement and on Twitter, too (https://twitter.com/GNDMovement).

When God asks you to do something one must not say “no.” Also, after having talked about it, my family and I are firmly planning to see “God’s Not Dead” again in the godsnotdead-hat-1coming weekends. We were moved and inspired and STILL feel the power of the movie. We also decided to buy one of the “God’s Not Dead” baseball caps, as the t-shirts were sold out, in order to further promote the movie as well as the soundtrack.

We truly hope that this will be a movie that will live through the ages, and (that) generations from now will know this movie and share it with their families.

I thank all those who have taken the time to read this review, and I wish each and every one of you God’s very best blessings for all time!

(Images courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” Movie)

Advertisements

If you only see one film this year, God’s Not Dead is it!

April 16, 2014 3 comments

GND_OfficialPoster-2I have to date seen Kevin Sorbo’s faith-based runaway cinematic blockbuster, “God’s Not Dead,” three times, including its premier on Friday, March 21. This captivating film absorbed my attention like few others, not simply due to Sorbo’s presence, although, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have watched it otherwise, but also because of its tight script, excellent performances, great message for believers and non-believers and intelligent discourse.

Sorbo’s portrayal of the antagonist Professor Jeffrey Radisson, an atheist philosophy college instructor at Hadleigh University, was absolutely stellar and kevin sorboOscar-worthy, particularly juxtaposed against Shane Harper’s protagonist Josh Wheaton, the naïve Christian college freshman who dares to question Radisson in front of his class in a proverbial David and Goliath showdown. Wheaton versus Radisson was the perfect “lamb led to slaughter” metaphor, yet, it was so much more.

Allow me to elaborate: The confident Radisson enters his class’s first day, stating that he wishes to “bypass senseless debate altogether and jump to the conclusion that every sophomore‘s already aware of: There is no God.” He requires that his students complete the papers he allotted with “three little words, ‘God is dead.’” Wheaton refuses, maintaining that he is a Christian. Radisson challenges him to three, 20-minute classroom debates during which he must prove God’s existence based on the class’s consensus or fail 30% of his grade.  Wheaton accepts the task to the dismay of his girlfriend Kara (Cassidy Gifford) and his parents, and stealthily progresses citing science, theology and philosophy thanks to great advice from the college’s Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) who says, “Don’t try to be clever – be content to tell the truth.”

shaneWhile Wheaton wrestles with his dilemma, several subplots unfold like a finely-woven tapestry. We see Martin Yip (Paul Kwo), a young Chinese classmate of Wheaton’s who telephones his father in China to discuss what he witnesses and thinks about God; Amy (Trisha LaFache), a liberal blogger who tries to catch popular “Duck Dynasty” television stars Willie and Korie Robertson unawares during an impromptu interview about their program and faith and later learns that she has cancer; Ayisha (Hadeel Sittu), a Muslim student whose father disowns her after discovering her conversion to Christianity; Radisson’s Christian girlfriend Mina (Cory Oliver) who struggles with their differences as well as her mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease and materialistic, successful brother Mark (Dean Cain), who disavows them and his girlfriend Amy; and discouraged Pastor Dave and upbeat Pastor Jude (Benjamin Ochieng) trying desperately despite car malfunctions to visit Florida’s Disney World. These culminate in an excellent concert appearance by the famed Christian rock group, The Newsboys.

Confused? You won’t be after seeing this amazing film shot in Baton Rouge, LA, that has audiences buzzing and box offices booming.

“God’s Not Dead,” written by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon and directed by Harold Cronk, opened in only 780 theaters nationwide and garnered a per screen average of nearly $12,000.00, ranking fourth of all movies released the weekend ending Sunday, March 23, according to its production company, Pure Flix Entertainment. This made the controversial 113-minute flick that poses the question: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?” an all-time high for wide-release Christian films per screen average. The incredible reception prompted Pure Flix and Freestyle Releasing, the company that oversees the “God’s Not Dead” distribution, to increase the number of theatrical showings to over 1,800 as of this writing, and begin international distribution.

Is it really that good?

Yes!

Sorbo surpasses his Grace Award-winning performance as Ben Walker in Jenkins Entertainments’ faith-based movie, “What If…,” by achieving the complete antithesis of image5his personal Christian core. He smirks, chides, condescends, attacks and arrogantly defends his atheism. Radisson is a smug college professor poised to Chair the Philosophy Department, and Sorbo not only perfectly nails the role, but goes beyond what some perceive as “the evil atheist stereotype” by making him human.

Following Radisson’s initial classroom confrontation with Wheaton, he realizes that the devout freshman is a threat and stops him after class. He menacingly declares that, “In that classroom there is a God and I’m Him.” Then he promises to ruin Wheaton’s future if he continues with the challenge. Sorbo is so convincing that I thought to myself, “Man, I’d hate to be on the wrong end of his anger!”

Wheaton seemingly wins the first discussion via colorful multi-media presentations and rhetoric, but Radisson crushes him handily. Wheaton is dumfounded.

The challenge progresses as Wheaton’s confidence increases when he successfully counters his professor’s previous points. He matures from boy to man, and Radisson begins to flounder. Subsequent to this second debate, Wheaton privately implores, “What happened to you?” whereupon Radisson outlines his past. Sorbo doesn’t miss a beat verbally, emotionally or physically with his response, and his sensitive portrayal of a man who abandoned his faith is evident when he quotes scripture, immediately instilling pathos for his well-researched character.

GND_Press6-2The third encounter is not unexpectedly the best. Radisson, having just faced another negative life-changing moment, manifests his anger toward Wheaton, and, in a wonderful scene that I consider to be Sorbo’s acting pinnacle so far, looms behind Wheaton in the elevator on the way to class and ominously hisses like Eden’s snake that he has changed the setting, presumably in his favor. Wheaton, pale and shaken, doesn’t acquiesce. Instead, he fights back harder and finally demands of Radisson, “How can you hate someone if they don’t exist?”

I expected Sorbo’s passionate reply to be the film’s denouement, but, surprisingly, it was not… Suffice to say that I was saddened by certain outcomes, but, gladdened that there was so much more, including the subplots’ conclusions and the final, glorious message of “God’s Not Dead.”

A few points: I wish Sorbo’s character had been further developed with the focus directed more on Radisson and his past than the many c4f15652ff5ad0622dcbd1bf49338d5eCropsubplots; I understand the blogger character with cancer because the subject is one with which people identify, especially coming to God at that time, but her relevance to the story seemed forced; Radisson’s girlfriend Mina seemed out of place and stiff, almost like she was an afterthought; some of the most heart-wrenching scenes, perhaps because I experienced this personally, were with the Alzheimer’s mother that brought me to tears within the film’s first 15 minutes.

“God’s Not Dead” is an excellent Christian movie for the whole family and all of your friends. If you only see one film this year, “God’s Not Dead” is it!

(Images courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” movie)

God’s Not Dead: I personally experienced persecution for religion

April 2, 2014 1 comment

Marta from Texas provided an interesting perspective in her great review of “God’s Not Dead.” Many thanks, Marta!

I LOVED the movie, “God’s Not Dead,” and cannot thank Kevin and Sam Sorbo enough for standing up for their beliefs against the Hollywood hypocrisy.

I was very fortunate that several movie theaters showed “God’s Not Dead” during opening weekend. Coincidentally, it was also our wedding anniversary weekend. The movie made our anniversary weekend special.

1622670_746743735346156_1178149111_nIt was the most inspiring movie I have ever seen. Growing up in a religious family behind the Iron Curtain, I personally experienced persecution for religion. We had to hide our faith or face life-altering consequences, such as the inability to attend college or get a job. I often got in trouble in school for attending church. I am sharing these personal details about myself, because it explains why I was able to relate to the story and Josh’s character.

I found the movie extremely well-written (and) full of surprises and occasional humor. I was laughing one minute and crying another.

The actors did a superb job portraying the characters. Kevin Sorbo as Professor Radisson was just as scary as any mean university professor while showing a softer side in paulthe powerful scenes when his Christian past was revealed. Shane Harper was amazing as the determined college student. One of my favorite characters was the Chinese exchange student, Martin Yip (Paul Kwo), as his religious beliefs developed.

The ending of the movie was very unexpected.

I believe that moviegoers of every faith and those without faith will be challenged by this movie to evaluate or re-evaluate their faith. The central message of the importance of choice in the matter of religious beliefs especially resonated with me because of my past experiences.

Overall, I would recommend this movie to all ages, all faiths, all backgrounds.

(Images and video courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” movie)

God’s Not Dead: Kevin Sorbo deserves an Oscar for this one!

March 29, 2014 2 comments

GND468x60bannerA

This awesome review is from Tracey in Michigan. Love it, Tracey! And I agree… Kevin deserves an Oscar!!

I saw “God’s Not Dead” the day after it opened. (The theater) was packed and I was afraid I wouldn’t find a seat for my 10-year-old granddaughter and myself.  10156911_10203481938399022_1536303717_nA young lady stood up and waved at me to come on up the aisle to sit with her and her father. They moved the whole row down to make room for us. That just amazed me that so many were willing to make sure everyone had a seat and was able to view the movie.

It is so true that those who do not wish to believe in a higher power are trying to change America. Our forefathers founded this nation on freedom of speech and religion in our First Amendment rights decades ago.

This movie brings all that into question for the believer and the non-believer. When a young college student (Shane Harper) challenges a professor (Kevin Sorbo) about a written statement he wanted the whole class to write, this young man stood his ground and said no.

image3The professor decides to give the student 20 minutes in the next three classes to prove there is a God because he wanted to crush the young student for being a Christian. Something that the professor had deep-rooted from his youth caused this hatred to burn its fire in his heart and soul.

As a result of the truth being told to the class and demonstrated by the young student, they were able to choose for themselves what was true and what was not.

My granddaughter said, “Grandma, how come people don’t know that God is real?” I told her because they choose not to, honey. It is called free will. God gave us that choice when Jesus died on the cross. He gave the Gentiles a chance to be adopted into the covenant of Abraham along with the Jewish believers. I am so thankful he did.

All I can say is God bless America, and pray it returns to morals that were first instilled in all of us.

This is a powerful movie, and if you have any young adults starting college, then this is something they really need to see before starting and selecting their classes.

l am so happy that this film came this year; so many are trying to remove God from our country. America was founded on the freedom of speech and religion.

God bless the actors for taking on this challenge. Kevin Sorbo deserves an Oscar for this one!

(Images and video courtesy of “God’s Not Dead”)

God’s Not Dead: A positive message that left you upbeat at the end

March 25, 2014 2 comments

hercules-god-is-deadKevin Sorbo’s recent film, “God’s Not Dead,” is an amazing work with a great script, fantastic acting, Christian values and a wholesome message. It is powerfully moving, and elicits laughter and tears for many reasons.

I wish to feature fan reviews as well as my own to shed light on this wonderful production, give Kevin the recognition he so overwhelmingly deserves, and urge you to see it if at all possible. Also, I, as well as Christians everywhere, want to send a message to Hollywood and the world over that we want more films like this!

Here is the first review from Susan Murphy, a writer in WA, who kindly gave permission to post this. Thank you so much, Susan!

I had a chance to go see a really good, family-friendly movie this weekend called, “God’s Not Dead.” The writer in me wishes they had cut back on at least two of the side story lines to better focus on the main premise and character development.

But, that said… it was so nice to see a movie that didn’t swear at you constantly, that had an intelligent script, some great acting – particularly by Kevin Sorbo, who convincingly played a character that was the absolute antithesis of who he is as a Christian – and a positive message that left you upbeat at the end.

There was one line in particular that really stood out for me. When one character (played by Dean Cain) asks his mom who has dementia what all he5a4056074d32934a7411f60cbb20916dr praying has gotten her (he’s rich, powerful and successful without having any faith), she replies: “Sometimes Satan allows a person a life without trouble so that they won’t turn to God.” I never really considered that take before, but it makes complete sense to me.

So, if you’re looking for a movie you can actually take your kids (ages 9 and up) to without worrying what they’re going to see or hear, go see “God’s Not Dead.” We need to show Hollywood that movies like this CAN be wildly successful, and perhaps they’ll start to think about making more like them (rather than “Noah,” which, aside from the main character’s name, apparently has nothing to do with God or Noah).

Please read a more detailed, extensive review entitled, “God’s Not Dead — Much to Hollywood’s Surprise,” on Susan’s awesome An Average American Conservative blog: http://anavgamericanconservative.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/gods-not-dead-much-to-hollywoods-surprise/

(Images courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” movie)

Put Kevin Sorbo back on TV! Another Bobby Cannon review…

March 7, 2014 7 comments

Continuing my quest to get our beloved Kevin Sorbo (Hercules in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and Captain Dylan Hunt in “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda“) back on TV, here’s my review of his fantastic 2005 pilot, “Bobby Cannon”… Enjoy!

Bobby CannoBobbyCannon1n” is a long-lost, almost-happened television situation comedy (sitcom) pilot starring Kevin Sorbo, Kate Walsh, Rocky Carroll and Kevin Michael Richardson in an excellent ensemble cast comparable to “Seinfeld” that networks and cable stations ignored back in 2005. Pity… it’s not only their loss, but also the viewers’ who won’t see this well-acted, funny show come to fruition.

Written and directed by Barry Kemp, the genius behind “Coach,” “Newhart” and “Taxi,” its premise follows a popular, aging National FootballBobbyCannon3 League (NFL) star quarterback, Bobby Cannon (Sorbo), who owns an eponymous bar and is well-loved by his many fans. A book publisher contracts him to pen his memoirs, but the writer, London (Walsh), isn’t thrilled about her assignment because she has different ideas about what makes a great book, and self-absorbed, egomaniac athletes like Cannon isn’t one of them.

BobbyCannon8The two stereotypical, dichotomous, yet engaging characters – he, a sports jock and she, a book geek – eventually meet on common ground following the current NFL draft of a new, young quarterback, Dallas (Thad Luckinbill), who will presumably replace Cannon about which the star knew nothing until he, London and his bar patrons witness the draft on his bar’s TV. And whereas London has sought the “valleys” (low points) in Cannon’s charmed life in order to create a more sellable book, he disavows anything until clean-cut, virgin Dallas visits the bar to shake hands and even “carry the jock strap” of his football idol.

Cannon cannot relate to nor accept Dallas and leaves the bar in a huff. London delivers a compelling speech about camaraderie following his exit, stating that “An American icon has fallen. A man who has never lost anything has suddenly lost everything.” Then she appears at his door…BobbyCannon26

What ensues is typically described by TV critics as “sexual tension” as the pair meanders through verbal volleys and innuendo that, frankly, leave me wanting more… Are you listening, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CABLE STATIONS???

Yes, Cannon is a self-absorbed, womanizing, seemingly shallow egomaniac, but he is also a very real person. We see his public persona in the bar, not unlike athletic and celebrity stars of today, but his humanness surfaces when London invades his personal space and forces him to admit tBobbyCannon31hat perhaps she is right when she maintains, “You said you didn’t want to write a last chapter that ends like this… …This book could make millions of people feel better about themselves… People think you’re invincible, and they’re mere mortals. This proves that you’re no different…”

Sorbo is well-cast, and in many ways seems to take shots at his own career and life, such as women perpetually fawning all over him, his having been an all-star athlete (excelling in football, basketball, baseball and golf), and possibly having to step aside in Hollywood in favor of younger action heroes. He, like Cannon, writes an autobiography (True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal–and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life). I wonder: Did Sorbo choose Bobby Cannon or vice versa?

Great performances by the supporting cast led by Carroll as Cannon’s and Dallas’ agent and Richardson as Lincoln, Cannon’s biggest supporter and former teammate, help solidify this pilot’s tight script and ensure its flawless, even flow. I particularly like the interaction between Sorbo and Richardson because they’re just two guys hanging out at the bar… old friends who are very loyal to each other.BobbyCannon36

“Bobby Cannon” also offers interesting sets, costumes and props that appropriately define the show. Everything fits like a finely-crafted puzzle, especially Cannon’s automated-via-remote-control apartment from which London cannot escape when she tries to work the remote, and instead ignites the fireplace, activates romantic music and dims the lights. She then declares, “God, I’m seducing myself! How do you work this thing?!”

Sure, “Bobby Cannon” might be a throwback from the mid- to late-1970s and later sitcoms, reminiscent of womanizing characters like Fonzi (Henry Winkler) in “Happy Days” and Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta) in “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Some reviewers compare it to “Cheers.” I understand and appreciate those points, but don’t see them negatively. Ideally, I don’t care about any of that! And, even if they’re correct, is that so bad? I love those shows that were hits for many years!

Some might even say that Kevin Sorbo’s “Bobby Cannon” may by today’s standards need some tweaking to accommodate the current politically correct crowd since it was first filmed in 2005, that it’s too sexist or no longer relevant for sensitive audiences. Oh, please… Based on its entertaining pilot,“Bobby Cannon” would be a welcome, refreshing change from the dreadful, formulaic sitcoms and banal rehashing of useless reality show tripe that unfortunately plague our viewing choices.

BobbyCannon40“Bobby Cannon” is a great project with stellar leads, an amazing supporting cast and a tight script. And maybe Sorbo’s current status is slightly beyond believability as an active, aging quarterback, but perhaps the story could be altered for him to be, say, a former star who is now a quarterback coach whose job is on the line unless he delivers? And maybe Cannon’s ego still sees him as the star so that when Dallas arrives as his equal or better, the story continues from there?

I believe that however this pilot could be updated, and should this excellent program ever be produced, Kevin Sorbo would bring hiBobbyCannon44s usual exciting energy, enthusiasm, humor, honesty, sheer joy of acting and perfect yet grossly underrated comedic timing to create another award-winning sitcom in Barry Kemp’s stable.

I, for one, would absolutely watch and record every single moment of “Bobby Cannon” because, well, it’s KEVIN FREAKIN’ SORBO who is an incredible, underrated, under-used actor… But also because this interesting, funny, skillfully written and acted program would be well worth my time and efforts to enjoy again and again and again…

Catch the “Bobby Cannon” trailer here:

(Screen caps by Jan; video courtesy of Teresa)