Sunday, March 30, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: God's Not Dead

 Pure Flix Entertainment

The trailers have 
been awesome.
But the reviews 
have been awful.
So, what gives?
1 ticket for 
"God's Not Dead," 


This certainly should come as no shock to anyone with eyes to see, or ears to hear. Nor should the fact that director Harold Cronk's new film God's Not Dead already was being pelted by "rotten tomatoes" before it even arrived in theaters on March 21st. Writing for Variety, Scott Foundas commented that the film is "about as subtle as a stack of Bibles falling on your head." I notice that "subtle" is never a concern of critics when Hollywood produces such dubious delights as Bad Santa, Bad Grandpa or Bad Teacher. But I was intrigued by this movie's trailers — the story seemed compelling, the cast looked impressive, and Newsboys were to play a key role. Count me in! 

Shane Harper as Josh Wheaton
"God's Not Dead is the most 
impactful statement of faith 
that I've seen on film!"
-Bryan Dumas
(Author / Band Director at Word 
of  Life Center - Shreveport, LA)

Kevin Sorbo as Professor Radisson
Simply put, God's Not Dead delivers — in spades. Despite some occasional clunky dialogue and a few slightly awkward performances, the story was as riveting, relevant and real as I had hoped it would be.

The film's centerpiece — the tension between the naïve Christian college freshmen, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), and his insensitive agnostic philosophy professor, Jeffrey Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), is compelling, to be sure. However, the multiple real life side stories of people struggling in toxic relationships, battling terminal illness, and their individual pursuits of spiritual truth is where God's Not Dead delivers a payoff of biblical proportions.

Trisha LaFache as Amy
The movie also boasts many stellar performances. David A.R. White offers the audience a warm hug as Pastor Dave, while "SupermanDean Cain is perfectly unlikable as Mark, a shameless, greed-driven egomaniac. But God's Not Dead also packs plenty of "curb appeal."  sparkles like a diamond as Amy, a career-focused Internet journalist, while sizzles as Radisson's love interest, Mina and is superb as Ayisha, a sheltered Muslim teen who ultimately gives her life to Christ.

Newsboys as Newsboys
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit that I haven't been moved this profoundly by a film since I first saw Old Yeller — back in '68! And I'm not alone in my enthusiastic assessment. After the film's first week of release, listed the "Viewer Score" for God's Not Dead at an impressive 89%. Yet, the "Critic Score" was a dismal 16%, 'cuz you know that the "smart" people certainly aren't going to ingest this much Jesus factor, without gagging — loudly. 

In sum, God's Not Dead — Matinee ticket: $4. Popcorn: $3. Seeing a modern-day, big-budget, faith-based epic that showcases Newsboys — live onstage, wearing matching tailored suits and ties: PRICELESS!

-Christopher Long
(March 2014)

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