Archive for June, 2018

Do You Believe?

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When I watch a Christian movie, I try not to give it a ‘free pass’ just because I am a Christian.

If you took the time to make a movie that you think should be worth my cold hard cash, it had better be worth my cold, hard cash.

I want good writing, believable characters, and plausible action. I want to enjoy the proceedings and not have to say “come on” to myself.

I do not want to question the shaky philosophy, I do not want to deal with over the top evil characters, and the Christians better not be complete saints.

Just as I believe film makers shouldn’t cut corners on family movies, Christian movies should be well done. Fart jokes and characters who are stereotypes need to be put away.

Do-you-believe-So when my church decided to show Do You Believe? I was filled with dread. The title alone signaled that it was a Christian movie with a big ‘C.’ My fear is that the movie would be pompous and unbearable.

I hate those kind of movies.

But I wanted to be fair.

The movie works into the stories of the homeless mom, a gangsta wannabee, the couple dealing with the loss of their only child, a pastor and his wife facing infertility, a vet going through PTSD, a pregnant teen, and a woman who tries to commit suicide. The toughest story is of a paramedic who is trying to comfort a dying man with his faith. But the problem is the dying man is a humanist who does not believe in God.

This puts the paramedic on shaky ground with his work and his wife, a nurse at the hospital. They worry about his job although he wants to be true to his faith. They go to the church lead by our preacher who has an experience with a street preacher carrying a cross. Our preacher is asked if he believes in the cross, how is he living it?

And that leads to a sermon which inspires a number of people in our story to live their faith, to develop faith, to live once more.

Do You Believe still ted Mcginley

Ted McGinley

The performances of this movie are well done whether it is big name people such as Lee Majors, Cybil Shepard, and Mira Sorvino or other people I have never heard of. They are balanced and sincere. The stories played out well. Even the big event that causes a chain reaction of disasters feels organic.

What doesn’t feel organic is the performance of the humanist characters. The husband and wife team feel angry and resentful about God, and it feels over the top. We don’t get a reason or a true explanation as we do for other characters who have reason to doubt God. It paints them in a corner that feels unfair.

This was my only true problem with the movie. Otherwise, this is one of those movies that’s good but not great.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Ocean’s Eight

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I love a good caper movie.

I love it when everything works, bringing surprises in the end to a happy conclusion.

And when I first saw the trailer for Ocean’s Eight last year I knew I wanted to see it.

Sandra Bullock has gone from that slightly insecure but highly competent girl to someone in total control of her life. She is cooler than cool, even while walking down a New York city street with a simple ponytail on her head.

Her partner in crime is Cate Blanchette, a multi-award winning actress who is a night club owner that likes to water down her vodka.

After serving five years for a crime she alone did not commit, Debbie Ocean is looking for some money, something that will keep her happy for years to come.

Ocean needs help and soon that team is assembled from the most competent female masters of crime in NYC. And if they get a little more out of the deal than they bargained for, well, that’s all right.

This is a movie that is stylish and keen on the job they are about to complete. The women look great no matter what style of dress they employ.

As much as I liked this movie – and I really wanted to like it – there was something missing. These women were so good at what they do but there seemed to be missing some key chemistry. I didn’t buy all of the friendships. I didn’t feel enough camaraderie amongst the women. But nor did I see how some would not get along or their lives picked to death by their co-horts.

What worked was the pieces of the crime and how they all fell into place. That part was quite enjoyable as different characters began to shine, especially when faced with an arranged marriage. But it would have been great to see some of them, if not all, to have a more human touch.

In any case, my daughter and I really enjoyed this movie. At no point did either of us feel embarrassed by anything going on the screen. We have come across movies or TV show that we thought we would enjoy and it turned out we were both hugely embarrassed.

That wasn’t this movie. We really enjoyed it and I got a kick out of the soundtrack. There were jazz pieces, and classical bits that sounded fresh and revived. It is definitely a girl friend movie. But it also makes you think what would one plan for if they had five years to do it.

I hate using the word ‘revelation’ because it is a sloppy and lazy word. But that is what Sandra Bulock, in this role of a very thoughtful and confident woman. Sarah Paulsen also standouts as the woman who can organize anything. If she was real, I would pay her to organize my life.

Would I go see this movie again? Absolutely, because no woman or man can resist the charm of our characters as they pull of more that we expected while being exceedingly cool.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

One of my most favorite movies of all time in The Incredibles.

The Incredibles IMDb com

Image from

I don’t mean favorite animated movie or favorite family movie.

I meant what I said that this is one of my favorite movies of all time.

It is almost a perfect movie. You could ask me next week and I might say it is a perfect movie.

The story is about a family who are secretly supers. They each have special powers and abilities. Super strength, super stretchiness, super speed, and super energy control. They have to hide their super powers after various lawsuits against supers go badly.

Bob works in an insurance company as a claims adjuster who tries to hard to make claims go through. The problem is his boss wants them to not go through and save money for the shareholders.

It doesn’t help that life, after being a super, is kinda boring. Go to work, have supper, clean up, go to bed, do it all over again. You can wait for something exciting to happen or make it happen. Bob makes a decision that will cause excitement in his life. But it is a decision that will fully impact his family.

What makes this movie one of the greats is that nearly every scene is capable of being a stand alone moment. These are perfectly captured moments of human emotion. The feeling of being left behind, of not being able to use your skills to their full abilities, of loving life in the moment, of being afraid or happy or joyful.

It doesn’t hurt that the action scenes are well choreographed and interesting. How a super can move, depending on their abilities, is fascinating. From the Fro-zone to the baby’s developing skills, we see just one these suits can do to protect the wear. What is more interesting is seeing the children discover their power and abilities.

It is also the comic touches that make this movie great. The heaviness of the movie is lightened time and again which keeps an audience engaged. The scene in which Bob visits the superhero costume designer is classic for the character’s persona. Her subsequent visit from Helen is another exercise of comic explanation of super suits.

I find myself laughing and crying and smiling within each scene. There are many times that I marvel at the ease and beauty of the animation and the music that accompanies each scene to set the emotion. I like that we know each character really well, that we understand their motivations.

We don’t always get that in a movie like this. We barely learn a person’s reasoning for doing their actions or hiding rational reasons. Some characters remain a mystery. But not in this movie.

I would watch it whenever it showed up on TV, because it is just that good. And with the new sequels about to show up, it is always good to have back up information about the new movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.