It’s time for a film about overcoming the hurdles and problems in your life so the title is certainly very appropriate. It’s definitely a solid movie and probably one of the only track and field titles I’ve gotten to check out. It’s definitely a tough sport as you’re really all alone and can only go as far as your body can take you. In that ways it has to be one of the sports with the fewest variables. You’re either fast enough to pull this off or you aren’t.

The movie starts with John getting excited because his Basketball team should be ready to go all the way next year. Unfortunately that dream is quickly taken away as the school isn’t doing very well with funding and jobs are drying up so everyone ends up leaving the school. John doesn’t really have a Basketball program anymore and so Principal Olivia tells him to coach up Track and Field now. There’s only one person who tried out for the team though, Hannah. John isn’t thrilled about this because 1 person does not make a team…except he’s then reminded that you only need 1 person for Track. Hannah has asthma though which is a significant hurdle to winning and John just isn’t very motivated right now. Can they both overcome these issues to win this thing?

So at first John may not be the most supportive but I’d say the film writes him well. He’s not being completely unreasonable or rude or anything like that. He just really was crushed because he’s taught Basketball all his life and finally had a chance at winning. It’s easy to see why he would be a little dismayed right now. I would also say he turns to taking Track pretty seriously before too long so it’s also not like he was out of it for half the film. By the time he met with Thomas at the hospital I’d say John had started to settle into his role as coach.

Learning tips from an ex-runner was a really good way for him to help coach up Hannah too. Thomas also helped John reawaken his Christianity. While John had never left per say, Thomas showed him that this wasn’t quite as high up in his priorities as it should have been. It took John a while to say that he was a Christian for example. From there on John started praying more and things got better there. He even tried running with the team a bit although that’s one trial he probably doesn’t need to subject himself to more than once.

John’s wife Amy is always very supportive as well. She does her best to encourage him with the Track and Field program and also tries to cheer up Hannah. It’s always good to have someone in your corner and just her presence certainly made things easier on John. Principal Olivia was also a solid character. Now she couldn’t help as directly most of the time because of her position but she would at least try to sow some seeds to help things work out. She talked with Hannah, warned the leads that Hannah’s grandmother Barbara might try to stop them, etc.

As for Barbara, she’s the main antagonist here but definitely another reasonable one. She had to live first-hand with how Thomas wrecked their lives. He had a rough history involving drugs and so it’s not super easy to forgive that. Even though he says that he’s better now and is in a condition where he can’t do any more damage, it’s just hard to forgive and forget. So she really tried to keep Hannah away from him to the point where she told the girl that her father was dead. That way they would likely never meet and if not for the coincidence of John meeting Thomas in the hospital it wouldn’t have even happened. Barbara planned well in that respect.

Then you have Thomas who is in a serious condition at the hospital. He’s lost his eyesight and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of time left to live. He’s introduced as a very nice but lonely guy from the start. He doesn’t have any visitors at the hospital. Mix that in with the fact that he can no longer see and it’s really been a tough experience for him. It’s hard to even imagine having to live like that for a long period of time. Nobody to talk to and nothing to see? Yeah the film did not hold back at all with his trials here. Fortunately he was able to find God and became a Christian so while his life has been a really rough one, he’ll get to finally experience the joy he missed in Heaven.

He also got to meet up with Hannah before dying so he had some good memories to end life with. These times were brief but at least it happened. It would have been a little too tragic if he had parted before that could happen. As for Hannah, she naturally has a tough time with this as well. It’s difficult to live your whole life thinking your father’s dead only to find out he’s been around the whole time. The hospital even seems to be fairly close. Ultimately she does decide to talk rather than bottling it all in and this helps her be a better person. During the film there was a bit of a subplot where she’s a thief and this helps her break away from that.

Once Hannah becomes a Christian she stops stealing things altogether. The plot didn’t really add anything to the film so I sort of feel like it could have been cut out though. I think the whole plot was only here so we could have some objective way to see how she was acting better now. The concept behind that is good but it was just treated like such a minor thing throughout the film that I feel like it could have been removed. Ultimately all of the characters are in a better place by the end of the film than when they started.

Overall, Overcomer is a pretty solid film. The ending might make you a bit sad for one of the runners just with how things turned out though. It’s always best to win or lose right at the results screen but when your really think you’ve won, only to have it taken back a few minutes later definitely stings. I would have just made the winner immediate to avoid that. If you’re looking for a solid film of inspiration then this is a good one to pick up. It’s certainly got its sad moments but on the whole it’s a light hearted film that should fill you with good vibes.

Ben Hur (2003)

It’s definitely been many years since I saw this film so it was time to give it the re watch. The story of Ben Hur is always a classic and this retelling was really solid. It definitely feels nostalgic with how long it’s been and the animation holds up quite well. It tells the story in a really streamlined way so you get the key parts while still keeping the runtime fairly short.

The movie starts off with Ben’s old friend Messala finally coming back to town. It’s been several years so Ben is thrilled to see him, but unfortunately Messala has changed quite a lot. The guy now works for the roman empire and will even cheat at little things like a race. Fortunately Ben sees this coming and was able to win anyway. I was glad about that because losing to a cheater like that would have been quite sad. Throughout the intro Messala keeps on bragging and trying to get Ben to join him.

The film leaves no doubt from the start that Messala will be the big villain here. He even takes Ben into custody on false charges where Ben has to work for years of hard labor. With his family gone and his wealth/power stripped away, Ben will now have to really look deep within himself to find out the next steps. Should he look for revenge? Live in peace? Try to find his family? Ben has a lot of options here but will have to choose very carefully.

Fortunately Ben was blessed to meet with a lot of reasonable people throughout his journey. He got to live in a rather good environment after being washed ashore which ended up happening as a direct result of Ben refusing to kill and being a loyal ally through and through. Ben always gives everyone a fair shake and it works out here. He’s just a nice guy who follows the rules and ultimately does well during crunch time. Only at one time is he tempted for revenge by joining the army and ultimately doesn’t go through with it.

Not to say that joining the army would be bad of course but it’s clear that at that point he was quite upset and needed to calm down. Ben had been through quite a lot by this point. Fortunately he was able to meet up with Jesus Christ on two occasions who showed him the true meaning of compassion. From then on Ben had a renewed energy about himself. His journey certainly would not have had a happy ending without this faith.

Esther is the main heroine here and while she means well, I do think she made the wrong call in lying to Ben about his family being dead. Even though it was a direct order from them, it’s still not the kind of thing you should do there. A lie even with good intentions ultimately has a way of bouncing back and causing all sorts of trouble. It’s why you also shouldn’t pressure someone to lie on your behalf since it places a big burden on them. The burden of information can be a heavy one and so just because you know something doesn’t mean that you should automatically spread it around so much.

At least once the truth was out in the open then they could all be a family again. Ben’s family also did well in enduring their hardships for as long as they did without any complaints. They really didn’t want Ben to worry. While Messala was the main villain here, we also had the corrupt kind. I think the film may have gone a little too far with making him sound so whiny though. I know it’s to show that this villain wouldn’t last long and was outmatched but I think you should still make them sound tough so that you can sense the danger they’re in.

That’s why I enjoyed Messala. Ultimately he got what was coming to him but in the meantime he was portrayed as a serious threat. First he tried to get Ben on his side and then after that he did everything that he could to tear him down. You could tell Messala was evil to the core here and so he was not going to hold back. Anything he could do to put Ben in a bad spot was something he was going to do right away. He had no doubts on that.

This film also directly has Jesus Christ appear which is cool. A lot of times you don’t see films actually go this far as to have the characters witness the true events of the Bible. I can understand why many would be hesitant of course. You don’t want to do anything that directly alters the timeline or changes events but if you do it like in this film then there’s no real risk. It’s not like Ben is suddenly giving speeches to the masses or having a lengthy conversation with Jesus. This is a nice way to just have him see what’s happening though. It’s also something that would be good to normalize as a main character in a movie witnessing any historical event.

Ben also learned a lot from these experiences. He would have died had Jesus not come to his aid in the first meeting and then later on he got to learn more about the Bible and really become a Christian. It was a good way to connect everything together and to also directly have those Christian elements in the film. Ben Hur is a film that was not beating around the bush and that’s a very good thing. It ultimately adds some extra depth to the film. It takes a lot more courage to make this up front than to be subtle after all and what’s more up front than having Jesus appear in the flesh?

Overall, Ben Hur was a solid title. I dare say that I even preferred it to the live action version. The film effectively streamlines everything so you get the main points and nothing drags on. It’s also a bit more of a toned down version so you can really enjoy the horse races more. In general I prefer not to see animals in the mix at all but this film does all right there. I liked the animation and even the occasional CGI shift like when the boats are approaching. It felt like something out of a video game in a nostalgic way. If you’re looking for a solid film with a good main character that you can respect, this is the title to check out. Ben Hur’s the kind of character that can serve as a role model to anyone because he goes through so much and never falters. He ultimately uses this as a chance to get closer to God and so that made all of the trials worth it.

Single White Female Review

The poster for this film is certainly ominous. Now, I’ve never been someone who was a big fan of the whole roommate concept. Sometimes you gotta do it because financially there’s no other option or you’re in a school where that’s the system. Okay fair enough. Deciding you want a stranger as a roommate for kicks/companionship? Well…that doesn’t seem like it’ll be a recipe for success and in a horror film like this one you can imagine that this is the case. (The music treats it like a horror at least)

The movie starts with Allie finding out that her boyfriend Sam is cheating on her. She kicks him out but later on he admits that it was just a mistake of passion and she ought to forgive him because he’s a nice guy. Allie refuses and says that she never will. That should be the end of the movie right then and there. Full stop, credits roll and we have a pretty bad movie but a short one. Instead, Allie decides that the place is too lonely by herself and so she advertises for a roommate. The insane Hedra shows up and Allie thinks this is a good setup. Hedra seems okay at first but she quickly begins to take control of the place, yelling at Allie and lying a whole lot. Can Allie stay safe while also entertaining the idea of getting back together with Sam?

First off, I definitely have a big problem with the whole getting back with Sam thing. Look, you can forgive him and give the guy a second chance at being a good human being. That’s fine and going further, that’s a good thing. Allowing him to become your boyfriend again is a whole other can of apples. A relationship is purely based on trust and so the instant it is broken like that, there is really no going back. Allie even mentions that she would never have known if not for the ex-wife calling and Sam basically confirms this as he admits that he wouldn’t have told her. So….what’s to stop him from having a moment of weakness again? I just don’t see how this could work.

Allie is clearly devastated by this betrayal to the point where she can’t really function without him for a bit. That’s concerning for a lot of reasons but going back to him isn’t the answer. So any scene that guy was in would definitely make me cringe. There’s really no good reason for cheating and any attempt to justify it just makes the whole thing worse and Sam tries to justify it with a straight face. Sure, I do believe him when he says he thought it was Allie at the end of the film and not the doppelganger, but it doesn’t really change anything for me. That guy was just bad.

I don’t like Allie much either for similar reasons. Aside from the whole rebounding thing, I also felt like she just let Hedra get away with too much. Allie had said no pets but quickly cracked anyway after Hedra brought a dog in. Later on Hedra insults Allie, yells, and acts like she owns the place. That’s when Allie should have kicked her out. The open flirting with Allie’s boyfriend was another red flag as well as the dog flying out the window. The instant the dog appeared I knew the film was going to take another turn for the worse as well. A dog’s mere existence in a horror film is usually the biggest death flag in all of cinema. It’s one of the aspects that will always end up holding horror films back from reaching their full potential.

Hedra? Well, she’s your average psychotic murderer. She has a hidden past that involves potentially drowning another kid although you learn the full truth behind that near the end or at least a good chunk of it. It’s reasonable to say based on how this is described that Hedra didn’t actually go that far. I was surprised at that myself but she still racks up a small body count by the end which was nearly bigger but she didn’t quite finish the job on one of them. There isn’t much to Hedra beyond that and nothing that really made her an interesting villain.

Then we have Allie’s next door neighbor Graham. He’s good, he always gives Allie some sound advice and helped as much as he could. It’s a little hard to buy how he lost to her in a fight though. Sam’s was also a little sketchy but you can pass that off as bad luck I suppose. Graham should have done better though as the whole situation was super sketchy and he was forewarned about her. That should have definitely been enough to stop her.

The climax is incredibly sloppy though. Now it’s not uncommon in horror films for the main hero/heroine to knock the villain down and instead of grabbing the gun just make a break for it but this movie does it around 4-5 times in a row which is absolutely crazy. I mean, if you have the villain on the ground then you absolutely have to grab the gun. Even if you don’t know how to fire it or something then you can toss it out the window or use it as a sledge hammer. At the absolute worst, just open the handle so all the bullets fall out. Otherwise you’re just letting the villain grab it again.

Allie could have played the whole thing way better than she did. Also, while she gets tied up off screen, presumably Allie let herself be tied up because Hedra had the gun. This is something you must never do. Okay, when the villain has a gun, the leverage is that they will shoot you if you don’t comply. If you’re in a hold up you freeze and do what they say because you’re giving them things with the expectation that you will walk out of there alive. This situation is massively different. Once you tie yourself up then the only real outcome here is that you’re going to die. You’ve just given the villain all the leverage with 0 upside to yourself. It’s better to make a break for the door and get shot in the back or (the better option) try to grab the gun and tackle the person. Sure, your odds are pretty high at dying but if you tie yourself your odds are at 100% without some plot armor to help you out.

So what I’m saying here is that you should never tie yourself up when held at gunpoint. Unless there are other hostages or something then this is just not worth it. More points away from Allie. Finally the only other character in the film is this random looney who desperately wants to force himself on Allie and there’s no reason for his inclusion except to try and give Hedra some points where she can say that Allie is too nice. I don’t think this is a case of Allie being too nice but just being way too oblivious. The guy was acting shady from the start and every line involved him flirting with her. So…staying back late at night to teach him something 1 on 1 sounds like a horrible idea from the start. This is definitely one guy where you don’t mind when Hedra confronts him because at least she’s not murdering some innocent person for once.

Overall, Single White Female is a film that is pretty unbelievable at almost every point in the story. You’re always going to be shaking your head at what is going on because it just doesn’t work. The characters range from bad to awful in most cases. The movie squeezes in animal violence for no reason and I wouldn’t exactly call the writing good. So it fails in almost every area which makes this a film you will want to skip. It’s just not worth checking out and the main message here is that Allie probably should have gone with one of the other roommates even if they seemed eccentric.

Overall 2/10

Open Water

Usually when you have a film based on true events you try to make the characters look pretty good but that’s not the case here. This film makes at least one of them look really suspect the whole time but it starts to make sense when you make it to the end of the story.

Daniel and Susan lead very busy lives so they have had a really difficult time trying to schedule any time to take a vacation with each other. Finally they are able to squeeze in a bit of time and decide to go scuba diving. They take a boat trip to the middle of the ocean since this is apparently something people like to do. I don’t get why all of these really dangerous activities became such big hobbies. Just look at mountain climbing, so many people die a year trying this but perhaps it’s the adrenaline that makes it seem worth it. Personally I’ll skip all of that and stick to my video games….

But they’re having a good time so it all seems good. Unfortunately when they come up for air the boat is gone. Unfortunately the main teacher miscounted so the boat ended up going back and there was no backup counter. Additionally when everyone disembarked nobody really paid any attention to the fact that there was still one box of supplies left. In fact, nobody even checked until the next day. There are no maintenance crews or anything since this whole set up isn’t the safest. Looks like the heroes are on their own.

It’s always tough to try and have a whole film in a really small space with no real movement. It’s incredibly tough to pull off and this film was not able to execute it. To do that you have to have top notch dialogue and incredible writing since otherwise it will get old fast. I would say this one probably got old halfway in. My main issue was really with Susan though.

She starts to panic almost immediately. From there on every single one of her lines is yelling about something or constantly being sharp with her responses to Daniel. At least he tries to think positively about what’s going on or take things in stride but she won’t have it. She just keeps on complaining for the entire length of the movie. The one time Daniel gets upset at their situation she immediately turns it on him. He put up with her antics the whole film so it felt rather petty. Then the blame game starts.

As I said, the film isn’t exactly trying to make these guys likable. Daniel was decent, at least he was taking things in stride which is a big thing for me in these thriller type films. The characters who panic just get annoying pretty fast. That’s really the extent of the film though. Not a whole lot happens as they just chat for a while as the film goes through its paces. I think you could have shortened this to around 40 minutes or so and still had the same impact.

For the debate between the characters on what to do, I do think they should have at least tried swimming in a direction. Logically I would argue your odds are slightly better than staying in place because hopefully you could at least reach some kind of object to grab onto. Whereas your odds of being spotted by a ship are the same whether you move or not. It’ll also give you something to do which can help you stay warm as opposed to being frozen in place.

Not doing anything just never seems like a good idea to me. Scientifically the odds may be close to the same but I’ll still take my chances moving. If anything they’re lucky that it wasn’t raining super hard the whole time or something. That would have definitely hurt their odds even more.

The beginning is rather slow before they get to the ocean and the actual ocean part doesn’t move the plot much so I wouldn’t give the pacing a thumbs up. In terms of action we don’t get any real shark action until near the end. That part can be a bit violent but for the most part the rest of the film is super tame. Once the sharks come up then you know you’re near the end of the film. In case you don’t know the story behind it I won’t say what the ending is.

Overall, Open Water isn’t really my kind of film. I think the only way you pull off a dialogue film like this with two characters talking to each other the whole time without moving is if it’s about some kind of very interesting topic or in an action setting with the characters strategizing. Look, I watch 10-15 hour streams of people debating One Piece power levels which is equivalent to some guys in a small room just chatting but it’s all very engaging because there’s a lot of energy in the room and everyone shouting over each other. For obvious reasons the characters don’t have that kind of energy here and aren’t even in a good mood like that either. For that reason I would say the very premise is doomed from the start. There is no way to make a film like this stay interesting for the duration of its run without some kind of extra hook. Not if you want to keep the serious tone. As a comedy…perhaps you have something here. I would say to read up on the events this film is based on instead.

Saint Seiya: Legend of Crimson Youth Review

The Saint Seiya crew returns once more for another great film. The movies have been quite consistent in quality and this one is no different. With the extended run time we also get to see quite a lot of extra action scenes here. Some characters look a little suspect of course but ultimately you are bound to have a good time.

One day Abel returns to the world. He is the god of the Sun and Athena’s long lost brother. His abilities are pretty much invincible and he also has 4 Corona Saints working for him. As a result, he says that Athena no longer needs her bronze saints to defend her. Seiya and the others are outraged at this but Athena confirms it must be this way. She doesn’t even bat an eye when the main Corona Saint beats Seiya to a pulp and even the Golden Saints who had been slain have returned to offer their allegiance.

After the Bronze Saints are gone and Athena is sure that nobody can protect her, she offers one of the worst attacks I’ve ever seen as she tries to defeat Abel. He quickly murders her and then his Corona Saints murder the only 2 Golden Saints who were brave enough to try and defend her. With Athena on her way to hell, Seiya and pals must once again don their armors in order to save her. Still, they are going up against foes who have even defeated the golden saints with ease. Do they have a chance?

I’ll go into the positives in a minute but I just have one negative with the film which is that the plot makes Athena and the Gold Saints look absolutely horrible. Athena is the main culprit here though. So her long lost brother shows up and after hanging out with him for a few hours she is ready to discard her saints entirely and just follow his rule? She doesn’t object when he beats up her friends via proxy? The guy is so corrupt it’s obvious and she seems to know it but decides not to make a move.

It’s almost worse that she decides to attack him later since we find out that she knew he was evil all along. The reason she waited is she thought Seiya and friends would get murdered by him. She should know they would try to avenge her anyway so that would be even worse. Even more so when you realize that there were 5 Gold Saints with her at the time so Seiya would have had some backup. Her plan was just nuts and she dies without even putting up a fight. Athena has to be the weakest cosmic being in the series.

Then you also have the Gold Saints bowing to these Corona guys and refusing to do anything. At least 2 of them rose up to try and defend Athena but naturally they were absolutely crushed since it was 4 against 2. It’s nice that they acted but it was too little too late. They should have been helping Seiya when he was getting pounded, particularly as it seemed like Seiya would have beaten his opponent if not for Athena stopping him.

There’s no defense for Gemini Saga and the others though. Just standing by as their allies are being beaten is the height of disgrace. Their armors should have shattered in disgust as they went to find a new owner. So the story itself feels very forced and there were many better ways to set this up. At least once we do get to Seiya and friends storming the temple then we get back on track.

Once the introductions are over then the heroes quickly march on to take these guys down. Seiya in particular looks great here since he didn’t wait for any kind of explanation and just went right to the action. Now, he was filled with self doubt so he tended to lose a whole lot here but at least he always got right back up. He’s not the kind of character to back down from a fight and he got the job done in the end.

I think fans of all the bronze saints should be satisfied here. Shiryu was the one who found out the method to save Athena and did well in taking his guy out. He even let the opponent get a false sense of security so he could confirm his theory about Athena. Hyoga flat out defeated one of the Corona Saints in a fair fight which was very impressive and was also one of the first ones to reach Abel. Of course that was partially because they let him.

Shun got beat real quick in his fight but that is to be expected. After getting saved he was at least able to assist Seiya near the end by stopping one of the opponent’s blows. It may not be perfect, but you can see some improvement with Shun. Ikki looks great here as he naturally takes his guy down. If not for a cheap shot he may have been able to do a whole lot more as well. I admit that I would have liked to have seen him take on the main villains more though.

As for the Corona Knights, they make for fun adversaries. The main one, Carina had a really good fire attack that the animators clearly had fun with. Effectively his flames burn you from the inside out so it looks like the character is expanding from the hot air. You can feel how painful that attack has to be. Others had electric wires which were also deadly and a nice variety of attacks. As with most of these films since it is a whole group introduced here it is hard to really remember any of their names in particular. Additionally their introductions are long since they also say where they are from.

That said, each villain is good. I wouldn’t say any were underwhelming. The evil Gold Saints were also good opponents even if they didn’t learn anything from their last defeats at the hands of the saints. I would have liked Gemini Saga to have done a little ore but I suppose taking on one of the Corona Knights would have to suffice. Perhaps he should have let his evil side out a bit more and then he could have really taken the fight to these guys.

The animation here was really good as you would expect. The fight scenes really shine and the armors look very sleek on the characters. Saint Seiya is one of those titles you really watch for the fun fight scenes and they always deliver. You can probably tell how most of the fights will play out since Saint Seiya is a very formulaic series but it doesn’t undercut the raw determination that each character brings to the table. The music tracks also fit right in with what’s going on.

Overall, Saint Seiya delivers with another great film. The climax even tries to go a bit more high scale than the last 2 films which is good if you like the other Saints as well as Seiya. Ikki’s role may be a bit smaller than the first two films but it’s satisfying. I had my issues with the plot and Athena as she continually disappoints but the main Bronze Saints all look good. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come from the old days as they now take on opponents who were easily crushing the Golden Saints. While the gold fighters may not have looked great here, I do like the idea of getting them in on the action a bit. It really helps to solidify these new guys as true threats.

Overall 8/10

Son of God

I saw this film as part of the Easter batch to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. What better way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God than by watching the film adaption by the same name? It’s always good to see movies adapting the Bible to keep the events fresh in everyone’s minds. There’s also so much to cover that each film can focus on something different. This one mainly focuses on adapting the events from when Jesus was an adult through to his death with a few scenes from after the resurrection. It’s always interesting seeing which scenes will get selected and which ones have to be left out.

If you’re familiar with your Bible reading then you are likely familiar with the story. The government grows concerned when they learn of Jesus Christ who is said to be the Messiah. He has accumulated a large following which frightens the local religious leaders in particular since he is effectively turning their society upside down. They try to convince the Romans to execute him but they will have to be the ones to make the first move. They convince one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples to sell him out so they can carry out their mission. Jesus is well aware of what they are doing but allows all of this happen so he can die for humanity’s sins as well as resurrect to further strengthen their belief in him.

It’s a very complete movie and they did a good job of getting the setting to feel like how things would have looked back then. The film can certainly get a little on the violent side although I’ve heard it isn’t nearly as much so as in other adaptions so that’s something to note. The Passion of the Christ is typically known as the most intense version to be sure. The casting was also on point and you can tell a lot of thought was put into this one. It follows the Bible carefully which is important.

I imagine there’s probably always a temptation to add new elements in or try to flesh out details that weren’t recorded but it’s always best to just go by what is actually recorded as historical fact than trying to add something extra. Then you run the risk of going completely off the boat like in the Noah film that had rock golems and such that just felt too out there. Why make assumptions on things that were not recorded right?

The event of the resurrection is still one of the most important events to this day because it proves that Jesus actually had the power and position he claimed. If he had not resurrected then it would have appeared that he really was just performing some kind of trick. After all, in the Bible we do see that Lucifer is able to give his followers a degree of power as seen in Moses when they were able to turn their staffs into snakes as well. They just weren’t as powerful because ultimately Lucifer’s power will never be in the same ballpark as God’s.

It’s always important to reflect on this each year on Easter since it is the true meaning for the event. It’s fun to enjoy the eggs and the fun little festivities as well but you can’t let it distract from the true meaning of the day. Easter is much like Christmas in that respect. You may have a good time with the cookies in the oven and seeing Santa Claus running around but the only reason the day is so huge is because it’s when Jesus was born and the future finally started. It’s the day that gives meaning to each of our lives and the promise of Heaven upon our departure is the prize at the end of the journey. Above all else you have to always remember the goal since it will help to push you through any tough days and further brighten the happy ones.

Overall, Son of God is certainly a solid adaption and one that is worth checking out. It’s a faithful representation of the events and covers a lot of ground within its run-time. You can definitely pair it with some of the earlier films like The Ten Commandments which also cover the earlier events. The Bible is a massive book so there is always a lot to cover. One day it would be nice to have a complete adaption at least of the New Testament but I do understand why you would mainly focus on this time period since it’s really at the crux of Christianity itself. The truth of the Cross and the sacrifice made that day is what allows us to keep on going and live for a brighter tomorrow.

Journey Review

Sony put this game up for free recently which was pretty cool. I’m not sure if the deal is still going, but if it is you should definitely take the plunge and check it out. This game is more of an interactive movie than what you would typically expect in the format which is part of why I never bought it before. Also, it’s relatively short as you can complete it in around an hour. That being said, you can’t go wrong when it’s free right? It’s a charming enough game that is fun to play through once. I also think if they do a sequel and add in some combat gameplay this could end up being a pretty awesome title. Not saying they should do this…but they definitely should!

The plot is a bit ambiguous of course, but the goal is to get to the peak of a mountain. For some reason the lead just needs to get there. You can run and jump for most of the game and later on you can even fly as long as you have some energy left in the meter. You refill it by running into other players or coming across some pixie dust. I recommend flying whenever possible. From there it’s just a matter of running to the goal and some platforming. Admittedly it can be easy to get lost here. If not for some other players running around the game may have taken me a bit longer. In the end I followed their lead and it worked out.

While there is no big story here there are a few cutscenes that show up once in a while. A pretty fun one involves a monster that pops out at you. The environment in this world is pretty interesting and since the game doesn’t give you a story you are free to make your own. I assume that this takes place in an apocalyptic future where humanity has been wiped out by these monsters and are now struggling for survival. The few remaining ones have gained psychic powers and wear the cloak to survive in these hot climates. It makes enough sense for me to get behind that at any rate.

The graphics are pretty solid. They may not be high end PS4 level but they look nice. I think the game probably would have been able to shine a little more in this area if the levels had involved cities and forests or something like that. When you’re in an empty desert there is only so much that you can show after all. The monster designs are good though. As for the soundtrack, it’s made to be more background noise/generic tunes so you won’t really remember it much by the end. It works well enough as you go through the game.

The main drawback to the title is how short it is. The gameplay may not be too stimulating but it is fundamentally sound. If you put a good story behind it then it would work out really well. Even without a story the game could still have been interesting with more levels. Granted, this could be a mixed bag because if there is no story then the game would run the risk of being repetitive. Still, only being 1 hour in this day and age without a whole lot of replay value is pretty rough. At most you can go back and try to get the Platinum Trophy I suppose. It’s a nice enough title where I would still call it a good game but one that just won’t keep your attention for very long.

Overall, Journey does make you feel like you’re on a bit of an adventure but only to that one restaurant that isn’t too close to you. It only takes you around an hour to achieve your goal so you get the feeling that the lead wasn’t all that far away from it after all. There’s a lot of potential behind making the Journey a franchise or even a feature film about it starring The Rock and some of his sidekicks as they try to get to the mountain. You can easily construct a plot around this goal if you put your mind to it. While I wouldn’t pay for this game, you definitely shouldn’t miss out while it’s free.

Overall 6/10

One Foot In Heaven

It’s time for a bio pic. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these and what better time than around Easter? This movie follows a man named William Spence who was close to becoming a doctor but at the very end he decided instead to become a pastor. He had been at a particularly moving Church service which caused him to have this turning point in his life. His bride to be Hope decided to support him in this although her parents were not thrilled. From there point of view he threw away what would have been a handsome salary for a position where he will be making pennies. Still, William’s mind is made up and so he heads to his first Church. Unfortunately he is about to meet with some unexpected opposition.

While the core values of Christianity have not changed nor will they, this film does show how differently you were expected to act back in the day. One such thing was that you were not allowed to play on the Sabbath. William made sure his kids just played Bible memorization all day on that day every week. They weren’t allowed to watch movies at all and could barely play with the others. William also allowed himself to be walked on by the members of the congregation for pretty much the entire film except at the end when they start attacking his son. At that point he mentions that he goes from being a pastor to a parent. So…one implication is also that if they had been attacking him he may not have fought back.

That’s where his character needed a little more nuance. It’s certainly not true that being a Christian means you have to be a pushover. Standing up for yourself is not breaking any commandments nor is it a sin. When the locals start bullying Hope and bring her to tears, William does nothing and just tells Hope that they mustn’t do anything to rock the boat. Even though it’s their house, Hope has absolutely no power within it which makes no sense. If she wants to move something she should be able too. Then the heads keep pushing William and Hope to different states where the houses are in worse and worse condition each time. The film also makes the congregation look terrible as most of them turn out to be the meanest characters in the film.

It’s not necessarily inaccurate as you will find those kind of people in any institution, church or not. Still, it would have been nice if William had more people he could count on. The only one who was nice to him was ironically the Doctor who wasn’t a Christian but got converted off screen during one of the time skips. Then William also does some pretty petty things like changing the name of their child even though Hope had really wanted a different one. Worst part of this is that he gave his word that he would be okay with hers and at the last second switched it when she didn’t have a chance to fight back. Hope just lives with this, but it just wasn’t a nice thing to do.

So at times the film could be pretty mean spirited. Even the ending is pretty iffy as William decides to move on again. Hope has a point that this tends to happen a lot and then they’re taken advantage of. If you’re going to be a travelling pastor then of course you’ll have to deal with a lot of trials, but it’s not unreasonable to at least be able to walk with pride and all. Having to tip toe around each community is pretty dicey. Still, his overall goal was sound so I can support that.

It’s a well meaning film for sure and it does take a lot of guts and courage to throw away all you’ve got to help someone else out. The film also does throw in some humor and the writing is solid. The film is well paced so it doesn’t drag out and the main cast is solid enough to hold the film. The best character certainly is the doctor. Without him I think William and Hope would have certainly be doomed. He gives them a voice of reason and also has the expertise that they really needed to go on with their plans. William brings the passion while the doctor brings the logic.

Overall, One Foot In Heaven is a solid film. I don’t agree with most of William’s decisions in the film, but at least his journey was a righteous one. You’ll definitely feel bad for Hope and the kids, but they do their best with what they have. One nice thing is that the kids don’t spend most of the film complaining the way you see them do in many other films. Typically the kids are super annoying while these were more tolerable. It’s a good film to watch if you want to take a look into how hard it was to be a pastor back in the days as well as realizing that it is still very difficult in the modern day. It’s not a dream profession if you’re thinking financially but at the same time it’s a very fulfilling one.

Rango Review

It’s time to look at a cash-in for a movie that I haven’t even seen yet. Rango is one of those games that I wasn’t initially planning to buy, but Gamestop had a B2 G1 Free sale and I needed a third game. The gameplay seemed reasonably fun and these titles are typically short so what’s the harm right? It’s a fun game even if there isn’t a whole lot to it. You can feel right away that this isn’t a AAA title and while the premise for the gameplay is good, it just isn’t very polished. It makes for a fun game for a one time playthrough.

The story involves a lizard who is the Sheriff of a village. One day, one of his friends runs into his bar and gets vaporized as he takes out a mysterious stone. Everyone at the tavern is shocked, but Rango calmly explains what has been going on. His story takes up most of the game as each level is a different experience that he had in the previous week. He doesn’t remember everything too well and likes to throw in some hyperbole so the viewers have to keep things real for him at times. Still, with aliens involved it does seem as if Rango is their best chance for survival. Can he do it?

The gameplay is pretty simple. It’s a 3D platformer game. You move and jump across the obstacles. You also have a gun on hand which you use to blast away at the enemies. Alternately you can engage them in hand to hand combat, but there is little reason to do that since the gun is simply better at all times. You’ll get the hang of the controls in mere moments. Jumping is important while shooting at all times to keep your counter combo up by not letting your opponents strike. You want the counter high because you get extra money that way and that’s how you get upgrades to all of your skills. The gun upgrades are definitely good to have. By the end you’ll be shooting so fast and the reload will be nonexistent. Of course, this game isn’t meant to be challenging anyway, but you’ll progress through the levels quicker which is always good.

There are around 9-10 levels in the game and most of them are quite short. You’ll be done with the game in 2-3 hours I’d say. It’s a pretty short amount of time, but at least there are trophies to obtain which helps a bit with the replay value. You’ll also be buying the game for a pretty cheap price at least which helps. I do have to still give it a thumbs down in the replay value department though. This is the kind of game that you play once, but typically won’t go back to. That’s just the way it’s built.

Naturally there isn’t all that much to say about the graphics either. It’s not as if they are downright bad or anything like that, but they just don’t stand out. They are as average as the graphics can get. Still, as long as the levels are clear that’s what counts. Likewise the soundtrack isn’t anything special either. It’s around, but you won’t remember any of the tunes once you have finished. Again, this is just a very average game, but I’ll take average over bad.

This review isn’t exactly all that positive, but you have to understand that I enjoy the average game. As long as a video game doesn’t make any big mistakes I’ll probably have fun with it. That’s the case with this game. Rango provides some fun levels with good gameplay. We also get a few racing levels and the fact that we get an actual story with cutscenes helps the game as well. It’ll keep you entertained throughout. One thing I have to warn you about is how often you shoot though. R2 is the trigger button which is normal but your finger will probably be sore by the end with how much you have to spam it. It’s because this is like in the Wild West so you have to keep pressing instead of holding the button down. I was ready for the game to be over by the end so my hand could get a break.

Overall, Rango is a good PS3 game. It is exactly what you would expect it to be like. These movie tie-ins rarely try to mislead you into thinking that they are something that they are not. This is a very basic 3D platformer game. It’s no Mario or Sonic nor is it trying to be. It’s just trying to earn some extra cash while giving you some good levels. If you tend to like these movie tie-ins then I would recommend checking it out. If you need something more from your gaming experiences then you can safely skip this one since it won’t give you any of that. At least we do get a retro arcade type level as a nice homage to the old days of gaming by the end.

Overall 7/10

I Can Only Imagine

It’s time to look at a recent movie about the iconic song “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s definitely a pretty good song so I was up for having a film about how it was created. As you might expect it is also a bit of a tragic tale with a happy ending since it’s based on true events. It’s a good movie with quite a few songs which is good although I would have liked to have seen a few more tunes thrown in.

The movie follows Bart as he grows up in a rough household. He manages to get by, but the situation forces him to try and grow into the image his father wants him to be. He joins the Football team and it goes well for a while until he injures his leg and is forced to retire. I guess extra curricular activities are a necessity in this school so he is transferred to the music class where the teacher forces him to become a singer. Bart enjoys singing but the problem is that he knows Arthur (his father) won’t approve. His suspicions are correct and things boil over until Bart decides to run away from home and join a traveling band. In the process he breaks up with Shannon and prepares for his new life.

This life is tougher than Bart thought it would be though and he starts to have doubts. He tries to run back to Shannon, but that isn’t happening and his vocal skills are being doubted by the professionals. When all hope is lost he finally heads back to his home to confront Arthur who has seemingly been redeemed after becoming a Christian. Bart has to confront this fact by wondering if this is true and also if he will forgive Arthur regardless.

It’s a pretty emotional movie for sure. I think you’ll end up being a lot more invested in the musical scenes then the plot though. Partially this is because Bart just isn’t a very likable main character for the most part. It’s hard to blame him for all of the family stuff since that was pretty traumatic for him, but I’m talking about everything aside from that. First off is his relationship with Shannon. He had absolutely no reason to break up with her in that scene. It just didn’t really make any sense and I feel like it just happened to increase the dramatic tension. Of course it’s hard to say if that’s how it played out in real life as well. Then his attempt at getting back together with her was painful. He went to her house at midnight while pretending to be the police? That’s a prank that went way too far and she shouldn’t have even gone to the front door if you ask me. It’s no surprise that she didn’t go with him.

Then we have the scenes where the critics come to hear his band play. Their agent tells Bart that he’ll handle this and for the crew to wait in the back. They all listen except for Bart who runs to the stage and makes a mess out of everything. The film goes a little too far in making him super head strong and naive as far as the critics process goes. Surely he knows how these things go and that you can’t just yell at the critics to make them change their minds right? He just makes so many mistakes and then just saying that he’ll quit wasn’t very responsible either. Things could have really gone badly for his band mates at that point. Of course that’s when he chooses to take a long leave of absence from the band…great.

Still, if that’s exactly how it played out in real life then it’s good that the film played it straight there. Meanwhile Arthur is one of those characters who is so bad that it’s hard to buy into the redemption arc which is why you can understand Bart’s skepticism even if he doesn’t handle the situation well at all. (Why even show up at the house if you’re just going to guilt trip Arthur the whole time?) It’s definitely good that Arthur saw the light and ultimately found Christ. At the end of the day even if nobody believes that you have been truly redeemed it doesn’t matter. You know if you’ve become a Christian and that’s what counts.

Overall, I Can Only Imagine is a good film. While it can’t really be called a fun film for the most part as it can be pretty dark and dramatic, the songs are fun. It’s a quality movie and one that you’ll definitely want to see if you’re curious about the song’s origins. It’s not quite on the same level as God is Not Dead which is still quite excellent, but this movie doesn’t really make any big mistakes. It does manage to be a pretty realistic film without over embellishing the events.