Risen (Pure Flix)

Risen tells the story of a Roman guard who is tasked with finding the body of Jesus after the Resurrection. His search leads him on a journey of self-discovery, and he begins questioning everything he has ever believed.

Risen stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, and Peter Firth. While well-acted, the plot moves slowly. One of the beginning scene of the Crucifixion may be disturbing for some viewers.

Running the Bases (PureFlix, Amazon, VUDU, iTunes)

Baseball was their dream. Until that dream is crushed by an untimely death and the diagnosis of a potentially fatal health condition. Now, with no plans and apparently no future, Luke feels lost until he modifies his dream. He may no longer be able to play baseball, but there is nothing stopping him from coaching it.

As a coach, Luke focuses on developing the whole person, not just their baseball skills, holding his team to high standards both on and off the field. His reputation as a coach lands him a job offer at a large, public school. Luke and his family make the decision to move and accept what they believe to be a God-given opportunity.

However, it is not long before this God-given opportunity turns into a nightmare as Luke’s values and methods are challenged by the school superintendent whose focus is on winning and not on building men of character. There is an underlying reason for the superintendent’s behavior, but that will be revealed in the course of the movie.

This movie is worth the watch, and I don’t say that about many Christina movies. The story has humor and heart; it has plot and character. Yes, there are Christian references, but they are believable (they come up naturally in the story). At no point in time do you feel like you are being preached at. This is by far one of the best Christian movies I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth the watch! I will be adding it to my “Favorites.”

Running the Bases is also available on VUDU, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.

The Lost City

The Lost City starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Radcliffe is a fun, lighthearted romantic adventure comedy.

A disillusioned romance novelist (Bullock) shocks readers with the announcement she plans to kill off the heartthrob (Tatum) in her novels. After hurriedly leaving the book tour, she is kidnapped by a wealthy business man (Radcliffe) intent on finding the Crown of Fire buried in a tomb on an isolated island. What occurs next is a humorous, Indiana Jones type adventure as Bullock’s writing team does their best to rescue her.

The Lost City is rated PG-13. There is one scene with partial male nudity (backside) that the movie could have done without. But overall, the movie is an enjoyable, relatively clean comedy for those looking for a temporary escape from reality.

The Girl Who Believes in Miracles (PureFlix)

The Girl Who Believes in Miracles is a surprisingly well written and well-acted Christian film. A young girl with the faith of a mustard seed discovers that she has been granted the ability to cure people. This tests the faith of her parents and certain people in the village. Unfortunately, her new found abilities come with a price; in one of her visions, she is told she will be going to heaven soon – a revelation her parents are unwilling to accept.

P.S. I also want to note that while the message of faith permeates the movie, this movie was surprisingly not “preachy”. The aspects of faith were addressed in ways that felt natural and appropriate and didn’t interrupt the storyline. This is one of the few Christian movies I’ve actually enjoyed.

Flora and Ulysses

Wow! All I can say is WOW!

Do you know how long it has been since I’ve seen a movie that emphasizes the importance of being there for your family even when things get rough?

On the surface, Flora and Ulysses appears to be a story about a superhero squirrel, but in reality it delves into something much more super – the importance of never giving up on your family.

Flora and Ulysses contains a message of hope, courage, and perseverance despite familial struggles. While the husband and wife are separated in this movie, their love for each other is evident. Divorce looks like it may be in their future, but you can tell it is not something either of them want. Furthermore, I was impressed by the fact the father actually tells his daughter “I love you!” You rarely hear that in movies. (In fact, you rarely see a father involved in his child’s life in movies these days.)

I’ll admit the action scenes and slapstick humor were painful (for an adult at least. Kids won’t have a problem with it), but if you can look past that, the values are what make the move good. They are why I kept watching it; I was expecting to be disappointed at any moment. But surprisingly, I wasn’t.