Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are stuck in space. Then just Sandra. Lots of twists and turns occur in this beautifully photographed lost-in-space action thriller. Seeing it in 3D and on the IMAX screen is a visceral experience unlike anything since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, maybe I’m reading more into it than the writers intended, but its thoughtful moments about life and death suggest the sanctity of life. While not a tool for proselytize any particular religion, it does contain ethereal questions amid its action sequences. (PG-13) - Use TVG. PREVIEW REVIEW
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946)
(also known as Stairway to Heaven). As his plane is going down in flames during WW2, pilot David Niven “meets” the love of his life (Kim Hunter) over the radio. He miraculously survives the crash, but no sooner do they meet than he is informed by a messenger from the hereafter that he should have died in the crash. But he’s not ready to give up life. A trial will determine his fate. Though not much on real theology, it is a moving parable and one of the most beautiful looking films I’ve ever seen. Made by renowned filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller is about alien beings coming to take over Earth. Suspenseful Hitchcockian elements serve to unnerve the audience. Added to the unsettling atmosphere, the story's subtext concerns a man losing then regaining his faith. The film also has an intriguing take concerning coincidence in our daily lives: Do things happen by chance or do they serve to develop our nature? Shyamalan's film was about finding our way – or finding our way back. I guess you could say it's a thinking man's (or woman's) horror movie. - Use TVG. PREVIEW REVIEW
UNIVERSAL’S CLASSIC MONSTERS: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION
Universal Studios has re-mastered the original Dracula, as well as his buddy, Frankenstein and the other classic spooks. In the '30s and '40s, horror films such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Invisible Man were actually morality tales, where good was triumphant over evil. And because of "restrictive" decency codes, studios mandated that their filmmakers be careful not to offend the church-going public. So, when you view The Bride of Frankenstein or Dracula, you can detect a life lesson amid the thrills and chills.
THE CAT PEOPLE
(1942 version–don't make the mistake of renting the 1982 remake; besides being an inferior film, that one also contains extreme violence, nudity, and language.) Like the old classic Universal spook stories, the original Cat People is a morality play. In one scene our hero holds up a cross and tells the menacing foe to “leave us alone in the name of God.” Slowly, the possessed leopard retreats. You won't find that kind of symbolism in today's slasher movies, which, by the way, is the main difference between old Frankenstein or Dracula movies and today's version of “horror.” Modern fright films are little more than special effects blood baths, with faceless monsters killing one victim after another, with the good guys behaving as badly as the bad guys.
DEEP IMPACT (1998)
Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman, and Tea Leoni head an impressive cast in this thrilling adventure about a comet on a collision course with Earth. Caution: It is rated PG-13 for language and intense action. If you have the TVGuardian box, it should remove the offensive language. I mention this film, despite the profanity, as it is one of the few action films of late that shows respect for God and contains profound observations. But if the profundity does not outweigh the profanity for you, then pass on it. (PG-13) - Use TVG. MOVIE REPORTER REVIEW
STAR WARS (1977)
Well, what can be said about this film, other than everything old is new again. A throwback to the Saturday morning matinee, this good vs. evil space western helped transform our modern cinema. I know some people feel there’s a New Age, Eastern philosophy intermingling throughout the story, but I could find just as many examples of the Christian faith. I don’t think this film is really about some sort of proselytizing. It’s just a feel-good, robust, sci-fi adventure – it led the way.
FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956)
Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis. Intelligent sci-fi film about space explorers landing on a planet ruled by one man and an evil force. Plot derived from Shakespeare's The Tempest. Gooood movie!
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)
Charles Laughton. It's a great morality tale by Victor Hugo and sensitively portrayed by Laughton as the grotesquely disfigured bell ringer, Quasimodo. It was filmed several times. This one's the best.