In First Reformed, writer/director Paul Schrader tells a story about characters living in excruciating personal turmoil. He then gradually develops his movie to be more visceral, so the audience can experience similar pain. You would think keeping movie goers in a state of compelling discomfort would be a tricky balancing act for Schrader, but he succeeds with ease; almost as if this area of emotional discomfort is a particular wheelhouse for the Taxi Driver screenwriter.
Let There Be Light is a gratuitous entry into the popular faith-based sub-genre, but it acknowledges some interesting albeit heavy-handed ideas about being open to change.
By: Nick Ferwerda Mackenzie Phillips (Avatar’s Sam Worthington) is a family man who grew up with a tough childhood. Grateful and married, everything in his life – at this point – seems to be going great.
The Masked Saint has a premise you’d expect in a Saturday Night Live sketch: a former wrestler takes to preaching, but turns to the past when he realizes how the sport can help himself and his community. It’s a near impossible sell despite being inspired by true events, but it’s a set-up that hooks curious audiences toward a satisfying film.
Director Jared Hess and his co-writer wife Jerusha Hess debuted in the spotlight with Napoleon Dynamite, and made audiences chuckle with their lower rung follow-up Nacho Libre. I speak as someone who missed their critically maimed third endeavour Gentlemen Broncos, but I really enjoy watching whatever these two make.
By: Addison Wylie 2014 has released plenty of exceptional documentaries, but Jesse Moss’ The Overnighters is unlike any of them. The Overnighters is a remarkable film about the human spirit and the struggle to maintain compassion and beliefs within a critical community. Exercising good faith isn’t always a walk in the park when the odds are intimidatingly stacked and judgement is looming. North Dakota’s economy is booming, which has brought plenty of pros and cons…
By: Addison Wylie Heaven Is for Real is – so far – my favourite recent faith-based flick in a year full of religion centric movies. It’s mild-mannered and shoots for attainable goals, which makes Randall Wallace’s movie all the more amiable. Another major plus is how there’s no preachy hidden agenda detailing the motivations of the movie. Religion serves as a prominent theme in Heaven Is for Real, but its only to add depth to…