Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Forever Strong

by Jonathan Hoard
High school sports are often held up as a tool for teaching life skills to young people.  I have no doubt that to a degree that can be true.  But is it just fair play, sportsmanship and healthy competition that cause a teen to raise his/her standards?  Those qualities are notable, but is that all there is?

Forever Strong uses High School rugby as a backdrop for laying out many of the struggles of youth and shows that there is hope in striving to reach a higher bar.  This film is based on real events surrounding rugby coach Larry Gelwix.  Though the story follows a troubled teen though many bad choices and bad circumstances, the underlying theme of the film is Continue reading

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Movie Review – Courageous

by Jonathan Hoard

Courage can be described in many different ways.  I will admit that that word brings to my mind heroes who serve and protect our nation, who protect us on our own streets or who run into burning buildings.  There is no doubt that our nation’s heroes display a great level of courage.  Maybe that is why we relegate the word “courageous” to those very dramatic and intense jobs.  But can the word be used for something much more down to earth as well?  Can we use the word “courageous” for something as ordinary as fatherhood?  We can, if we pause to reflect upon the fact that fatherhood is a dying institution; that scores of fathers have walked off the job; that often times it is the fathers of today that cause the most harm to their children; that even those fathers who remain have shoved the word “responsibility” from their mind and have passed the job of Continue reading

Movie Review – The Star of Bethlehem

By Jonathan Hoard

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

Everyone loves a good mystery.  Combine that mystery with the most celebrated holiday in human history and you have something worth looking into.  

The Star Of Bethlehem” is a documentary of stellar proportions.  We all know the story from the Scriptures of the Magi following the star but few have spent much time considering what the star could have been, if anything at all.  It has been easy for many through the years to relegate many of the fascinating stories from the Bible to mere myth simply because they are indeed fascinating.   The birth of Jesus Christ is central to not only Christianity but also all of human history.  Is there evidence of this event?  Did the Creator write the story in the stars from the beginning of time?  Can anyone know for sure?

Presenter Rick Larson guides the viewer on a search of the Scriptures as well as a trip though history.  Using some incredible software Larson turns back the night sky like a calendar until we are looking at the same stars the Magi saw.  

Though we all know that most documentaries are inherently dry you will find this film to capture you attention and your heart.  The images of the night sky, the planets, the stars and their movement though out the years will blow your mind.  In addition to the presenters lecture you can also utilize the same software online to take your own journey back through the years to the year Christ was born.  With the aid of some fantastic technology we can see what they saw in the night sky.

For all of time, many people have used the stars for aids in navigation and also believed they held some ability to guide them in life.  What if you could see the same star the Magi saw?  What if in seeing the same star you saw so much more?  Truly, wise men still seek Him.

Please send your comments to jm_hoard@hotmail.com

Movie Review by Jonathan Hoard – Midnight Clear

Midnight Clear Movie Jacket

Midnight Clear Movie Jacket

Without a doubt Christmas is becoming more and more secularized, so much so that some would argue that there never was any spiritual value to the holiday. Many would simply relegate it to the place of a child’s celebration. And yet it seems that no matter how hard we might try to run from the meaning of Christmas it keeps coming back around to us. Lest we think it is merely the calendar performing this work we need only look inside to see that somehow this season has somehow taken hold of our heart. Interestingly, Christmas has a way of causing us to reflect on our lives, what we have done, where we have been, what we have lost and maybe even to ask ourselves, “What is the point?” By no means is any of this reflection a public spectacle. These thoughts and feelings are easily buried under shiny paper and drowned out by the noise of parties. Ironically, many will pass through all the joyful celebrations of Christmas while quietly nursing a broken heart or trying to fill the whole in their soul. Worse than that, is that in the midst of our busy days we will brush past many a life that is barely held together as with clear tape, struggling to mask their broken heart with pretty paper. This is the theme of Midnight Clear.

Midnight Clear is based on a short story by Jerry Jenkins and stars Stephen Baldwin. It is a Christmas movie, but far from the typical holiday film. It tells the story of five individuals whose lives cross paths on Christmas Eve. Each life would appear normal at a distance, however as the story unfolds we see that each character faces struggles that push them near the breaking point. It appears that it is Christmas itself that seems to not only reveal the depth of the sorrow but also compound it. Whether it is a lost love, a dead end job, a broken home or a life ebbing away, every character is forced to reflect on the purpose of their lives. In the journey of self reflection each one finds that though it was Christmas that seemed to bring their pain to the surface it is also Christmas that holds the answer.

This film is certainly much darker than many would be used to in a holiday film but I think you will also find that it will warm your heart as well. The acting is quite a bit better than most independent movies but it’s low budget does show through in some scenes. This is a slow moving drama that will require the viewer to get involved with the characters and identify with them. As we open ourselves up to this film we begin to see into our own hearts and also see a little deeper into the lives of those around us.

At first glance it would seem that Christmas is what we make it. All to often though we see that there is something about Christmas that makes us what we are. As you busy yourself with the giving and receiving of gifts take some time to reflect on the gift given us all at Christmas. I think you’ll find that it is more than the life of a baby but life itself. And remember, we can’t rightly celebrate life given to us while all the while failing to share that life with those who are so thirsty for it.

Please send your comments to jm_hoard@hotmail.com