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FILMS:

The Nativity Story

Weapons of the Spirit

World Trade Centre

One night with the King

Obsession: Radical Islam’s
War Against the West


The DaVinci Code:
a monumental slice of heresy


BOOKS:

The Gospel
According to the Beatles


The Da Vinci Code and
the Secrets of the Temple


The DaVinci Code:
A big fuss about a bar of soap


Public Education Against America:
The Hidden Agenda


The Marketing of Evil




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Book & Film Reviews


FILMS

The Nativity Story
a good, solid picture ... undeniably powerful and moving


By: Simon Dillon, Cross Rhythms Life Articles

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Released: December 1, 2006

My father, who tutors students in English, was recently shocked to discover one of his sixteen year old pupils did not understand a reference to Adam and Eve in a poem she was studying, because she had never heard of them. This is just one isolated example of increasing Biblical ignorance and for this reason alone, films like The Nativity Story are to be welcomed with open arms. Even though it is no groundbreaking masterpiece like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, it is an intimate and well told picture in which the true meaning of Christmas is faithfully reemphasised.

Opening with the massacre of innocents in Bethlehem as Herod orders the deaths of babies two years and under, the story then flashes back to a year earlier, and the familiar events leading up to the massacre are simply but compellingly told. The cast all put in decent performances, especially Keira Castle-Hughes as Mary, finally an actress who is the right age. Best known as one of Natalie Portman's handmaidens in the Star Wars prequels and for her role in Whale Rider, this could well prove to be a career defining role.

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Weapons of the Spirit

First-rate. Incisive, moving, and morally instructive


By: Patrizia, Amazon.com

Director: Pierre Sauvage
Released: 1989

This is a true story of French people who, while unremarkable in many ways, were extremely remarkable in the way they almost naturally lived out their Christian faith by, along with their neighbors, hiding and helping to protect many French Jews during WWII from Nazi terrors.

After seeing this film and reading "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There", by Philip Hallie, I have pondered what I might do in their place.  I can only hope I might be like them, and have asked, "Lord, enable me to be like these people who loved You and others this way - in a real way, when faced with evil and danger."

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World Trade Centre

a remarkable and powerful affirmation of obeying the call of God - worth a look


By: Simon Dillon, CrossRhythms

Director: Oliver Stone
Released: October, 2006

An Oliver Stone film without politics may sound like an oxymoron (like an intelligent Michael Bay film or a David Lynch film that makes sense), but World Trade Center is exactly that; a stripped down, no-nonsense tale of survival mercifully bereft of Stone's worst excesses (my father calls him Oliver Grindstone). It's comparable to other Hollywood "based on a true story" disaster movies, such as Frank Marshall's hugely underrated Alive, and it is definitely the most interesting project Stone has tackled for some time.

Stone was renowned in his heyday for such angry and overtly political works as Platoon, Wall Street, Salvador, JFK and Born on the Fourth of July - in my opinion his masterpiece. But after that it all went pear-shaped with the likes of Heaven and Earth, Natural Born Killers, and most recently Alexander. I began to doubt I would ever see a good Oliver Stone film again, which makes World Trade Center all the more surprising.

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One night with the King

Impressive


By: Russ Breimeier, Christianity Today Movies

Starring: Tiffany Dupont, Luke Goss, John Rhys-Davies, John Noble, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr., James Callis, Jonah Lotan, Omar Sharif, and Peter O'Toole

Director: Michael O. Sajbel
Released: October 13th, 2006

The more I read my Bible, I can't help but wonder what stories would work best on the silver screen. Retellings of Joshua, Daniel, Ruth … I'm still waiting on that epic, Braveheart-styled adaptation of the life of David that reduces the 1985 dud starring Richard Gere to a distant memory.

Esther wouldn't necessarily be near the top of my list as an obvious choice. The biblical story behind the Jewish festival of Purim isn't an overtly spiritual one on the surface, nor does it initially seem like it would translate well with the heavily historical exposition, building to an edict to wipe out God's people in Persia, and then a climax that hinges on the pointing of a scepter. We tend to simplify Esther down to one courageous entrance, but there's a lot more to her "call of destiny"—and perhaps too much more in the case of One Night with the King.

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Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West



Featuring: Nonie Darwish, Walid Shoebat, Khaled Abu-Toameth, Khaleel Mohammed, Salim Mansur and Tashbih Sayyed

Author: cba - Discarded Lies
Director: Wayne Kopping
Released: October 29th, 2006

Last week I got to see the Honest Reporting movie Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. I thought it was pretty good (one minor production quibble: they had lots of interview clips and in several cases they had the camera way too close to the person's face). I didn't learn anything new (having paid attention to this stuff for the last three or four years), but actually seeing it on the big screen had a strong impact. I've seen one or two video clips in the past, but mostly I've only seen still photos. As always, the most heartbreaking was seeing these adorable little kiddies being turned into hate machines.

In the week or so prior to the screening, local lefties and the local Muslim spokeswoman (who, according to my sources, is not representative of the local community and neither is she well regarded by them) were campaigning against the screening, calling it “hate propaganda.” In my opinion, that publicity, ironically, was responsible for the sell-out crowd. In fact, they had so much interest that they had to schedule a second screening for the following night, which was also sold out.

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Da Vinci Code

a monumental slice of heresy
Based on the novel by: Dan Brown

Reviewed by: Simon Dillon CrossRhythms
Released: 2006

Here's an idea for a bestselling novel/film: The De Niro Code. A film student stumbles across a coded message in Taxi Driver, and uncovers a conspiracy that could shake the very foundations of cinema. He discovers Travis Bickle did not go on a bloody rampage at the end, but instead married Harvey Keitel's character (who is in fact a woman), and their descendants are alive today.

OK, that's silly. But its more probable than the nonsensical theory put forward by The Da Vinci Code (about to be well and truly spoilt here); namely, that the disciple that should be John in The Last Supper painting is in fact Mary Magdalene, and that Da Vinci was trying to tell the world through coded messages in his work that she had married Jesus, emigrated to France and that his descendants live today, protected by a secret society called the Priory of Sion.

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BOOKS

The Gospel According to the Beatles

By: Steve Turner

Reviewed by: Andrew Careaga - The Phantom Tollbooth
Released: August 1st 2006

When John Lennon proclaimed that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus" during a 1966 interview with London journalist Maureen Cleave, it didn't cause much of a stir in England. But once word of the interview spread across the Atlantic and reached a radio station in the Bible Belt city of Birmingham, Alabama, the comment – and the media feeding frenzy that ensued – spurred millions, young and old, fans and non-fans, to start looking at the Fab Four in a new light. Soon, the lads from Liverpool were more than just fun-loving mop tops. They were spiritual guides for a generation of young people looking for answers from outside the mainstream world and its institutions.

Forty years later, the Beatles are again the subject of a spiritual examination. This one comes in the form of a new book, The Gospel According to the Beatles (Westminster John Knox Press, $19.95). Written by veteran British rock journalist Steve Turner (A Man Called Cash, A Hard Day’s Write), the book addresses the spiritual backgrounds of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and analyzes their music in a religious context. Drawing on a broad array of resources – various books, newspaper and magazine articles, unpublished notes and letters – as well as 80 interviews the author conducted himself, Turner’s book is a comprehensive look at the band that helped to shape the spiritual and cultural outlook of an entire generation.

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The Da Vinci Code and the Secrets of the Temple

By: Robin Griffith-Jones, The Master of the Temple

Reviewed by: Phil Groom, Christian Bookshops.org
Released: 2006

I read The Da Vinci Code some time ago and have to say I agree with Griffith-Jones' assessment: Dan Brown deserves every ounce of his success with the book, it's a gripping yarn that raises lots of questions; and — despite the number of Christians that are up in arms about it — if Christianity is true we've got nothing to fear from those questions. What's needed is some way to separate the facts from the fiction, and that's precisely what Griffith-Jones gives us here.

Griffith-Jones has good reason to know his subject: he is "The Master of the Temple", the priest responsible for The Temple Church, London, right at the centre of some of the important action in The Da Vinci Code. His official title is "The Reverend and Valiant Master" and this book expands upon a talk he presents each week to "Da Vinci trail" tourists, answering questions about the Knights Templar, Opus Dei, the Priory of Sion — and, of course, about Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

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Da Vinci Code

A big fuss about a bar of soap
Based on the novel by: Dan Brown

Reviewed by: Adam Harbinson - Faith for Life
Released: 2006

Prepare to enter a bizarre world of cryptic clues, hidden histories, secret symbols and twisted theology: you're off on a Grail Quest. But you're not searching for the long-lost cup of Christ from the Last Supper — you didn't really think that's what the Grail is, did you?? No, you're about to discover the "sacred feminine", the "true" history of Christianity that's been suppressed by the church: the mysteries of Mary Magdelen, bride of Christ and mother of the Royal Line. It's time to give The Da Vinci Code a subtitle: Jesus was my grandfather ...well OK, let's make that great-great-great-(repeat a few more times)-grandfather.

It's a fantastic yarn, a fast-moving edge-of-the-seat thriller ŕ la Dean Koontz and Michael Crichton. There's murder, mystery and mayhem enough to satisfy even the most die-hard addicts. Enter Robert Langdon, an American academic and world-renowned symbologist on lecture tour in Paris — he's just been called in by the DCPJ, Direction Central Police Judiciaire, the French Judicial Police, supposedly to help with a murder investigation at the Louvre. Big trouble: he's actually their chief suspect. Now enter Sophie Neveu, maverick DCPJ Cryptologist, come to the rescue. She knows Langdon's not guilty and helps him get away — I won't spoil the plot by telling you how, but there is a bar of soap involved.

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Public Education Against America:
The Hidden Agenda

Author: Marlin Maddoux

Reviewed by: Dr. Ted Baehr - MovieGuide.org
Published: 2005

Marlin Maddoux's book, PUBLIC EDUCATION AGAINST AMERICA, is must reading. The information he presents is absolutely accurate, but more than that, he connects the dots to help us see how the education system has been taken over by those opposed to everything Christian. The book shows how the radical academic left has outlawed student expressions of patriotism and Christian faith, attacked the freedom of speech in favor of a radical type of political correctness, uses psychological techniques to "reprogram" children as young as 5-years-old, and lied to children and parents about history, sex, politics, and economics.

Every chapter of this book presents, with great common sense and clarity, the assault on our children. It shows that the National Education Association wants to change the values of children. This is an extremely important book, the type of book you'd like to sit down and read to others. There have been other books on this topic, but this is the best so far. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, please buy several copies to give to your friends and relatives so that together we can stand against this attack on our children.

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The Marketing of Evil

Author: David Kupelian

Reviewed by: Dr. Ted Baehr - MovieGuide.org
Published: Fall 2005

David Kupelian's new book THE MARKETING OF EVIL is brilliant! He combines superb common sense (that is so rare in our society) with the important biblical command to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11). By doing so, he breaks the spell of the carefully marketed lies destroying our civilization, and sets the stage for revival and reformation.

David addresses all of the contemporary hot-button issues plaguing society and helps us to understand the fallacies and the need for common sense. In the process, he exposes the psychological tools of modern marketing, the manipulation of our children, the fraudulence of the sexual; revolution, the looniness of the ACLU, the emptiness of gay rights, and the other con jobs that have led us down the primrose path of self-destruction. David is to be commended for attacking these issues head on. THE MARKETING OF EVIL should be read by every concerned American.

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