Tuesday, February 16, 2010

from Christianity Today - The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2009

The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2009 | Movies & TV | Christianity Today
The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2009
What do a lonely widower, a strong woman with a soft heart, and an African leader have in common? They're all key characters in the year's best redemptive movies.
posted 2/10/2010

The Oscars are still a few weeks away, but most publications and critics—not to mention The Golden Globes—have long since picked their top movies of 2009. So now it's our turn.
This week we feature our 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2009. What do we mean by "redeeming"? We mean movies that include stories of redemption—sometimes blatantly, sometimes less so. Several of our films have characters who are redeemers themselves; all of them have characters who experience redemption to some degree—some quite clearly, some more subtly. Some are "feel-good" movies that leave a smile on your face; some are a bit more uncomfortable to watch. But the redemptive element is there in all of these films.
We also asked each of our critics to choose "One That Got Away"—a single film they wish had made the final list. Think of those extra films as sort of our "honorable mentions." (Next week: CT's 2009 Critics' Choice Awards.)

1. Up
directed by Pete Docter
It's got talking dogs piloting fighter planes and a house that floats to South America on the strength of a thousand balloons, but the most outrageous thing about Up? It's a summer blockbuster that's head-over-heels for the joys of marriage. Here lifelong commitment isn't a burden; it's an adventure.—Josh Hurst

2. The Blind Side
directed by John Lee Hancock
The Touhys, a well-to-do white family, can't ignore the needs of a homeless African-American boy. Instead of just lending a hand, they make him family. This real-life story of NFL player Michael Oher shows a great example of Christian compassion. We can't save the world, but we can love the ones God puts in our path.—Camerin Courtney

3. Invictus
directed by Clint Eastwood
This is much more than just another sports movie or "another Clint Eastwood awards season movie." It's a beautiful portrait of forgiveness and a model for how reconciliation can happen in reality, and how politics can employ things like sports and poetry in the service of national renewal.—Brett McCracken

4. The Road
directed John Hillcoat
Despite the bleak and sometimes terrifying post-apocalyptic milieu, this film—based on the book by Cormac McCarthy—stands out from other recent end-times flicks in its tenacious, audacious insistence on hope in the midst of darkness. Plus it's one of the most loving father-son relationships ever depicted on the big screen.—Mark Moring

5. The Soloist
directed by Joe Wright
This true tale of the unlikely relationship between a newspaper columnist and a musically gifted, mentally ill homeless man is a testament to the power of friendship. There are no easy answers here and the homeless problem among the mentally ill is clearly epidemic, but for both of these men, care and companionship are transformative.—Lisa Cockrel

6. Where the Wild Things Are
directed by Spike Jonze
Jonze reimagines Maurice Sendak's tale of high-spirited rebellion as a meditation on childhood insecurity in a messy world in which nothing—families, forests, even the Sun—lasts forever. Wild Things knows both a child's drowning sense of trying to hold together a broken family and the comfort of a mother's embrace, a calm center in a storm of uncertainty.—Steven D. Greydanus

7. District 9
directed by Neil Blomkamp
Using aliens and spaceships, District 9 actually gives new perspective on humans—their ugliness, racism, and greedy self-preservation. Perhaps because it shows a realistically dark world, we can see what shines. And because the main character is a complex mash-up of good and evil, his ultimate redemptive choice is powerful.—Todd Hertz

8. The Hurt Locker
directed by Kathryn Bigelow
A group of soldiers spend their days in combat and their nights shooting it out in video games; they see violence as macho and cool, but we see it as a deadly addiction. A lot of war movies turn our hearts to anger, but this one fills us with compassion for the people whose lives are caught in the crossfire.—Josh Hurst

9. Julie & Julia
directed by Nora Ephron
It's rare to see happy marriages portrayed in Hollywood—after all, no tension is boring. In contrast, Julie & Julia presents us with not one, but two marriages in which the husbands and wives genuinely love one another and stand ready to support, encourage, and laugh together. A feast, indeed.—Alissa Wilkinson

10. Up in the Air
directed by Jason Reitman
The core characters may not always behave honorably, but that's the point of this cautionary parable about investing more in selfish pursuits than in relationships. How sadly ironic that Ryan Bingham so skillfully helps others find hope and meaning in unemployment, yet can't find any in his own cocoon—though there's hope even for him.—Russ Breimeier

The Ones That Got Away

Avatar (Russ Breimeier)
Sin Nombre (Lisa Cockrel)
Crazy Heart (Camerin Courtney)
Coraline (Brandon Fibbs)
The 13th Day (Steven D. Greydanus)
Precious (Todd Hertz)
A Serious Man (Josh Hurst)
Bright Star (Brett McCracken)
Earth (Mark Moring)
The Young Victoria (Alissa Wilkinson)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Psalm 102:17-18
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
       he will not despise their plea.
18 Let this be written for a future generation,
       that a people not yet created may praise the LORD

 Today the world of art is celebrating Norman Rockwell , American illustrator of the Saturday Evening Post. He painted the everyday life of Americans at that time. The illustration on the left was posted on Google homepage and I could not help but to feel nostalgic. The only thing it lacks to be the picture perfect is a Coca-Cola bottle.

With the same breath I wondered what is going to happen with family structure in the years to come? What is happening to our family values and to our desire to have stable families? How often do we pray for the families around us not only ours? What are we leaving behind for later generations, illustrations?
This picture no longer represents America, it is missing a Mexican tortillas, fried plantains, mofongo, pan con lechon, asado, pom, beef patty, jerk chicken, fried rice and guarana drink on that Thanksgiving dinner; yet the one thing we forget to do is to invite Christ into our families and to keep them constantly in prayers. We might say grace daily but forget to thank for the provision not only granted to us but to our loved ones and our "neighbor" too. I guess we get distracted, we lose Focus on the Family.
May I invite you to join me to pray for our families and American families in general, not forgetting President Obama's family, they need our prayer too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


After a few weeks of seeing very sad images on TV about one of the greatest After a few weeks of seeing very sad images on TV about one of the greatest catastrophic earthquakes of our time in Haiti, it is time to cheer up. Around me and including myself; some of us lost a loved one, not only among the earthquake victims but lost due to an illness; natural causes; the point is we no longer have that loved person in our lives and it is hard to get over their departure. The feeling is like being a withered plant...
Happiness and sorrow, a smile and a tear, I believe go hand in hand, they are a part of life. These moments are most comforting when we have a true friend by our side. I belief lightning will strike us down sooner than meeting a true friend for life, unless we discover that in Christ we have such friend who will never walk out on us and will teach us not to cry but to SMILE. Through Him we become smiling plants...

 This is how the apostle Paul described his emotions during hardships
2 Corinthians 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Even when tears roll down our cheeks,
we should manage to SMILE, we have Christ!
From my heart to yours,

I invite you to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu-rLA4POkI

Click the link to see our Doral Singles Ministry 2007 blog-year