Sunday, April 24, 2011

Movies For Easter

There are as many different versions of Jesus movies as there are sides of this remarkable man - from funny to serious, pious to lost - but no matter what kind of movie you watch the viewer always seems to come from watching it .... a bit more connected. These are just my tippy top favorites.

This 1999 made for TV movie has the charming Jeremy Sisto as Jesus, he brought such a sweet side of Jesus that is almost hypnotizing. This film starts with Jesus dreaming of a medieval battle being fought in his name and of a dying world war soldier who, in desperation, calls out the name: Jesus. He awakes, distraught and confused on why they are calling for him. This story follows him from the 40 days (where he meets Satin *who transforms from man, Jeroen Karbbe' a veteran actor, to woman, Manuela Ruggeri's only gig* and shows up through out his times of doubt), misistry (where he meets Mary M (Debra Messing - which I don't know if I liked her in this role) and where he becomes a target of the High Priest Chaiaphas (Christian Kolund). G.W. Bailey (from Police Academy fame) plays Philo who is an instigating informant to Pontius Pilate (Gary Oldman from Dracula) who, I felt, played well with each others strengths. This is my favorite all time go-to for all my holidays movie - I always feel so much better after watching this one even though it is a "fluffy" film depicting a "more human" Jesus. That leads me to the most heartbreaking and gruesome movie of all time.

Passion of the Christ was not Mel Gibson's first directorial debut ("Man Without A Face" and "Braveheart" came before this movie) but it is his first screenplay. This 2004 film which was released on Ash Wednesday, dipicts Jesus Christ's final hours and crucifiction. It is by far the bloodiest and most disturbing of all Jesus movies AND the most profitable with over $370 million being made, just to show you that a well made movie can have sub-titles *even in Arabic no less* and still make money. With this particular movie you can see some Catholic influences in the film, such as the prominent role of Jesus' mother Mary, the Stations of the Cross, and the floating cross on which Jesus was crucified. Mel Gibson had a Canadian priest, Fr. Stephen Somerville, celebrate the Traditional Roman Catholic Latin Mass of the Apostolic Rite for the film crew each day before production began. Because of their experiences during film production, many of the cast and filming crew converted to Catholicism after the completion of the film. *ALL BE WARNED don't make a movie with Mel Gibson unless you want to convert to Catholicism* LOL But if you can't stomach it - then definately watch it during the Easter weekend but if you can not, then something alittle bit more informative might be better for you.

I happen to own this 2000 series, which also has a companion book. I think it is very good series for the student of faith who seeks a more thorough understanding of what life was like during the time that Jesus lived in the flesh on earth. The book is rich with photographs, drawings and maps, this book is a visual treat as well as providing much insight through the text. This series allows me to "see" more of Jesus' life as a Jewish child as to know why he did/said what he did/said as an adult and about the political conflicts that lead to his death. The re-enactments brings one into his world. It might be alittle complicated for the very young (8 and under) but it should be viewed and studied by all. Also if you like this one you might like the next.

Jesus: The Complete Story came out in 2001 and it is chalk full of visual affects that brings the Jesus story into a whole new level. Which should help older children and teen too, along with adults, "see" things more clearly. It helps me refreshen my knowledge, being I am very forgetful, and brings so much more information (the discovered boat, Mary, Judas' betrayal) into light.

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