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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: April 11, 2019.

Top pick family and redemptive movies remain at the top of the box office for the second week of February. They include in box office order the following: animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PG), for older children through adults; Mary Poppins Returns (PG) for all ages; animated, comedic, Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages; animated The Grinch (PG) for all ages; At Eternity’s Gate (PG-13) suitable for teens and adults; and The Least of These appropriate for older children through adults..

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PG), which is suitable for older children through adults, is an animated comic book adventure, various manifestations of Spider-Man from other dimensions team up to stop a crime boss from destroying reality.  This movie is a fun movie with action, heart and faith; but there is intense action violence which warrants caution for young children.

In Mary Poppins ReturnsMichael Banks and his sister Jane are now adults and Michael has children of his own, who are in desperate need of a nanny because they have lost their mother. In addition, Michael is distraught with overdue house payments. The movie is full of delightful entertainment with spectacular dance numbers and sweet, endearing songs. This lovely movie encourages the value of family and the importance of imagination. It features Emily Blunt delightfully as Mary Poppins, along with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, and more.

Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages is a hilarious and heartfelt sequel to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, in which the arcade villain wants to be the hero rather than the villain. In this sequel, Ralph and his best friend Vanellope go into the world of the Internet after a missing piece for Vanellope’s arcade game. The movie has good moral themes about friendship, adoption, family, self-sacrifice, and courage (there are a few intense scenes). The characters and adventures in the movie appeal to all ages.

The Grinch is a charming, innocent movie and more about the true meaning of Christmas and how it triumphs over alienation and materialism. It includes classic Christmas carols and hymns that focus on Christian themes. It gives a sympathetic back story for Grinch. It presents role model family members. It is a sweet movie with delightful humor and funny characters. All ages will enjoy this entertaining movie.

At Eternity’s Gate (PG-13), which is suitable for teens and adults, features Willem Dafoe with an engaging performance as Vincent Van Gogh, during the last few years of his life. This well-shot movie focuses visually on a personal portrait of Van Gogh.

At Eternity’s Gate is an aesthetically lovely movie directed by Julian Schnabel. The captivating cinematography captures the beauty of nature as Van Gogh experienced it, enabling the audience to experience Vincent’s sense of wonder. He says, “The essence of nature is beauty, a vibrating energy speaking in God’s voice.” Several beautiful sequences of cinematography picturize Van Gogh’s sense of awe of nature and how it reveals God. The movie’s title comes from the scene in which Vincent see a vast landscape and cries, “It feels like I’m looking into eternity.”

At Eternity’s Gate gives positive references to God and Jesus Christ, as Vincent Van Gogh discusses God’s calling on his life. Although Van Gogh struggles with mental instability, the movie picturizes Van Gogh as a gifted artist with beautiful faith. In referring to God, he says, “Existence can’t be without reason.” He has moving a conversation with a priest about his Christian faith and states, “God gave me this gift…It’s the only gift he gave me…Life is for sewing, the harvest comes later…”  He quotes various verses in the New Testament, referring to his past attempts at being a minister and his continued belief in Jesus. (Before Paris and Arles, Vincent Van Gogh spent many years as a devout missionary.) Van Gogh’s last words in the movie are, “Oh God, will you receive your son?”

The Least of These, which is appropriate for older children through adults, is about Australian missionary Graham Staines, who serves the leper population in India but meets an unexpected fate. His story is told through the eyes of a fictional young journalist who goes undercover for a newspaper with the intention of exposing Staines as illegally proselytizing leprosy patients. However, he surprisingly finds instead a man who has given himself completely and unselfishly as a missionary to those patients. This sacrificial humanitarian becomes a martyr but through his family shows the world what true forgiveness is upon his death. This movie that is shot on location in India, beautifully picturizes and illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to overcome hate. See the trailer.

Although dates can change, here is what is known about the “what and when” of some of the most promising family and redemptive movies for a range of ages due in theaters in 2019: 2/22– Run the Race; 3/14- Patterns of Evidence-Moses; 3/14,16,19; Faith, Hope, and Love; 3/22- The Islands; 3/22 – Unplanned; To Kill A Mockingbird-3/24;  3/29- Dumbo; 4/1- My Brother’s Keeper;  4/12- Breakthrough; 4/18-Pilgrim’s Progress; 4/19-Disneynature’s Penguins; Tolkien- 5/10; 5/24- Aladdin; 6/7- The Other Side of Heaven 2;  6/21– Toy Story 4; 6/24- Star Wars Episode IX; 6/7– Secret Lives of Pets 2; 7/09– Indiana Jones 5; 7/29– Lion King; 8/2 –Dora the  Explorer; 8/23-Overcomer; 12/31- Finding Grace; and more.

Other promising movies in various stages of development and production for the future include: Passion of the Christ 2: The Resurrection; One Nation Under God; The Penitent ThiefEast Oil TexasThai RescueRoe V. WadeGigantic; CATS; Heavenquest:  Peter Pan;  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair;  In God’s Underground; Palau the Movie;  Do You Believe 2; The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew; The Ten Commandments; King David; Pontius Pilate; Butterfly Circus; The Adventures of Tintin 2; West Side Story, You are My Friend, God Calling, Walking with Herb; Heavens to Betsy; Let Go and Let God; The Wake of Light; The Breaking PointThe Follower; Our God is Good; and more.

Further, many Disney projects are in development:  TinkSnow White (musical); Oliver Twist (musical), and a Jesse Owens project. Some live-action Disney remakes of classic animated family movies continue in development, as well: Pinocchio 1The Little MermaidLady and the TrampFantasiaChip ‘n’ DaleGeniesJames and the Giant PeachNottingham & HoodLilo & Stitch, The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Sword and the StoneXD Big Hero 6 animated series and more. Watch for updates, interviews and insightful stories for these movies on Sonoma Christian Home.

What we see and think about becomes a part of us and affects our mental, physical, and spiritual health. What we see and experience leaves permanent images and memories. It is important that we make good choices in movies and media for ourselves and for those in our care. Look for reviews by those you respect who have screened the movie before reviewing it.

Remember that trailers can be deceiving and may hide some of the movie elements that you would find distasteful and disturbing. With some careful research, it is possible to find good movies that enhance our well-being that are entertaining while also inspiring, uplifting, and edifying, as they show the good consequences of good actions and the bad consequences of bad actions.

Top pick family and redemptive movies remain at the top of the box office for the second week of February. They include in box office order the following: animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PG), for older children through adults; Mary Poppins Returns (PG) for all ages; animated, comedic, Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG) for all ages; animated The Grinch (PG) for all ages; At Eternity’s Gate (PG-13) suitable for teens and adults; and The Least of These appropriate for older children through adults.

Uniquely, each week Sonoma Christian Home publishes the top picks for the best choices in movies in theaters for all ages that are not only entertaining but edifying with quality production elements. Sonoma Christian Home provides valuable reviews and substantive interviews for these top picks in family-friendly and edifying movies.

Please continue to search for and support the best movies for your friends and families. Be aware that the titles and trailers of some movies make them appear to be family-friendly when they are not. More and more Hollywood studios and independent ones are making better and better family movies, but there are also movies that may seem family-friendly that have politically correct themes with subtle messages that you may find incorrect or blatant language and situations that you find disturbing.

Some movie publicity makes some movies seem family-friendly; but when they are seen at a theater end up marred by foul language and other crass, inappropriate elements. All seemingly family-friendly movies are not equal in terms of family values, including superhero movies! it is critical for movie viewers who want uplifting, entertaining, and wholesome experiences for themselves and those they love to research movies written by trustworthy sources before they see them. Further, all movie review and recommendation sources are not equal. Make sure you read reviews by those you respect who have previewed movies you are considering. All movies that glitter are not gold even with cute, seemingly innocent characters or with light humor.  Buyer beware.  Make careful, informed choices. The best family movies can be entertaining, educational, and edifying.

The best is yet to come when we continue to support the ongoing reformation in content and renaissance in artistry in media and movies. As audiences continue to see good family and redemptive movies in theaters, keeping them at the top of the box office, more good movies like them are being made. Watch for many top picks this year of redemptive movies that continue to improve in the ongoing renaissance of artistry and reformation of content in movies. Remember that the teams of good family and redemptive movies include consumers, who determine the success and wide global distribution of good family, redemptive movies. We are making good progress in encouraging major Hollywood studios to produce good family and redemptive movies, as well as supporting independent studios to do the same.

Here’s to a blessed 2019!

To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard

See Dr. Howard’s top picks lists on IMDb.

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