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The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

Jerusalem Countdown is a hidden gem of a movie

MOVIE REVIEW
I have struggled putting together a review of Jerusalem Countdown (JC). For one, I was awaiting its official release date, which came and went in August. As it turns out, JC, is traveling across the states at selected theatres and churches only, which is a shame since the movie turns out to be pretty good and many will miss it.
The second problem I wrestled with is that this faith-based movie, produced by Pure Flix Entertainment, is yet another “rapture” story which tend to not sit well with me. As a man of faith, I think it best to try to win others over with the good news, not scare the hell out of them. Fortunately, the rapture theme is secondary to the main storylines and doesn’t come off as depressing as one might think.
The marketing for this film is strange as well. I’m sure that many of you have never even heard of it, but for those who have will know that the posters proudly display the names of Lee Majors, Stacy Keach, Randy Travis and even Christian songstress Jaci Valesquez. However, each of them only gets a handful of minutes of screen time. The ones who do all the heavy lifting are fairly unknown actors: David A. R. White, Anna Zielinski, and Carey Scott.

The third reason is that JC is almost certainly the first chapter in a series of movies, so the ending doesn’t really feel like an ending. Some may be asking for more, but I think Hollywood should get back to the notion that each story/movie should be able to stand on its’ own merit. But that’s just me.
This story is adapted from a best selling book by Pastor John Haggee. I’m a movie critic not a theologian, so I have a hard time knowing when and if a “rapture” movie is biblically correct. So, I have judged this movie on its story telling, acting, camera work, and action – the things most of us are looking for in a movie anyhow.
The storyline in a nutshell is this: When nuclear weapons are smuggled into America, FBI Agent Shane Daughtry (White) is faced with an impossible task – find them before they are detonated. The only people who can help are a washed up arms dealer (Majors), a converted Israeli Mossad Agent (Keach) and a by-the-book CIA deputy director (Travis). However, the bulk of the story centers on Agent Shane and his partner, Eve (Zielinski) as they follow clues and dodge bullets. The production values of this film are surprisingly high for a low budget film. There is genuine suspense and tension throughout. The acting is also quite good. Although only in about 10 minutes of the movie, Velassquez is a spitfire of a character – who knew? White and Zielinski make a great pairing too. The biggest surprise is an extended scene with Carey Scott as a man suspicious of his neighbor across the street and finds him in a sticky situation. The scene plays like one found in the TV series 24.
Most of the lines are well written, but fall a little flat whenever “God” or “salvation” is mentioned, a problem found in many faith-based films. At least they aren’t too distracting.

To find a location where this film is playing, you’ll need to visit the official movie website. If you are so inclined, there is a form that you can fill out that to help bring the movie in your neighborhood.

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