Movie Review: Ready Player One is one strange story

Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchlor-Glader

Picture, if you will, a lonely guy in his parents’ basement, spending hours immersed in a role-playing video game in which his closest friends are people he knows only through their avatars; he can’t even trust that their gender identity matches that of their online character.

Now imagine a future in which the world is so messed up that millions of people are locked into a virtual reality that takes them out of their everyday despair, giving them adventure as well as opportunities to profit from their game playing skills.

Now – think about what a great time you could have if this alternative reality was totally based on 1980s pop culture trivia!

Find out more about this “strange story”…

Movie: I Can Only Imagine – full of heart and compassion

Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. I Can Only Imagine Website | Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader

I Can Only Imagine intends to tell the true story behind the creation of MercyMe’s classic worship song (which has sold more copies than any other Christian song in history). Written by Bart Millard (Finley), the song visualizes what it will be like to enter eternal life and see Jesus face-to-face. The background to the song’s composition is the change that Bart saw in his father Arthur (Quaid), who had been abusive to Bart, his mother (Tanya Clarke) and his brother, but who came to accept Christ late in life, become the best kind of dad. Bart also found it in his heart to forgive his father.

This story of forgiveness and reconciliation is buried in the middle of a clichéd “making of a band” story that includes all of the regular players, including a faithful wife (Madeline Carroll) who Bart first meets at church camp, a tenacious and plain-speaking manager (well-played by country singer Trace Adkins), and a couple of celebrity contemporary Christian artists. We also get to see that reliable scene in which kids in cars drive around the country, handing over a CD to little local radio stations, hoping that the DJ can give the song a spin.

Read entire review here …

Love, Simon – teenage romantic comedy that is funny, wise, and kind

Photo: 20th Century FOX | Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a teenage romantic comedy that wore its heart on its sleeve, full of love for its characters. … Fortunately, director Greg Berlanti remembers those films and has intentionally brought the genre up-to-date, using the bestselling YA book Simon and the Home Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli as his source material.

What’s changed in the thirty years after Sixteen Candles? A few things. It’s a digital world now and social media and interconnectivity is a constant presence. The opportunity for online discussion creates both a safe place to talk about yourself anonymously and a dangerous place for online bullying and the spillover into the school cafeteria. And there is now a growing acceptance of a variety of sexual identities with younger adults and teens that was openly shunned in the 80s, although the risk of coming out as LGBTQ to family and friends is still present (and the United Methodist Church’s attempt to find a way forward is perhaps one of the most controversial movements in recent church history).

Read the entire review of this “four halo rated” film.