Based on a True Story

dunkirk

DUNKIRK Family Movie Review (Thomas)

Review by Thomas Olsen WHAT’S DUNKIRK ABOUT? Allied soldiers in Europe are surrounded by the German army with little hope of surviving.  IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE A) Dunkirk is an unconventional but striking war film. It’s both inspiring and horrific. While other war films tend to depict the gore and violence of war, Dunkirk goes the route of letting you feel what it’s like to be stuck in the h ...[Read More]

red tails

RED TAILS Family Movie Review

  RED TAILS REVIEW (GRADE: C ) I had truly hoped that Red Tails would be spectacular. Heaven knows it had the potential to be: the true story on which it’s based (that of the segregated African-American WWII fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen) is loaded with heroism, tragedy, and triumph. Also, George Lucas served as producer while others directed and wrote (as happened in the better f ...[Read More]

we bought a zoo

WE BOUGHT A ZOO Family Movie Review

WE BOUGHT A ZOO review (Grade: A-)  Director Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire) brings his love of quirky characters, left-field humor,  and light rock music to family film-making with We Bought a Zoo, an engaging true story that’s a big contender for the year’s most uplifting film. Like all great uplifting films, there’s a strong undercurrent of sorrow and grief for muc ...[Read More]

great debaters

Overlooked Gem: THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007)

  Denzel Washington’s second foray into directing (after Antwone Fisher) takes the basic structure of an inspirational sports movie and turns it on its head, as a small-town school goes up against the Ivy-League giants of the nation. The action and strategy, however, revolve around words and ideas, not athletics. Telling the true story of an East Texas “negro college” during ...[Read More]

moneyball

MONEYBALL Family Movie Review

MONEYBALL review (Grade: B+) Hyped as one of the year’s best films and widely praised, Moneyball is very good but slightly over-rated. Much like the actual game of baseball, at its best it gives us impressive displays of talent, gripping competition, and surprising emotional engagement but sometimes it drags on and is just plain sluggish. Moneyball tells the true story of the 2002 Oakland At ...[Read More]

world trade center

Overlooked Gem: WORLD TRADE CENTER (2006)

  When this film came out in 2006, it had a lot going against it. Only five years had passed since 9/11, and many people said it was too soon for Hollywood to touch this history. Director Oliver Stone, famous for conspiracy-driven, pessimistic movies like JFK, Natural Born Killers, and Platoon, seemed a terrible choice to approach this tender nerve. Nicholas Cage was…well, Nicolas Cage, ...[Read More]

conspirator

THE CONSPIRATOR Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker Grade: B+ Director Robert Redford’s The Conspirator is a soul-stirring, troubling, and thought-provoking examination of the sacred and true nature of the Constitution. It’s also a warning against allowing fear to cause us to abandon our freedom in pursuit of revenge and security. This is a film that went largely overlooked this year, which is a shame, because it̵ ...[Read More]

secretariat

SECRETARIAT Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) If there’s an inspirational true sports story to be told, rest assured, Disney will make a movie about it. Though earlier examples in this mini-genre have ranged from excellent (Remember the Titans, Miracle) to good (Invincible, The Rookie) the Law of Diminishing Returns has been taking effect in recent years, as powerful storytelling and in ...[Read More]

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Family Movie Review

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) This is the year’s most overrated movie. That’s not to say that The Social Network isn’t cleverly directed, well-written, and impeccably acted. It’s all of these things, so from a critical standpoint, it is a “good” film. However, as a drama it’s a sad, soulless affair about petty and selfish people doing ...[Read More]

invictus

INVICTUS Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) With Clint Eastwood directing, Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon sharing top billing, how could Invictus fail? The answer is that it doesn’t, as this rich historical drama provides great insight into South African history and the philosophy of one of the 20th century’s greatest leaders. The film tells the true story of Mandela’ ...[Read More]