The Grace Card is the story of a policeman who must find his way through bitterness and despair after the death of his son. When he is assigned a new partner, a part-time pastor, they find a way to help each other to healing and hope.
The film-makers have put together a Church resource kit about the film as well.
I was delighted to find the neglected gem “Stairway to Heaven” (sometimes known as “A Matter of Life and Death”) available on Hulu. Fans of classic movies and spiritual themes should be sure to take a look.
It is a 1946 British film starring David Niven about a WWII pilot who saves his crew and then, realizing that his plane cannot make it back, and with his parachute destroyed, leaps from theplane, preferring to die by falling than in flames. But because his “guide” from the other world does not pick him up, he is caught between this world and the next.
The story works on two levels; you can see it as a literal struggle between heaven and earth or you can see it as a metaphor for what is going on internally as he struggles to recover from a head injury. On both levels, the strongest tie he has to life is the connection he made in a brief conversation with an American military radio operator (Kim Hunter) just before jumping.
This is a beautiful and deeply moving film and very resonant with the themes of “The Adjustment Bureau,” opening next month, inspired by a story by Philp K. Dick.
Salon has a fascinating interview with Matthew Cohen, an expert in movie titles.
Four letters can tell you everything you need to know: “Jaws”
Some other memorable one-word titles: “Titanic,” “Grease,” “Fargo,” “Elf,” “Blow,” “Amadeus,” “Goldfinger”
Some movie titles use what we already know to capture our attention: “Pretty Woman,” “‘
Some titles explain what we’re going to see: “The King and I,” “The Great Train Robbery,” “I Was a Male War Bride”
Some have to be explained: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Some we have to figure out for ourselves: “Gone With the Wind,” “Chariots of Fire”
Some don’t seem to mean anything at all, or maybe everything: Anthony Hopkins has starred in “Fracture,” “Instinct,” and “The Edge” any of which could apply equally well to the other two.
And be sure to check out this hilarious article in Slate about what happens to American movie titles when they get translated overseas.
A young, handsome kid has extraordinary special powers vastly beyond the abilities of mere mortals. He is being chased by big, scary, ruthless, and relentless creatures with enormous weapons who have killed numbers One, Two, and Three. He is Number Four.
That’s John Smith (Alex Pettyfer of “Alex Ryder”). But it’s also kind of James Frey, best remembered for being touted and then flayed by Oprah after it was revealed that his memoirs were not exactly true. Frey has now created a best-seller factory, working with grad students in writing programs to produce mega best-sellers. This book is attributed to “Pittacus Lore” but in fact it is the product of Frey and a former graduate student named Jobie Hughes. That may explain the paranoid overlay of the plot and the portrayal of the main character as an unappreciated genius being hunted by powerful evil forces trying to destroy him.
Frey may not have special powers but he has a very good sense of what makes a marketable, if synthetic, story. There’s some Harry Potter, some Percy Jackson, some Buffy, a bit of “Twilight” and even some Superman and Spider-Man, but none of the genuine feeling of any of those books. The idea of a teenager with hidden source of extraordinary ability unseen and unappreciated by the grown-ups is undeniably a compelling one. Teenagers going through their own unsettling and powerful transformations can related to John’s discovering what he is capable of as he fights off the forces of evil. And so, in spite of the pre-fab foundation, there are moments when it is easy to get caught up in the story.
The action scenes are well staged and director D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”) knows how to create paranoid tension and has a good feel for the way teenagers talk to each other. But Pettyfer does not have the acting ability or screen presence to carry off the a lead role, suffering by comparison to the far more able Timothy Olyphant (as his guardian), Callan McAuliffe (“Flipped”) as a brainy classmate, and Dianna Agron (less chilly than she is as Quinn in “Glee”). It’s likely to please the fans of the book but is too empty at its core to make many new ones.