Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 05/24/24

The official trailer for the highly anticipated biopic Reagan has just dropped. The film, due in theaters nationwide on August 30, stars Dennis Quaid as the late and, by many, much beloved 40th president. The all-star cast also includes Jon Voight (as Viktor Petrovich, the former KGB agent through who’s eyes the story is told), Penelope Ann Miller (as Nancy Reagan), Mena Suvari (as Reagan’s first wife Jane Wyman), Nick Searcy (as James Baker), C. Thomas Howell (as Caspar Weinberger), Leslie-Anne Down (as Margaret Thatcher), Aleksander Krupa (as Mikhail Gorbachev), Robert Davi (as Leonid Brezhnev), Dan Lauria (as Tip O’Neill), Kevin Dillon (as Warner Bros. Studios President Jack Warner), Kevin Sorbo (as Reagan pastor Ben Cleaver) and David Henrie (playing the young adult Reagan).

Talking about taking on such an iconic role, Quaid says “I’ve always been told bits and pieces of the stories of Ronald Reagan’s life but this movie puts the whole story together…I’ve played quite a few real people over the years and I like to play them from their point of view, without judgment. It was a big challenge for me to get behind the public persona of the man and also to move beyond my own feelings of admiration for him.”

Directed by veteran filmmaker Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Miracle Season), the film serves as the debut release from the recently launched studio Showbiz Direct, led by former exhibition veteran Kevin Mitchell, former Lionsgate distribution president Richie Fay and former co-president of Open Road distribution Scott Kennedy (no relation). For group ticket info click here.

Between now and August 30th…

Let there be Sight. As May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Angel Studios, distributor of the Dr. Ming Wang biopic Sight (debuting in theaters today) has joined with the Asian communication company iTalkBB for the I Am In campaign aimed at encouraging Asian Americans to make their stories known. More after the trailer.

Dr. Wang, the subject of Sight, says, “We believe that Hollywood needs to share more Chinese stories, and American society needs to celebrate the contributions of our Chinese neighbors…Through the ‘I AM IN’ campaign, we hope to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the Chinese community in North America.”

Sight tells the inspiring story of how Wang overcame childhood adversity to pursue his dreams of attending medical school in the United States. After receiving degrees at Harvard and MIT, his groundbreaking invention of amniotic membrane contact lenses and his philanthropic efforts through his foundation have made a significant impact on the lives of millions worldwide. The film focuses on Wang’s passionate quest to restore the vision of a young orphan through a groundbreaking new surgery.

In addition to the I Am In campaign, Angel Studios is partnering with many of its exhibition partners to ensure that theaters showing its films (including Sight) are equipped with the latest technology can be enjoyed by audience members dealing with hearing and vision loss.

Brandon Purdie, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Theatrical Distribution at Angel Studios, declares “Dr. Wang’s life is an inspiration to all, and Angel is passionate about following in his footsteps and bringing this story, through a theatrical experience to everyone…Because of this, our team is committed to working with our exhibition partners so all audiences can share in the impactful experience of escaping our daily lives to be fully present in stories when presented at a movie theater.”

Paul Farnsworth, Executive Director of Communications and Content at B&B Theatres, adds “Everyone deserves the chance to enjoy the magic of the movies, and we are working hard to create innovative and progressive solutions so that all guests feel welcome, accommodated, and comfortable when entering our facilities. These efforts include things like free sensory backpacks, adult changing stations, Step ‘n Wash stools, open captioning and sensory showtimes, nursing areas, and so much more. We have created custom employee training pieces in conjunction with Kansas City Behavioral Health to help our team members with basic American Sign Language and Spanish, as well as empowering them with appropriate techniques for offering specific service to guests with challenges who might require or appreciate special attention. We are always on the lookout for sustainable ways to continue to enhance experiences for all of our guests!”
Breaking the soundless barrier. Speaking of accessibility, the Deaf Missions film Jesus (in theaters nationwide June 20th) tells the story of the Savior’s mission on Earth through American Sign Language as well as English subtitles. It is estimated that 2 to 4 percent of Deaf people are Christians. Deaf Missions is a ministry dedicated to serving them. Check out the trailer below.


Maybe we’re not all bad, after all – and, just maybe, what America stands for is good. That’s a refreshingly Reaganesque message for a country and culture being bombarded by messages of shame.  Something to Stand For follows Mike Rowe as he embarks on a journey across America and through American history. From the American Revolution to World War II, the Civil Rights movement and beyond, viewers will be reminded of (or perhaps told of) the stories of brave men and women who fought to ensure that the USA represented humanity’s highest ideals. America isn’t perfect but we have more than our share of heroes. Something to Stand For arrives in theaters Thursday, June 27th. Ticket info here.


Quest completed. In 2022, I told you about Angel Quest, the documentary project by filmmaker Stan Williams on the mystery of a 2,600 mile stretch from Europe to Israel involving a straight line of ancient monasteries all dedicated or closely related to St. Michael the Archangel. The alignment has come to be known as the Sword of St. Michael.

While some of the monasteries were erected as far back as the 5th century, only recently has this mysterious alignment been discovered. Archaeologists ask how and why the monasteries came to be built in a perfectly straight line and in some extremely inaccessible locations such as on isolated islands and mountains. Although apparently built by a diverse collection of monks and friars with no knowledge of each other’s work, the edifices share similar stories of how St. Michael showed up in times of great need.

The eight-minute video above is a fascinating introduction to the full-length two-hour documentary which you can see here.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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