Archive for February, 2007

Reviews and Articles - 3

Of course, as good as the movie Amazing Grace is (and I still need to write my own complete review), I’m sure we can all think of ways that it could have been even better. There could have been a more exact representation of the content of his Christian faith. (One Christian blogger wondered about a faith that seems only to have consisted of wanting to lay in wet grass and look at spiderwebs.)

An excellent article appeared in my Gmail inbox. My link was to website VirtueOnline, “The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism,” but the article, “Hollywood’s ‘Amazing’ Glaze” comes from the Wall Street Journal’s website OpinionJournal. Charlotte Allen sums up, better than most, the deficiencies of the movie’s representation of Wilberforce’s faith. I urge you to read it here. When Christian and political leaders in the USA are falling all over themselves to recommend the movie (and I agree with them), we need to realize that this is just a movie after all, and it is no substitute for the robust and challenging content of the actual faith that Wilberforce believed.

Perhaps the best rebuke to some of the Wilberforce mania is the actual full title of Wilberforce’s one book of theology. Meditate deeply on this title and apply it to our American scene: A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of Society, Contrasted With Real Christianity.

In other news, this article contains an interview with Michael Apted, and shows some of his own (secular) motivations for making the movie the way he did.

And this article contains an account of a preview showing of the movie in Wilberforce’s hometown, Hull.

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

Reviews and Articles - 2

More reviews.  I note that on, the movie has a 70% approval rating.

Los Angeles Times

Chicago Sun-Times

The New Yorker

Denver Rocky Mountain News

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

Reviews and articles

As expected, there are lots of Amazing Grace reviews. I’ll be writing my own later, but here are a few of the best. They don’t constantly get the details or understand what they are writing about, but they are basically positive. (Because I didn’t link to the less-positive ones!)
Miami Herald

San Fransisco Chronicle

Santa Cruz Sentinel

National Review

National Public Radio

New York Daily News

Orange County Register


By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

Hot links for Amazing Grace movie

Now it’s time to start rounding up some of the good links across the Web this week. This will probably be the first of multiple posts.

First, know that Chuck Colson and the Breakpoint staff are featuring Wilberforce all week. There is a post for every day.

World Magazine likes the movie.

Now for some blogs and reviews.

SoloFemininity says it’s a great movie

CinemaDave says Amazing Grace is a peaceful Braveheart.

The Salem, Oregon StatesmanJournal really likes this movie.

New York magazine says “No, it’s not subtle, but how subtle was slavery?

And don’t forget the address of the main movie website.

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. Read Comment (1)


Ioan Gruffudd as William WilberforceI’ve been using Google News Alerts to get daily updates on what the media is saying about Wilberforce. Up to this week, the reviews of this movie have been basically nonexistent, but as its worldwide release is February 23, I expect that to change rapidly during this week.

I believe this movie has the potential to be the next Chariots of Fire, in the area of inspiration. I urge everybody to see it as quickly as possible, inside of a theater, so that it makes money and continues for a long release.

As for media attention, I’ve found only one really meaty article on the Web this week, and that is from World Magazine, no real surprise there. You can find it here.

I’ll try to post links to the most informative reviews as they appear. Personally I think I will be at Cinemark Legacy this weekend.

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

The Exodus generation and us

My wanderings through the ESV Audio Bible and the adult Sunday School class on the Book of Hebrews have brought me right through the experience of the Israelites in Egypt. A complaining, murmuring, disobedient generation. And when the 38 years of judgment had killed off the generation that refused to go into the land, and Moses was facing a new generation about to enter the land under Joshua, he was dismayed at their continued unbelief:

“But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear” (Deut 29:4).

The Book of Hebrews sees the Israelite wanderings as a symbol of the professing Christian’s ability to finally reject what he claims to have accepted. The author of Hebrews asks us to not reject the heavenly good news like the Israelites mostly rejected the earthly good news that was offered to them.

But for those who have received Jesus Christ in a heartfelt way and desire to follow him, the disobedient and backward wilderness generation has an all too familiar ring. We continually abuse our privileges, murmur against God’s providence, fail to gratefully accept his provision, despise our leadership, dabble in false teachings and false gods, and other offenses. This is why God’s most beloved attribute is possibly his mercy, since only a merciful God could put up with the people he chose for himself.

Today I ran across George Herbert’s application of the wilderness experience to himself. It bemoans the experience of personal backsliding and rebellion, but rejoices in the full experience of mercy that we have now through the finished work of Christ. The poem is not on my Herbert web page yet, so here it is, adapted from another website:
The bunch of grapes

Joy, I did lock thee up: but some bad man
Hath let thee out again:
And now, me thinks, I am where I began
Sev’n years ago: one vogue and vein,
One air of thoughts usurps my brain
I did towards Canaan draw; but now I am
Brought back to the Red sea, the sea of shame.

For as the Jews of old by God’s command
Travell’d, and saw no town;
So now each Christian hath his journeys spann’d:
Their story pens and sets us down.
A single deed is small renown.
God’s works are wide, and let in future times;
His ancient justice overflows our crimes.

Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds;
Our Scripture-dew drops fast:
We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrouds;
Alas! our murmurings come not last.
But where’s the cluster? where’s the taste
Of mine inheritance? Lord, if I must borrow,
Let me as well take up their joy, as sorrow.

But can he want the grape, who hath the wine?
I have their fruit and more.
Blessed be God, who prosper’d Noah’s vine,
And made it bring forth grapes’ good store.
But much more him I must adore,
Who of the Law’s sour juice sweet wine did make,
Ev’n God himself, being pressed for my sake.

By Mark Ritchie in Meditations, George Herbert  .::. Read Comment (1)

Movie countdown

Doh! Apparently Ioan Gruffudd was actually in Dallas on Wednesday, hosting an invitation-only showing of the movie. I guess I don’t know the right people. Don’t they know my blog is at the forefront of the promotion of this movie? And here I am in the Dallas area!

Kim at the pizza placeActually a movie was part of my Wednesday experience, as my young, beautiful bride and I took a couple of days off to go to a bed-n-breakfast in McKinney. We decided to see The Queen and though I can’t locate any friends or relatives who have actually seen it, I can see why it was nominated for best picture, best actress, best screenplay, best director, etc. This movie simply doesn’t have a boring minute in it. It is 97 minutes of fascinating character study between the oh-so-modern Blair administration and the Royal Family. Except for a tiny bit of language, it is basically a family friendly movie. Some of you go see it so we can have some discussion, alright?

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

Amazing Grace movie news

William WilberforceWe’re within three weeks of seeing this movie released, and things are starting to move. First, the movie web site has been updated completely, and now there are now two versions of the trailer and they are available in several download sizes and formats.

You can also see a completely different clip from the movie, not offered on the main movie page, if you go to the Amazing Grace Sunday web page and scroll down to the registration section. There you will find a clip called “Clapham Dinner” which gives a conversation between Wilberforce and Equiano and others who are trying to recruit Wilberforce to the anti-slavery movement.

The references on the Web are growing. World Magazine weighs in with an article by Marvin Olasky. The Baptist Press posts an article on their website. And an outfit called Everyday Gospel Magazine has an interview with Ken Wales, one of the producers of the movie (who is no stranger to high-quality entertainment — he was the main driver behind the Christy TV series).

By Mark Ritchie in Amazing Grace Movie  .::. (Add your comment)

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