Movies | Standing tall: Life gets gritty on and off the field

Life and loss, victory and defeat take the field—and streets—Aug. 22 with the Tristar Pictures and Affirm Films release “When the Game Stands Tall.”

Starring Jim Caviezel “(Passion of the Christ,” “Person of Interest”), Michael Chiklis (The Shield, The Commish), Alexander Ludwig (“The Hunger Games,” “Lone Survivor”) and Laura Dern (“Jurassic Park,” “Little Fockers”), the inspirational film is based on the true story of De La Salle High School’s storied Spartans football team, and its 151 consecutive victories spanning 12 years.

Although football anchors the story, the movie centers on far more than the Concord, California team’s winning streak—an unprecedented feat. The National Football League’s longest winning streak, for instance, is 21 games, held by the New England Patriots, and 47 games at the collegiate level, owned by the Oklahoma Sooners.

The screenplay, based on the Neil Hayes book, was crafted by Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon and focuses on Caviezel’s Bob Ladouceur, who coaches his team on not only how to play the game, but also how to succeed off of the gridiron.

The movie will also be supported with a variety of resources that can be used for group studies. Group sales are being handled through Sony and can be made by call 1-877-488-4258.

‘Ben Hur’
Entertainment titans Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who in recent months have made headlines with the release of “The Bible” and “Son of God,” will co-produce a remake of the classic “Ben-Hur,” set to release in February 2016.

The power couple is teaming up with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Burnett joins producers Sean Daniel (The Mummy Franchise) and Joni Levin (The Way Back), while Downey joins as an executive producer.

“We are thrilled to have Mark and Roma join the production team to bring such an indelible classic story to the big screen,” said Gary Barber, MGM’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Their unrivaled passion, creativity and success in the faith-based content space, will be a huge asset to the film and we look forward to working together.”

MGM and Paramount are currently partnered on the upcoming “Hercules,” releasing July 25.

Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) will direct the film. The screenplay, originally written by Keith Clarke (“The Way Back”), with revisions by Academy Award-winner John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”), is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 epic novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” Downey (“The Bible”) and John Ridley will serve as executive producers along with Keith Clarke and Jason F. Brown.

The film returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

The couple also announced they are producing “A.D.,” a new drama series for NBC, and “The Dovekeepers,” a four-hour miniseries on the story of Masada for CBS. Both will air next year.

Films to go
The home video market has several films releasing now that families may enjoy during an evening in.

‘Seven Deadly Words’

The BMG film, inspired by actual events, follows Pastor Evan Bennett who arrives at a Connersville, Indiana church which has no money and is out of touch with the community. As Bennett works to restore the budget and relationships, and begins to challenge several of the congregation’s sacred traditions, some of the faithful fire back, “We’ve never done it that way before.” The results are surprising and inspirational. Releases June 3. $19.95.

‘The Redemption of Henry Myers’
After robbing a bank, hard-living frontiersman Henry Myers turns on his fellow thieves by fleeing with the take in this Echolight Studio picture. But they’re hot on his trail and shoot him. Left for dead, he’s cared for by a widow (Erin Bethea) and her children. Thriving under the care of the family, Myers must decide which road he will take—redemption or revenge. Releases June 10. $19.98.

‘On the Edge’
BMG tackles the broader questions of spirituality as college student Vince, reflecting on his own faith journey that began on a skiing trip to Lake Tahoe, bets his college roommate that he can prove that God exists by taking him on a camping trip with a few friends from church. Taking adventure of the great outdoors, the group tackles the tough questions of life as they hike in the mountains and swap stories around the camp fire.

Produced and directed by Rick Garside, “On the Edge” was filmed on location at the spectacular Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Featuring the music of BarlowGirl, Bob Carlisle, Debby Boone, and Benny Hester. Releases June 3. $19.95.

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