Carolyn Arends

Carolyn Arends
Carolyn Arends's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Christianity Today
Biography:
Carolyn has a lot of skeletons in her movie closet. She's not particularly a fan of the Star Wars movies or even those Hobbit films (please don't tell the others, they'll roll their eyes and ostracize.) She can recite unseemly quantities of dialogue from a canon of tour bus classics like Tommy Boy, So I Married An Axe-Murderer and This Is Spinal Tap. She is a card-carrying fan of the Screwball Comedy (What's Up, Doc? comes to mind). Not a very promising resume for a serious film reviewer. And yet, claiming a love for language, a passion for story, and a fascination with art as the lie that makes us see the truth, Carolyn offers up her opinions on movies great and small. In addition to writing film reviews, Carolyn is a <a href="http://www.carolynarends.com">recording artist</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wrestling-Angels-Adventures-Faith-ConversantLife-com/dp/0736920617/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197476621&sr=8-1">author</a>, wife, and mother of two young (certifiably adorable) offspring whom she blames for her love of all things Pixar. Carolyn resides in Vancouver, BC.
Publications: Christianity Today

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/4 53% Across the Universe (2007) Across the Universe is a good-natured (if sometimes enthusiastic to the point of corniness) romp. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
2/4 45% The Mighty Macs (2011) It's a shame that a movie that should have been a slam dunk feels more like a missed shot from the free throw line. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2011
3/4 39% Monte Carlo (2011) A winsome cast, a great location, and keeping the target audience in view bring an entertaining story that manages to have both a conscience and a heart. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2011
3/4 45% Soul Surfer (2011) Although the question of why God allows bad things to happen is sometimes handled clumsily, it is approached sincerely, and it clearly points to the difference faith can make. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2011
3/4 56% Gnomeo and Juliet (2011) It's a diversity of talent befitting the melding of Shakespeare, Elton John, and garden gnomes; those unopposed to a little lunacy will enjoy the adventure. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2011
3/4 82% Like Dandelion Dust (2010) Like Dandelion Dust explores, in a captivating and powerful way, the truth that love's ultimate expression is sacrifice. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2010
3/4 66% The Karate Kid (2010) While this remake is glossier, the original is better. Still, good stories usually get told more than once, and even on the second go around this one's a winner. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2010
2.5/4 24% Letters To God (2010) As well intentioned and sometimes well acted as this film is, it is not always able to rise above its own earnest agenda in order to tell its story in an absorbing manner. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2010
3/4 72% Where the Wild Things Are (2009) In many respects, a creative triumph. The film is visually stunning, and the writing is equally fresh. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2009
3/4 48% My Sister's Keeper (2009) Contrived or not, sad is sad, and My Sister's Keeper will have all but the most cement-hearted reaching for tissue. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2009
4/4 98% Up (2009) It's a swashbuckling, continent-hopping adventure and an under-stated, nuanced psychodrama. It's a wildly creative fantasy and an almost devastatingly poignant piece of realism. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2009
3/4 44% Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) Like the girl at its center, Hannah Montana The Movie ain't perfect, but it sure is likable, and a whole lot of fun. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2009
2.5/4 46% Hotel for Dogs (2009) Ultimately a tribute to the Power of Cute Pooches; despite all the film's shortcomings, the dogs deliver genuine laughs and prove to be thoroughly engaging protagonists. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2009
3/4 64% High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) Sure, the franchise is corny, but it ultimately celebrates talent, enthusiasm, loyalty and love. And you can dance to it. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2008
1/4 44% Blindness (2008) No doubt every reviewer who sees Blindness will dig deep for his or her own special vision-related play on words. Here is mine: Blindness is a film I wish I hadn't seen. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2008
3/4 80% Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) Kit Kittredge has many of the classic ingredients of a successful family tale, but it's most notable success is in the unusual themes it brings to the forefront. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2008
3/4 87% Kung Fu Panda (2008) A good-natured, entertaining romp and, in my experience, not a bad kid discussion-starter. You can't ask much more from an animated panda kung fu movie than that. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2008
2.5/4 57% Charlie Bartlett (2007) Although much of the film is exaggerated for satirical purposes, somehow, in the eye of the farcical storm, a compelling story gets told. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2008
3.5/4 23% Evan Almighty (2007) A truly entertaining film that invites viewers to contemplate the rather big idea that we're all "chosen" to be in relationship with--and obedient to--our Creator. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2007
3/4 70% Ocean's Thirteen (2007) The suits are sleek, the dialogue snappy, the tone wry, the jazz hip. Even Las Vegas--bastion of neon kitsch that it is--looks opulently graceful. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2007
3/4 58% The Hip Hop Project (2006) Its most compelling message is about the importance and power of community. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2007
2.5/4 32% The Ultimate Gift (2006) Like sensible woolen socks in a ribbon-wrapped package, The Ultimate Gift may be good for you, but it's a little hard to get excited about. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2007
2/4 14% Wild Hogs (2007) The premise will likely remind you of City Slickers. The bad news: Wild Hogs is no City Slickers. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2007
2.5/4 62% Music and Lyrics (2007) Grant and Barrymore are completely believable as a creative team, but the romantic development seems arbitrary -- or, more accurately, obligatory. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2007
2.5/4 22% Catch and Release (2007) A big-hearted light-headed story that isn't as deep as it wants to be, but still manages to entertain. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2007
3.5/4 83% Walk the Line (2005) Witherspoon delivers a full-bodied, note-perfect performance as sassy, no-nonsense June, and proves herself an able singer in the process. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2006
3.5/4 52% An Unfinished Life (2005) An Unfinished Life takes us on the journey from the stifling prison of resentment to the freedom and healing of reconciliation. It's a trip worth taking. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2006
3/4 64% Saint Ralph (2005) For the jaded moviegoer, here's a little film that just might restore your faith -- in movies and a whole lot more. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2006
2.5/4 48% Open Season (2006) Despite its overly familiar plot elements and the excessive time it takes getting to its real story, Open Season has a lot going for it. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2006
2/4 6% The Perfect Man (2005) The Perfect Man, starring Hilary Duff, isn't very good. The problem is how to critique it without taking the obvious cheap shots at its likable but over-exposed young star. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2006
3/4 75% Over the Hedge (2006) The film's messages -- pro-family, pro-ecology, anti-consumerism -- sometimes feel forced. But Hedge is genuinely and consistently funny, for both children and parents. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2006
3/4 75% Nine Lives (2005) Nine Lives had me tense, engaged, sometimes disgusted, sometimes moved, and always interested. Garcia is an ingenious and eloquent storyteller. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2006
3.5/4 84% Mad Hot Ballroom (2005) In all its unscripted glory, it shows us pre-adolescence with an astonishing authenticity that should be the envy of a hundred coming-of-age movies. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2006
3/4 42% Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2006) Those who like their humor wry and dry will be rewarded by a nuanced study of the way self-absorption can keep people disconnected, be they comedians, governments, or you and me. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2006
3.5/4 55% Just Like Heaven (2005) One of the best times I've had at the movies in a while. It's not perfect. It's not very deep. But it's a whole lot of fun and even a little moving. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2006
2.5/4 64% Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005) Dreamer is loaded with enough clichés and formulas to choke a horse. But truly, it works. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2006
2.5/4 37% Chicken Little (2005) It lacks a good, old-fashioned story -- the fourth dimension every 3-D feature needs to be a classic. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2006
3/4 42% Everyone's Hero (2006) Five days after screening Everyone's Hero, I'm still cringing a little, in my grown-up, jaded way, at the cute, corny, earnestness of the film. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2006
2/4 6% Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) Its heart is in the right place, but a reliance on gimmicks and sentiment undermines the story. In the end, both the laughs and the tears here come just a little too cheap. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2006
3/4 38% American Dreamz (2006) In a way, this film talks out of both sides of its mouth -- lampooning and loving its targets at the same time. But most viewers, I suspect, won't mind. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2006
3/4 26% The Shaggy Dog (2006) A good-natured, sometimes silly family fun that will play especially well with the under-13 set. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 1, 2006
3/4 82% A Prairie Home Companion (2006) Fans of Altman's naturalistic style and admirers of Keillor's wit will find plenty to love in A Prairie Home Companion. - Christianity Today EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2006