2019: The year in reviews ARTICLE

2019: The year in reviews

An exquisite art-house film about a beatified martyr. The triumphant arrival of a belated documentary of a celebrated gospel concert. A fact-based drama about an alliance of devout and unbelieving survivors of clerical sex abuse calling for justice. These are just a few of an unusually large crop of notable films that tackled religious and spiritual themes in 2019.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker REVIEW

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Let’s face it, they could play John Williams’ ominous “Imperial March” over scenes of Uncle Deadly from the Muppets lobbing Green Goblin pumpkin-bombs at Scrat the saber-squirrel (I mean, they literally could, legally, and you could watch it on Disney+ forever and ever), and many of us would still feel emotions stir.

A Hidden Life REVIEW

A Hidden Life (2019)

An ecstatic, anguished three-hour cinematic hymn, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life sings the life and death of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter in asymmetrical binary form, in contrasting theologies — theology and anti-theology — of the body.

The Two Popes REVIEW

The Two Popes (2019)

For a Catholic critic — or at least for this Catholic critic — a movie like The Two Popes presents a number of temptations.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood REVIEW

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood holds a special place — it would not be too strong to say a sacred place — in the hearts of many. Yet that neighborhood is an infinite distance from where we live now.

Frozen II REVIEW

Frozen II (2019)

Anna and Elsa’s relationship is a major improvement on the first film, but in almost every other way this sequel is lost in the woods.

Faith and Ferocity: Interview With <em>Harriet</em> Producer Debra Martin Chase ARTICLE

Faith and Ferocity: Interview With Harriet Producer Debra Martin Chase

Harriet’s appeal is multifaceted, appealing to three demographics underserved by mainstream Hollywood fare: women, people of color and people of faith. Producer Debra Martin Chase knows something about these three demographics.

Harriet REVIEW

Harriet (2019)

The strongest scene in Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet might be a moment when its indomitable protagonist appears at her weakest.

Light from Light REVIEW

Light from Light (2019)

I’m tempted to call Light from Light the first ghost story I’ve ever seen that I completely believe.

Of Grief and Ghosts: Interview With <em>Light from Light</em> Writer-Director Paul Harrill ARTICLE

Of Grief and Ghosts: Interview With Light from Light Writer-Director Paul Harrill

Silence, reflection, the search for meaning, the interior life: These are among the hallmarks of Paul Harrill’s work.