Articles

We need to talk about cartoon parents ARTICLE

We need to talk about cartoon parents

I don’t expect animated heroes to have uniformly ideal, harmonious family lives. It’s not realistic — and it doesn’t make for good drama, which needs conflict. The ubiquity of the pattern, though, is striking.

<em>Doctor Strange</em> and <em>Hacksaw Ridge</em>: Breaking rules and the greater good ARTICLE

Doctor Strange and Hacksaw Ridge: Breaking rules and the greater good

In each of their latest films, the battle against a threatening power raises questions about which principles the protagonist should or shouldn’t compromise in order to protect his world — questions that aren’t necessarily clearly answered by the end of the film.

<em>Hacksaw Ridge</em>: Mel Gibson and Robert Schenkkan at the Sheen Center ARTICLE

Hacksaw Ridge: Mel Gibson and Robert Schenkkan at the Sheen Center

The director and screenwriter spoke at a screening of the film at the New York Archdiocese’s cultural center, and I chatted with Gibson about the film.

The Greater Freedom: Karol Wojtyla and <em>Our God&rsquo;s Brother</em> ARTICLE

The Greater Freedom: Karol Wojtyla and Our God’s Brother

As a seminarian in the 1940s, the future Pope St. John Paul II wrote a play about a Polish artist turned religious who helped inspire his vocation. In 1997, a film adaptation featuring Christoph Waltz was directed by Krzysztof Zanussi (Life for Life).

&ldquo;You do it for Christ, and forget the rest&rdquo; ARTICLE

“You do it for Christ, and forget the rest”

Krzysztof Zanussi on Our God’s Brother, Adam Chmielowski, Pope John Paul II, and how he discovered Christoph Waltz.

The culture of wrath: How not to poison your soul on social media ARTICLE

The culture of wrath: How not to poison your soul on social media

The pitfalls of human nature being what they are, to dwell excessively on negative thoughts and preoccupations — to give free rein to outrage, anger, fear, antipathy, and, all too easily, hatred — is a constant temptation. (It’s a special hazard during election seasons, but the problem is perennial.) That which is dishonorable, unjust, impure, and worthy of condemnation drowns out what is honorable, just, pure, and worthy of praise.

<em>Inside Out</em> and upside down: Does&nbsp;Pixar&rsquo;s most recent masterpiece distort human nature? ARTICLE

Inside Out and upside down: Does Pixar’s most recent masterpiece distort human nature?

None of this is to say that Inside Out doesn’t present a lopsided view of the place of emotions in human nature. It does. Most if not all stories, even great ones, are lopsided in some respect or other.

Where are Hollywood&#8217;s good Catholic characters? ARTICLE

Where are Hollywood’s good Catholic characters?

Here is a sobering question: Has there been a single substantial, positive depiction of Catholic faith or identity in a major Hollywood non-horror film in the last 10 or 15 years?

Let&rsquo;s face it: Hollywood&rsquo;s got a &ldquo;religion problem&rdquo; ARTICLE

Let’s face it: Hollywood’s got a “religion problem”

One area of representation is disproportionately ignored: how Hollywood deals with religious belief and identity.

Warcraft [video] ARTICLE

Warcraft [video]

This may be the first movie I’ve ever seen where I got more out of reading the Wikipedia entry afterwards.

Movies and mercy: The Arts &amp; Faith Top&nbsp;25 Films on Mercy ARTICLE

Movies and mercy: The Arts & Faith Top 25 Films on Mercy

In the face of the latest crushing evidence of man’s inhumanity to man, the Top 25 Films on Mercy remind us that the way it too often is isn’t the whole story, or the way it has to be.

Three ages of Pixar ARTICLE

Three ages of Pixar

For 15 astonishing years, from 1995 to 2009, Pixar created a body of work — 10 films — so revolutionary and beyond mainstream Hollywood animation that it’s hard to quantify … In recent years, alas, Pixar has stumbled more often than not.

Violence and virtue: How Christian is <em>The Revenant</em>? ARTICLE

Violence and virtue: How Christian is The Revenant?

Whether one sees The Revenant as a spiritually rich, profound meditation on good and evil or an overwrought attempt to transmogrify atrocity into transcendence, Christians should recognize that when it comes to media depictions of violence, there are two potential dangers, not just one.

Make Mine Marvel ARTICLE

Make Mine Marvel

The modern era of superhero movies was arguably inaugurated by two films: Bryan Singer’s 2000 X-Men and Jon Favreau’s 2008 Iron Man.

Whit Stillman and the discreet charm of the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie ARTICLE

Whit Stillman and the discreet charm of the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie

He’s been called “the WASP Woody Allen,” but I prefer my friend Ron Reed’s moniker for Whit Stillman: “the Jane Austen of indie film.”

&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a crucifixion!&rdquo; ARTICLE

“That’s a crucifixion!”

But the Crucifixion was not only on Calvary, and if Christ is on the waterfront, he can also be found in a medieval prison cell, a cheap, penny-ante building and loan in a crummy little town, a Russian shtetl (a small Jewish town in Eastern Europe), a Belgian trailer park, or the slaves’ quarters of a 19th-century Louisiana plantation.

&#8220;A person&#8217;s a person&#8221;: Animation and the cultures of life and death ARTICLE

“A person’s a person”: Animation and the cultures of life and death

Clearly Horton can be called a “pro-life” hero in a broad sense, and even in a sense that resonates in some striking ways with the pro-life cause. And his isn’t the only animated adventure with pro-life resonances.

What&#8217;s Catholic response to <em>Spotlight</em> been like? Mostly positive, actually. ARTICLE

What’s Catholic response to Spotlight been like? Mostly positive, actually.

Why has Catholic response to Spotlight been so positive? One key reason is the film’s shrewd choice of point of view.

Silent rage against the machine: <em>Metropolis</em> and <em>Modern Times</em> ARTICLE

Silent rage against the machine: Metropolis and Modern Times

Metropolis is an operatic, dystopian science-fiction parable with roots in various sources including biblical and medieval Christian imagery, while Modern Times is a satiric comedy at times recalling Dickens and anticipating “Dilbert.” Yet the two films converge around political, economic, social, and technological themes.

Jesus movies and antisemitism: <em>Jesus of Nazareth</em> and <em>The Passion of the Christ</em> ARTICLE

Jesus movies and antisemitism: Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion of the Christ

While concerns around “Jesus of Nazareth” were short-lived, The Passion of the Christ remains controversial, beloved by many and condemned by many others.