Articles

“A person’s a person”: 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.

Interview: <em>The Young Messiah</em> filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh ARTICLE

Interview: The Young Messiah filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh

The director of my favorite movie this spring about Jesus and a Roman soldier talks about working with Sean Bean, Jesus’ human consciousness, and bringing the biblical world to life.

Alfred Hitchcock&#8217;s two most Catholic films ARTICLE

Alfred Hitchcock’s two most Catholic films

Intriguingly, although I Confess was made first and The Wrong Man closely follows its true story, there are a number of notable convergences between the two films.

Mardi Gras and movies: Easy riders, anthropomorphic frogs ARTICLE

Mardi Gras and movies: Easy riders, anthropomorphic frogs

New Orleans’ legendary Mardi Gras celebration has been depicted or used as a backdrop in scores of films, though surprisingly few depictions are of any great or enduring note.

Mercy and movies: Lenten viewing for the Year of Mercy ARTICLE

Mercy and movies: Lenten viewing for the Year of Mercy

Six years ago I put together a list of movie recommendations for Lenten viewing, six titles for the six weeks of Lent. This year, for the Year of Mercy, here’s a new list: one that puts particular emphasis on mercy, charity, and active concern for one’s neighbor.

The fairest of them all ARTICLE

The fairest of them all

23 years ago I had the privilege of catching Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in theatrical re-release. At the time I was acutely aware what a privilege it was, because about five years earlier, in a history of animation class at the School of Visual Arts, I had written a research paper about that very film, and in those days there was no easy way for me to actually watch the film I was writing about!

Before <em>Spotlight</em> and <em>Brooklyn</em>: Priests, religious, and the Academy Awards ARTICLE

Before Spotlight and Brooklyn: Priests, religious, and the Academy Awards

Two of this year’s eight best picture Academy Award nominees, Spotlight and Brooklyn, present dramatically different depictions of Catholic clergy — though neither gives a clerical character more than a few minutes of screentime.

Abortion, the sanctity of life, and movies ARTICLE

Abortion, the sanctity of life, and movies

43 years after Roe vs. Wade, Americans remain about as deeply conflicted over abortion as ever… The nation’s divided conscience on this subject is reflected on the screen.

Alan Rickman, Brian Bedford, and their Robin Hood movies ARTICLE

Alan Rickman, Brian Bedford, and their Robin Hood movies

This week the world lost three English performers who were all film actors … Bedford’s best-known film role was in Disney’s animated Robin Hood, in which he voiced the legendary outlaw. Rickman, who died the next day, had played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner. David Bowie, alas, never made a Robin Hood movie.

2015: The Year in Reviews ARTICLE

2015: The Year in Reviews

The most celebrated films in any given year are often laced with dark or harrowing themes, and 2015 was no exception… There were also films with uplifting themes, though it’s possible they were harder to find than in past years. In part for that very reason, I treasured them more.

Good Denzel, bad Denzel: <em>Malcolm X</em> ARTICLE

Good Denzel, bad Denzel: Malcolm X

Lee has called Malcolm X the movie he was born to make; in some respects it may be the role Washington was born to play.

The subversive non-subversiveness of &ldquo;Phineas and Ferb&rdquo; ARTICLE

The subversive non-subversiveness of “Phineas and Ferb”

There are at least a half dozen reasons “Phineas and Ferb” never should have existed, and how fortunate for viewers of all ages that it does.

Is <em>Star Wars</em> Gnostic? ARTICLE

Is Star Wars Gnostic?

Is the Star Wars mythos Gnostic? If so, how Gnostic is it? The question is complicated by confusion over exactly what Gnosticism is.

The myth and magic of <em>Star Wars</em>: <br>Is it over? ARTICLE

The myth and magic of Star Wars:
Is it over?

By the most empirical of measures, it doesn’t look like anything can kill Star Wars. From another angle, one could equally ask: At this late date, can anything revive Star Wars?

DreamWorks&#8217; animated Torah ARTICLE

DreamWorks’ animated Torah

During the second week of Advent, as we’re wrapping up Genesis and turning to Exodus, our family viewing often includes DreamWorks’ two animated Pentateuch movies: the Exodus movie The Prince of Egypt and its made-for-TV prequel, Joseph: King of Dreams.

The down-to-earth comic genius of Harold Lloyd ARTICLE

The down-to-earth comic genius of Harold Lloyd

Due to the vagaries of history, Lloyd is less well-known today than Chaplin or Keaton, but his legacy lives on. If you’ve seen Back to the Future (1985), Bringing Up Baby (1938), any of Jackie Chan’s movies, or any incarnation of Superman or Harry Potter, or you’ve experienced Lloyd’s influence.

Thanksgiving leftovers: <em>Pieces of April</em> ARTICLE

Thanksgiving leftovers: Pieces of April

Pieces of April is about the danger, and the necessity, of hoping against hope in a troubled situation, of taking the risk of trying to make it work when there is ample reason to foresee failure.