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Rome and Geneva: Religion and Science in Angels & Demons

2009-05-15 04:19:30 When Sony Pictures, the production company behind the hit film The Da Vinci Code and the new sequel Angels & Demons, reached out to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN management in Geneva saw a high-profile teachable moment for science. Read More >

Fact-Checking Angels & Demons: Lies, Damned Lies and Dan Brown

2009-05-08 01:59:47 In a Q&A billed as an “interview” on his own website, Brown writes (in a comment recently highlighted by Carl Olson in This Rock), “My goal is always to make the character’s [sic] and plot be so engaging that readers don’t realize how much they are learning along the way.” Or how much misinformation they’re absorbing. Read More >

2008: The Year in Reviews

2009-01-23 12:41:20 Jeffrey Overstreet called the movie year 2006 “the year of the nightmare.” I’m starting to think we haven’t woken up yet. Read More >

2008: The Year in DVDs

2009-01-02 05:50:26 For family audiences, 2008 was a good year at the cineplex — but an even better year for DVD releases overall. In fact, in 2008 quality entertainment for families as well as older viewers came by the boxload. Read More >

Family Films Move Forward in 2008

2008-12-19 07:14:42 Wall‑E is more than another confirmation of Pixar’s moviemaking virtuosity and magic touch with family audiences. It’s the crown jewel in a year that had in some respects had a bit more to offer family audiences from Hollywood than other recent years. Read More >

Hollywood and Religion: Priests, Nuns and the American Silver Screen

2008-12-12 10:46:59 An old witticism has it that Golden Age Hollywood was “a Jewish-owned business selling Catholic theology to Protestant America.” If not strictly accurate, the bon mot contains more than a kernel of truth. Read More >

Twilight Appeal: The cult of Edward Cullen and vampire love

2008-11-28 14:45:11 Chastity is a precious thing, and the struggle to be chaste is both an inevitable part of a moral life and a legitimate subject for narrative art. In part, this quest for chastity may legitimately form some part of Twilight’s appeal. At the same time, a narrative that wallows in the intoxicating power of temptation and desire, that returns again and again to rhapsodizing about the beauty of forbidden fruit, may reasonably be felt to be a hindrance rather than an affirmation of self-mastery. Read More >

Of Bond, Batmobiles and Bullwhips

2008-11-06 00:00:00 By rights, pulp heroes like Batman and James Bond belong to this world of escapism, not the world of The Godfather. Bond was even one of the original inspirations for Indiana Jones. (“I’ve got something better than James Bond” was how Lucas pitched the character to Steven Spielberg.) Now, though, the boundaries are becoming less clear. Read More >

Hellboy and Spiritual Warfare, Hollywood Style

2008-07-11 04:37:59 You won’t find the gospel in movies like Hellboy. What you may find is signs of a world that has been touched by the gospel — a world that retains some awareness of sinister forces to be avoided or resisted, of evil that cannot be overcome by therapy or education or communication, that calls for a response from another realm entirely. Read More >

Eye Candy and Vague Faith: Narnia Filmmakers Talk Prince Caspian

2008-05-15 14:05:52 Speaking by phone from New York, producer Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson and heir, suggested that the new film’s more mature tone was partly a reflection of the book itself. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was written very much to be read aloud,” Gresham explained. “With Prince Caspian, in [Lewis’s] mind his audience had moved up a few years in age, and so Prince Caspian was written for them to read to themselves.” Read More >

Constantine’s Sword

2008-04-18 06:00:53 The most serious problem with Constantine’s Sword, though, is not its historical distortions. The most serious problem is its out-and-out attack on Christianity as such. It is not merely antisemitism that troubles Carroll. It is not even only Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ultimately, it is the very belief that in Jesus God did something both unique and definitive, something with universal applicability for all mankind. Read More >

Faith and Film Criticism: The Challenge of the Catholic Critic

2008-02-29 11:27:04 No critic can offer a one-size-fits-all approach for all committed Christians. I can’t, and have never tried to, tell anyone what to think or watch, or make definitive pronouncements about good or bad movies. I’m not the Pope; I’m not even the pope of movies. There is no pope of movies. Even the Pope isn’t the pope of movies. Read More >

2007: The Year in DVDs

2008-01-18 11:19:40 2007 was a remarkable DVD year for fans of the Vatican film list. Read More >

2007: The Year in Reviews

2008-01-18 11:13:41 There were ultrasounds. Disturbing images of post-abortion fetuses. Mention of fetal heartbeat and ability to feel pain. One way or another, over half a dozen 2007 films found themselves reckoning with the reality of life in the womb. It’s fair to call 2007 the cinematic year of the unborn child. Read More >

Bella: Metanoia Films’ award-winning first film about wounded hearts, family and a crisis pregnancy celebrates love, life and understanding

2007-10-26 02:35:54 For Verástegui — a former boy-band and telenovela heartthrob known to Latino fans as “the Mexican Brad Pitt” — the mission is simple. “Hollywood doesn’t belong to the studios,” he recently told Decent Films. “Hollywood belongs to God. And we need to take it back. And that’s what I’m trying to do, by example first, trying my best every day to be involved in projects that will inspire people to use their talents to do something positive for the world.” Read More >

Into Great Silence: Director Philip Gröning discusses life at the Grande Chartreuse monastery, the presence of God in the world, and his award-winning film

2007-03-31 09:21:03 In 1984, filmmaker Philip Gröning had an idea for a film. He took his proposal to the prior of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, the head monastery of the Carthusian order, high in the French Alps between Grenoble and Chambéry. Gröning wanted to shoot a documentary inside the Grande Chartreuse — not an ordinary documentary, concerned with the transmission of information, but a spiritual voyage into the inner meaning and experience of monastic life. Read More >

The Passion of the Christ: A Note on the DVD “Definitive Edition”

2007-01-29 11:13:35 The original DVD edition of The Passion of the Christ was a “bare bones” edition featuring only the film itself. This week’s two-disc “Definitive Edition” is packed with extras, from The Passion Recut (which trims about six minutes of some of the most intense violence) to four separate commentaries. Read More >

Becket Back on the Big Screen

2007-01-26 06:22:58 It’s a classic. It’s beloved, if for decades only on VHS. It’s got big stars, terrific performances, witty dialogue. Its blend of sex, spectacle and spirituality surpasses anything Cecil B. DeMille ever attempted. So why has Becket never been restored and brought to DVD in the style it richly deserves? Read More >

Must-see DVDs of 2006

2007-01-26 04:48:06 When you walk into an average DVD store, “New Releases” dominate the displays. “New Releases,” of course, are generally the movies that played in theaters in the last six to twenty-four months or so. Yet in fact every year many of the most exciting new DVD releases are movies that haven’t played in theaters in years, decades — or even longer. Read More >

2006: The Year in Reviews

2007-01-19 06:04:11 It was a grim year at the movies — literally. War, death, dystopia, and other dark and downbeat subjects filled theater screens in 2006. Jeffrey Overstreet (Looking Closer) called it “the year of the nightmare.” Read More >

Father Brown: The ATV Series Now on DVD

2007-01-16 08:40:06 Thirteen classic Father Brown stories — adapted with gratifying fidelity in the 1974 television series starring Kenneth More — are now available on DVD in a pair of two-disc box sets. Read More >

The Nativity Story and Catholic Teaching

2007-01-13 17:43:33 In blogs, discussion boards, and other fora, a range of criticisms and objections concerning The Nativity Story have been raised by concerned Catholics. Some of these critiques are thoughtful and worthy of consideration, and raise issues regarding the film that have merit, or are at least defensible. Other complaints are more problematic, resting on misrepresentations of the film or even of Catholic teaching. Read More >

Christmas Story: Catherine Hardwicke and Mike Rich Discuss Bringing The Nativity Story to the Screen

2006-11-30 05:55:04 Perhaps The Nativity Story will take its place as the missing Christmas film — the one that actually is about the real “real meaning of Christmas.” Read More >

The Nativity Story: St. Joseph Gets His Due

2006-11-25 06:51:12 Although The Nativity Story doesn’t portray Joseph as a widower, it also doesn’t depict Joseph and Mary’s relationship as a typical first-century Jewish courtship. While the film doesn’t take a stance one way or the other on the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, it finds drama in the obstacles between Joseph and Mary, rather than turning their story, as some retellings have done, into a Hollywood romance. Read More >

2005: The Year in Reviews

2006-01-23 11:18:06 Like a lot of moviegoers, I spent a fair bit of time this year wringing my hands over the quality of the movies. Looking back, though, it seems to me that the family-film pattern mirrors the overall year: a dearth of A-level films, perhaps, but a bumper crop of B-pluses. Read More >

Stories of Karol: Telling the Life of a Man who Became Pope

2005-12-04 19:25:07 Karol: A Man Who Became Pope isn’t the first TV movie on the life of Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II — but among the new crop of Pope movies coming in the wake of the Holy Father’s death, it’s not only the first, but also the only one seen and praised both by Benedict XVI and John Paul II himself. Read More >

Narnia Filmmakers Hype the Fantasy, Hedge the Faith

2005-12-01 06:06:26 A lot of thought and effort went into getting the feel, the look, the period and the characters of C. S. Lewis’s beloved fairy tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe right for the screen… At the same time, judging from the unanimous testimony of the filmmakers, one crucial element of the book was not a consideration one way or the other in adapting the story: its religious significance. Read More >

Into the Wardrobe: Bringing Narnia to Life

2005-12-01 05:59:40 Before there are centaurs, fauns, or even a lamp-post incongruously burning in the middle of nowhere to establish that the forest beyond the wardrobe door is no ordinary wood, Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe creates the magic of the wood and the wardrobe with the enchantment on the face of young Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy Pevensie, as she gets her first glimpse of the Narnian wood. Read More >

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection: Silent Comedy’s “Third Genius” Finally Gets His Due

2005-11-16 06:08:10 For fans of silent comedy, it’s the DVD event of the decade: Harold Lloyd, the “Third Genius” of silent comedy (Chaplin and Keaton being the other two), until now almost totally unavailable on DVD, at last enters the modern home-video age in grand style with the The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection. Read More >

The Greatest Game Ever Played: Mark Frost, Bill Paxton, Shia LaBeouf and Josh Flitter

2005-09-27 05:45:21 The Greatest Game Ever Played, starring Shia LaBeouf (Holes, Constantine) and directed by Bill Paxton from a screenplay by Mark Frost adapting his own best-selling book, isn’t just the true story of a dramatic championship playoff. It’s also the story of a revolution in popular culture, of how a poor, unassuming youth helped democratize the most aristocratic of games, transforming golf from the exclusive domain of private clubs and wealthy elites to a popular middle-class pastime played on public courses. Read More >

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