Articles

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Luther (2003)

2003-09-25 21:54:05 In one sense, I’d like to see more films like this made. At the same time, Luther is also a seriously flawed film. Relentlessly hagiographical in its depiction of Luther and one-sidedly positive in its view of the Reformation, the film also distorts Catholic theology and significant matters of historical fact, consistently skewing its portrayal to put Luther in the best possible light while making his opponents seem as unreasonable as possible. Read More >

Remembering Bob Hope

2003-08-04 10:43:18 Seven years ago, after nearly six decades of marriage to an active Roman Catholic, Bob Hope was received into the Catholic Church, and became a frequent communicant. His funeral Mass was celebrated on July 30 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, and on Sunday, August 3, he was remembered at a memorial Mass celebrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Read More >

The Last Temptation of Christ: An Essay in Film Criticism and Faith

2003-07-19 18:51:49 A Jesus who commits sins — who even thinks he commits sins, who talks a great deal about needing "forgiveness" and paying with his life for his own sins; a Jesus who himself speaks blasphemy and idolatry, calling fear his "god" and talking about being motivated more by fear than by love; who has an ambivalent at best relationship with the Father, even trying to merit divine hatred so that God will leave him alone — all of this is utterly antithetical to Christian belief and sentiment. This is not merely focusing on Jesus’ humanity, this is effectively contradicting his divinity. Read More >

Dogma in Dogma: A Theological Guide

2003-04-20 06:38:16 From a religious point of view, Kevin Smith’s Dogma comes a lot closer to making sense if you just accept one premise: The angels in it — fallen and otherwise — are all really bad at theology. Read More >

Star Wars: Moral and Spiritual Issues

2003-04-20 06:38:15 Moral and spiritual issues raised by the Star Wars phenomenon range from the problem of where to draw the line on Star Wars tie-in products all the way to the theological problems associated with the concept of "the Force." Read More >

Hey Arnold! Series is Good Television

2003-04-20 06:38:15 (Written by Jimmy Akin) "Hey Arnold!" — the television series — is different. It manages to keep its low-key, kid-friendly tone while still turning in episodes that are entertaining and even witty. Read More >

Open Letter to a Mother at an R-rated Movie

2003-03-14 00:29:55 Open letter to the mother sitting in front of me at last week’s Cradle 2 the Grave screening: Your daughter seemed to be about 8 years old, with her white dress and her hair done up in braids. I wonder what she thought when the people in this R-rated movie kidnapped a little girl about her age, duct-taped her mouth shut and shoved her into a van, planning to kill her later. Read More >

Left Behind

2003-02-10 04:25:26 Still others, trying to strike a happy medium, opt for a tolerant ecumenical openness to various interpretations. "Pray for ’pre’ but prepare for ’post,’ " advised Fundamentalist singer Keith Green when asked about his views on the timing of the rapture and the tribulation. Many likewise feel that the interpretation of end-times prophecy is an inessential matter regarding which Christians may legitimately hold different views. (Incidentally, if you’re already having trouble with terms like "pre" and "post," try this summary to get up to speed.) Read More >

2002: The Year in Reviews

2003-01-28 04:01:12 But there were positive trends too. For instance, it was a better year for families at the movies than in quite some time. Despite some disappointments and failures (Spy Kids 2, Big Fat Liar, Hey Arnold!, Scooby-Doo), there were solid successes (The Rookie, Stuart Little 2, Lilo & Stitch) and a sizable number of decent efforts (Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Powerpuff Girls, Return to Never Land, Tuck Everlasting, Treasure Planet, Wild Thornberrys). Read More >

Harry Potter vs. Gandalf: Magic in J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis

2002-09-16 07:01:48 What, then, defines morally acceptable use of good magic in fiction? Where, and how, do we draw the line? How do we distinguish the truly worthwhile (Tolkien and Lewis), the basically harmless (Glinda, Cinderella’s fairy godmother), and the problematic or objectionable (“Buffy,” The Craft)? And where on this continuum does Harry Potter really fall? Read More >

Simone: Reality and Fantasy in Hollywood

2002-08-24 05:12:47 The first line of the film’s closing credits read, "Introducing S1m0ne as Herself." At the time of the early-look screening I attended, no further information about "Simone" was readily available. The movie’s production notes, website, and Internet Movie Database entry were all silent about who, or what, Simone might be. Read More >

The Children’s Stories of E. B. White

2002-07-18 08:23:36 Just as no writer or editor can do without a copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, so no child’s library is complete without one or more of the latter writer’s beloved trilogy of children’s books: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and Trumpet of the Swan (1970). Read More >

Minority Report: A View from the Red Carpet

2002-06-23 17:32:06 “Hi, Internet,” Steven Spielberg says affably. Read More >

WTC: Thoughts from the Week of September 11, 2001

2002-05-05 16:01:03 It was only last week, though it seems like a lifetime ago, that I was standing on top of the Empire State Building, squinting to the south with my two older children toward the proud twin towers of the World Trade Center. Read More >

“Is it a Game?” Faith, Despair, and Cosmic Loneliness in A.I. Artificial Intelligence

2002-03-02 04:34:32 (Co-written with Chris Otsuki) "Those who made us," Joe explains to David, with a glance at the statue of the Blessed Mother, "are always looking for the ones who made them." Read More >

2001: The Year in Reviews

2002-01-28 04:01:14 That said, 2001 was still a pretty lackluster year for film. All spring and all summer, only a tiny handful of worthwhile flicks stood out in a vast wasteland of dreck. The summer’s big special-effects extravaganza, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, was big on effects and short on absolutely everything else, including excitement, humor, charm, characterization, and narrative logic. The annual Disney animated release, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, continued the studio’s dismal slide into modest entertainment values and increasingly glaring New-Age rot. Then the end of the year came with such an onslaught of new releases that it hardly seemed possible to do them all justice. And, unfortunately, Hollywood continued to reap the rewards of its bad behavior with ever-higher box-office returns. Read More >

Possible Halloween Movies for Kids

2001-10-27 13:15:53 Read More >

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Meaning

2001-09-18 12:06:50 What is it about this film that’s pulling in ordinarily subtitle-phobic U.S. audiences and eliciting cheers and applause from jaded American critics and festival audiences, yet leaves the kung-fu fans of the East cold? Is this a good martial-arts movie, or not? Read More >

Kevin Smith: Is Nothing Sacred?

2001-09-13 18:27:25 Does he think of himself as being part of a generation of filmmakers? Smith reflects. "If I am part of a generation of filmmakers," he says with typically self-depracating candor, "it would be the generation that got in too easily." He recounts the epiphany he had after seeing Richard Linklater’s 1991 low-budget indie comedy Slacker: "I thought to myself, ’This counts? This is a movie? ’Cause I think I could do that!’" The result of this epiphany was Smith’s first film, Clerks, a cheerfully obscene comedy that Smith admitted he "never expected to play outside Monmouth County" in New Jersey. Read More >

2000: The Year in Reviews

2001-01-28 04:01:14 Movies this year were so bad that theater attendance was at an almost ten-year low; yet, paradoxically, box office revenues hit record highs — thanks largely to increased ticket prices. Never before have so few paid so much to see so little. Read More >

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