The movie year 2022 was a year of memory and identity, with one film after another exploring how memory both gives us access to our past, to our roots, and also distorts and obscures the past.
“A glorified South America” was one of the odder dismissive takes on Pandora, the alien world of the Na’vi in James Cameron’s Avatar, that I heard when the movie was in theaters. After all, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to see a glorified South America?
It’s tempting to view Calvary alongside Banshees and Bruges as a sort of unintentional McDonagh brothers trilogy: a “lapsed Catholic” trilogy, or, a bit more accurately, a “bad Catholics” trilogy, since most or all of the characters in Banshees and many of the characters in Calvary are at least minimally practicing.
One of the things that makes Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) such a riveting storyteller is how persuasively he imagines sympathetic characters who are more or less trying to do the right thing finding the consequences of that “more or less,” that small bit of wiggle room, compounding and spiraling out of control in unforeseen directions.
Season 1 ended for me closer to the quiet end of the whimper-bang spectrum than I had hoped. Yet the highs of the season’s second half offer ongoing reason for sustained interest.
Four episodes in, the lavish Amazon Prime series is delivering on at least some of its promise, but there’s room for improvement.
A Game of Thrones–ification of Tolkien? More Hobbit trilogy excess? Though not without missteps, Amazon’s ambitious Lord of the Rings prequel series gets off to a fairly promising start.
Perhaps you were glued to the news in 2018 as the world followed the ultimately successful efforts in Thailand to rescue the 12 young boys of a soccer team and their assistant coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave who had become trapped by sudden flooding. If you haven’t checked in on the story since then, though, you have no idea.
Recent installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe exacerbate the tension between the franchise’s humanistic ethos and its nihilistic cosmos. Is there still room for God in this universe?
Vivo remains focused on the experiences of its subjects and their spirituality. It’s not a catechetical or apologetical presentation, but a portrait of five souls and a document, perhaps, of the workings of grace. Vivo is alive.
If The Lord of the Rings is “fundamentally religious and Catholic,” why are there no religious institutions or rituals?
It pains me to say this: If Lightyear is Andy’s Star Wars, what an impoverished childhood Andy had.
The word “dominion” is uttered once in Jurassic World Dominion, in an oblique, irreverent allusion to Genesis 1. “Not only do we lack dominion over nature, we are subordinate to it,” asserts Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in one of his trademark, smugly iconoclastic epigrams. Later in the same speech, though, Malcolm turns with surprising optimism to the power of genetic science to shape the future. Does he really believe this? Is this speech coherent? Is the film itself coherent?
Top Gun: Maverick is more than a nostalgia sequel or legacyquel; it is almost more than a movie. It is a manifesto and a monument, a defiant time capsule and a swaggering IMAX spectacle without precedent or peer.
I’m thinking of a moment in the original movie in which Stephen looks skeptically at a deeply corrupted individual nattering about the greater good and retorts, “No. I mean, come on — look at your face.” Nobody says that in the sequel, but they should.
In the Viking epic The Northman, the arthouse horror auteur behind The Witch and The Lighthouse takes on his most ambitious challenge to date.
For a child, losing a grandparent can be part of growing up, a coming-of-age experience; losing a parent for an adult can be an encounter with childhood, especially if it involves going through the contents of the household they grew up in, the actual stuff of their childhood.
Based on the unlikely true story of an amateur boxer turned priest who died of a rare degenerative disease, Father Stu leans on Wahlberg’s mischievous charm and buoyant aura of invincibility, with hints of something darker and more fragile beneath the surface.
I recently spoke with Mark Wahlberg and Teresa Ruiz via Zoom about making the film and what it meant to them.
Now half a century old, Francis Ford Coppola’s revered New Hollywood masterpiece has one of the best-known final shots in film history — but it almost had a much more Catholic ending.
The familiar animation trope of the domineering dad and the (sometimes) supportive mom gets an update in recent films from the Mouse House.
Questions around how what people need and deserve and how they should be governed are of course recurring themes in the saga of Zorro’s more famous heir, Batman … We don’t look to superhero movies to answer these questions for us, but their varying answers tell us something about ourselves and the times in which they were made.
Dinklage swaggers and glowers magnificently and sings decently, but he’s at his best in quiet, intimate moments, especially with Roxanne and with his confidante Le Bret, the only one who sees his pain.
What kind of year was it for movies? I’ve heard some folks complain that 2021 wasn’t a great movie year, but I’ve come to the point where I believe there are no good or bad movie years, just years in which people have or haven’t watched enough movies.
Not so long ago, a movie like John Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home would definitely have prompted me to open my review by dubbing it, if not the best Spider-Man movie ever, at any rate the most Spider-Man movie ever.
I have, as I suppose most anyone would, complex, mixed feelings about leaving an institution that’s been such a big part of my life for so long a time, but I have no regrets regarding my decisions nor doubts about how God is leading me.
Fog and mist, translucent pavilion sidewalls, blowing curtains, dark water, shadows, reflections: the film is full of motifs evoking the murkiness in which Macbeth’s last days play out.
As rousing sports films and inspirational biopics go, while King Richard is far from a pitiless, warts-and-all inquiry, it has a particular kind of truthfulness, analogous to the truthfulness of a family scrapbook or stories recounted at family reunions.
Watching Dune drove home to me the extent to which no one in 2021 can really go into an adaptation of Dune completely cold.
Incarnations of The Man vary from one MCU movie to another in terms of how sympathetic or compromised he is. Always, though, The Man has damaging secrets, misrepresents his true intentions, and can’t be trusted, at least not completely.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.