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First Reformed REVIEW

First Reformed (2018)

Schrader makes greater use than ever before of what he calls the “transcendental toolkit” — but it’s still very much a film from the writer of Taxi Driver. If Toller partly evokes Bresson’s wan, saintly curé, in time we see that he’s also part Travis Bickle, which can be as difficult to watch as it sounds.

Solo: A Star Wars Story REVIEW

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Watching Disney’s Rogue One and Solo, the two stand-alone “Star Wars Story” movies that come without episode numbers and opening crawls, is a little like watching the legendary Dutch boy trying to plug the leaks in the dike with his fingers … as new leaks burst all around him.

Tully [video] POST

Tully [video] (2018)

A messy, thought-provoking film about motherhood from the makers of Juno and Young Adult? Go figure.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word [video] POST

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word [video] (2018)

The year’s second-best inspirational documentary about an iconic leader with an ability to connect with people as individuals is still pretty good.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word REVIEW

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018)

Wim Wenders, whose eclectic career has embraced arthouse dramas, documentaries, music videos and concert films, approaches the subject of his latest nonfiction film from an unusual perspective: the significance of an unprecedented papal name.

A Quiet Place [video] POST

A Quiet Place [video] (2018)

It’s funny to think of people scratching their heads when this “quiet” film is justly nominated for sound editing and sound mixing Oscars.

Rampage [video] POST

Rampage [video] (2018)

Dwayne Johnson and giant animals. How much more do you need? Well, since you asked … maybe a little?

Avengers: Infinity War REVIEW

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Six years ago I described The Avengers as “awesomeness squared”; Infinity War strives with all its might for awesomeness cubed and even tesseracted. It wants to leave you texting your friends “MIND. BLOWN.” It might succeed — but there’s a catch.

The Devil and Father Amorth REVIEW

The Devil and Father Amorth (2018)

I am only a permanent deacon and a film critic, not a priest and certainly not an exorcist, but if Cristina’s voice hasn’t been digitally tweaked, for my money the devil needs a new sound design team.

Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc REVIEW

Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2018)

Jeannette is a dialogue, and a mutual cross-examination, not only among the main characters of the drama, and above all between man and God, but also between the poet Péguy and the filmmaker Dumont, and even between Péguy the Socialist unbeliever of 1897 and Péguy the believing Catholic of 1910.

A Quiet Place REVIEW

A Quiet Place (2018)

While A Quiet Place is a terrific film just the way it is, I can’t help wishing there were more families like this in other kinds of movies.

Ready Player One REVIEW

Ready Player One (2018)

The sell for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is a little like the sell for Jurassic Park, except instead of dinosaur shock and awe, it’s pop-culture nostalgia shock and awe.

The Passion of Joan of Arc REVIEW

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

The film is more than a dramatization, more than a biopic, more than a documentary: It is a spiritual portrait, almost a mystical portrait, of a Christ-like soul sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

Interview: Interview: <em>Paul, Apostle of Christ</em> Writer&#8211;Director Andrew Hyatt ARTICLE

Interview: Interview: Paul, Apostle of Christ Writer–Director Andrew Hyatt

The Full of Grace filmmaker talks about the challenges of bringing Scripture to life and the problems with many faith-based films.

Paul, Apostle of Christ REVIEW

Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)

It’s not the unmade epic about the life of Paul of Tarsus many would like to see, but what it is is worthwhile in its own right.

Tomb Raider REVIEW

Tomb Raider (2018)

Jolie’s Lara was perhaps having too much fun for much sense of urgency, but Vikander’s Lara isn’t really having fun at all, which makes it hard for the audience to have much fun either.

A Wrinkle in Time REVIEW

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

“If it’s bad art,” Madeleine L’Engle once wrote, “it’s bad religion, no matter how pious the subject.”

Best films of 2017: More lists! POST

Best films of 2017: More lists!

It’s hard to pick clear favorites from the latest roundup of the last year’s best films according to my circle of Christian friends and peers.

Phantom Thread [video] POST

Phantom Thread [video] (2017)

There is a certain fascination in how fascinated Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis are in material that is not fascinating.

The Shape of Water [video] POST

The Shape of Water [video] (2017)

Not the year’s better film starring Sally Hawkins as a handicapped dreamer with an inarticulate, seemingly almost subhuman lover.

Mudbound [video] POST

Mudbound [video] (2017)

The more firmly rooted in a sense of time and place a film is, the more revelatory it often is of the present.

Samson REVIEW

Samson (2018)

If you ever wondered what it might have looked like for Samson to slay 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, wonder no more.

<em>Call Me By Your Name</em> Q&amp;A POST

Call Me By Your Name Q&A

Last week controversy erupted over my “Reel Faith” video review of the Best Picture–nominated movie Call Me By Your Name, a gay-themed coming-of-age drama about a same-sex relationship between characters played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.

The seductive distortions of <em>Call Me By Your Name</em> ARTICLE

The seductive distortions of Call Me By Your Name (2017)

If you didn’t know that the Best Picture–nominated Call Me By Your Name is an uncritically rapturous celebration of a same-sex relationship between an inexperienced youth played by Timothée Chalamet and an experienced man played by Armie Hammer, you might almost guess it from the opening titles, an arty overture for the film that follows.

Black Panther REVIEW

Black Panther (2018)

Is Black Panther the first movie in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe with something in particular on its mind?

Paddington 2 REVIEW

Paddington 2 (2018)

I don’t want to review Paddington 2: I want to live in it, and invite you to live in it with me.

2017: The year in reviews ARTICLE

2017: The year in reviews

American moviegoers aren’t necessarily the most demanding viewers in the world, but it seems we have our limits, if dire movie-ticket sales for 2017 are any indication.

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi REVIEW

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi is a strange beast: a swashbuckling action movie that is deeply skeptical of derring-do; a middle movie that works better as riff and commentary on the original source material than as a sequel to its immediate predecessor.

Coco REVIEW

Coco (2017)

I’m tempted to say I’d like to see the version of Coco Pixar would have made 10 years ago. Not really, I guess, since then we wouldn’t have Ratatouille. Still, I can’t help wondering what the team that made Ratatouille might have done with Coco.

The Star REVIEW

The Star (2017)

It’s a little like The Nativity Story meets The Secret Life of Pets, which probably sounds like a winning formula to some people.