A reader writes: “‘The elephants created the jungle’ is not ‘semi-religious’ as you say. It is, in fact, blasphemous. You say such ideas are not ‘often found in a Hollywood family film.’ I disagree. Blasphemy is typical in most Hollywood films.”
Like Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella last year, The Jungle Book offers a lavish new reimagining of a beloved story, blending elements from the original literary source material with the classic animated Disney version.
Relate the plot of Bicycle Thieves in a few sentences, and a person who had never seen the film might be forever haunted by it.
But the Crucifixion was not only on Calvary, and if Christ is on the waterfront, he can also be found in a medieval prison cell, a cheap, penny-ante building and loan in a crummy little town, a Russian shtetl (a small Jewish town in Eastern Europe), a Belgian trailer park, or the slaves’ quarters of a 19th-century Louisiana plantation.
Batman v Superman is even more charged with theological language and iconography than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Even the Good Friday opening may not be an accident.
Brooklyn is what seems like an increasingly rare gift: a film about the drama and discovery of an ordinary human life: about love and loss, sorrow and self-discovery, in a story that for once is not overshadowed by some deep injustice or extraordinary human conflict.
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.
The Young Messiah is an impressive achievement of Christian imagination, a work that does one of the noblest things a Bible movie, or any literary adaptation, can do: It brings persuasive emotional and psychological depth to characters and situations that were either hidden or else so familiar we may have trouble seeing them at all.
There are many things I love about The Young Messiah, as my review elaborates, but the way it depicts Jesus’ consciousness at the age of seven is one of my favorite things about it.
Why has Catholic response to Spotlight been so positive? One key reason is the film’s shrewd choice of point of view.
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.
While concerns around “Jesus of Nazareth” were short-lived, The Passion of the Christ remains controversial, beloved by many and condemned by many others.
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.
This year my circle of Christian cinephiles converged on the year’s best films more closely than usual.
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.
Risen might be the only Jesus film in which we first encounter Jesus on the cross, already dead or nearly so.
Filmmaker Michael Whyte actually lived across the square from the monastery for years without realizing it was still occupied. One day he heard the monastery bell calling the sisters to prayer.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stations of the Cross is among the most insightful and devastating cross-examinations of religious fundamentalism that I have ever seen, certainly in a Catholic context. The film is not an attack on faith or religion, but an examination of how faith goes wrong.
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 the Star Wars mythos Gnostic? If so, how Gnostic is it? The question is complicated by confusion over exactly what Gnosticism is.
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?
I smiled and laughed through much of the film. Why don’t I love it more? Why did The Force Awakens make almost no lasting impression on me?
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.