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Mailbag: Mailbag #24

Maleficent, Of Gods and Men, Wall-E, Forrest Gump, Wreck-It Ralph, Argo and more.   Read more >

Article: Maleficent, Rape and Sympathy for the Devil

A story like this demands to be seen through the lens of what biblical scholars call “redaction criticism,” which basically means “What was changed, added or deleted in this retelling of the story, and what do those changes tell us about the storyteller’s intentions and outlook?”   Read more >

Article: So, How Gay is How to Train Your Dragon?

How to Train Your Dragon’s Gobber the Belch Comes Out As Gay,” headlines screamed in the weeks prior to the release of DreamWorks’ animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2.   Read more >

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

C+ | **½ | +1-2| Kids & Up*

The first film related how Hiccup changed his village’s way of life forever, winning the love of the girl of his dreams, the approval of his authoritarian father and the respect of everyone in town — not to mention the loyalty of his magnificent new draconian friend, Toothless. Where do you go from there?   Read more >

Mailbag: Mailbag #23

Million Dollar Arm, Monsoon Wedding, Star Trek Into Darkness, Les Misérables, Happy Feet, Lincoln, The Lone Ranger and more.   Read more >

Post: Maleficent [video] (2014)

D | Kids & Up*

Angelina Jolie is perfect for the part of Disney’s most iconically evil villainess. If only they’d let her play it for more than one scene.   Read more >

Post: Ida (2013)

A- | Teens & Up*

A Polish nun embarks on a trip of discovery in this gorgeous black-and-white period piece.   Read more >

Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

B | *** | +2-2| Teens & Up*

The Fault in Our Stars — in cinematic as well as literary form — cares quite a bit about silly questions, such as the meaning of life and death and love and suffering in a universe sliding toward oblivion, and whether there is Something beyond giving some larger context to our existence, choices and experiences.   Read more >

Post: Where can I watch “Reel Faith”?

This summer there’s a catch: Shows will no longer be posted for a week at the website. You have to watch them when they stream! The good news is, they’re streaming a lot! Here are your options…   Read more >

Mailbag: Mailbag #22

Frozen, God’s Not Dead, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Monsters, Inc., The Mill & the Cross and more.   Read more >

Review: Maleficent (2014)

D | | -2| Kids & Up*

It’s fair to say that Disney’s Maleficent plays to an extent as warmed-over Frozen. This is not a good thing, even, I think, if you are a fan of Frozen.   Read more >

Post: X-Men: Days of Future Past [video] (2014)

A- | Teens & Up

The director who launched the new era of comic-book movies 14 years ago with X-Men is back.   Read more >

Post: Godzilla [video] (2014)

C | Teens & Up

The latest Hollywood take on the most successful movie monster of all time is a huge hit with audiences and critics…but I’m not feeling the love.   Read more >

Post: Million Dollar Arm [video] (2014)

B- | Teens & Up

What happens when an American sports agent goes to the land of cricket, the Taj Mahal and endless traffic jams looking for anyone who can pitch upwards of 80mph?   Read more >

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

A- | ***½ | +2| Teens & Up

X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the geekiest comic-book movies ever made — and one of the best. It’s easily the best superhero movie since The Avengers — and, like The Avengers, it plays as a triumphant climax to an uneven series of earlier films.   Read more >

Article: Our Lady of Fatima at the Movies

I have never seen a bad movie about Fátima. Three stand out to me: The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) is the best known; Apparitions at Fátima (1992) is the most authentic; and The 13th Day (2009) is the most artful — and my favorite of the three.   Read more >

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

B+ | *** | +2| Teens & Up

The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s biggest liability is that it follows The Amazing Spider-Man. This sequel is so much better than its predecessor that I’ve gone from being merely disappointed with the 2012 reboot to being downright angry about it.   Read more >

Post: Captain America: The Winter Soldier [video] (2014)

B | Teens & Up

I like Lawrence Toppman’s comment on this one: “This sequel is, by design, entirely absorbing and satisfying without being one whit memorable.”   Read more >

Post: God’s Not Dead [video] (2014)

D | Teens & Up

I took two minutes to talk about this one, and still got in less than half of what bothered me about it.   Read more >

Post: Special “Reel Faith”: Religious Films Edition! And “Catholic Answers Live!”

Two notable back-to-back Decent Films events tonight!   Read more >

Article: Top 10 Superhero Movies

Why do we love costumed crusaders? Larger-than-life heroes fill a cultural niche occupied in the 1950s by gunslingers, in earlier centuries by Robin Hood and King Arthur, and in antiquity by the likes of Hercules, Perseus, and Odysseus.   Read more >

Post: Father Barron on ‘Noah’! Catholic Culture! More!

Father Robert Barron is one of the Church’s best commentators on popular culture today, so I’ve been waiting for his take on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. He doesn’t disappoint.   Read more >

Post: Everything SDG on Noah: Vatican Radio, NBC News, EWTN News Nightly & more!

This has been a crazy week! I was interviewed about Noah for Vatican Radio, the NBC News website, EWTN News Nightly, Kresta in the Afternoon and The World Over.   Read more >

Article: Noah: A Theological Reflection

“Let me tell you a story,” Russell Crowe’s Noah says to his family in a moment of great crisis and emotion. “The first story my father told me, and the first story I told each of you.” What he recounts are the events of Genesis 1, the creation of the world; and Aronofsky relates them both verbally and visually in a way that bespeaks a confidence in the power of this story to speak to us today: a story still worth telling and retelling.   Read more >

Article: The Noah Movie Controversies: Questions and Answers

The punning headlines write themselves: “Noah Awash in Flood of Controversy.” “Deluge of Criticism Inundates Filmmakers.” In the weeks preceding the release of Noah, controversy has swirled around the film — and will no doubt continue to do so in the weeks ahead.   Read more >

Post: Ernest & Celestine [video] (2014)

A- | Kids & Up

I can’t imagine the soul who could watch this movie without smiling.   Read more >

Post: Muppets Most Wanted [video] (2014)

B | Kids & Up

Jason Siegel and Amy Adams are out. Can Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tiny Fey pick up the slack?   Read more >

Post: Son of God [video] (2014)

B- | Teens & Up

After ten years, Jesus is back on the big screen. Was it worth the wait? Son of God: my “Reel Faith” review.   Read more >

Post: Noah [video] (2014)

B+ | Teens & Up*

The first major big-studio Bible film in decades is a dark, divisive, personal film from the director of Pi, The Fountain and Black Swan.   Read more >

Review: Noah (2014)

B+ | ***½ | +2-2| Teens & Up*

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah pays its source material a rare compliment: It takes Genesis seriously as a landmark of world literature and ancient moral reflection, and a worthy source of artistic inspiration in our day.   Read more >

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