It is about self-interest and empathy, practical necessities and moral choices. It’s about the importance of work and the ruthlessness of economics based purely on self-interest and competition. I can think of no film that more persuasively or powerfully illustrates in human terms what popes from Leo XIII to Francis have been talking about for over a century regarding the dangers of pure capitalism unrestrained by moral concerns.
Mirroring its populist tale pitting a devout young undergraduate against Kevin Sorbo’s hostile philosophy professor, the faith-based hit indie God’s Not Dead sharply divided enthusiastic faith audiences and scoffing critics.
Recently I had the opportunity to field 18 questions from Sean Salai, SJ for a profile piece in the Jesuit magazine America. I had a lot of fun answering Mr. Salai’s thoughtful, sometimes surprising questions, ranging from how my faith informs my film writing to what I gave up for Lent.
Like Miyazaki, Tomm Moore isn’t afraid to take the time to breathe deeply, savor moments of silence and beauty, and open the door to wonder and mystery.
There are good reasons for introducing parent-child conflict into family films, depriving child protagonists of a parental safety net, depicting single-parent households, etc. There’s no good reason positive depictions of healthy, intact families in family films should be an endangered species.
Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is such a gallant anachronism, such a grandly unreconstructed throwback, that it offers, without ever raising its voice, a ringing cross-examination of our whole era of dark, gritty fairy-tale revisionism.
Of the two, Noah was by far the more divisive, with its startling fantasy trappings, alarming family conflict and invented antagonist. Many hated it; I loved it. No film last year inspired me to think or write more than Noah. By contrast, while Exodus: Gods and Kings sticks closer to the broad outlines of the biblical story and includes some provocative ideas, I found it generally less interesting and engaging.
I consider the chronological numbering system a travesty, since I maintain that the only right way to discover the Narnian world is the way Lewis “discovered” it.
Calvary is full of depraved, troubled characters, and in trying to minister to them Fr. Lavelle sometimes gets his hands dirty. Does he cross moral lines?
The ongoing cultural influence of the “Star Trek” phenomenon is incalculable, and Leonard Nimoy’s contributions are an immense part of that. Nimoy wasn’t just an actor doing a job; in a real sense he was a co-creator who helped to define his character in many ways.
Newly remastered for Blu-ray and DVD, the classic animated adaptation of Richard Adams’ beloved tale is available from Criterion.
With a new Blu-ray edition of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader available March 3, here’s a look back at the series so far … and a look ahead.
Looking over the eight lists below plus my own top 10, three films stand above the rest — two starring Marion Cotillard.
Jesse Moss’s The Overnighters is an existentially probing documentary with more layers than a twisty Hollywood thriller, at turns inspiring, challenging, sobering and finally devastating.
This is the first completely new Decent Films in ten years. It’s also the first version ever that feels more or less complete to me. Not that there aren’t still bugs and tweaks to be addressed — and not that I wasn’t thrilled about the 2010 (and 2005) iterations when they were new.
Want to know the truth behind the “Devil’s Bible”? Or the Dead Sea Scrolls? How about one of the Old Testament’s two famous arks? Curious about UFOs, Bigfoot or the Bermuda Triangle?
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” says Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer turned masked hero in the first line of the new trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Marvel Comics superhero series “Daredevil.”
I’m not sure we get to know any characters in all of cinema quite the way we get to know Mason Evans, Jr. and his family.
Cinematically, Birdman is sort of an anti-Boyhood, at least with respect to how they each play with time. That’s not necessarily to pit them against one another, although at the end of the day my feeling is that Boyhood tells me about life, whereas Birdman only tells me about Alejandro Iñárritu.
Very few historical films so successfully deconstruct the Great Man view of history while nevertheless offering a credible portrait of a leader who was, in fact, a great man.
No Jane Austen or Shakespeare. No Hepburn or Cary Grant, Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks. No Say Anything or Jerry Maguire, no City Lights or Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Nothing against any of the above, but you don’t need me to tout them. Instead, here are ten films you might not find on other lists of movie romances.
Return to Me has an easygoing Catholic vibe akin, but not identical, to Golden Age Hollywood piety; in fact, the movie blends nostalgia and irreverence for the Catholic Hollywood of Bing Crosby’s era.
Among a few Disney films deserving of the title “masterpiece,” Fantasia remains a unique achievement.
The quest for justice and harmony echoed through the best films of 2014, playing out in various arenas: social, domestic and spiritual.
Woody Allen keeps telling us God is dead, but he also keeps compulsively burying him.
By mid-year I would have predicted that Mendoza would surely prove to be the best big-screen priest of 2014 — but Brendan Gleeson’s Rev. Lavelle in John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary proved me wrong.
What can Catholics do to keep things Christmasy until mid-January? Among other things, I suggest keeping the tree and the lights lit until at least January 6, if not the following Sunday — and saving the Christmas movies till after Christmas day.
“What are your favorite Christmas movies?” As a Catholic film critic, I get this question several times every December, often on the air or via social media. The question, alas, touches on a sore subject for me.
Selma achieves something few historical films do: It captures a sense of events unfolding in the present tense, in a political and cultural climate as complex, multifaceted and undetermined as the times we live in.
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken is an honorable movie about an inspiring true story. It is impeccably crafted, with a raft of remarkably talented people behind it. It is a celebration of the old-fashioned virtues of duty, grit, fortitude and honor. In the end, it tips its hat to faith, forgiveness and reconciliation. The film I just described is a film that, on paper, I should love.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.