An exquisite art-house film about a beatified martyr. The triumphant arrival of a belated documentary of a celebrated gospel concert. A fact-based drama about an alliance of devout and unbelieving survivors of clerical sex abuse calling for justice. These are just a few of an unusually large crop of notable films that tackled religious and spiritual themes in 2019.
First Reformed made more than half of the nine individual lists below, and unsurprisingly topped the year’s best films according to the Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury … What’s more surprising — anyway I’m a little surprised, and delighted — is that another film was even more esteemed in this little community … and it wasn’t any of the films I would have expected.
2018 was a remarkable movie year — for family films, films with religious themes, and documentaries — but it was also a year of family men who weren’t there for their families.
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.
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.
I’m pleased to note that my three top films of 2016 achieved a striking consensus in this group of cinephiles.
In a sense every year is a good film year, but some years you have to go further afield than others.
In the face of the latest crushing evidence of man’s inhumanity to man, the Top 25 Films on Mercy remind us that the way it too often is isn’t the whole story, or the way it has to be.
This year my circle of Christian cinephiles converged on the year’s best films more closely than usual.
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.
One much-noted point about the BBC list is how few Academy Award Best Picture winners made the list. Naturally, I’m interested in a different comparison: How does the BBC list compare to the 1995 Vatican film list?
Looking over the eight lists below plus my own top 10, three films stand above the rest — two starring Marion Cotillard.
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.
The quest for justice and harmony echoed through the best films of 2014, playing out in various arenas: social, domestic and spiritual.
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.
Most of my friends love The Wolf of Wall Street. (I…don’t.) And Before Midnight. (More sympathy there.)
2013 was a year of cinematic trauma and stress, full of harrowing, at times also exhilarating, survival stories, many on the abyss of the sea or even the void of space.
Picking the top 10 movie dads was both easier and harder than picking the top 10 movie moms. Easier, because there were more candidates to choose from — and harder for the same reason!
When I set out to make a list of great movie moms in honor of Mother’s Day, I knew it wouldn’t be easy — but I soon found it even harder than I thought. Let’s face it: Great mothers are in short supply in the movies.
It’s spring break, or summer vacation, and the grandkids are visiting. Or you’re looking for a DVD for a birthday present. You want three things: a) something worthwhile (not junk); b) something they’ll enjoy (not just high-minded or educational fare); and, crucially, c) something they haven’t already seen to death.
Perusing the lists below (and bearing my own picks in mind), a number of recurring titles stand out — above all The Kid with a Bike (my #1 film of 2012), appearing on every list below except one.
A masterpiece on the importance of fatherhood, from filmmakers honored by the Vatican, is among the year’s best films.
Fairy tales are everywhere these days, from the small-screen “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” to this year’s duelling Snow White films, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, opening this week.
With the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday more or less officially ending the awards season, this is pretty much my last chance to blog on some notable best film lists of 2011 worth highlighting.
2011 was a good year for film, and particularly for depictions of faith in film — but not in the Hollywood mainstream on either count.
After my initial introduction and my blog post, you might be done reading about the 2011 Arts & Faith Top 100 List from me — but for what it's worth I've written one final piece on the subject for FirstThings.com … my first thing for First Things.
My 2010 year-end piece and top 10/20 films has been up for a few weeks, and with the Academy Awards upon us we’re almost ready to be finished with the movie year 2010. Before turning the page entirely, though, I’d like to draw attention to a few more year-end lists worth noting.
As a longtime member of the Arts & Faith community, I’m pleased to report that this week Arts & Faith and Image Journal released the 2011 edition of the Arts & Faith Top 100 Films list—possibly the best edition of the list to date, and in many ways an improvement on last year’s list.
Was 2010 “The Worst Movie Year Ever,” as Joe Queenan argued at WSJ.com a while back? Or at least, bracketing art-house and world cinema fare, was it Hollywood’s worst year ever? For most of the year, it sure looked plausible.
“Read not the Times, read the eternities,” Thoreau advised. The 2010 Arts & Faith Top 100 Films, just released days ahead of the Academy Awards, won’t make the headlines of the Times — but if you prefer to scrutinize the eternities, you might want to skip the Oscars and check out the Arts & Faith Top 100.
A few weeks ago the National Catholic Register ran my 2009 year-end piece with my lists of “top ten” and runner-up films. (An expanded version of the article appeared at Decent Films.) This week, I’d like to catch up with a few other lists from Christian sources worth noting.
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