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Fátima REVIEW

Fátima (2020)

Marco Pontecorvo’s Fátima is the first screen version of the Marian apparitions at Fátima and the “Miracle of the Sun” I’ve seen that feels like the characters are living through the story’s events in the present tense.

Words on Bathroom Walls REVIEW

Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)

Halfway through I found myself rooting for the film to be the best version of itself, a sign that a film is working even when it’s not completely successful.

Filming Fátima: Interview With Filmmaker Marco Pontecorvo ARTICLE

Filming Fátima: Interview With Filmmaker Marco Pontecorvo

The cowriter and director of a new film about Our Lady of Fátima talks about why he was drawn to the story and how he tried to realize the miraculous, from a very human Virgin Mary to surreal visions of war and hell.

<em>AKA Jane Roe</em>: Unraveling the complicated life of Norma McCorvey ARTICLE

AKA Jane Roe: Unraveling the complicated life of Norma McCorvey (2020)

The FX documentary asks hard questions of both sides of the abortion debate — but only one side gets thoughtful answers

In search of true confession in the movies ARTICLE

In search of true confession in the movies

Of the seven sacraments at the heart of the Church’s life, from the very beginning perhaps the most intriguing to filmmakers has been, ironically, the least visually impressive — a hidden rite involving only the minister and the recipient.

Sight &amp; Sound Theatre&rsquo;s <em>Jesus</em>: An Evangelical Gospel story ARTICLE

Sight & Sound Theatre’s Jesus: An Evangelical Gospel story

“Where the Bible comes to life” is the slogan of Sight & Sound Theatres, headquartered in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country.

Coronavirus Quarantine Streaming Options for Lent and Easter (and&nbsp;More) ARTICLE

Coronavirus Quarantine Streaming Options for Lent and Easter (and More)

In the last few weeks, articles about movies to stream while sheltering in place during your coronavirus quarantine have proliferated across the internet almost as fast as the virus has spread around the world. What makes this article different?

The Way Back REVIEW

The Way Back (2020)

The Way Back blends the beats of two familiar genres, the underdog sports movie and the addiction and recovery movie, in the process finding a rhythm that feels at once familiar and not quite like anything I’ve seen before.

Onward REVIEW

Onward (2020)

Pixar’s movies tend to play as metaphors for the creative rise and fall of Pixar itself. When someone says “Maybe this place isn’t as adventurous as it used to be,” it’s hard not to hear an echo of the filmmakers’ voices.

Parasite [video] POST

Parasite [video] (2019)

Bong Joon-Ho’s brilliantly constructed art-house hit is the most powerful of this year’s many takes on the theme of haves and have-nots.

Little Women [video] POST

Little Women [video] (2019)

Is there anything new to say about Louisa May Alcott’s beloved, much-adapted classic? Thrillingly, Greta Gerwig finds that there is.

Marriage Story [video] POST

Marriage Story [video] (2019)

Noah Baumbach tells persuasive stories about unhappy families. This is one of his most insightful.

The Irishman [video] POST

The Irishman [video] (2019)

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s decade-spanning gangland opus, which turns out to be a very different movie than it seems … but you have to stick with it.

Jojo Rabbit [video] POST

Jojo Rabbit [video] (2019)

Taika Waititi has directed some cracking comedies, but can even he make Hitler funny?

2019: The year in reviews ARTICLE

2019: The year in reviews

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.

Star Wars: Episode IX &#8211; The Rise of Skywalker REVIEW

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Let’s face it, they could play John Williams’ ominous “Imperial March” over scenes of Uncle Deadly from the Muppets lobbing Green Goblin pumpkin-bombs at Scrat the saber-squirrel (I mean, they literally could, legally, and you could watch it on Disney+ forever and ever), and many of us would still feel emotions stir.

A Hidden Life REVIEW

A Hidden Life (2019)

An ecstatic, anguished three-hour cinematic hymn, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life sings the life and death of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter in asymmetrical binary form, in contrasting theologies — theology and anti-theology — of the body.

The Two Popes REVIEW

The Two Popes (2019)

For a Catholic critic — or at least for this Catholic critic — a movie like The Two Popes presents a number of temptations.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood REVIEW

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood holds a special place — it would not be too strong to say a sacred place — in the hearts of many. Yet that neighborhood is an infinite distance from where we live now.

Frozen II REVIEW

Frozen II (2019)

Anna and Elsa’s relationship is a major improvement on the first film, but in almost every other way this sequel is lost in the woods.

Faith and Ferocity: Interview With <em>Harriet</em> Producer Debra Martin Chase ARTICLE

Faith and Ferocity: Interview With Harriet Producer Debra Martin Chase

Harriet’s appeal is multifaceted, appealing to three demographics underserved by mainstream Hollywood fare: women, people of color and people of faith. Producer Debra Martin Chase knows something about these three demographics.

Harriet REVIEW

Harriet (2019)

The strongest scene in Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet might be a moment when its indomitable protagonist appears at her weakest.

Light from Light REVIEW

Light from Light (2019)

I’m tempted to call Light from Light the first ghost story I’ve ever seen that I completely believe.

Of grief and ghosts: Interview with <em>Light from Light</em> witer-director Paul Harrill ARTICLE

Of grief and ghosts: Interview with Light from Light witer-director Paul Harrill

Silence, reflection, the search for meaning, the interior life: These are among the hallmarks of Paul Harrill’s work.

By the Grace of God [Gr&acirc;ce &agrave; Dieu] REVIEW

By the Grace of God [Grâce à Dieu] (2019)

Near the end comes a moment when Alexandre is asked whether he still believes in God. The scene cuts from a complex reaction shot, the question left unanswered. The point, I think, is neither to affirm faith nor to deny it, but to highlight the stakes. By their action or inaction Church leaders make God more credible or less credible, instill faith or shatter it.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil REVIEW

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

It’s tempting to suppose that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opening in the wake of Columbus Day isn’t a coincidence.

Joker REVIEW

Joker (2019)

Is it possible, in the world of Joker, to believe in real heroism? Do the filmmakers even care about that question?

Ad Astra REVIEW

Ad Astra (2019)

There seems to be no reason for the title Ad Astra, meaning “to the stars,” to be in Latin, except to highlight writer–director James Gray’s elevated intentions.

One Child Nation REVIEW

One Child Nation (2019)

Many movies have made me cry. Very few have been as difficult or impossible even to write about without crying as Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s brilliant, devastating Sundance Grand Jury winner One Child Nation.

Once Upon a Time &#8230; in Hollywood [video] POST

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [video]

Quentin Tarantino’s gifts are impossible to deny, but while I often find his set pieces mesmerizing, I have yet to fully buy into one of his films. This might be the closest one yet, though.