Movie Review

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Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

I was sitting on a midway ride recently, waiting for the lights to start flashing and the machinery to start hurling us around when I realized that my life might not actually get better than this moment. I was with my family, near the end of a lovely day at the end of our summer vacation, and it felt like a line was drawing itself around the moment to ... (Continue reading)

A thoroughly modern Noah

A thoroughly modern Noah

We are apparently in the middle of another surge of religious films, which is a sure way of telling that Hollywood is losing money and running scared and desperate to pull in the audience they do their best to ignore when times aren’t so lean. Forgive me for sounding cynical, but if you think I’m being bleak, I dare you to name one masterpiece of religious filmmaking made since ... (Continue reading)

Movies focusing on despair

One of the most profound aspects of Christian teaching is the idea of the sin of despair. It might seem either abstract or inapplicable for many people either too commonsensical or faithful than myself, but once the idea behind it became clear to me, it was like a bright, pitiless light came on in my mind, casting light where I had never had the wit or strength to shine ... (Continue reading)

The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

Maybe it’s a good thing, but war movies aren’t anywhere near as popular as they used to be. There is, to be sure, no shortage of violent films doing decent box office, many set amidst vast wars fought in space, or in some wild reimagining of the distant, even mythological past. But dramas set during wars happening in recent memory are thin on the ground; on a scale of ... (Continue reading)

A hell of a documentary

A hell of a documentary

In a world where serious books sell poorly and newsmagazines are a shadow of their former selves – if they’re published at all – the documentary film has taken up much of the burden of bringing topical issues and debate in front of the public. While feature films have stagnated, pooling into either numbing blockbusters or a host of increasingly spiritless genres, documentary production has undergone a renaissance, either ... (Continue reading)

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Popes on the big screen

Popes on the big screen

Anthony Quinn as Pope Kiril in the film version of Morris West's novel The Shoes of the Fisherman When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires stepped onto the balcony at St. Peter’s Square last month, he helped provide a satisfactory conclusion to a ritual that – as we were told repeatedly in the thicket of media coverage – is watched with fascination both within and without the Catholic ... (Continue reading)

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Overcoming squeamishness watching bin Laden movie

Overcoming squeamishness watching bin Laden movie

I doubt that I’m the only person who found the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS last year unsatisfying, both as a skirmish in an ongoing war and, looking at it a bit more flippantly, as a dramatic finale. For all the counter-espionage resources that it took to find the man, and the undeniable military skill of the SEALS who did the dirty work, it had the ... (Continue reading)

Even if a movie isn’t seen, can it still make a difference?

Even if a movie isn’t seen, can it still make a difference?

I’m writing this column at the end of what has to be one of the least interesting summers in movie history. To make matters worse – if you work for a Hollywood studio – it’s also been one of the least profitable, but that doesn’t mean that movies aren’t important. As the Middle East erupted into bloody riots that took the life of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, among others, it ... (Continue reading)

College movie offers non-religious thoughts on Christianity

College movie offers non-religious thoughts on Christianity

For most families, college is the acid test of their parenting, the point when independence is finally granted and the long years of helicopter parenting (hopefully) cease. In the aftermath of three generations that have embraced youthful rebellion as an inevitable stage of life – an idea almost unheard of a century ago – we send our children off to university (or its equivalent) resigned to seeing some, but hopefully not ... (Continue reading)

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The appeal of the apocalyptical

The appeal of the apocalyptical

Growing up during the Cold War, I saw the Earth end many times over. Mushroom clouds bloomed in films and TV shows such as The Day After, Testament, Threads, The War Game, By Dawn’s Early Light, On the Beach, The Bedford Incident, Fail Safe and Miracle Mile. Looking back from today, they might vary in quality but they share a common tone – grim resignation – and I can recall with certainty ... (Continue reading)

Culture matters

Culture matters

Culture matters. I would carve these words on stone slabs and hand deliver them to every conservative and pro-life organization in the English-speaking world if I thought that it would make a difference, but I’m no longer sure it will. We may, I fear, have absented ourselves from culture and the arts for so long that everything we do now is a rear guard action, fought on the outskirts of the ... (Continue reading)

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The Hunger Games and teenage angst

The Hunger Games and teenage angst

When The Hunger Games opened in theatres this past March it was a sensation, earning over US$150 million in its first weekend and becoming the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. Dealers in hindsight told us we shouldn’t have been surprised – 17.5 million copies of the Suzanne Collins’ original young readers sci-fi novel had been sold in the U.S. by its publisher, and over 36 million copies of the ... (Continue reading)

The Way is pro-life, pro-people

As a purely anecdotal aside, I’d like to mention that few of the people I know who’ve walked the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrim trail that provides the setting for Emilio Estevez’ film The Way, were actually Catholic, or even appreciably Christian. The Camino has become, in an age of widened horizons but jaded palettes, a kind of extreme tourism destination, much like Peru’s Inca Trail or the Kanchenjunga Trek ... (Continue reading)

The Way is rare Hollywood must-see

The Way is rare Hollywood must-see

The Way, a low-budget movie starring Martin Sheen, one of the most radical left-wing activists in Hollywood, has won unstinting praise from conservatives like Laura Ingraham, a prominent talk-show host in the United States. At the conclusion of an interview with Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez, the movie’s writer and director , Ingraham enthused: “There are not many films that I say you must see, that you must run to ... (Continue reading)

Skip Avatar, read a book

In early March, the usual Hollywood types gathered at the usual Hollywood Oscar event and gave the usual people the usual awards. Avatar didn’t win much, but it hardly matters – it’s the most financially successful movie in the history of cinema. It’s also anti-Christian, anti-human and bursting with pagan and anti-life concepts and constructs. Set in 2154, it concerns a paraplegic marine (presumably Obama’s healthcare bill was not a success) given the ... (Continue reading)

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