Timbuktu REVIEW

Timbuktu (2015)

A haunting scene in Timbuktu depicts two teams of young athletes running back and forth on a field engaged in offensive and defensive patterns familiar the world over: kicking, dribbling, passing, blocking. All that is missing is a ball and goal markers.

Pixels REVIEW

Pixels (2015)

The idea of saving the world from alien invaders with classic video-game skills is not without a certain dumb appeal.

Black lives matter: Watching <em>Fruitvale Station</em> one year after Eric Garner ARTICLE

Black lives matter: Watching Fruitvale Station one year after Eric Garner

I recently rewatched Fruitvale Station (2013), first-time director Ryan Coogler’s shattering Sundance winner, with my oldest son, who has since gotten his driver’s license. Some day he will face that inevitable first traffic stop, and I want him to be aware just how different that encounter will be for him, with his bleached complexion and shining towheaded crown, than for many young men in the minority neighborhoods all around us.

Ant-Man REVIEW

Ant-Man (2015)

Three years ago, when Marvel first announced that Ant-Man would be getting his own movie, I tweeted, “I don’t care how much money Avengers makes. The world does not need an Ant-Man movie.” Ant-Man, I felt, was too minor a hero, too obscure and inconsequential — in a word, too small — to warrant the big-screen Marvel movie treatment.

Computer dating: Artificial intelligence and robot sex in <em>Ex&nbsp;Machina</em> and <em>Her</em> ARTICLE

Computer dating: Artificial intelligence and robot sex in Ex Machina and Her

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is the latest in a string of recent science-fiction films exploring questions around artificial intelligence, transhumanism and the role of technology in our lives.

A Catholic family summer vacation entertainment survival guide ARTICLE

A Catholic family summer vacation entertainment survival guide

As a Catholic film critic, one of the top questions I get from parents during the summer months — right after “What’s good in theaters in this summer?” — is “Do you know anyone who does what you do, but for television?”

Minions REVIEW

Minions (2015)

Like the Penguins of Madagascar and Mater the tow truck, the Tic-Tac-shaped, banana-colored Minions join the ranks of popular comic sidekicks who have taken over their animated franchises. This is usually a sign of the end, although Cars 3 is on the way, and nobody has said Madagascar 4 isn’t happening.

What&#8217;s so special about Pixar&#8217;s flawed protagonists and their moral journeys ARTICLE

What’s so special about Pixar’s flawed protagonists and their moral journeys

Only Pixar regularly impresses on viewers that just because you’re the hero of your story doesn’t mean you’re right about everything: that you may make serious mistakes, there may be consequences, and you must take responsibility.

Batkid Begins REVIEW

Batkid Begins (2015)

Above all, it’s the story of the incredible lengths to which the Make-a-Wish staff and volunteers go in order to create special experiences for long-suffering children to make up in some way for their lost childhood.

Pixar and the Pope: Pope Francis&#8217; <em>Laudato Si&#8217;</em> and Pixar&#8217;s <em>Wall-E</em> ARTICLE

Pixar and the Pope: Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and Pixar’s Wall-E

“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Pope Francis writes. “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish” (LS 21). From the outset Wall-E looks as if it had been created with these words in mind, projecting them into a dystopian future in which rubbish has expanded to cover the entire planet, even surrounding the Earth in a halo of space debris.