Articles

Where are Hollywood’s good Catholic characters? ARTICLE

Where are Hollywood’s good Catholic characters?

Here is a sobering question: Has there been a single substantial, positive depiction of Catholic faith or identity in a major Hollywood non-horror film in the last 10 or 15 years?

Let’s face it: Hollywood’s got a “religion problem” ARTICLE

Let’s face it: Hollywood’s got a “religion problem”

One area of representation is disproportionately ignored: how Hollywood deals with religious belief and identity.

Warcraft [video] ARTICLE

Warcraft [video]

This may be the first movie I’ve ever seen where I got more out of reading the Wikipedia entry afterwards.

Movies and mercy: The Arts & Faith Top 25 Films on Mercy ARTICLE

Movies and mercy: The Arts & Faith Top 25 Films on Mercy

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.

Three ages of Pixar ARTICLE

Three ages of Pixar

For 15 astonishing years, from 1995 to 2009, Pixar created a body of work — 10 films — so revolutionary and beyond mainstream Hollywood animation that it’s hard to quantify … In recent years, alas, Pixar has stumbled more often than not.

Violence and virtue: How Christian is <em>The Revenant</em>? ARTICLE

Violence and virtue: How Christian is The Revenant?

Whether one sees The Revenant as a spiritually rich, profound meditation on good and evil or an overwrought attempt to transmogrify atrocity into transcendence, Christians should recognize that when it comes to media depictions of violence, there are two potential dangers, not just one.

Make Mine Marvel ARTICLE

Make Mine Marvel

The modern era of superhero movies was arguably inaugurated by two films: Bryan Singer’s 2000 X-Men and Jon Favreau’s 2008 Iron Man.

Whit Stillman and the discreet charm of the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie ARTICLE

Whit Stillman and the discreet charm of the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie

He’s been called “the WASP Woody Allen,” but I prefer my friend Ron Reed’s moniker for Whit Stillman: “the Jane Austen of indie film.”

&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a crucifixion!&rdquo; ARTICLE

“That’s a crucifixion!”

But the Crucifixion was not only on Calvary, and if Christ is on the waterfront, he can also be found in a medieval prison cell, a cheap, penny-ante building and loan in a crummy little town, a Russian shtetl (a small Jewish town in Eastern Europe), a Belgian trailer park, or the slaves’ quarters of a 19th-century Louisiana plantation.

&#8220;A person&#8217;s a person&#8221;: Animation and the cultures of life and death ARTICLE

“A person’s a person”: Animation and the cultures of life and death

Clearly Horton can be called a “pro-life” hero in a broad sense, and even in a sense that resonates in some striking ways with the pro-life cause. And his isn’t the only animated adventure with pro-life resonances.

What&#8217;s Catholic response to <em>Spotlight</em> been like? Mostly positive, actually. ARTICLE

What’s Catholic response to Spotlight been like? Mostly positive, actually.

Why has Catholic response to Spotlight been so positive? One key reason is the film’s shrewd choice of point of view.

Silent rage against the machine: <em>Metropolis</em> and <em>Modern Times</em> ARTICLE

Silent rage against the machine: Metropolis and Modern Times

Metropolis is an operatic, dystopian science-fiction parable with roots in various sources including biblical and medieval Christian imagery, while Modern Times is a satiric comedy at times recalling Dickens and anticipating “Dilbert.” Yet the two films converge around political, economic, social, and technological themes.

Jesus movies and antisemitism: <em>Jesus of Nazareth</em> and <em>The Passion of the Christ</em> ARTICLE

Jesus movies and antisemitism: Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion of the Christ

While concerns around “Jesus of Nazareth” were short-lived, The Passion of the Christ remains controversial, beloved by many and condemned by many others.

Interview: <em>The Young Messiah</em> filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh ARTICLE

Interview: The Young Messiah filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh

The director of my favorite movie this spring about Jesus and a Roman soldier talks about working with Sean Bean, Jesus’ human consciousness, and bringing the biblical world to life.

Alfred Hitchcock&#8217;s two most Catholic films ARTICLE

Alfred Hitchcock’s two most Catholic films

Intriguingly, although I Confess was made first and The Wrong Man closely follows its true story, there are a number of notable convergences between the two films.

Mardi Gras and movies: Easy riders, anthropomorphic frogs ARTICLE

Mardi Gras and movies: Easy riders, anthropomorphic frogs

New Orleans’ legendary Mardi Gras celebration has been depicted or used as a backdrop in scores of films, though surprisingly few depictions are of any great or enduring note.

Mercy and movies: Lenten viewing for the Year of Mercy ARTICLE

Mercy and movies: Lenten viewing for the Year of Mercy

Six years ago I put together a list of movie recommendations for Lenten viewing, six titles for the six weeks of Lent. This year, for the Year of Mercy, here’s a new list: one that puts particular emphasis on mercy, charity, and active concern for one’s neighbor.

The fairest of them all ARTICLE

The fairest of them all

23 years ago I had the privilege of catching Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in theatrical re-release. At the time I was acutely aware what a privilege it was, because about five years earlier, in a history of animation class at the School of Visual Arts, I had written a research paper about that very film, and in those days there was no easy way for me to actually watch the film I was writing about!

Before <em>Spotlight</em> and <em>Brooklyn</em>: Priests, religious, and the Academy Awards ARTICLE

Before Spotlight and Brooklyn: Priests, religious, and the Academy Awards

Two of this year’s eight best picture Academy Award nominees, Spotlight and Brooklyn, present dramatically different depictions of Catholic clergy — though neither gives a clerical character more than a few minutes of screentime.

Abortion, the sanctity of life, and movies ARTICLE

Abortion, the sanctity of life, and movies

43 years after Roe vs. Wade, Americans remain about as deeply conflicted over abortion as ever… The nation’s divided conscience on this subject is reflected on the screen.