Decent Films Blog

Fast & Furious 6 [video]

Posted May 31st 2013, 04:24 AM

Fast & Furious 6 in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Fast Track, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Action

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The Great Gatsby [video]

Posted May 31st 2013, 04:19 AM

The Great Gatsby in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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Reel Faith on Fox News & The Catholic Channel!

Posted May 23rd 2013, 05:46 PM
Reel Faith

Coming to Fox News and The Catholic Channel: Reel Faith!

Well, not permanently or anything. (Not yet, anyway.) But in the next 24 hours or so David DiCerto and I will be appearing on both venues to talk about Reel Faith and movies in theaters.

Tonight (Thursday, 5/23) we’ll be on Busted Halo with Father Dave Dwyer (Catholic Channel) in the 9pm hour EDT. Then tomorrow afternoon (Friday, 5/24) we’ll be on Spirited Debate with Lauren Green (Fox News | watch live) in the 1pm hour EDT.

Reel Faith kicks off its fourth year Friday night with our summer season premiere — and we’re now on Salt and Light TV (Toronto), Telecare TV (Long Island) and CatholicTV (Boston) as well as our own NET (New York Metro area). We’ll also be debuting on Verizon FiOS On Demand shortly after our NET debut.

When and where can you watch? Read more.

Tags: Decent Films Doings, Reel Faith

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Lines I Wish I Had Written: Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby

Posted May 22nd 2013, 01:04 PM

Hat tip to Stephanie Zacharek (Village Voice) for the perfect use of that popular critical flourish, the reapplication of a movie quote as auto-criticism of the film, in her review of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby:

“You think it’s too much?” [Gatsby] asks Nick, anxiously. Nick offers a polite answer: “I think it’s what you want.”

The Great Gatsby is both too much and what Luhrmann wants

The line is so spot-on that I almost suspect Luhrmann meant it as a half-confession, but either way it was Zacherek who made the connection.

Meanwhile, Chris Tookey (Mail Online) offers a devastatingly on-target assessment of Luhrmann’s “too-muchness”:

I was a fan of Luhrmann’s early work — Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge. I was even entertained by Australia, his overblown tribute to Gone With The Wind and his own home nation.

He is never boring, and there’s no doubt about his intelligence and flair. There is, however, a gigantic question mark hanging over his taste.

One is left with the horrible suspicion that Luhrmann’s remake of The King’s Speech would involve fire-breathing jugglers, a thousand screaming drag queens and a million rampaging wildebeest.

Wow. I’m afraid I can almost see it.

Tags: Lines I Wish I Had Written

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Reel Faith Summer Season Premiere This Friday!

Posted May 22nd 2013, 12:22 PM

The fourth season of Reel Faith premieres this week — and we’re growing!

This Friday’s summer season premeiere at 8pm EDT will be seen not only on NET (New Evangelization Television) in the New York metro area, but also on Boston’s CatholicTV, Toronto’s Salt and Light TV and Long Island’s Telecare TV this summer.

We’ll also be Verizon FiOS On Demand shortly after we premiere on NET. Plus, of course, you can watch NET live online at NetNY.net.

Here are air times on each station beginning with NET’s premiere this Friday, 5/24 at 8pm EDT:

NET, New Evangelization Television (New York Metro area)
Premieres Friday at 8PM (Repeat of previous week at 8:30pm)
Saturdays at 7PM
Sundays at 7PM
Tuesdays at 11:30AM & 7PM
Thursday at 11:30AM & 7PM

Salt and Light TV (Toronto, Canada)
Premieres Tuesdays at 8PM and 12AM
Wednesdays at 1PM
Fridays at 9:30PM and 1:30AM
Saturdays at 2PM
Mondays at 10AM

Telecare TV (Long Island, NY)
Premieres Mondays at 9:30PM
Wednesdays at 11:30AM
Fridays at 4:30PM

CatholicTV (Boston, Mass)
Premieres Tuesdays at 9AM
Wednesdays at 10PM

Stay tuned.

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On the Air: Catholic Answers Live & Reel Faith

Posted May 17th 2013, 12:41 PM

This evening, Friday, May 17, I'll be appearing on the first hour of “Catholic Answers Live” (6pm–7pm EDT). Next week, tune in for the summer season premiere of Reel Faith!

Tonight, guest host Matt Swaim and I will be discussing current films including Star Trek Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man Three, From Up on Poppy Hill and much more. Listen live!

Next week, David DiCerto and I are back on NET discussing the latest movies every week. On our season premiere we’ll be discussing Star Trek Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby and Iron Man Three, as well as our Movie with a Message, To Kill a Mockingbird. Stay tuned!

Tags: Decent Films Doings

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Pain & Gain [video]

Posted May 7th 2013, 05:58 PM

Pain & Gain in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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Iron Man Three [video]

Posted May 7th 2013, 05:53 PM

Iron Man Three in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Avengers Assemble, Iron Man, Make Mine Marvel, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Superheroes & Comic Book Movies

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Iron Man 2 [video]

Posted May 7th 2013, 05:53 PM

Iron Man 2 in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Avengers Assemble, Iron Man, Make Mine Marvel, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Superheroes & Comic Book Movies

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Iron Man [video]

Posted May 7th 2013, 05:50 PM

Iron Man in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Avengers Assemble, Iron Man, Make Mine Marvel, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Superheroes & Comic Book Movies

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From Up on Poppy Hill [video]

Posted Apr 17th 2013, 02:10 PM

Studio Ghibli takes a break from high-flying fantasy in this naturalistic, nostalgic coming-of-age story. From Up on Poppy Hill: my “Reel Faith” 60-second review.

Tags: Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Animation, Family, Foreign Language

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42 [video]

Posted Apr 13th 2013, 01:16 PM

42 in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: History, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Biography, Sports

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To the Wonder [video]

Posted Apr 13th 2013, 01:08 PM

To the Wonder in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Malickian, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Drama, Religious Themes

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Evil Dead [video]

Posted Apr 13th 2013, 01:39 AM

Evil Dead in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Dead Teenager Movie, Exorcism & Demons, Rebootin', Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), This vs. That, Horror

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Jurassic Park [video]

Posted Apr 13th 2013, 01:36 AM

Jurassic Park in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Action, Science Fiction

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The Croods [video]

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 05:36 PM

The Croods in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Junior Knows Best, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone [video]

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 05:26 PM

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Smoke & Mirrors

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The Call [video]

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 05:24 PM

The Call in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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Oz the Great and Powerful [video]

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 05:22 PM

Oz the Great and Powerful in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Debilitating Sequelitis, Fairy Tales, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), Smoke & Mirrors, Witchery

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Spotlight: Junior Knows Best

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 12:49 PM

The release of DreamWorks Animation’s new caveman comedy The Croods seems as good an occasion as any to spotlight my 2010 blog post “Junior Knows Best,” about one of my least favorite trends in family filmmaking.

That blog post was inspired by the convergence of How to Train Your Dragon and The Secret of Kells, likable animated family films that each featured a doggedly authoritarian patriarchal figure with a default stance of fear and mistrust toward outside forces and an overbearing, uncomprehending disciplinary approach toward the curious young protagonist.

Since then, in 2012 alone we had the convergence of a trio of monster-themed animated films, Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, each of which featured — in different degrees — similar or related paternal stereotypes (Frankenweenie being the most nuanced, Hotel Transylvania the least so).

Now, though, The Croods takes the stereotype to new depths. I’ll probably never write a full review, though a 60-second review is coming soon.

In the meantime, here’s “Junior Knows Best.”

Tags: Spotlight

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On the Air: Catholic Answers Live, 3/22/2013

Posted Mar 22nd 2013, 12:25 PM

This evening, Friday, March 22, I'll be appearing on the first hour of “Catholic Answers Live” (6pm–7pm EDT).

Host Patrick Coffin and I will be discussing current films including The Croods, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and much more. Listen live!

Tags: Decent Films Doings

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New Blu-rays from Warner Bros

Posted Feb 8th 2013, 01:36 PM

What does this year’s Best Picture front-runner Argo have in common with Grand Hotel (1932) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989), both recently released on Blu-ray?

If Argo wins, they’ll be the only sound movies in history to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination for the director. (The only other Best Picture winner without a director nomination was the Academy Awards’ first Best Picture ever, the silent 1927 Paramount film With Wings.)

Both Grand Hotel and Driving Miss Daisy recently debuted on Blu-ray, along with a third Warner Bros Best Picture winner, Mrs. Miniver (1942). For product notes on the Blu-rays, see the new reviews.

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On the Air: “Reel Faith” & “Catholic Answers Live!”

Posted Feb 1st 2013, 11:31 AM

Tune into the second hour of “Catholic Answers Live!” tonight as Patrick Coffin and I discuss the best movies of 2012 and take your calls. (Hear EWTN live.)

Then come back in a week for our annual one-hour “Reel Faith!” Oscar special! David DiCerto and I run discuss the nominees, pick our favorites and make our ever-dubious predictions. Can you outguess us? It ain’t hard. Plus, a sneak preview of what’s coming to theaters in the months ahead, and our top 10 lists for 2012. (Watch NET live.)

Tags: Decent Films Doings, Reel Faith

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Best Films of 2012: More Lists

Posted Jan 29th 2013, 06:49 AM
The Kid with a Bike

Last week, I published my 2012 wrap-up and top films list. Now I turn my attention to other best-film lists.

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. (Actually, my friend Ken Morefield clarifies that The Kid with a Bike did appear on his top 10 list — for 2011. So it’s unanimous!)

Other oft-cited titles include Moonrise Kingdom, Lincoln, Les Misérables, The Loneliest Planet, Looper and Brave.

While it’s natural to focus on these “consensus films,” idiosyncratic choices can also be worth attending to. A number of films called out by just one of my friends below are now in my queue. (Disclaimer: Obviously, since I haven’t seen all the films below, I don’t recommend them all, nor do I recommend all the ones I have seen.)

One pick on my list, Planet of Snail, wasn’t widely seen and appears on only one other list below, but I’m confident those who seek it out will be glad they did. (Planet of Snail debuts on home video February 12, along with The Kid with a Bike.)

As in the past, I voted in the two top 10 lists produced each year by ChristianityToday.com, Critics’ Choice and Most Redeeming.

The ChristianityToday.com Critics’ Choice winners for 2012 are:

  1. Lincoln
  2. Moonrise Kingdom
  3. The Kid with a Bike
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Argo
  6. Anna Karenina
  7. Skyfall
  8. Life of Pi
  9. Les Misérables
  10. The Avengers

The ChristianityToday.com Most Redeeming winners for 2012 are:

  1. Les Misérables
  2. Lincoln
  3. The Kid with a Bike
  4. Moonrise Kingdom
  5. Life of Pi
  6. Undefeated
  7. Argo
  8. Looper
  9. Brave
  10. The Avengers

Remarkably, all but one of the Critics Choice films, and seven of the Most Redeeming films, appear on my own top 20 — and six films appear on all three lists. (Life of Pi appears on both CT lists but not mine.)

Turning to some of my friends’ lists…

Victor Morton of Rightwing Film Geek put together the only list besides mine to include Planet of Snail (a film I saw on a tip from him), as well as Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress; he also picks a number of films that appear on lists below.

  1. The Kid with a Bike
  2. The Deep Blue Sea
  3. The Turin Horse
  4. Looper
  5. The Loneliest Planet
  6. Damsels in Distress
  7. The Imposter
  8. Amour
  9. Planet of Snail
  10. Cabin in the Woods

Jeff Overstreet, now blogging at Patheos, has two overlapping lists this year, a “global edition” and an “American release edition.” Comparing apples to apples, here’s his American release top 10, four of which he shares with me and at least one of the CT lists. (Check out his page for additional films.)

  1. Moonrise Kingdom
  2. The Master
  3. The Loneliest Planet
  4. The Kid with a Bike
  5. Lincoln
  6. Holy Motors
  7. Margaret
  8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  9. Brave
  10. This is Not a Film

Also at Patheos, Christian Hamaker’s top 10:

  1. The Kid with a Bike
  2. Looper
  3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  4. Margaret
  5. Lawless
  6. Life of Pi
  7. The Master
  8. Les Misérables
  9. Your Sister’s Sister
  10. Cosmopolis

M. Leary at Filmwell:

  1. Moonrise Kingdom
  2. The Turin Horse
  3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  4. The Loneliest Planet
  5. The Kid with a Bike
  6. Looper
  7. Holy Motors
  8. Let the Bullets Fly
  9. Haywire
  10. Oslo, August 31st

Finally, at 1More Film Blog, Ken Morefield goes very much his own way, with five documentaries and a number of choices that he acknowledges could be called contrarian. (Ken’s #1 film made my runner-up list; the rest I either haven’t seen or didn’t think as highly of as Ken. Still, Ken’s prompted me to take a second look at a number of them.)

  1. The Queen of Versailles
  2. Miss Representation
  3. Wreck-it Ralph
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Under African Skies
  6. Django Unchained
  7. Looper
  8. The Central Park Five
  9. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  10. Head Games

Tags: More Lists, You're the Top

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Les Misérables [video]

Posted Dec 25th 2012, 10:59 AM

Buy at Amazon.com

Les Misérables

Les Misérables in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review (plus product notes).

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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Hyde Park on Hudson [video]

Posted Dec 14th 2012, 05:04 PM

Hyde Park on Hudson in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: History, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [video]

Posted Dec 14th 2012, 04:58 PM

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: All Things Tolkien, Peter Jackson's Middle Earth, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video), The Hobbit

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On the Air: “The World Over Live,” “Catholic Answers Live!” & “Reel Faith”!

Posted Dec 12th 2012, 07:54 AM

This week I’ll be all over Catholic media talking about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: EWTN’s “The World Over Live” with Raymond Arroyo, “Catholic Answers Live” with Patrick Coffin, and our own “Reel Faith” with my co-host David DiCerto. (Pay attention and you may catch me on “Kresta in the Afternoon” at some point too.)

First on Thursday, December 13, Raymond and I will be discussing the Lord of the Rings prequel as well as current and upcoming films, such as Les Misérables, Skyfall and Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. “The World Over Live” starts at 8:00pm ET. (Watch EWTN TV live)

Then on Friday Patrick and I will be discussing the current crop of films on the first hour of “Catholic Answers Live,” 6pm–7pm ET. (Listen to EWTN Radio live)

Finally, be sure to watch the latest episode of “Reel Faith” on Friday at 9pm ET as David and I review The Hobbit, Hyde Park on Hudson and more. (Watch NET live)

Tags: Decent Films Doings

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Hitchcock [video]

Posted Dec 7th 2012, 06:54 AM

Hitchcock in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Hollywood, Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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Anna Karenina [video]

Posted Dec 7th 2012, 06:54 AM

Anna Karenina in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.

Tags: Reel Faith, Reel Faith Reviews (Video)

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