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The Iron Giant REVIEW

The Iron Giant (1999)

There is a purity to Brad Bird’s directorial debut The Iron Giant, based on the British poet Ted Hughes’ children’s novel The Iron Man, that is inconceivable in the family film landscape of today.

Greater REVIEW

Greater (2016)

Greater has three surprises, which is three more than most faith-based films, particularly of the inspirational sports-movie variety.

Kubo and the Two Strings REVIEW

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Kubo and the Two Strings comes close to being a masterpiece, and one of the two best American animated films in years, the other being Pixar’s Inside Out.

Ben-Hur REVIEW

Ben-Hur (2016)

On paper, and sometimes even on screen, there’s some promise and potential in this remake of Ben-Hur.

Pete’s Dragon REVIEW

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, or even in writing, but with Pete’s Dragon joining The Jungle Book and Cinderella, Disney may be giving the lie to the old cliché “They don’t make ’em like that any more.”

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.

Ice Age: Collision Course [video] POST

Ice Age: Collision Course [video]

The tipping point has been reached where I now wish that even the original Ice Age had never been made in the first place. Yes, even if it means no Scratt ever.

Jason Bourne [video] POST

Jason Bourne [video]

You know his name. David Webb. You did know that was his name, right?

Ghostbusters [video] POST

Ghostbusters [video]

The new Ghostbusters is perhaps more important than good, which isn’t a great place to be.

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.

Independence Day: Resurgence [video] POST

Independence Day: Resurgence [video]

We had 20 years to prepare. I would have liked more time.

The Shallows [video] POST

The Shallows [video]

“Blake Lively versus shark” is definitely one of the better pitches of this summer.

Central Intelligence [video] POST

Central Intelligence [video]

I can’t imagine anyone but Dwayne Johnson making this movie work.

Love & Friendship [video] POST

Love & Friendship [video]

Whit Stillman and Jane Austen! I couldn’t limit myself to 60 seconds on this one.

Alice Through the Looking Glass [video] POST

Alice Through the Looking Glass [video]

Lewis Carrol is now right side up in his grave, having turned over twice.

Captain America: Civil War [video] POST

Captain America: Civil War [video]

At last, a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that doesn’t come down to destroying a large urban area while saving the city, planet, or universe.

Jason Bourne REVIEW

Jason Bourne (2016)

The world has changed since 2007, and not only in the ways the filmmakers are self-consciously trying to engage: concerns about cyber-security, online privacy, government spying and the pressure on tech companies to give the government whatever information or access it wants.

Star Trek Beyond REVIEW

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

It’s not saying much, but Star Trek Beyond is probably this summer’s most entertaining popcorn film to date.

The Secret Life of Pets REVIEW

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

The first act of The Secret Life of Pets leans on a style of humor that we might call “anthropomorphic observational comedy.”

The Innocents REVIEW

The Innocents (2016)

The Innocents opens in a Benedictine convent in Poland in 1945, shortly after the event known, not without bitter irony, as the liberation of Poland by the Soviet army.

Finding Dory REVIEW

Finding Dory (2016)

Hank the octopus is a particular standout. Hank’s squash-and-stretch movements push computer animation to yet another high-water mark, and his mad skills are highly entertaining — so entertaining, in fact, that I kind of wish the movie had been about him.

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.

Why a Mel Gibson sequel to <em>The Passion</em> is probably a bad idea POST

Why a Mel Gibson sequel to The Passion is probably a bad idea

I doubt Gibson is the right filmmaker for the job. First, though, let’s talk about how right Gibson was for The Passion of the Christ.

The Conjuring 2 REVIEW

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Wan goes bigger and splashier here than in the first Conjuring. Metaphorically splashier, I mean; it’s not very bloody, but it’s bloody scary, thanks to Wan’s skills and some shrewd choices by Chad and Carey Hayes, the screenwriting brothers (both Christians) who wrote both films.

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.

Last Days in the Desert REVIEW

Last Days in the Desert (2016)

García takes his time in the early scenes, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of this eremitic phase in its protagonist’s life. A spiritual journey can’t be rushed; the mind and body must submit to long hardship for the spirit to attain its goal.

Hey, DC / Arlington area! POST

Hey, DC / Arlington area!

Local to the Washington metropolitan area? This Friday, May 13th, I’ll be at the FORUM Arlington talking about cinema and Catholic faith — at least, if the title of my talk, “A Ray of God: Movies and Catholic Teaching” is any indication.

Captain America: Civil War REVIEW

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Civil War also demonstrates that the right way to do a “versus” movie pitting heroes against one another is by building relationships — and tensions — over time, then allowing characters to fall out over meaningful practical and personal issues.

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.