On paper, and sometimes even on screen, there’s some promise and potential in this remake of Ben-Hur.
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.”
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.
It’s not saying much, but Star Trek Beyond is probably this summer’s most entertaining popcorn film to date.
The first act of The Secret Life of Pets leans on a style of humor that we might call “anthropomorphic observational comedy.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Like Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella last year, The Jungle Book offers a lavish new reimagining of a beloved story, blending elements from the original literary source material with the classic animated Disney version.
Relate the plot of Bicycle Thieves in a few sentences, and a person who had never seen the film might be forever haunted by it.
Batman v Superman is even more charged with theological language and iconography than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Even the Good Friday opening may not be an accident.
Brooklyn is what seems like an increasingly rare gift: a film about the drama and discovery of an ordinary human life: about love and loss, sorrow and self-discovery, in a story that for once is not overshadowed by some deep injustice or extraordinary human conflict.
The Young Messiah is an impressive achievement of Christian imagination, a work that does one of the noblest things a Bible movie, or any literary adaptation, can do: It brings persuasive emotional and psychological depth to characters and situations that were either hidden or else so familiar we may have trouble seeing them at all.
Risen might be the only Jesus film in which we first encounter Jesus on the cross, already dead or nearly so.
Filmmaker Michael Whyte actually lived across the square from the monastery for years without realizing it was still occupied. One day he heard the monastery bell calling the sisters to prayer.
Stations of the Cross is among the most insightful and devastating cross-examinations of religious fundamentalism that I have ever seen, certainly in a Catholic context. The film is not an attack on faith or religion, but an examination of how faith goes wrong.
I smiled and laughed through much of the film. Why don’t I love it more? Why did The Force Awakens make almost no lasting impression on me?
We cloak the monstrous in euphemisms. We call it “unspeakable” or “unthinkable” — designations that are accurate simply because in using them we make them so. In Catholic circles a dozen years ago, one sometimes heard about “The Crisis”; later it became “The Scandal.” We all knew what these terms referred to, but did we really know?
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.