The Moviegoer: Is Irresistance Futile? Of Silver Linings and Unchaining Django

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) & Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)     Part of the sports fandom playbook is the power of positive thinking. For instance, here is a trajectory of things that I may or may not have said to my dad during my Pittsburgh Steelers’ bumbling 8-8 season: Well, we have a new offensive coordinator, so we were bound to struggle out of the gate on offense; we’ve had to overco … [Read more...]

Our Favorite Films of 2012

 The Christ and Pop Culture writers got together and hashed out our list of the best films we saw this year. Here’s what we came up with. (Editor's Note: Unfortunately, we haven't had the chance to see several end-of-year films including Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, This is Not a Film, Django Unchained, and Amour. You may also be interested in Nick Olson's recent year-end piece for Filmwell, "Protecting Innocents, Longing for Innocence," which is concerned with s … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: 25 Memorable Moments from 2012 Moviegoing

Inspired by Aren of the Brothers Bergstrom film critic triumvirate, I've decided to share several of my favorite moments from the year in film. I'm going to try to avoid overlap with Aren's list, but in a couple of cases, it's simply unavoidable. I don't plan to publish a personal favorites list until sometime between the new year and the Oscars; there's just too many potentially important films that I've yet to see. Barbara, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, The Color Wheel, Tabu, This is Not … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: A Roundup of Hobbit Reviews

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.My family has a wonderful Christmas tradition. We love to go see a movie together during the week before Christmas. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy became a three year fixture of this tradition. So it was a given that the family planned to make The Hobbit this year's Christmas outing to the theater. Out of loyalty to this tradition, I've avoided seeing The Hobbit until we go together in the next few days. … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Gangsters, Imposters, Motors, and other Awards Season Notes

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)My anticipation for Killing Them Softly--Dominik's long-awaited followup to his excellent 2007 feature, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford--was admittedly high. I thought the latter a masterfully crafted, slow-burn thriller of a western. Reunited with Brad Pitt, Dominik returns with a modern day gangster flick that is an allegory about America's 2008 r … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: A Portrait of President Lincoln

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Steven Spielberg's Lincoln might be described as a brilliant portrait, a distinctive picture of a particular historical moment that gives us representative insight into a United States at Civil War. But, more than that, we're treated to filmic portraits of a President who is able to lead us out of such a blunt and brutal national duplicity. Rather than attempt an epic biopic spanning an entire life or even an entire w … [Read more...]

Can Faith in the Better Story Sustain Us? Survival and Significance in “Life of Pi”

Faith in the better story is an important signal, but is it wondrous and hopeful enough? Ang Lee’s ambitious -- and, on the whole, successful -- film adaptation of Yann Martel’s acclaimed novel Life of Pi begins with a rather audacious claim: we’re going to be told a story that “will make [us] believe in God.” There has been much conversation within religious circles regarding the film’s somewhat controversial religious themes. But before approaching those themes, it’s helpful to consider this o … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: In the Shadow of Skyfall

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Editor's Note: There are some fairly minor *SPOILERS* here that you won't be able to sneak around. "Orphans make the best agents," M (Judi Dench) says in her characteristically matter-of-fact manner. The statement probably suggests something about the shadow that is cast over the latest James Bond film, Skyfall (Dir. Sam Mendes). We first see the famed British secret agent (Daniel Craig) at the end of a hallway, where, … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: “Wreck-it Ralph” Could Use some Fixing from Felix

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.There's a fun scene in the latter half of Wreck-it Ralph in which brutish "bad guy" Ralph is helping his little glitching, pixeled companion, Venellope von Schweetz, build a go-kart made of candy. The scene encapsulates the film's brimming possibilities. The arcade characters build the kart within the structure and mechanism of the kart-racing game, Sugar Rush. Which is to say, in part, that they build the candy kart … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Bernhardt “Bernie” Tiede, Angel of Death?

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.The film (and the story it's based on) has been around, but just in case: Spoiler Alert! Bernie is available via Redbox and Netflix steaming.Widely considered unpleasantly cold by her town neighbors and even family members, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine)--a recently widowed 81 year old millionaire--has been found dead, buried in her own freezer. But not only does her plight go unnoticed for nine months, … [Read more...]