CT Movies picks 2008′s “critics’ choice awards”

Last week, CT Movies posted its list of the ten “most redeeming” films of the past year. Today, we posted “The 2008 Critics’ Choice Awards” — and, as one of the participating critics, I am happy to say that I like most of the finalists myself. I also submitted a paragraph on one pick of mine that did not make the final list.

FEB 6 UPDATE: Click here for a podcast in which CT Movies editor Mark Moring and Todd Hertz discuss this list with Stan Guthrie.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.film-think.com M. Leary

    Pretty good list from CT this year. I still don’t quite get where the CT critics actually come from though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14715376140228118442 Jeffrey Overstreet

    Say more, Leary. What do you mean by “where they come from?”

    And while I’m not sure it’s appropriate for me to say which of the Critics’ Choice “winners” I actually *voted* for, it’s probably pretty obvious when you compare that list with my list of 2008 favorites, which I posted several weeks ago.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    Five of CT’s picks are on my top ten list for 2008, and one of them is on my top ten list for 2007 (due to a difference between the Canadian and American release dates), so it’s pretty obvious where my own sympathies lie, too — or at least my positive sympathies.

    As for where CT’s critics “come from”, I’d say we’re all over the place. CT is an explicitly “evangelical” outlet, but that word is fairly elastic — at least three of CT’s critics are Catholic or Orthodox, so the term isn’t even necessarily restricted to Protestants — and I wouldn’t be surprised if CT were deliberately trying to reflect the broader spectrum of evangelical sensibilities in these matters.

  • http://www.film-think.com M. Leary

    My question sounded worse than intended. PTC’s answer was along the lines of what I was getting at. For one thing, I am just really unfamiliar with most of the writers there, so I can’t look at specific choices and think: Ah, okay, having known this person I can understand where they are coming from.

    I think we often overlook the concept of “trust” in explaining why we read the critics we read. I still have a hard time trusting a lot of this evangelical film criticism (much CT criticism and that often found in the links beneath your reviews) because it is still so reader-response in tone, and tends towards maintaining a blandly descriptive attitude towards film that things like the FFCC was intended to dispel. Are there Christian Sicinskis and Bordwells and Harry Tuttles out there? Oh, heck yeah. John Wilson is good at finding them.

    I am glad that Moring has respected the “elastic” spectrum of evangelicalism in bringing on board Catholic and Orthodox critics. But this seems to lead to an editorial “voice” in CT Movies that dials down all the interesting theological perspectives different critics can bring to their work. I find myself wondering if given the freedom, certain critics would respond to films in more provocative and honest ways. I am not trying to call anybody out, or spark debate, as I appreciate the work of critics I do know at CT Movies (and am glad to see them being read by the instant CT audience).

    Coverage is also an issue, as I wish CT was using that space to expose Christians to more serious and international cinema. I can imagine your year end lists would look different if that were the case. If you are going to cover Marley and Me, for example, do we really need another puff piece? Isn’t one of the recent Film Movement DVDs within reach?

    All of this is bound up in that “where they are coming from” question.

    And FWIW, four of those films are on my list from 2008 (still haven’t seen the Demme).


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