The Exorcist shocked, startled, and sickened audiences when it first came out in 1973, and if the cheesy sequels, rip-offs, and even spoofs that have come out since then have drained the film of its grotesque novelty, it remains a powerful, creepy moviegoing experience.As you probably know, the film concerns a girl named Regan (Linda Blair) who, around the time of her 13th birthday, is possessed by an entity that is variously identified as the ancient Babylonian demon Pazuzu, the… Read more

Cameron Crowe is adept at making popular films that resonate on deep personal and emotional levels, such as Say Anything… and Jerry Maguire. Almost Famous, the semi-autobiographical tale of a 15-year-old music journalist who follows an early-1970s rock’n’roll band around the United States while researching his first story for Rolling Stone magazine, had the potential to be Crowe’s most personal movie yet. But Crowe apparently decided this story hit too close to home, and thus refused to put his characters… Read more

In the Bible, the devil waited until Jesus was in his thirties before tempting him and trying to lure him away from his divine mission in life. But these are more impatient times, so in Bless the Child, when it looks as if a six-year-old girl with special powers may be the Second Coming — her birth was heralded by the same star that shone over Bethlehem — a cult of nasty satanists abducts her and tries to bend her… Read more

The title indicates this is a story about two friends, but Chuck & Buck is mostly told from the point of view of Buck (Mike White), a childlike man in his late 20s whose mind seems at first to be frozen in a state of permanent preadolescence. Buck still listens to old children’s records and plays with Matchbox cars, and lollipops are the main staple of his diet. When Buck meets Chuck (Chris Weitz) for the first time in years,… Read more

Most people play the what-if game at some point or other. Many of us look back on a specific moment when we made a decision that had ramifications far beyond our own lives, and we wonder if we did the right thing. For example, what if I had not skipped grades when I was 12 years old? I came to regret that decision frequently during my high school years, and if I could revisit any moment in my past, that… Read more

The Patriot pretends to be an historical epic, but it is, in truth, a B-grade revenge thriller. Despite the versatile, charismatic presence of Mel Gibson — who was paid a record $25 million to star in this film — there is no getting around the utterly formulaic script (by Saving Private Ryan’s Robert Rodat) and the stodgy direction (by Roland Emmerich, whose credits include more honestly junky films like Independence Day and Godzilla). (more…) Read more

THE PATRIOT pretends to be a noble historical epic, but it is, in truth, a B-grade revenge thriller. Despite the versatile, charismatic presence of Mel Gibson — who was paid a record $25 million to star in this film — there is no getting around the utterly formulaic script (by Saving Private Ryan’s Robert Rodat) and the stodgy direction (by Roland Emmerich, whose credits include more honestly junky fare like Independence Day and Godzilla). (more…) Read more

By now, it’s become standard practice for filmmakers tackling the gospels to say that they will show Jesus in a more ‘human’ light. What this usually means is that the Jesus in their films will smile more often than the Jesuses in other films. He will laugh, he will cry, he will help the fishermen with their nets, he may even get up and dance at parties. But this definition of humanity, with its implicit assumption that God, in his… Read more

For all their piety, the Bible epics of the past are best remembered for their violent set-pieces. God smote evildoers with earthquakes and lightning, armies clashed on land and at sea, and villainous charioteers were trampled to death by their opponents’ horses. Death and destruction were what kept the crowds coming; but audiences wanted more than blood and guts, so most films offset the violence somewhat by touching on nobler themes, perhaps even by paying some attention to the Prince… Read more

There comes a moment in Mission: Impossible II when Ethan Hunt, the daredevil superspy played by Tom Cruise, must make a choice, and the scene speaks volumes about the film’s narrative logic. Hunt, after kicking and punching his opponent and performing all sorts of suspiciously fancy martial-arts stunts, grabs the knife that his opponent has just brandished. The opponent, now unarmed, dares Hunt to finish him off quickly. Somewhere, a clock is ticking, and Hunt knows that he is badly… Read more

Follow Us!



Browse Our Archives