Archives for November 2008

Ratatouille (2007)

My review of Ratatouille was originally published in June 2007 at Christianity Today Movies.-Attention, parents, kids, anybody who appreciates good movies and great food!Ratatouille is a feast so fantastic you'll go running back for seconds. And if you pay close attention, you'll also see that it's a film that tells two great stories at the same time.The first story is what you'll see on the big screen. And the second—at least the way I see it—is a more subtle, almost allegorical re-t … [Read more...]

Evening (2007)

My review of Evening was originally published at Christianity Today Movies.-Stand and stare in awe at the poster for Lajos Koltai's new film Evening. Look at that impressive cast list. Vanessa Redgrave! Meryl Streep! Glenn Close! Claire Danes! Toni Collette! All in the same movie!It gets better: Redgrave gets to share a scene with her real-life daughter Natasha Richardson. And the mother/daughter goodness doesn't stop there: Streep plays a senior citizen who appears in flashback p … [Read more...]

Closer (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today. -Closer, the new film from Mike Nichols (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate), has a lot in common with the "smoker's lung" billboard.You know the one — there's a cigarette in the left frame, and a blackened, diseased lung on the right. It's a troubling image. You're driving along sipping coffee or tea, you see the picture, and you choke. Nobody wants to see such ugliness. But it works. Sometimes. Especially for young … [Read more...]

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

This review of Letters from Iwo Jima is published at Christianity Today Movies.-"Am I digging my own grave?" young Saigo wonders as he helps his fellow Japanese soldiers shovel out bunkers in the dark sand beneath Mt. Surabachi. And because we know the outcome of the Battle of Iwo Jima, we can make an educated guess at the answer to his question.In an unprecedented work of ambition and vision, Clint Eastwood has released two films in one year about that historic battle: Flags of Our … [Read more...]

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today. -Some people live lives in which their prayers are answered, their dreams fulfilled, their needs met, and their lives richly blessed. Others live lives of frustration, longing to hear God's voice, carrying excruciating burdens and struggling to maintain their belief that their Creator cares … or that he exists at all.Million Dollar Baby looks like a boxing movie, but at its heart, it is the story of a spiritually frustrated ma … [Read more...]

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Two Towers is packed end-to-end with helter-skelter action, jaw-dropping New Zealand scenery, standard-setting animation, a lush and provocative soundtrack, and enough adventure for three or four typical films of its genre.Do you need more information? My review is at if you want the detailed review ... the mad ramblings of a Tolkien fan and a nit-picker ... settle in for a long read. These are the thoughts that buzzed in my head after I caught the sneak … [Read more...]

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Thanks to director Alfonso Cuarón and his dream-team of British actors, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban may mark the first time that the third film in a trilogy has been the best. But thanks to storyteller J.K. Rowling, the derivative plot lacks depth and suspense.Cuarón is clearly a great choice for the film, bringing with him the talent that made his 1995 film A Little Princess one of the best fairy tales ever filmed. He's got a knack for fantasy. Contrary to the typical Disney s … [Read more...]

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Whether viewers have read the book or not, they'll find no real surprises in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.Director David Yates makes this one of the darker episodes in the series, literally: there are few glimpses of daylight. That serves to accentuate that our rather self-absorbed, disobedient hero, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), is starting to discover his dark side, like Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3. It also serves to accentuate the lack of humor and whimsy in this … [Read more...]

Elliott Spitzer Makes a Porno, Part II; Also: Christian Approach to Movies

Laura Bramon Good delivers Part 2 of her series "Elliot Spitzer Makes a Porno" ... at Image's blog, Good Letters. (If you missed Part 1, it's here.)- Greg Wright on "Anatomy of a Christian Approach to Movies" (Hey, thanks, Greg! I'm honored!) … [Read more...]

Must-read: Laura Miller on Twilight

Well, I've run out of time to deliver the review of Twilight I'd hoped to write this weekend. Too busy working on the third book of The Auralia Thread, and we had our Thanksgiving dinner a week early, thanks to a visit from my parents.But that's okay, because I've got something much better for you than my disgruntled perspective on the film. The best thing I've read on the appeal of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is Laura Miller's article in Salon. It is a brilliant interpretation and diagnosis. … [Read more...]