Coming January 1st: the Looking Closer Favorites of 2011

More than a month ago, they started appearing: Best of 2011 lists. ... … [Read more...]

War Horse (2011)

My review of Steven Spielberg's War Horse is up at Image's blog, Good Letters.   … [Read more...]

Christmas in Seattle, through the eyes of a poet

Anne writes poetry. But lately, she's been asked to write a few essays. Some of them appear between the poetry collections in her new book Delicate Machinery Suspended. And one of them is published today at Christianity Today: An eyewitness testimony about what it's like to celebrate Christmas in Seattle. … [Read more...]

The Fearsome and the Childlike in the Films of Steven Spielberg

In my book Through a Screen Darkly, I wrote quite a bit about the films of Steven Spielberg. But those thoughts are scattered throughout the book. Today you can read my new overview of Spielberg's entire career as a director...  … [Read more...]

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

In the opening scenes of The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, the new 3D motion-capture-powered animated spectacle from director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson, one character in an open marketplace happily informs a stranger, “Everybody knows him. That’s Tintin.” And yet, after two hours of nearly perpetual, elaborately choreographed action, the audience still doesn’t know who Tintin is. Those who have lined up to see a comic book character they already … [Read more...]

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

It is a pleasure to report that director Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was worth every penny of the high ticket price I will pay to see it a second and third time. In this moviegoer's opinion, it's easily the finest installment in an otherwise mediocre franchise. Moreover, it's leaves X-Men: First Class, Captain America, and the rest of 2011's glorified Saturday morning cartoons in its dust. Give me another ticket, Mr. Bird. I want to take this ride again. … [Read more...]

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Some stories are short for a reason. Dr. Seuss's children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas tells a simple tale about a mean old grouch who learns that love conquers all. The Grinch hates the Whos, it's as simple as that. But no matter how much adversity he throws down on the town of Whoville, he's never able to spoil Christmas. Animator Chuck Jones made a beloved animated cartoon of the story that stuck to the script, provided perfect voices for the characters, and added a memorable, … [Read more...]

A new Christmas-gift offer for the poets and poetry lovers in your life

Here's a message from Anne: … [Read more...]

Initial thoughts on The Descendants

In February, I'll be speaking at Seattle Pacific University about the films of 2011. I'll also be appearing on Dick Staub's Kindlings Muse live-podcast show to talk about the same subject. What 2011 films showed us something new, challenging, and worth seeing many times? What movies showed us what we wanted to see, and told us what we wanted to hear, instead of giving us something that we really needed. What movies provided mere entertainment instead of art? What filled the screen with vision … [Read more...]

The Highlight of the The Help: The hard-of-hearing guy behind me in the theatre.

I finally saw The Help. It has such honorable subject matter that it puts a critic in a difficult place: You'll sound insensitive and heartless if you criticize it. But film critics aren't asked to consider what a movie's about so much as how the movie is about it. So, I've strapped on my bulletproof vest. Here we go. ... … [Read more...]


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