Must-read poetry: Caduceus

Caduceus

Today, I welcome a special guest contributor to Looking Closer: Anne M. Doe Overstreet, who is one of my favorite poets, a sharp-eyed editor, and a skilled gardener. And these are only a few of the reasons I married her. Anyway, she brings us a review today of a new book of poetry that has been dazzling her imagination of late. So, Anne... take it away! … [Read more...]

Wanted: Ambiguity

"This weekend, you could go to a good movie, or you could watch me dance!"

I hate to say, "I told you so." Especially when the person I'm addressing is myself. I told myself not to spend full ticket price on The Amazing Spider-man. But I did anyway. And yeah, now it hurts to realize I put down more than $15.00 to see it. I don't regret this evening's moviegoing experience: I got to spend the evening with my friend Danny Walter, who has probably seen more movies with me than anybody on the planet. We had good conversations and an enjoyable evening. But I do … [Read more...]

Spider-man 3 (2007)

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Here's a flashback to my review of Sam Raimi's Spider-man 3, which I liked better than a lot of moviegoers, even though it was, yes, something of a letdown. This review was originally published at Christianity Today in May 2007. • "You are such a nerd," says Mary Jane to Peter Parker. In most movies, that would be a put-down. But Mary Jane, played again in Spider-Man 3 by the radiant Kirsten Dunst, says it with such affection that she's sure to reclaim her title as the ideal woman for … [Read more...]

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

moonrise kingdom

Of Gods and Men made Steven Greydanus say that he felt like he had become a critic in order to be prepared to review that movie. I've only felt that way about a few films. Moonrise Kingdom is one of them. Here is my review, which was originally published at Good Letters, the blog hosted by Image. (All of the original comments are posted there.) … [Read more...]

Spider-man 2 (2004)

spidey

Here's a 2012 flashback to my original review of Spider-man 2, with a few small repairs and a couple of revisions for the sake of clarification. Lately, I've been lamenting the overabundance of superhero movies, their predictability, their over-seriousness, their revelry in excessive action and their lack of substantial storytelling. Revisiting my original reaction to Sam Raimi's super sequel, I find that my feelings haven't changed much. Spider-man 2 remains one of the few superhero films that … [Read more...]

In America (2004)

inamerica

What's your favorite Fourth of July movie? If crowds and traffic will keep you away from big fireworks shows — those stressful ordeals turned me away from public places on the Fourth a long time ago — then I recommend you consider spending some time with Jim Sheridan's 2004 film about a family of Irish immigrants called In America. You can read an abridged version of my In America review at Paste. Or, if you want my in-depth look at the film, here's one from the archives. … [Read more...]

Truffin and Morefield on Chariots of Fire: Does God care who wins?

Chariots of Fire - the beach

As a follow-up to my two-part post (1, 2) on revisiting Chariots of Fire, I want to share this lengthy discussion between my friends Ken Morefield and Todd Truffin from their podcast called The Thin Place. I like this episode's clever title. … [Read more...]

Spider-man (2002)

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As the appropriately named Mark Webb's reboot of the webslinger franchise opens to record-breaking box office and ho-hum reviews, I thought I'd look back at my initial reactions to Sam Raimi's series. The more I think about Raimi's first Spider-man movie, which I found admirable but a little disappointing, the more I'm surprised by how it looks like a classic in retrospect. Superhero films have become so numerous since then, becoming an almost weekly event, this movie stands out for its sense … [Read more...]

Speaking of web-slingers: Here comes Brown Widow!

According to this report, an insurgence of strange, unfamiliar spiders is thrashing and humiliating the population of black widows in Southern California. … [Read more...]

Moonrise Michael

moonrise-kingdom2

I may have turned in my review of my favorite 2012 release so far — Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom — almost a week ago, but Michael Leary, an excellent film reviewer and a friend of mind for more than a decade now, got his published online first. So row your boat on over to Filmwell, the blog that Leary and I launched in March 2009, and read his thoughtful observations on what he calls "a high point in Anderson's cinema." (My own review will be up at Good Letters on … [Read more...]