Pontius Pilate… The Movie!

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Who would you cast as Pontius Pilate? Has he ever been a central character in a film? [UPDATE: He was!] I have a vivid memory of David Bowie's imperious turn in The Last Temptation of Christ; and Ciarin Hinds seems like an obvious go-to guy for toga-wearing, Roman leader roles. Whoever gets the part, this sounds like it could bring a fascinating new perspective to the life of Christ on film. Here's the scoop from Deadline... … [Read more...]

Man on Fire (2004)

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2012 Update: The world is just learning of the death of director Tony Scott. Evidence, including his suicide note, points to the possibility that he killed himself by throwing himself off a bridge, leaving behind a wife and two sons. I will not comment on this event, as much is still unknown, except to say the obvious: This is terrible news. Suicide, whenever it happens, is a grievous act and a great loss for humankind. Scott was a husband, a father, a friend of many, an artist. Regarding his … [Read more...]

The Hunger Games: Did You Ask For Seconds, or Send It Back to the Kitchen?

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Chances are you've seen The Hunger Games by now. So, let's talk about the movie (not the book): A great work of cinema? A standard Hollywood franchise launch? Great performances? Cheap special effects? What's your take on Gary Ross's movie? Or maybe you came away and thought, "Why all the fuss about this story? Why not bring ___________ to the big screen instead?" What novels have you read lately that would make great movies? … [Read more...]

Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray/DVD Release Featured In a Very Special Review

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So, we know about Will Smith and Jaden. We know about Lloyd Bridges and his sons Beau and Jeff. Recently, Martin Sheen starred with his son Emilio Estevez in The Way. But how many parent-child film critic teams can you think of? … [Read more...]

Heed the Whedon.

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We're at the 2/3rds mark in 2012, and something doesn't feel right. Normally, I have a pretty solid "top ten list" of favorites by now. But in 2012? I look around and I see a bunch of "corporate spectacle." But I can't recall many movies that have meant anything to me. I've spent some enjoyable air-conditioned hours in the theater watching some better-than-average superhero cotton candy. But stories that surprised and challenged me? Performances that captivated me? Cinematography that took … [Read more...]

What Do Harold and the Purple Crayon and Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses Have In Common?

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What do Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, and Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses have in common? Gregory Wolfe, publisher of Image and author of Beauty Will Save the World, explains in this, his commencement address to the 2012 graduates of Seattle Pacific University's MFA in Creative Writing program. I attended that ceremony in Santa Fe, NM. It was a moving, inspiring event. Here's an excerpt from Wolfe's address... … [Read more...]

Introducing… Scott Derrickson.

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I've just returned from The Glen Workshop, my favorite event of the year, a week-long arts conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, hosted by IMAGE journal. (They've published a brief sum-up of that extraordinary eight-day experience here.) I've attended almost ten years in a row now, and IMAGE posted a "video postcard" in which I testified about the profundity of Scott Cairns' keynote address. There are other postcards as well; I'm not the only one overjoyed, rejuvenated, and inspired by this … [Read more...]

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

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I have a proposal for the next movie in the Bourne franchise. But first, a quick recap of the series so far. The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy were surprisingly substantial entries in the super-spy genre. Directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Tony Gilroy made us believe in Jason Bourne, a highly skilled assassin who emerges from clouds of amnesia to discover, with increasing horror, the crimes he was designed to carry out in the name of American superiority. For … [Read more...]

The Bourne Identity (2002)

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2012 Update: Let's take a look back at The Bourne Identity. Ten years ago, director Doug Liman launched what would become a stylish, tough, influential franchise and gave Matt Damon the kind of solid action-hero identity that Tom Cruise has been seeking his whole career. (Sorry, but Mission: Impossible's Ethan Hunt is nothing more than an action figure. Jason Bourne is a character.) Now, on the weekend of the release of The Bourne Legacy, a fourth film that seeks to start the Bourne-franchise … [Read more...]

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

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2012 Update: It's been eight years since the release of The Bourne Supremacy, which has, over time, become my favorite in the Bourne franchise to revisit. (This weekend, the series gets an unnecessary fourth episode). The original remains the strongest in terms of storytelling. But the sequel's sense of momentum, its deepening of Jason Bourne's character, and its spectacular action bring me back again and again. (It has developed a reputation for having unleashed confusing, chaotic action … [Read more...]


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