"Empire" strikes again

At The Guardian, author J.G. Ballard remembers the premiere of the movie about his childhood, my favorite Steven Spielberg drama: Empire of the Sun. Surprisingly, it was the film premiere in Hollywood, the fount of most of our planet's fantasies, that brought everything down to earth. A wonderful night for any novelist, and a reminder of the limits of the printed word. Sitting with the sober British contingent, surrounded by everyone from Dolly Parton to Sean Connery, I thought Spielberg's film … [Read more...]

Nate Bell’s best of 2005

Just as it's possible to bridge the great divide between the sexes, between black and white, between Republican and Democrat... so we can also take comfort in finding common ground between people from Seattle Pacific University and people from Biola University. … [Read more...]

Is Mel Gibson worried about what critics will think of "Apocalypto"?

"After what I experienced with The Passion ... I frankly don’t give a flying f--- about much of what they think..." said Christian hero Mel Gibson.More, in TIME.(Thanks, Mark.) … [Read more...]

"The Sparrow" … starring Brad Pitt?

This is looking more and more likely. … [Read more...]

Mercir is Big News!

One of my favorite earthlings, my co-worker Rachel Eby, is an uncommonly joyful person. And she has some good reasons to be joyful.Not only is she savoring the mystery of not knowing whether she's about to have a boy or a girl in May... … [Read more...]

A Movieguide Survivor Responds to the Previous Post

This comment was added to my previous post, and I'm grateful to Sean Gaffney for his input and perspective. Wow, Jeff, where to begin.I had the interesting experience of writing freelance reviews for Movie Guide years ago (way too far down the food chain to even meet the founder). On one hand, I feel for you, brother. On the other – congratulations! If Mr. Baehr thinks you deserve attack, it probably means you are doing quality work.And my heart goes out to all the reviewers working u … [Read more...]

There He Goes Again: Ted Baehr Slanders Christianity Today On the Air.

Yesterday during the James D. Kennedy Coral Ridge Broadcast, Ted Baehr once again slandered Christianity Today and my colleagues in Christian film criticism. And in the meantime, he either got the facts wrong, or he lied... you decide.From a friend who heard the broadcast: Ted Baehr (who starts the broadcast by taking credit for The Passion, Chronicles of Narnia, Madagascar, and other films) notes that he gave The Passion a “movie of the year” award last year. Then he says: "Christianity To … [Read more...]

My Trendsetting Haircut

I've never thought of Looking Closer as a trend-setting site. But Entertainment Weekly has noticed that apparently my haircut is starting a wave of variations.I'm so proud to be influencing culture. I'd like to thank the Academy.I'm sorry, guys. You only wish you were this sexy!Oh, and by the way, that photo is of me trying to survive the trailer for Failure to Launch. Man... that title is such a gift to critics who have to write about it. … [Read more...]

Sarris on "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" – the raves continue

Andrew Sarris (The New York Observer) on Sophie Scholl: The Final Days: Another surprise — perhaps as much for you as for me — is that in her last days, Sophie doesn’t emerge as some kind of secular saint, but rather as a deep believer in her mother’s Protestant Lutheran faith. Hence, when the German prison chaplain comes to give her the last rites, she explicitly beseeches him to entrust her soul to God’s mercy — this despite the agnosticism preached to her by her own beloved father from early … [Read more...]

Wolcott’s Take on "Vendetta."

James Wolcott warns us about V for Vendetta: V for Vendetta may be--why hedge? is--the most subversive cinematic deed of the Bush-Blair era, a dagger poised in midair. Unlike the other movies dubbed “controversial” (Fahrenheit 9-11, The Passion, Munich, Syriana), it doesn’t play to a particular constituency or polarized culture bloc, it’s working on a deeper, Edger Allen Poe-ish witch’s brew substrata of pop myth. Cultural conservatives will loathe it without seeing it (they love not having to l … [Read more...]


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