The Class (2009)

This two-part review of The Class and To Be and To Have was originally published at Christianity Today. - "Carpe Diem." Remember that? That's what Professor Keating (Robin Williams) told his class of troubled youngsters in Dead Poets Society. "Seize the days, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." In The Class, "Seize the day" might be the worst thing the teacher could say to his students. This multi-ethnic group of troublemakers, cynics, and egoists have already seized the … [Read more...]

The Class (2009): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

I'll be reviewing The Class soon. But for now, let me encourage you to see it as soon as you can. It's one of two 2009 releases I've seen that will probably end up in my Top 10 of 2009 next December. Here's a roundup of reviews at IFC Daily. … [Read more...]

Fireproof (2008): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

What is Film Forum? Well, with so many film reviews published, and so little time to read them all, I make a note of any review that I find particularly thoughtful, persuasive, or worth wrestling. Be sure to check back, as I've only just begun to read reviews of these films, and I'll add more interesting excerpts as I come across them. Feel free to submit more reviews, or even your own, in the comments below. … [Read more...]

Gran Torino (2008): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

I haven't seen Gran Torino yet. Normally, I would rush out to see a Clint Eastwood movie. But I've been insanely busy the last several weeks, and I've had to choose my movies very, very carefully, so I'd be sure to pick a winner. So I started paying attention to what I read. I must say, I was alarmed when film critic Mike D'Angelo posted this on Twitter: … [Read more...]

Bella (2007)

Jose (Eduardo Verástegui) is a New York chef in his brother's Mexican restaurant, and he's such a good chef that the kitchen can hardly operate without him. But Jose would never win any of television's "top chef" competitions." His heart is too big. It's so big, in fact, that his eyes almost shine, and his face is so wracked with sympathy for people in need that it's easy to believe that he's actually Jesus in disguise. And that's a good thing for Nina (Tammy Blanchard), the waitress who … [Read more...]

Because You Asked: Why I Didn’t Dance at the End of “Slumdog Millionaire”

Pop quiz: Which popular 2008 release features this exchange? “Come away with me.” “And live on what?” “Love.” Is it: A) Slumdog Millionaire B) Twilight C) Frost/Nixon D) Waltz with Bashir The answer? … [Read more...]

The Island (Ostrov) (2006)

Ostrov - The Island

This review was previously published as an installment of Jeffrey Overstreet's "Through a Screen Darkly" column at Christianity Today. - A certain hunger sets in after film critics have spent the summer chasing down all of the big-budget action movies and sophomoric comedies. This summer was no exception. We thrilled to the latest special effects (Iron Man), laughed at flashes of inspired audacity (Tropic Thunder), and threw out the trash (Space Chimps, Fly Me to the Moon, The House … [Read more...]

The Tale of Despereaux (2008)

This review of The Tale of Despereaux was originally published at Christianity Today. - Kate DiCamillo's book The Tale of Despereaux is an enchanting story about a mouse with the heart of a hero. Already considered a classic, this Newberry Award winner is a favorite of families and children's librarians everywhere. And now The Tale of Despereaux — or something vaguely resembling it — is a movie. Director Sam Fell is no stranger to rodents; he directed Dreamworks' Flushed Away. … [Read more...]

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

A review by Jeffrey Overstreet · Portraits of Suffering: Reflections on Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves a review by Jeffrey Overstreet PARENTAL NOTE:  Caution. "Dancer in the Dark" is rated PG-13, but the intensity of the violence and the suffering of the central character should have earned it an R. "Breaking the Waves" has much strong language, sexual subject matter, and violence onscreen, and is rated R.   NEITHER FILM IS SUITABLE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN. HIGH-RISK HEROINES Dancer … [Read more...]

The Departed (2006)


You might be a cop. You might be an undercover agent. You might be a crime kingpin, or a sexy psychiatrist. No matter who you are, it's like the Bob Dylan song says... "You gotta serve somebody." In The Departed, Martin Scorsese's hyper-violent remake of the Honk Kong crime classic Infernal Affairs, everybody has secrets, agendas, and a willingness to pull the trigger. And underneath their carefully composed disguises, all of them are devoted to the service of somebody-either a criminal, a … [Read more...]