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)

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. But where  … [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 in the … [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...]

The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

A review by Jeffrey Overstreet · Directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern Directors of photography - Jerry Risius, Phil Cox, Tim Hetherington, William Rexer II, Anne Sundberg and John Keith Wasson Editor - Joey Grossfield Music - Paul Brill Producer - Anne Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Gretchen Wallace, Jane Wells, Ira Lechner, and Eileen Haag and Cristina Ljungberg International Film Circuit. 85 minutes. This film is not rated. ·We've seen a lot of American heroes saunter across the big screen w … [Read more...]

Distant (2004)

A review by Jeffrey Overstreet, originally published in The Other Journal, April 2005.·Writer, producer, director, director of photography - Nuri Bilge Ceylan.Editor - Eyhan Ergursel and Nuri Bilge Ceylan.Art director - Erbu Ceylan.Released by New Yorker Films.110 minutes. Unrated. In Turkish, with English subtitles.STARRING: Muzaffer Ozdemir (Mahmut), Mehmet Emin Toprak (Yusef), Zuhal Gencer Erkaya (Nazan), Nazan Kirilmis (Lover), Feridun Koc (Janitor), Fatma Ceylan (Mother) and … [Read more...]