Have You Ever Changed Your Mind About a Movie? (or How I Got “Dead Poets Society” Wrong)

Alissa Wilkinson, chief film critic for Christianity Today, asked me if I've ever changed my mind about a movie... and would I write about that? So I'm asking you. What's a movie you loved the first time, or hated the first time, and then experienced a total change of mind? I chose to write about Dead Poet's Society. He's how I began my response to Alissa... … [Read more...]

Up for a Celebrity Impressions Road Trip?

September has been a difficult month for me for a variety of reasons. I've felt the urge, more than once, to just get in the car and start driving. Busy days make me crave open spaces. Noise makes me crave quiet. And stress makes me want that feeling of putting distance between me and the source of stress — I love the hum of the freeway streaming beneath my tires.A road trip hasn't really been possible. So I thought I'd try the next-best thing — road movies. Did that scratch the itch? Well, y … [Read more...]

Snowpiercer (2014): A Few First-Impression Notes

Terry Gilliam's Brazil + Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen + Peter Weir's The Truman Show + Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men + John McTiernan's Die Hard.Link those cars together and, wow, what a helter-skelter train! … [Read more...]

Critics Vs. Audiences: Whom Shall We Trust?

When I shared some reviews that question the quality of a faith-based film, I received a scornful comment.  … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at When the Game Stands Tall

When the Game Stands Tall is getting a lot of attention in evangelical Christian culture. Of course it is. It's a match made in evangelical Christian movie heaven: It's about football, and it stars Jim Ca-jeezus. … [Read more...]

The Flood Hits Home Video: Give Noah a Chance

Here comes the flood. Again. … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Movie Reviewer so busy! Movie Reviewer scrambling to keep up with interesting movies this summer. Movie Reviewer not have time yet for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.But Movie Reviewer reading lots of interesting reviews from respectable critics... … [Read more...]

Five Years Later: Pixar’s Up Remains an Achievem- … SQUIRREL!

This summer is the fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of Up, and it is standing the test of time as one of Pixar's greats. If it weren't for the "dogfighting" at the end, which took things a bit too far for me (talking dogs — okay, I'll go there, but talking dogs that fly airplanes?), I'd be tempted to call it a masterpiece.Here's my original commentary on the film, which was originally published at Good Letters, the blog hosted by Image, on July 24, 2009. … [Read more...]

The 2014 Looking Closer Beauty Pageant — Contestant 3: Gloria

Ida... Ewa. Ewa... Ida. Ida and Ewa... let me introduce you to Gloria.It began when I realized how rarely I see a halfway decent female character on the big screen in 2014. Looking around, I see a lot of female supporting characters, most of them shallow and frivolous, most of them fulfilling flawed definitions of "beauty," and most of them just... well... supporting male characters. Where are the admirable leading roles for women this year? Are there any that don't expect those characters … [Read more...]

The 2014 Looking Closer Beauty Pageant — Contestant 1: Ida

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall... who's the fairest of them all?"In the famous fairy tale, that's what the vain and wicked queen asks her own reflection. Nevertheless, when it comes to the women of pop culture, that seems to be the question that American moviegoers can't stop asking. The more I watch the ways in which actresses become household names — making themselves a more popular subject than their characters — the more I see similarities between the Celebrity Factory and the lurid mat … [Read more...]