THX 1138 (The Director’s Cut) (2004)

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Do you ever get the feeling that, to the government, you're just a number?Have you ever visited a church service, or a political rally, or a company meeting where you had the strange feeling that everybody had been brainwashed into "talking the talk" and going through the motions?Does the world sometimes feel cold and impersonal, and leave you longing for something more?If you said "yes" to any of these, it's likely that THX 1138 will draw you into its nightmare and leave you haunted … [Read more...]

Waitress (2007)

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Fans of Firefly and Serenity, don’t despair. The charismatic Nathan Fillion may have a bright big-screen future ahead of him.In Waitress, Fillion is fantastic as Dr. Pomatter, the amorous doctor who comes to the rescue when a pregnant and perturbed young beauty named Jenna, played by Keri Russell, finds herself in a nightmare marriage.But there’s a problem. Both Jenna and her good doctor are married — Jenna to a hard-hearted, self-absorbed monster called Earl (Jeremy Sisto), and Pomatter … [Read more...]

Juno (2007)

An abridged version of this review was originally published in Risen Magazine.-Knocked Up, Waitress, Bella, and the internationally celebrated "masterpiece" 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days… yes, 2007 is officially The Year of the Unexpected Pregnancy.And now, here comes Jason Reitman's Juno, a comedy about a high-school girl whose sexual experimentation has left her pregnant and confused.What's going on? Is Juno just another movie in this unlikely trend? … [Read more...]

The Golden Compass (2007)

Finished with their phenomenal Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Line Cinema needed another series, something with box-office promise. Harry Potter and the Narnia chronicles were already spoken for. So they seized the next-best thing: Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy, His Dark Materials.The first movie, The Golden Compass, is full of dazzling spectacles. Director Chris Weitz conjures awe-inspiring environments and fantastic creatures that recall Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth movies. And, … [Read more...]

The Golden Compass – Christians, Controversy, and Phillip Pullman – A Commentary

¬†And so it begins.The first review of New Line Cinema's The Golden Compass, which is based on the first book in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, has been published in The Daily Telegraph.Telegraph reviewer John Hiscock says: ... an early screening of The Golden Compass in Los Angeles reveals that the investors who put up the $90 million cost of the film can rest easy - though it lacks the impact or charm of The Chronicles of Narnia, the special effects are ex … [Read more...]

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

A while back, maybe a year or two, I saw some photographs in the newspaper that revealed a new wax likeness of Brad Pitt for the famous Madame Tussaud's museum.My how far he's come. It seems like only yesterday that a feisty actor with a roguish grin showed up in Thelma and Louise, and then earned comparisons to the young Robert Redford in A River Runs Through It. Since then, Pitt has blazed his own trail through Hollywood history and become an uber-icon. His personal choices have thrown … [Read more...]

Wings of Desire (1987)

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When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? ... Isn't what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? ... How can it be that I, who am I, wasn't before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am? - Damiel in Wings of DesireThe Criterion Collection has just polished up Wings of Desire — my favorite film — an … [Read more...]

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Y Tu Mama Tambien is being hyped as a "teen movie" for the arthouse crowd.Having seen it, I can say this without any doubt: while it is about teenagers, it is definitely not for teenagers.This is serious, and dangerous, artmaking — a story of two adolescent boys whose journey of sexual recklessness becomes a metaphor for political corruption in Mexico. The film contains some extremely explicit scenes of their lustful misbehavior. And while I think it goes too far in portraying realistic l … [Read more...]

Eastern Promises (2007)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.-In 2004, screenwriter Stephen Knight went prowling in the London underworld and found one of the year's best big-screen stories—Dirty Pretty Things. In that film, illegal immigrants accepted laborious, thankless, humiliating jobs just to scrape up enough cash to survive. For some, desperation led to dangerous deals, like selling their bodily organs to the black market. But the underworld's overlord was eventually challenged by a … [Read more...]

Zodiac (2007)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today Movies in March of 2007.-Jaws introduced us to the shark-cam. From the shark's perspective, we saw the vulnerable legs of that oblivious swimmer just before the deadly strike. Then, blood stained the water.David Fincher's new film Zodiac, based on a murder mystery that began in 1969 and continues today, opens with "the incoming mail cam." We're drawn into the offices of The San Francisco Chronicle, moving along with a letter … [Read more...]


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