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 … [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 … [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...]

No Country for Old Men (2007) – Guest Reviewer Kenneth R. Morefield

Campbell University's Kenneth R. Morefield has just seen one of the films I'm most eager to see this autumn. Here's his review. (Thanks, Ken!) - There is a polished, poetic plainness to some of Cormac McCarthy’s prose in which his admirers might hear echoes of Flannery O’Connor but which usually leaves me exasperated. At its best, the prose can take on the quality of found poetry, intimating at deep truths that inform surface reality and invigorating tired clichés by reminding us of … [Read more...]

Yi-Yi (A One and a Two) (2000)

yi yi

2007 Update: In honor of the recently departed Edward Yang, let me nudge you toward picking up Criterion's glorious edition of the late filmmaker's masterful film Yi-Yi (A One and a Two). Here's a look back at my original response to the film from 2000. I was effusive in my praise then, and were I to rewrite this review, I'd be even more enthusiastic. … [Read more...]

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

This review was originally published on May 24, 2007, at Christianity Today Movies. - Would you book passage on a doomed ship if you knew Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and Orlando Bloom would be along for the ride? Millions of moviegoers will say "yes" and climb aboard for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the conclusion of Disney's pirate trilogy. Some will even go in hats, dreadlocks, and heavy eyeliner, cheering for their favorite scallywags. And they'll reward director Gore … [Read more...]

Knocked Up (2007) – Two Guest Reviews

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Memento (2001)

2013 Update: I haven't seen Memento in many years, but I feel that I have seen enough Christopher Nolan movies to last a lifetime. It saddens me that Nolan seems stuck on telling stories about men who, trapped in desperate circumstances, can find hope only in violent resistance. He knows that to fight is to get your hands dirty, but he seems to see no other meaningful way to live. I've grown tired of that vision. But I suspect that I will admire Memento more than ever next time I see it, because … [Read more...]

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Be warned: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is very faithful to the book. That is to say, it chronicles on the big screen in vivid color the adventures of two individuals pumped full of drugs as they journey through Las Vegas and abuse tourists, residents, waitresses, each other, and themselves. They get high, they get higher, they get even higher, they get sick, they yell and break things, they vomit, and then they do it all again. In other words, this may not be the movie for you. But … [Read more...]

Oldboy (2005)

Park Chanwook, the Korean director currently winning fans with his hyperviolent stories of revenge, has clearly absorbed the techniques of great kung-fu filmmakers, Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, and other contemporary stylists like David Fincher. He knows how to dazzle you with visions of supreme “coolness.” He knows how to shock you. He knows how to make you squirm, and how to send the squeamish — and even many of the ironclad — running for the exits. So, does the hype … [Read more...]


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