The Passion of the Christ – A Letter to Christians about Mel Gibson’s Film

This commentary is a follow-up to my review of The Passion of the Christ.-Most Christian press publications will lavish praise upon Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. They will celebrate the arrival of a film rich with spiritual power, rendered with riveting and even excruciating detail.Some will go so far as to declare that in this film, the Church has a fantastic "evangelical opportunity."But the fact that many Christians — many churches — are responding to the film as if i … [Read more...]

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

"There is nothing less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only be selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things." - Georgia O'Keeffe-The words “excruciating” and “crucifixion” are related. It’s easy to see why when you read the reviews of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.Violence is not a new subject for this actor-turned-storyteller, and here he zooms in on a singular theme: how Christ persevered, in love, restraint, and forgivene … [Read more...]

Superman Returns (2006) – guest reviewer Greg Wright

This is a guest review by Greg Wright•Has anyone but me noticed that only one letter prevents Superman Returns from being an anagram for Superman Reruns? Dan Brown is to blame for doing this to my mind.Before you think I’ve gone entirely off the deep end, though, consider this: The Da Vinci Code postulated that Jesus Christ was not the chaste, virginal young man we read about in The Children’s Bible. Yes, and Ron Howard’s film ratcheted up this daring expose, delivering hard, documen … [Read more...]

The Queen (2006)

Stephen Frears' new film The Queen begins just before that catastrophic car crash, seemingly provoked by pursuing paparazzi, took the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her boyfriend, the rich playboy Dodi Fayed. With an efficient and effective montage of news clips, Frears reminds us (as if we could forget) just how popular Diana had become, and why.Unlike Queen Elizabeth, who stuck to the typical rituals of her tradition, Diana was an adventurous do-gooder. She was as big as Paris … [Read more...]

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)


An much-abridged version of this review was published at Christianity Today.•In a recent British poll, U2’s song “One” was voted the greatest song of all time. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t a poll of musicians, historians, and songwriters, but of music fans. Still, the poll proves that U2’s song about longsuffering has struck resonant chords in its listeners over the last decade. The refrain, “We’ve got to carry each other…” is indeed powerful and true.The song is not included in the soundt … [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, interesting, or persuasive.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...]

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.•In 2007's Oscar-winning thriller No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem stormed across Texas as one of the most fearsome villains in film history—a big, bad wolf who could huff, puff, and blow down any house in his path. Even though it's a relief to see Bardem escape that horrible haircut and slip into some stylish shirts in Woody Allen's new "erotic comedy," Vicky Cristina Barcelona, it's tough to shake the memory of that indel … [Read more...]

WALL·E (2008) – A Review and a Conversation with Andrew Stanton


This review and interview were originally published in the online edition of Response, a magazine published by Seattle Pacific University.-Who would have believed that a mechanical trash compactor on wheels would become the most lovable big-screen personality of the year?It’s happening. The moviemaking wizards at Pixar Animation Studio are winning raves from kids and critics alike with WALL·E, thanks to the help of a little robot with a big heart. Yes, it’s business as usual for the s … [Read more...]

Star Wars, Episode Three – Revenge of the Sith (2005)


[This review was originally published at Christianity Today.] •To steal a phrase from a certain dark lord, “This will be a day long remembered.”Star Wars, Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith, the fastest Star Wars film ever built, packs in more action than its two predecessors — The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones — combined. The opening crawl begins with the word “War!” and, quicker than you can say “Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”, two things become clear: … [Read more...]

Superman Returns (2006)

No multi-bazillion-dollar Hollywood budget can match the power of a small dog on the big screen. A studio can spend a fortune on spectacular special effects, and yet a little four-legged co-star can steal the show by walking across the stage and yipping adorably. In the year’s most anticipated movie — the hugely expensive Superman Returns, the first Man of Steel movie since 1978 — the most memorable, delightful, and unexpected moment in the movie belongs to…… a Pomeranian.Something is te … [Read more...]