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...]

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 the se … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

The Reaping (2007)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.•In the book of Exodus, we read about how Moses confronted Pharaoh, who was persecuting the Israelite slaves, and demanded, "Let my people go!" But Pharaoh stubbornly refused, even as the wrath of God brought ten plagues to ravage his land.There are also ten plagues in The Reaping, Warner Brothers' new horror thriller. But you don't have to suffer through all of them, or wait for a deliverer. You are not a slave to Ho … [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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