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...]

The Terminal (2004)

[This review was originally published at Christianity Today.]Near the end of Steven Spielberg's new film The Terminal — an ambitious, whimsical and sentimental movie similar in tone and gloss to 2001's Catch Me If You Can — one of the characters proves to be quite a juggler. It's a delightful moment, primarily because we know we aren't watching a special effect. Kumar Pallana's really juggling those hoops and spinning those plates!Likewise, Spielberg's film is a juggling act that keeps th … [Read more...]

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008) – A Guest Review by Greg Wright

Greg Wright, who edits Hollywood Jesus and runs Past the Popcorn, impressed me with his thoughtful examination of the new documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed when we participated in a roundtable discussion at The Kindlings Muse a week ago. (That discussion will be available via podcast soon.)So I was delighted to see that Wright had published a full review of the film at Past the Popcorn, and I quickly asked him if he would be willing to share the review here.So here is Greg … [Read more...]

Longford (2006)

This capsule review was originally published in the Winter 2008 installment of Connections, an email newsletter for Seattle Pacific University alumni.-Presented on HBO in 2006, Tom Hooper’s film Longford offers one of the most inspiring and moving portrayals of a Christian in recent memory.A frequent and compassionate minister to prisoners, the Seventh Earl of Longford — Frank Pakenham, or “Lord Longford” — made headlines and stirred up scandal in the 1960s as he developed a friendshi … [Read more...]

Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)

An abridged version of this review was published today at Christianity Today Movies.-How is childhood like a red balloon?Watching Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s new film Flight of the Red Balloon, there are many possible answers to that question. … [Read more...]

Jindabyne (2007)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today Movies.-Fishermen have a tendency to return from fishing trips with tales of "the big one that got away." But not Stewart Kane. No, he's come back from a weekend fishing trip with a very different story. And he'd rather keep it to himself than discuss it with his wife.In Ray Lawrence's new film Jindabyne, Stewart (Gabriel Byrne) and his buddies, Carl (John Howard), Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis), and Billy (Simon Stone), venture out … [Read more...]

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007)

This is a revised version of a capsule review that first appeared in a recap of favorite 2008 films, published at Image:•In 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu tells a terrifying tale of two university students, Otilia and Gabriela, whose mistakes lead to excruciating consequences.Gabriela (Laura Vasiliu) seeks an abortion, which is illegal in her part of the world. This is Romania, and it's 1987. She can't just purchase whatever she pleases. If she wants … [Read more...]