Broken Flowers (2005)

Jeffrey's review of Broken Flowers was published at Christianity Today in August 2005. … [Read more...]

Crash (2005)

Crash

This review was originally published at Christianity Today in May 2005. -Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a classic children's story about a day in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong for a young disgruntled kid. Paul Haggis's first film Crash is similar, only it's about the whole city of Los Angeles having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. … [Read more...]

Millions (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today on March 11, 2005. -A particularly reliable source once said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." When he said this, he was referring to children like Damian.Damian is the young hero of Millions, and you've never encountered a hero quite like him. Unlike the Bart Simpsons and Malcolms in the middle of most family entertainment, Damian is not a … [Read more...]

Dogville (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today on March 26, 2004. -There is an unforgettable scene in Dogville. It is unconventional, risky, unsettling, and it sums up writer/director Lars von Trier's rage against human hard-heartedness. In a wordless moment, the camera, the actors, the stage and the silence offer us a sobering observation. All that comes before it has set the stage for this moment, when the movie makes its chilling revelation.Like Jesus' parable of the Good … [Read more...]

In My Country (2005)

This review of In My Country was originally published at Christianity Today in March 2005.-South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings deserve a film like Schindler's List or Hotel Rwanda—something that brings that historical drama to life in a way that helps us shoulder the burden of history and walk away wiser. In My Country tries to be that film, but falls short.The hearings, which started in 1996 and lasted two years, gave more than 20,000 witnesses a chance to tes … [Read more...]

Be Cool (2005)

This review was originally published in March 2005 at Christianity Today. - Be Cool, directed by F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job), tries to strike the cocky pose of its 1995 predecessor, Barry Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty, and other show-biz satires like The Player. But above all, it alludes to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, with its dimwitted gangsters, glamorous ne'er-do-wells, gunslinging face-offs, painful ironies, and its centerpiece John Travolta/Uma Thurman dance floor flourish.So, le … [Read more...]

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

[This review was originally published in January 2005 at Christianity Today.]-Soon after the opening credits of director Jean–François Richet's Assault on Precinct 13, a gangster resembling Morpheus from The Matrix sits down near the back of a crowded church. The morning's sermon is a simple lesson: "Cherish your power to choose the righteous path."This cynical churchgoer quickly disobeys. The church is quickly thrown into chaos. As the Detroit police close in for his capture, a se … [Read more...]

Buechner (2005)

[These comments were originally published in an installment of Film Forum column at Christianity Today in January 2005.]-Buechner ... is simply a conversation with the subject. If that's what you're looking for, you won't be disappointed.On the first day of the war in Iraq, Rob and Molly Collins sat down with one of their heroes — the writer and ordained Presbyterian minister, Frederick Buechner. The cameras rolled, and the result is a thought-provoking conversation with the writer of … [Read more...]

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

house_of_flying_daggers

[This review was originally published at Christianity Today in December 2004.] -For the second time this year, American audiences are being treated to a martial arts epic by the acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou. But where Hero was a perfect title for a movie about a courageous warrior's quest for vengeance, the title of the new film, House of Flying Daggers, is misleading. In Japan, it is more appropriately titledThe Lovers. Daggers is a more colorful choice, but The Lovers correctly … [Read more...]

Fight Club (1999)

UPDATE 2010: Looking back at my original review for Fight Club, I find my feelings haven't changed about it... except in one significant way. The conclusion of the film is much, much more disheartening. It portrays a calamity that, at the time of the film's release, seemed over-the-top and incredibly bleak. Apocalyptic, even. Well, a couple of years after the film came out, we came to know calamity just like that. And so, what was once a sort of absurd comedy is now a very real scar on the … [Read more...]


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