Hero (2002)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.-The Grand Canyon. The Northern Lights. Van Gogh's sunflowers. We've all been stricken speechless by vivid displays of color. For me, there's the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico; the shimmering metallic blue of Pacific Ocean waves at twilight; the day I discovered first-hand that ladybugs sometimes hibernate on mountaintops, clustered together in masses, blood red against white snow (hard to believe, but … [Read more...]

Collateral (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.•Why do big screen killers seem so glamorous? It's not the filmmaker's fault, necessarily. We're flawed and foolish people, drawn to power, to independence, to the illusion that we can be gods unto ourselves and keep our hands, hair, suits, and consciences clean.The villain in Collateral is as devilish a man as we've seen onscreen in a while. He's almost irresistible, always ready with a rationalization, and quick to turn a … [Read more...]

The Clearing (2004)

Jeffrey's review of The Clearing was published at Christianity Today in July 2004. … [Read more...]

Catwoman (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today. •Reviewing Catwoman, a film critic can take the easy road: find the most readily available derogatory metaphor relating to cats."It's the pick of the litter box," for starters. Or, "This kitty's just roadkill that's been left to bake in the sun too long." Too grisly? How about, "The summer's biggest hairball!" No, that was probably used in a review of Garfield—still, Garfield looks good compared to Catwoman. Critics will have a … [Read more...]

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.-If you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with anybody in the world alive today, who would you choose?Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has done even better than that. He's brought together many of his favorite pop culture figures and filmed them while they talk to each other over cups of coffee. He's been doing this for twenty years, and now moviegoers get to enjoy the results. Coffee and Cigarettes is a film for people who want … [Read more...]

Hellboy (2004)

This review of Hellboy was originally published at Christianity Today in April 2004. -Some superheroes focus on settling a score. Some learn lessons about responsibility, talent, and weakness. But for some, like Hellboy, being a superhero is just a job.For director Guillermo Del Toro, the job of bringing the comic book hero Hellboy to the screen was a labor of love—love for comics, and especially for the work of artist Mike Mignola, Hellboy's creator. Del Toro effectively recreates Mig … [Read more...]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

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[Here's my own original review, which was first published at the original Looking Closer website on January 21, 2001. I also covered the Christian media coverage of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone in Christianity Today's Film Forum.]-For the record, I'm not a big fan of the Harry Potter books — So already I'm in the minority. And many will immediately disqualify my opinion of the film because of it.But Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a film now, and needs to be fairly t … [Read more...]

Man on Fire (2004)

Jeffrey's review of Man on Fire was published at Christianity Today in April 2004. … [Read more...]

Enemy at the Gates (2001)

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[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in March 2001.]-Ready to test your imagination?Picture Jude Law as a Russian shepherd-turned-sniper. Then imagine Ed Harris as a sinister German Nazi. Yeah, Enemy at the Gates, a new film by Jean-Jacques Annaud, asks you to suspend your disbelief with all of your might. We see several familiar Hollywood stars as characters of foreign origins, in an area of the battle where the U.S. never becomes a presence … [Read more...]

Best in Show (2000)

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in 2001.]•Sometimes humans are more beastly than their pets.Christopher Guest's new "mockumentary" about dog shows, Best in Show, revels in that fact. The nine human beings that converge on Philadelphia for the Mayflower dog competition seem themselves to represent a wide variety of breeds, grooming styles, and gaits, regardless of the quality of their dog. They all want to be validated by the success of their p … [Read more...]


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