The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

count-of-monte-cristo-1

[This review was first published at the original Looking Closer website in 2002.] -Director Kevin Reynolds, responsible for the bloated Waterworld and the misguided Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, has chosen a strong cast and a solid script for his adaptation of Alexander Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The result is not a great film, by any means, but it reveals that Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line, Frequency) can be a compelling big screen hero and Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential) … [Read more...]

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

This review was originally published at Christianity Today in December 2004.-You won't find the word father on the résumé of Steve Zissou.That's because Zissou, an inventive seafaring documentarian, has been too caught up in his own self-perpetuating mythology to settle down and raise a family. But every dream has its price, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, director Wes Anderson's latest melancho-medy, is the story of a visionary who must reckon with the temporality, and the c … [Read more...]

The Incredibles (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today in November 2004. -Kids are going to love The Incredibles, and it's possible their parents will love it even more. I'm betting a lot of dads and moms get action figures of Mr. Incredible and his wife Elastigirl in their stockings this year, and they'll be proud to display them at home or at work. While The Incredibles looks like a movie for the kid in all of us, the storytelling of writer-director Brad Bird is aimed straight at the c … [Read more...]

The Polar Express (2004)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.-It the beginning of a Seattle screening of The Polar Express, when the locomotive of the title arrived in cacophonous glory, it frightened a girl—probably four years old—near the front of the theatre. She launched from her seat and fled up the aisle, her flustered mother following along. That dazzling train must have been quite a shock for the little tyke, who was probably accustomed to watching cartoons on the family tele … [Read more...]

I ♥ Huckabees (2004)

This review was originally published at ChristianityTodayMovies.com.-I ♥ Huckabees is "all about what it's all about." At least, that's what the studio's summary of David O. Russell's fourth film boasts. If that means that the movie asks, "What's it all about?"… they're correct. We haven't seen a movie so intent on uncovering the meaning of life since Richard Linklater's Waking Life. But anybody who claims Huckabees delivers a satisfactory definition of life's meaning is sorely mis … [Read more...]

What the #$*! Do We Know? (2004)

This is a guest review generously contributed by Mike Hertenstein.-What the #$*! Do We Know? aims to blow your mind: a worthy goal, and one that should surely be in some way the goal of any film: to expand our vision, our sense of the world, our possibilities – as C. S. Lewis says, to help us see with other eyes and so “enlarge our being.” The jumping-off place here is the admittedly mind-blowing world of cutting-edge science: mostly subatomic physics and biochemistry at the mind-body fro … [Read more...]

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...]


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