The Bard on the Big Screen: Much Ado About “Much Ado,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and More

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Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is winning high praise at film festivals, promising moviegoers an infusion of intelligence, romance, and sophistication during summertime's typically juvenile program of explosions.Glenn Kenny, for example, writes, The entire cast, indeed, revels not just in Shakespeare's language but in the clever way this play both conforms, in its plot points, to the now-antiquated gender roles of its time but also subverts them, giving acute but not overemphatic … [Read more...]

Warm Bodies (2013)

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Well, it could be that zombie movies have finally eaten my brain, but I think this movie has an honest-to-goodness heartbeat.In most zombie movies, plot is secondary; the movie is made as an excuse for frenzied violence and gore. Whimsical, clever, and sometimes downright silly, Warm Bodies works because it is, at heart, a "Beauty and the Beast" story that is interested in finding meaningful possibilities in undead cliches, rather than indulging in standard-issue excess. It knows that less i … [Read more...]

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

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Five years ago this week, I was so excited about seeing Harrison Ford return to the role of Indiana Jones — and even more excited about seeing Karen Allen return to the role of Marion Ravenwood — that I had a great time watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.Sure, it was disappointing in some ways. But I was so glad to be in the company of Indy and Marion that I gave the film a very positive rating and hastily turned in my review to Christianity Today.Then I saw the f … [Read more...]

To The Wonder (2012): An All-Thumbs Review

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What follows is the first episode of a new review series that I'm calling All-Thumbs Video.I've been dreaming of a new venture in long-form film criticism — reviews as fiction. As a speed-writing exercise, I’ll explore conflicting thoughts and feelings about film in rough-draft scenes set in one of the last video stores on earth.This first chapter focuses on Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. I’ve seen the film three times now, and I’m still wrestling with it, arguing with myself and a vari … [Read more...]

O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

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It's been more than 12 years since O Brother, Where Art Thou? opened. But the movie is on my mind on this Good Friday in 2013.I've been giving a lot of thought to the films of the Coen Brothers lately, and revisiting many of their films, due to a surprise invitation from one of my favorite film reviewers: Matt Zoller Seitz. He's asked me to join him in exploring some intriguing questions: Are the Coen Brothers moralists? Do they believe in God? Do their films present a compelling vision of … [Read more...]

Like Someone in Love (2012)

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A call girl, a scholar, and a mechanic drive across town.Sounds like the setup for a joke, right?And it is, in a way. Like Someone in Love is a comedy. A twisted comedy, but it made me laugh. It was the laughter of recognition — "when you laugh but you feel like dying," as the song goes. It hurt to laugh for all of the sadness and folly that made this scenario possible.As far removed as this story is from my own experience, I laugh as I watch it because I know how these characters a … [Read more...]

In Defense of “Amour”

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Last week, an Anglican priest I have never met called me to discuss a movie.Not a common occurrence.But, God bless him, this brave fellow is leading discussions of 2012's Oscar-nominated films in a class held at his church. And he's stumbled onto a film that is proving more complicated than others. In fact, he's encountered some rather intense condemnation of that film from fellow Christians.The film is Michael Haneke's film Amour. … [Read more...]

Side Effects (2013)

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If a doctor asked you to be the guinea pig for an experimental drug, would you do it?What kind of side effects would make such an experiment too risky?Would you feel better if you knew that good results would advance the doctor's career? What if you learned that pharmaceutical companies were using you in a strategy to make more money?Shouldn't we hope to find drug-free solutions before turning our bodies into elaborate chemistry experiments?These are disturbing but relevant … [Read more...]

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

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When Guillermo Del Toro was announced as the director of a big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit, Tolkien fans rejoiced.Del Toro has a marvelous way of bringing to life both the childlike and the frightful, and that story needs both. Moreover, he is a master of hand-crafted cinema. Since Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series set a new standard for digital animation, now Del Toro would have a chance to set a new standard for elaborate puppetry and handmade special effects. (He made it clear … [Read more...]

Overstreet’s Favorite Films: 2012

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Here is the current list of my favorite films from 2012.Notice, I didn't say "the best films of 2012." Nobody, not even the most experienced and devoted cinephile, can claim to report that. We experience, interpret, and remember art as individuals with particular strengths, weaknesses, memories, loves, and fears. When we share what moves, inspires, challenges, discomforts, and offends us, we reveal a lot about ourselves. I share this list so you know what meant the most to me in 2012, and if … [Read more...]


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