Big Letdown

Can you guess what my favorite film critic, Steven Greydanus, is writing about here? Too much feels haphazard. Stuff happens, and later other stuff happens, and in between there’s a lot of moody standing around and angst and stuff. There’s very little action or spectacle — a couple of chase scenes, a couple of showdowns, and not much more. What’s more, where the first chase involves seven parallel chases, the story only follows [its central character] — which means that [a] major supporting char … [Read more...]

Coming Soon From the Maker of Children of Men

[UPDATE: Apparently the "scoop" that I shared below may not be such a scoop after all. Here's the latest.]Ever since Alfonso Cuarón directed A Little Princess, I've been excited about his work. Since then, he's given us Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite of the series), and Children of Men... all impressive in certain ways. I can't wait to see what he does next.So today's news at /FILM is intriguing... … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins Wants Your Kids to Stop Reading Harry Potter?

If you want to save your children, take away their fantasy books! … [Read more...]

Monster, Wretches, "Bad People" … and Me.

Guillermo Del Toro, the new king of monster movies, is about to unleash Hellboy 2.But according to, his mind is already busy with visions of what might be his his next big project. No, it's not The Hobbit, and no, it's not that Tarzan project he was talking about a while back.Here's a hint: For Kenneth Branagh, it was a big mistake.Can you guess?Personally, I've had this particular monster on the brain lately... … [Read more...]

Rowling: I was judged in FAO Schwarz

Here's a new TIME Magazine interview with J.K. Rowling. … [Read more...]

Specials: Harry Potter; Mother Teresa; Wilson on Atheism Books; Cummings on Satyajit Ray

I'm a week late to this blog entry, but wow... Andy Whitman writes about music better than just about anybody I know. And now he's posted a home-run entry about Harry Potter.-Yesterday I posted news about the new book on Mother Teresa. Here's more on Mother Teresa's dark night of the soul, from Amy Wellborn.-Here's a list you haven't seen before: John Wilson, the voracious reader who edits Books and Culture, rates his top five books on atheism. Know before you … [Read more...]

A Reader Comments on Focus on the Family’s Rejection of Harry Potter

I received this note from a reader in response to something I mentioned in my review of Stardust:After following the Focus on the Family link about Harry Potter in the Looking Closer review of Stardust, I went to Focus's homepage, and the first story was Dr. Dobson talking about the dearth of examples of sacrificial heroes in today's culture. Sometimes I like irony, sometimes it just makes me sad. I have nothing to add to that.Oh, by the way, I've written a review of the latest Harry … [Read more...]

To Damn Harry Potter or Praise Him?

WARNING: SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED IN SOME OF THESE LINKS! Here's Christianity Today's Ted Olsen on the wide range of evangelical-Christian reactions to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Meanwhile, most of the Catholic blog-coverage has treated the arrival of The Deathly Hallows as a a reason to celebrate. Mark Shea has catalogued many posts on the subject, and in our occasional conversations over lunch he enthuses about the books with gusto. Here's Amy Wellborn's post, with an array of readers' … [Read more...]

Burning Harry at the Stake

More Christians line up to condemn Harry Potter as the devil's business... at Christian Today (not to be confused with Christianity Today.) While they're at it, why not blacklist Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the tales of King Arthur, and Beauty and the Beast as well? Those stories are full of spells and unsettling magic. What would their response be to this news? Whether using dragons, firefish or sword-wielding soccer moms, writers in the emerging category of … [Read more...]

“Harry Potter’s Story is God’s Plan and Our Hope.”

Two reviews by mainstream film reviewers have been published: Kenneth Turan and A.O. Scott.Meanwhile, the rest of the reviewers seem to be following the rules that they agreed to follow before they were given the privilege of an advance screening.(It bugs me that I have to respect the studio's instructions about when to publish my review, or face the consequences, while the big shots just publish whenever they please, and they don't even get a slap on the wrist. This embargo system do … [Read more...]