Notes from Gareth Higgins and Scott Derrickson on the Shootings in Colorado…

Some thought-provoking reflections on the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, from the Facebook page of the honorable Gareth Higgins (mastermind of the Wild Goose Festival): When President Obama says that those in authority will do everything possible to ensure safety in the light of the Colorado cinema shootings, I hope we can have a thoughtful conversation about how policies promoted by a national myth addicted to violence cannot be divorced from how some individuals may not be able to control … [Read more...]

Give Us Somebody We Can Blast Into Pieces!

Anthony Lane on Battle: Los Angeles: … [Read more...]

Today’s Favorite: Bullies

I've just seen Ben X, which is to movies about kids and bullies what The Passion of the Christ is to movies about persecuted messiahs. I've also just seen Choking Man, about an immigrant who suffers mockery at work because he doesn't speak much English. … [Read more...]

Frank Darabont on Horror Movies and His Rejected Indy Script

Two highlights of the new MTV interview with Frank "Shawshank Redemption" Darabont, who is directing Stephen King's The Mist: MTV: You obviously are a great lover of the horror genre. What do you think of films like "Hostel" and "Saw"? Darabont: The torture-porn thing is pretty distasteful. I'm just not into it. Horror unfortunately tends to go in these cycles where it puts itself back in this ghetto. I just don't find anything amusing about people getting tortured. I wish we weren't making … [Read more...]

About “300″… A Clarification

I have been out of line in some of my statements in relation to 300. I wrote things that made it sound like I was condemning the film. And I made some people who really liked the film uncomfortable. That wasn't my intention. And I apologize for getting so worked up about it. As a critic, I should not judge films I haven't seen. That's unprofessional. Now, technically, I haven't judged it. I would, in fact, be delighted if I were to discover that the film was meaningful and … [Read more...]

Opus on “300″, and More on Why I’m Not Getting in Line

I'm responding yet again about the movie 300 for this simple reason: I have been baited, again and again, into extremely violent or explicit films that proved to be empty... and worse, even abusive to audiences. I have been told, "You have got to see it!", and I've been promised that all of the graphic material was justified because of what it meant. "It's about fighting for freedom! It's about fighting for a higher cause!" Most of the time, I've regretted it. While a character or two might … [Read more...]

“Apocalypto”: A Catholic Masterpiece?

Apocalypto is dividing up my friends, colleagues, and my favorite critics more than any movie I can remember since... well... The Passion of the Christ. … [Read more...]

Reactions to “Apocalypto”

UPDATED: Some friends of mine over at ArtsandFaith.com have just seen Apocalypto, yet another film I couldn't see due to ice and snow this week. Here are a few things they've said: Wow. This is the most violent movie I've ever seen. People die in some extremely graphic, horrific, unimaginably nasty ways. If you thought The Passion was brutal, well, some of the killings here are even more explicit than the scourging at the pillar sequence. ... Visually, it's admirably detailed and there are … [Read more...]

Hostel takeover: "Horror pornography" tops the box office, defeats Aslan

(Thanks to Peter T. Chattaway for noting this so quickly.) A movie that gives audiences the opportunity to watch human beings tortured, decapitated, having their throats cut, their heads smashed in, parts of their body chopped up and thrown in a furnace, shot point blank, their eyes dangling from their sockets and eventually cut (to relieve the pain), poked full of holes with a drill, having digits snipped off, throwing themselves in front of trains, having their chest cavities opened for … [Read more...]

Specials: Wong at Cannes. Vote against Pedro. Chattaway’s Top 10. "New World" cut. "Pan’s Labyrinth." "Horror porn." "Scanner Darkly." "Fateless."

Wednesday's specals: President of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury... Wong Kar-wai! Fantastic. This should make for some very interesting choices. Can't wait to see who else is on the jury. (Thanks, Opus, for the link.) No more Pedro the Lion. Please welcome... David Bazan! It was bound to happen. Bazan's dropped the band name, officially declared himself a solo artist. Peter Chattaway and Roy Anker post contrary top ten lists at Books and Culture I like titles on both lists. I … [Read more...]