My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki  My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is a quiet, calm, beautiful film. There is no dialogue for very long stretches of story while characters explore, watch, and discover—akin to the opening sequence of WALL-e. There is no sass talk, there are no quick cuts, no pop-culture references, and no special effects.  [Read More...]

The General: A Train Full of Laughs

Review of The General, Directed by Buster Keaton In our effort to blog our way through the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films, I picked out one of the few movies on the list I had not only not seen, but never even heard of:  The General (1927).  For some reason I expected a somber [Read More...]

Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca!

Review of Casablanca, Directed by Michael Curtiz It’s December of 1941 in sunny, depressing Casablanca, where refugees flock in an attempt to flee the ravages of Nazi-infested Europe. They flock to Vichy-controlled Casablanca, and there they stay—unless Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) cares to bestow upon them the coveted exit visas that will allow them [Read More...]

The Raiders of the Lost Ark Discover That “Our God is a Consuming Fire”

Review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Directed by Steven Spielberg When I was growing up, I read a lot of The Hardy Boys and The Sugar Creek Gang series, adventure stories in which boys solve mysteries, chase bad guys, rescue strangers, discover mysterious caves, explore abandoned mansions, recover exotic artifacts from far off lands, [Read More...]

May the Force Be With You

Review of Star Wars, Directed by George Lucas  If you ask a cinephile what his favorite decade was, chances are he will pick the 1970s.  That decade was full of movies that movie lovers love to love–really dark, gritty, tragic, violent movies like A Clockwork Orange (1971), Mean Streets (1793), Taxi Driver (1976), The Godfather, [Read More...]

Howl’s Moving Castle

Review of Howl’s Moving Castle, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki Rating: 8/10 Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of a young woman named Sophie, who owns a hat store in a European-looking town. War is coming to the kingdom. It so happens that Sophie meets Howl, a wizard, and the Witch of the Waste is immediately [Read More...]

Robin Williams, Biblical Counselor: Good Will Hunting

Review of Good Will Hunting, Directed by Gus Van Sant By PAUL D. MILLER Will Hunting is preternaturally brilliant, but has a troubled soul. His friends–Chucky, Morgan, and Billy, from Boston’s rough South Side–work menial jobs and pass the time drinking and cursing. Will, while working as a janitor at MIT, stumbles across an impossible [Read More...]

Gonna Fly Now; Or, the American (Non)Gospel

Review of Rocky, Directed by John D. Avildsen By ALEXIS NEAL I feel a little silly describing the plot of Rocky (1976). Still, I know there may be a few young whippersnappers out there who never sat around on Saturday afternoons watching old action movies on TNT and who thus don’t know who this Sylvester [Read More...]

Django Discusses Race

Review of Django Unchained, Directed by Quentin Tarantino By KENDRICK KUO Django Unchained is everything you would expect from a Tarantino film. Much in the same vein as Inglorious Basterds, this story is a historical one. Instead of Nazi Germany, it is set in the antebellum South. If you liked Inglorious Basterds, I would reckon [Read More...]

Lord of the Rings: A Timeless Trilogy

Review of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Directed by Peter Jackson By PAUL D. MILLER It is hard to remember how firmly entrenched the conventional wisdom was that The Lord of the Rings was unfilmable. A disastrous animated attempt in 1978, stuffed full of 70’s cheese, covered just half the story. The film only [Read More...]


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