Grace Accepted; Grace Rejected—A Review of Les Misérables

Review of Les Misérables, Directed by Tom Hooper By ALEXIS NEAL After years of imprisonment and hard labor, one-time thief Jean Valjean is finally released from prison, only to discover that, for an ex-con life on the outside is harder than he expected. When the Bishop of Digne unexpectedly takes pity on him, Valjean promptly [Read More...]

This Is 40: Hollywood on Aging

Review of This Is 40, Directed by Judd Apatow By KENDRICK KUO Pete (Paul Rudd) got Debbie (Leslie Mann) pregnant, got married, and a few years later, they have two kids and they are 40 years old. Well…Debbie thinks she is 38, but later we discover she is actually 40. This Is 40 is a [Read More...]

Faith, Reason, and the Man in the Big Red Suit

Review of Miracle on 34th Street, Directed by George Seaton By ALEXIS NEAL Young Susan Walker is an intensely practical child. Her mother Doris has only ever told her the truth—her childhood has been uniformly free of such frivolous and fictitious nonsense as fairy stories, happily-ever-afters, make believe, and most importantly (for our purposes, anyway): [Read More...]

Seeking a Better Country Than Middle Earth

A Review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Directed by Peter Jackson By PAUL D. MILLER  I previouslyblogged about the surprising darkness and pessimism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. That book is often mistakenly called a children’s book, and even though there is nothing childlike about its tales of genocidal war and cynical realpolitik, [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...]

The Hopeless Innocence of Amelie

Review of Amélie, Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet By KENDRICK KUO I’ve known about Amélie (2001) for a long time, but only recently decided to sit down and watch it after a co-worker of mine said it was one of her favorite movies. This French film follows a woman named Amélie Poulain from her mother’s tragic [Read More...]

I’m Dreaming of a Selflessly Sacrificial Christmas

Review of White Christmas, Directed by Michael Curtiz By ALEXIS NEAL Once upon a time, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis were in the Army together. On Christmas Eve in 1944, Davis (an aspiring performer) saved the life of Wallace (an established Broadway star) and the rest, as they say, is history. After the war, the [Read More...]

Smug Seuss Cinema Sells Story Short

Review of The Lorax, Directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda By PAUL D. MILLER I am torn by movies like The Lorax (2012). It is a nicely-animated, moderately-fun kid’s movie with a pro-environment message. It is also horribly preachy. Why does environmentalism seem stuck in a stance of permanent sanctimony? Sneed-ville is a walled [Read More...]

The Wave of Fascism and Redemption in the Church

Review of Die Welle (The Wave), Directed by Dennis Gansel By KENDRICK KUO Is a resurgence of fascism possible? Die Welle answers yes. This German film is based on a 1967 social experiment in a Californian high school that sought to recreate a fascist society in a world history class. “Die Welle” means “The Wave” [Read More...]

Twilight: Sucking the Blood out of Sin

A Review of the Twilight franchise by Stephenie Meyer By JENNILEE MILLER I think the term typically used to describe someone like me is “Twi-Mom.” Yes: I am a mom who loves the Twilight franchise. Of course, I think the term originally referred to a mom who picked up her daughter’s glossy paperbacks with the [Read More...]


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