June 25, 2013

Somebody asked me why I am always harping on bad movies in terms of theme. The querier challenged me to write what I mean by theme. Is it okay if I write what Aristotle means by theme? _____________________________________________________ In The Poetics, Aristotle lists “Theme” as the third most crucial element to a dramatic story. Confusion about the nature of theme wrecks many screenplays, because it is a key element in that it serves to organize the whole telling especially of… Read more

June 20, 2013

Directed by Zack Syder; Written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan; Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner (and lots more under-utilized talents); Rated PG-13 for “destruction” and language. Man of Steel is an excruciatingly long and loud sloppy mess of a story. The big question for the Christian critics/pastors/leaders/scholars lining up to praise this thing is, “REALLY?!” So, what we’re saying is, you can have a really bad story with lots of ridiculous plot… Read more

June 4, 2013

(My business partner at Catharsis, Vicki Peterson, and I, are working on a book of salient points about visual storytelling. I spent most of today writing about character. Here’s a tease for the upcoming sure to be classic, “Little Gems”…) One of the most frequent notes that gets bandied about in Hollywood about a bad script is, “I didn’t care about the characters.” It’s really the most annoying note because it has been said so much that it doesn’t really… Read more

June 3, 2013

Longmire (A&E) Exec producer Hunt Baldwin, starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, and Katee Sackhoff I admit it. I only started watching this show last season because I was a ridiculously obsessive fan of Battlestar Galactica (2003), and particularly the Starbuck character played so memorably by Katee Sackhoff, and Katee has a supporting role here. After I started watching Longmire, I discovered that the show was being produced by a long-lost ‘Hollywood friend’ of mine, Chris Donohue, whom… Read more

May 29, 2013

I have a long piece up over on the Catholic side of Patheos. It’s about the sad state of catechesis in the Church today. Here’s a snip… “Who can name the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?” It was Pentecost, and our pastor was walking up and down the middle aisle with a goofy grin and tone that said, “Bear with me, here.” There were a few embarrassed chuckles from the congregants who hadn’t already tuned out. Father pressed on, “Come… Read more

May 5, 2013

42 – Written and Directed by Brian Helgeland; Starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford. Rated PG-13 for a few curses and probably the 82763 uses of the N-word. I can’t really say the new movie 42 is about Jackie Robinson. The movie never really gets into the heart and soul of the man. There is shot after shot of the character clenching his teeth and staring at nothing while being reviled by racists, but it’s just not enough in the… Read more

April 4, 2013

See Barb speak! I am very honored to be giving the annual Lee Lecture at the Univ of St. Thomas in Houston, TX next Wednesday evening. I will be doing the latest version of my presentation called “Breaking Out of the Christian Sub-Culture.” If you live in the area, do consider coming out. Read more

April 3, 2013

Nikki Finke is reporting that there is a new movie in the works at Dreamworks and Participant on the Boston priest sex abuse thing. Life rights have been acquired to the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight Team” of reporters and editors, including then-Globe editor Marty Baron, special projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr., Spotlight Team editor Walter “Robby” Robinson and reporters Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll. The team spent a year interviewing victims and reviewing thousands of pages of documents and… Read more

April 1, 2013

Patheos asked. So….. I am a Catholic because I have had several undeniable experiences of God usually while I was praying in front of the Eucharist. I have also had several terrifying experiences of a dark, intelligent presence that was so full of hate that it would have eaten me and all of us long ago unless Someone stronger was keeping it in check. I said this once to an atheist, but she doubted me saying, “If God loves everyone,… Read more

March 12, 2013

A protestant friend shared with me yesterday that she was riveted by this conclave. She said, “I’m not Catholic. Why do you think I care?” I think the answer is that, regardless of religious denomination, we are corporately suffering in the early 21st Century from a leaderless world. And it is scary to us because, as Our Lord noted so many times, men are like sheep in their instincts. We run around searching for guidance and someone to shelter us…. Read more

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