Category: Film Reviews/Hollywood

The Politics of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Dialogue with Chris Schaefer

An old high school friend tweeted: “It’s a Wonderful Life has be the most anti-Tea Party movie ever.” I rakishly tweeted back: “False.” Rather than attempting to hash out this disagreement within the confines of 140 characters, we resolved to...

/ December 22, 2014

Noah: A Theological-Aesthetic Rorschach Test

Last week saw the premiere of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and with it a (predictable) storm of controversy from the evangelical community. Reviews have ranged from predictably critical to outright disdain to hostile readings, and from strongly (though not unreservedly) positive...

/ April 8, 2014

Lost At Sea, in Space, in the Cloud

Two of my favorite films of recent months, Gravity and All is Lost, have more than a few things in common. Both are basically one-man or one-woman shows about individuals trying to survive in an incomprehensibly vast wilderness. Gravity finds...

/ November 7, 2013

Body Politics in the Films of Steve McQueen

With his new film 12 Years a Slave earning rave reviews and Oscar buzz, British filmmaker Steve McQueen–whose background is in fine art and experimental filmmaking–is poised to become a darling of this year’s awards season. Accolades are pouring in...

/ October 23, 2013

Romeo and Juliet (2013 film) Review

Professor Lyle Smith of Biola University once said in a class that Romeo and Juliet almost get it right. Most fans or critics fall off their respective sides of blind devotion to the story or disenchanted skepticism that such love...

/ October 11, 2013

Catching Up With Time in the “Before” and “Up” Films

A professor I admire once said — while discussing the films of Yasujiro Ozu, or maybe it was semiotics (can’t remember) — that watching the sun set can be both a thing of incredible beauty and deep sadness, often simultaneously....

/ June 1, 2013

To Malick’s “Wonder”

Terrence Malick’s latest, To the Wonder, is an apt follow-up to the enigmatic director’s 2011 classic, The Tree of Life. Both films are beautiful experiences of image and sound, deeply personal memoirs and heartfelt explorations of Christian faith. To the...

/ April 29, 2013

Jackson and Tolkien: Hollywood’s Infatuation With Angst

Matt’s piece on The Lord of the Rings a few weeks ago nicely summed up one of the major ways in which Peter Jackson’s view of the world diverges from Tolkien’s: its profoundly different moral vision. But Jackson’s storytelling sense...

/ February 14, 2013

Anna Karenina: The Uncontainable Joy of Redemption

Note 1: A version of this article was originally published in The Examined Life, the e-magazine of Wheatstone Ministries. Note 2: The novel came out in 1878. This film has been out for months. I crave dispensation from spoiler alerts. There hasn’t been...

/ January 29, 2013

The Risks of a Heart Awakened: Emotional Detachment and Les Miserables

Back in the late 1990s, I watched Saving Private Ryan in the theater. The opening sequence, with its intense depiction of the carnage of battle, captivated, disturbed, and moved me all at once. It was my understanding that this was...

/ January 18, 2013