Category: Film Reviews/Hollywood

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

Is Depiction Endorsement? Filmmaker Responsibility in “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Django Unchained”

Of all the 2012 films nominated for best picture Oscars this year, two have gained press as much for their controversial content as for their awards-caliber quality. Those two films are Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Quentin Tarantino’s Django...

/ January 16, 2013

“Les Miserables”: Failed Musical, Successful Book

(All quotes are taken, out of context, from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.) Tom Hooper’s Les Mis (I will not confuse the adaptation with Hugo’s masterpiece) was UK-released the 11th of January. This film is a bold experiment. What else it...

/ January 15, 2013

In Defense of “Les Miserables”

Tom Hooper’s film version of Les Miserables has received much praise in recent weeks, including multiple Oscar nominations. It topped the list of the “most redeeming films of 2012” (a nebulous distinction, to be sure) that my film critic colleagues...

/ January 10, 2013

Don’t Waste your Blackjack: Holy Rollers and Christian Gamblers

What Ben Mezrich did for card counters in Bringing down the House, Bryan Storkel aims to do for The Church Team, a now defunct group of Christians who made a hefty sum playing blackjack. “What’s that, you say?  Christian gamblers?”...

/ March 14, 2012