The Railway Man
Many of us take forgiveness for granted, accepting and offering it without much thought. But what if we faced a truly horrifying wound? Could we then forgive?The film ends up confronting our own lust for vengeance as we identify with this character.
Heaven is for Real
Heaven Is for Real is the fourth Bible-based/faith-based film this year to reach blockbuster status (the previous three were Son of God, Noah, and God’s Not Dead). The success of these films indicates that there is a huge evangelical Christian audience out there looking for films that will support their faith, promoting a belief in Jesus, God, or heaven. Of the four films, only Noah was not endorsed by evangelical leaders, but its high-profile actors, awesome special effects, and violent action scenes ensured a large mainstream audience.Todd’s crisis of faith is the film’s biggest strength, and Kinnear, who is perfectly […]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Writer’s note: When Michelle Sinclair went on maternity leave we temporarily lost our blockbuster/sci fi/superhero stalwart. Michelle used to have the slot the week before me and my hunch is that she would have written about Captain America: Winter Soldier last week. So I’m channeling my inner Michelle this week on the latest Marvel Comic movie, and latest in the Avengers series.Walt Disney Company’s movie strategy these days is to scoop up well-known brands and release a movie from one of these entities every quarter. The company paid $4 billion for Lucasfilm, another $4 billion for the Marvel Cinematic Universe […]
As more and more films come out based on the “true stories” of people, we encounter the disconnect between appearance and reality and search for a nugget of truth we can take away.Watch such movies with the understanding that they cannot tell the whole story… and learn more of that story.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Despite limiting himself to a unique genre of quirky, intelligent, and surreal comedy dramas, Wes Anderson has become one of the best filmmakers of the 21st century. The Grand Budapest Hotel may be his greatest film yet and is by far my favorite film of 2014 thus far (though it’s early).“There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.”
The Wind Rises
Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter whose career has spanned six decades. He is best known here for his films Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away (which I consider a masterpiece).A clear theme of the film is the tension between an artist who wants to make something beautiful and those who use his talent to make machines used in war.
Son of God
A year ago, the History Channel featured a 10-hour miniseries called The Bible. The brainchild of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, The Bible was so successful that the episodes about Jesus have been adapted for a feature-length film, which was released on February 28. As predicted, Son of God, with its built-in Christian audience, has done very well at the box office, though it remains to be seen how fast it will fade. The major film critics were not impressed with the film (i.e., they panned it), and the response from the average viewer has also been on the negative […]
The Monuments Men
When we think of the destruction wreaked by war, we usually think of the human lives lost, the loss of infrastructure, such as buildings, roads, and rail lines, maybe even the environmental cost. But we don’t often consider the destruction of art or historical artifacts.The film is worth seeing, beyond its enjoyment, for the information it provides and the questions it raises. Too few of us know about this fascinating chapter in the war.
The Lego Movie
I have noted with grave concern that for many years now Lego has steadily increased its production of violent toys, so the idea of sitting through a 100-minute commercial for Lego toys was not remotely appealing. But based on the current popularity of animated films and the rave reviews I was reading, it seemed clear to me that The Lego Movie was destined to be one of the highest grossing films of 2014, so I joined a sold-out throng of eight-year-olds on opening night.What do you call a film that beautifully challenges the myth of redemptive violence so prevalent in […]
Director Alexander Payne’s movies haven’t always resonated with me. Though Payne has a penchant for finding the humor in selfish and complex characters, he doesn’t usually elevate them into sympathetic ones.Witty dialogue, a melancholy ambience, and eccentric people that struggle to communicate effectively—the characters in Nebraska are more emotionally realized than in director Alexander Payne’s previous films.