Well, here I am dropping in again after going on two months. I keep thinking I’m just about to get my head above water, but … well, to mix metaphors, the light at the end of the tunnel keeps receding. I’ll get there at some point. I’m just not yet quite sure when.
What’s occupied the lion’s share of my free time for the last two months — when I haven’t been in class, at work or with family — has been the ongoing redesign effort for DecentFilms.com. This is a herculean task that I initially hoped would be completed by New Year’s, and then by the end of January, and now … well, it still seems just out of reach. I’ll keep you posted. Update: It’s live now! Check it out!
(SDG’s first law of web development: Everything takes longer than you think it will. SDG’s second law: Even when you take the first law into account, it still takes longer than you think it will.)
Here’s what I can share with you now: the hour-long “Reel Faith” Oscar Special; “Reel Faith” of all eight Best Picture nominees and a special “Reel Faith” segment with Fr. Robert Lauder discussing priests in film.
First, the hour-long “Reel Faith” Oscar Special is now airing on NET TV! David and I talk about our favorite films of 2014 and our preferences and predictions among the Academy’s nominees, and of course who we think was snubbed. You can watch NET online; here's when to watch:
Tonight (Friday, 2/13) at 8pm EST
Tomorrow (Saturday, 2/14) at 11am
Sunday, 2/15 at 5pm and 11pm
Monday, 2/16 at 10m
Tuesday, 2/17 at 9pm
Thursday, 2/19 at 8pm
Saturday, 2/21 at 12pm and 8pm
Sunday, 2/22 (Oscar night) at 8am, 12pm and 7pm
Second, David and I have done Reel Faith reviews of all eight Best Picture nominees! Here they are:
I'm not sure we get to know any characters in all of cinema quite the way we get to know Mason Evans, Jr. and his family.
Possibly the best civil-rights historical drama I’ve ever seen.
Cinematically, Birdman is sort of an anti-Boyhood, at least with respect to how they each play with time. That's not to pit them against each other; you can appreciate both, or neither.
American Sniper (DD)
I think this is a better and more interesting film than many of its fans and detractors seem to think.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (DD)
I love it that Wes Anderson makes these lovingly crafted, perfect little films that are clearly exactly the films he wants to make, for exactly the viewers they are made for. Viewers who are, alas, not me.
The Theory of Everything (SDG)
This isn’t a bad movie, but it’s a movie without one surprise. It turns a potentially interesting and provocative story into a safe, conventional one.
The Imitation Game (DD)
A step up from The Theory of Everything, if only because the material is more dramatic, and the heroes’ great technical triumph is followed by an even more important and more sobering strategic one.
J. K. Simmons let off Peter Parker easy. Here he gives Miles Teller a really hard time in a movie that might have the best climactic drum solo in any movie ever.
Finally, a special “Reel Faith” segment with Fr. Robert Lauder discussing priests in film, including this past year’s Calvary.
Deacon Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark.
With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy.
He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA, and an MA in Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Steven’s writing for the Register has been recognized three times by the Catholic Press Association awards, with two first-place wins in 2017 and 2016 and a second-place win in 2015.