True Grit and the Grace of God

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2:16 PM Comments (6)

“There is no law west of St. Louis,” a popular saying had it over a century ago, “and no God west of Fort Smith.” It is a verdict one would be not at all surprised to find confirmed in a Coen brothers film set in the time and place in question—even if by then a semblance of law had come to Fort Smith in the person of reputed “hanging judge” Isaac Parker. In fact, one could easily imagine the Coens being drawn to such a setting precisely for those qualities of lawlessness and godlessness.

In 14-year-old Mattie Ross, though, the Coens have a protagonist whose adamantine sense of purpose defies both halves of that 19th-century aphorism. Arriving in Fort Smith to identify the body of her...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews

True Grit and the Grace of God (Part 2)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2:15 PM Comments (26)

< Previous

The rivalry between the Deputy U.S. Marshall and the Texas Ranger goes beyond the exigencies of the current chase. Rooster slights La Beouf’s Civil War service under General Kirby Smith, probably for the ineffectiveness of Smith’s forces in the Trans-Mississippi against Ulysses Grant and the Union Navy. La Beouf, meanwhile, snorts at Rooster’s loyalty to Captain William Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson, Civil War guerrilla fighters most infamously associated with the Lawrence Massacre.

But Mattie is the real heroine, not least for her skill in managing her two pigheaded escorts. If she is an unusually hard person, she has had an unusually hard life. From her late father she...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews

Tron: Legacy – end of (the) line?

Friday, December 17, 2010 5:25 PM Comments (6)

I’m the right age and the right demographic to have been a Tron fan back in the day: I was going into high school that summer; I was a movie buff; and we were, for 1982, a fairly computer-savvy family. An effects-driven movie about a computer programmer sucked into cyberspace should have been right up my alley, but somehow I only saw it in bits and pieces, never the whole thing. The lightcycle sequence burned into my brain. I loved Snake, and could play it on our Commodore PET until my tail filled the entire arena with only a few spaces between my nose and my tail, at which point the program invariably crashed.

If you are a fan of the original Tron, there is this to be said for you. Tron...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews

Tron: Legacy – end of (the) line? (Part 2)

Friday, December 17, 2010 5:24 PM Comments (30)

< Previous

On paper, one might care about the plight of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges, reprising his role from the original), whose father crossed the digital frontier in the first film, and who has vanished permanently in between films, leaving his son to grow up fatherless. Now a disaffected young hacker who chooses to play anarchic pranks on his father’s company rather than lead it, Sam remembers his father’s bedtime stories about the grid, but has no idea they’re real until one day when he falls down the rabbit hole after his missing father.

For Sam’s journey to matter, he would have to connect in some meaningful way with something in grid-world. His...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews

Kung Fu Panda vs. How to Train Your Dragon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 3:52 PM Comments (19)

Dragon Warrior or Dragon Trainer?

I seem to be on a comparison kick: A while back I did a massive comparison/contrast between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and The Empire Strikes Back. Then I followed up with a comparison/contrast of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.

More recently, I found myself in a discussion weighing the relative merits of two of DreamWorks Animation’s recent features, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. How do they stack up? My exhaustive analysis is below! (If Mark Shea thought my Harry Potter/Star Wars post was super-nerdy, wait till he sees this one!)

Warning: Spoilers ahoy!

  • Overall scope: Kung Fu Panda offers a funny-animal genre spoof of every kung-fu movie and hero’s...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family entertainment, movies

UPDATE: Reel Faith: The Advent/Christmas edition!

Friday, December 03, 2010 3:51 PM Comments (15)

Reel Faith

UPDATE (December 3, 2010): A belated announcement that “Reel Faith” is back for 5 weeks only, starting last Sunday. Now airing on Sundays at 7pm, the mini-season runs through December 26.

The first episode, covering Megamind, Morning Glory and Due Date, is currently available at the Reel Faith website. Episode 2, covering Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Tangled and 127 Hours,  airs on NET this Sunday (watch online).

UPDATE (September 2, 2010): Last week’s episode of “Reel Faith,” now available at the Reel Faith website, was the last episode for the summer. Following NET’s season schedule, the show is now on hiatus. When will we return? Watch this space! I’ll keep you...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: New on Blu-ray/DVD

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 4:26 PM Comments (0)

Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 are newly available in a 4-disc Blu-ray/DVD edition. A 2-disc DVD edition is also available.

Seventy years ago, Walt Disney released Fantasia, an ambitious animated project that represented an even more ambitious idea. Rather than a static motion picture, Fantasia was originally conceived as a repertoire, a selection of presentations that over time could be augmented by new pieces while old ones were retired, like an orchestra rotating its concert lineup. It was a high-minded extension of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” shorts, and in those heady days, only a few years after the great triumph of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, anything seemed possible.

Alas,...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family entertainment, movie, reviews

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000: New on Blu-ray/DVD (Part 2)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 4:25 PM Comments (29)

< Previous

Another general weakness in the newer film is its aversion to “pure” imagery, to imagery without narrative. The original made a point of interpreting “pure music” like the opening piece, Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue,” with abstract imagery—shapes and masses of color and light. In other pieces, from the “Nutcracker Suite” to Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” with its riot of classical mythology, there’s action to follow, but not necessarily a “story” as such.

Fantasia 2000 opens with a selection from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but the abstract geometrical shapes quickly resolve into a quasi-narrative depicting colorful butterflies fleeing dark batlike pursuers. (The...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family entertainment, movie, reviews

Page 22 of 33 pages ‹ First  < 20 21 22 23 24 >  Last ›

About Steven D. Greydanus

SDG
  • Get the RSS feed
Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register and Decent Films, the online home for his film writing. He writes regularly for Christianity Today, Catholic World Report and other venues, and is a regular guest on several radio shows. Steven 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, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. He is pursuing diaconal studies in the Archdiocese of Newark. Steven and Suzanne have seven children.