The Jesuses That Pat Forgot!

04/04/2011 Comments (16)

My esteemed colleague Pat Archbold’s lively and engaging post on big-screen Jesuses has obliged me to add a few notes of my own (with apologies for the post title joke—I don’t really think Pat “forgot” anything, since his list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive in the first place, and certainly mine isn’t either).

Judging from Pat’s combox, the best big-screen Jesus for a lot of people is either Robert Powell of Jesus of Nazareth or Jim Caviezel of The Passion of the Christ. I think there’s a lot to be said for both, although obviously no actor could truly do Jesus justice, and both performances have weak spots in my opinion.

Powell aptly conveys authority, fire and tenderness, but there are...READ MORE

Filed under jesus, jesus films, movies

Winter's Bone – in 30 Seconds!

04/01/2011 Comments (1)

Paying tribute to Winter’s Bone in a 30-second rhyming review presented some challenges. I decided to riff on one of the bluegrass songs in the film, although without instruments (and with only 30 seconds to get it out) I had to make some adjustments to the rhythm and melody.

The last two lines were a last-minute change that I’m somewhat ambivalent about. “We’ll understand it better by and by” refers to the title of the gospel hymn by Rev. Charles A. Tindley played over the end credits. I like the allusion to the hymn, but I’m not sure I should have changed the last two lines, which originally ran, “It’s not for the faint of heart / But there’s grace and beauty in this work of art.”...READ MORE

Filed under 30-second reviews, movies, reel faith, reviews, winter's bone

The Riddle of Inception

03/30/2011 Comments (21)

Considering that Inception has been on DVD for months now, I’m a little surprised that my “Inception in 30 seconds” video generated the brief but lively discussion it did, but I guess that’s partly a tribute to the staying power of the film and the questions it raises.

One reader asked what I meant by citing “a riddle in the final scene that no one has yet explained to my satisfaction.” I’ve read lots of interpretations of the film and the meaning of the final scene, but none of them explains all the data in a way that satisfies me. I don’t insist on a definitive or final answer—it’s okay with me that the movie should be ambiguous—but at least I’d like a possible explanation that actually...READ MORE

Filed under inception, movies

Inception—in 30 Seconds!

03/28/2011 Comments (19)

Back from a week in Spain! More to come this week on Of Gods and Men, once I catch my breath—and catch up on a few other things—but for now here’s my 30-second look at Inception. Enjoy!

Filed under 30-second reviews, inception, movies, reel faith, reviews

How Catholic Is Of Gods and Men? Part 3

03/23/2011 Comments (10)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

 
Of Gods and Men concludes, very nearly, with excerpts from the real Dom Christian’s spiritual testament, a meditation in which the abbot of Tibhirine reflects on the possibility of his eventual murder. Here, in part, is how it is quoted in the film:

I could never desire such a death. I could never feel gladdened that these people I love be accused randomly of my murder. I know the contempt felt for people here indiscriminately. And I know how Islam is distorted by certain Islamism. This country, and Islam, for me are something different. They’re a body and a soul. My death, of course, will quickly vindicate those who called me naive or...READ MORE

Filed under islam, monastic life, movies, of gods and men

How Catholic Is Of Gods and Men? Part 2

03/22/2011 Comments (19)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

 
Does Of Gods and Men portray the Tibhirine monks evangelizing their Muslim neighbors? Not directly, certainly. Trappist monks generally don’t engage in direct evangelization. It’s true, as noted by my correspondent (see Part 1), that a positive depiction of evangelization would be strikingly countercultural, but we mustn’t substitute ideas for a film we would like to see for criticism of an actual film. What a film might have done may provide an interesting point of comparison or contrast, but in the end a film stands or falls what it does, not what it might have done.

If a film is based on a true story (or even a fictional story) that we care...READ MORE

Filed under islam, monastic life, movies, of gods and men

Abortion Center Firebombing!

Outrage in Kalispell, Montana!

03/19/2011 Comments (50)

Incendiary device remains (Photo: Thomas More Society)

Call the national media! A firebombing attack just took place an abortion center in Kalispell, Montana! Tea Party violence strikes again! Call the Department of Homeland Security! These Christian Taliban extremists must be stopped!

Oh wait.

Yes, it seems a homemade incendiary device was thrown in the general vicinity of the All Family Health Care abortion center in Kalispell, Montana on Thursday night, March 17. That is, it was thrown at a pro-life demonstration on a public sidewalk. Specifically, at an elderly woman participating in a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil.

According to the Thomas More Society, the pro-life law center representing 40 Days for Life:

Karen Trierweiler,...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, domestic terrorism, pro-life

How Catholic is Of Gods and Men?

03/18/2011 Comments (21)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

 
This weekend, Of Gods and Men — based on the true story of the martyred Trappist monks of the Tibhirine monastery in Algeria — gets its widest distribution yet, opening on 36 new screens in California, Connecticut, Colorado, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Is it playing anywhere near you? Check playdates!

I’m about as excited about this film as I get about film, which is a lot (see my review and even my 30-second review). I understand why some viewers might have questions, though. In the combox for my review, a reader asks:

I heard that some traditionalist critics do not like the...READ MORE

Filed under islam, monastic life, movies, of gods and men, religious movies

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About Steven D. Greydanus

SDG
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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.