The Hunt for bin Laden May Be Over, but…

05/02/2011 Comments (11)

... let’s not forget: Hop is still in theaters, and will soon be coming to DVD.

It’s like the terrorists have already won.

For a second opinion, see my “Reel Faith” co-host David DiCerto’s 30-second review of Hop:

Full review.

Filed under 30-second reviews, family films, hop, movie reviews, reel faith

Me in My Union Suit!

04/29/2011 Comments (8)

Okay, technically that’s misleading since it isn’t really my Union suit: I rented this Yankee soldier uniform from the helpful folks at the Party Stop & Costume Corner in Westfield, NJ for this 30-second review of the Civil War-era film The Conspirator. I really dug the film, and I had a lot of fun doing this review. Enjoy!

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

“They slaughtered hundreds of people!”

04/15/2011 Comments (24)

He slaughtered at least five of them.

I’ve gotten a number of queries about the fevered discussion about Opus Dei’s murderous history and sinister influence in the Church related by filmmaker Roland Joffé in the press conference I reported on a couple of weeks ago.

Exactly how did the conversation go? For your shock and amusement, here’s the full exchange as Joffé related it. The discussion begins with Joffé mentioning that he’s making a film about Opus Dei.

Friend: Oh my God, that’s a Fascist organization! I mean, they slaughtered hundreds of people!

Joffé: They have? Really? How do you know that?

F: Well, even if they haven’t, they’re extremely influential in the Church. I mean, they basically control the Church.


Filed under movies, opus dei, there be dragons

Let's Avoid the Hop (oh baby)

04/12/2011 Comments (1)

The mere existence of a movie like Hop is depressing enough. That family audiences have embraced it, even amid a paucity of alternatives, is far worse. “An act of aggression against childhood” is how one critic aptly described this movie. If so, family audiences are tragically codependent. Hop is the kind of movie that makes helpless critics wish we could stage an intervention. Parents! It doesn’t have to come to this!

Hop appears to have been conceived in the minds of studio executives contemplating The Santa Clause and its dismal ilk and concluding that if it worked for Christmas, it will work for Easter too. As...READ MORE

Filed under easter bunny, family films, movies, reviews

Let's Avoid the Hop (oh baby) Part 2

04/12/2011 Comments (53)

< Part 1

Marsden, who plays Fred, is 37 years old. When George Bailey was 37 years old, he was a husband and father of four, president of his own company and had a whole neighborhood named after him where he had helped family after family realize the American dream. Hop doesn’t seem to realize what a complete and utter loser its protagonist is. It wants us to believe that Fred is special, that he has remarkable untapped potential—that in some way he is Easter Bunny material.

Fred shows no sign of any particular affinity for Easter—how could he? There’s nothing to care about, except candy. At least with The Santa Clause Christmas had some residual emotional significance for a number of...READ MORE

Filed under easter bunny, family films, movies, reviews

How Catholic Is Of Gods and Men? Part 5

04/08/2011 Comments (9)

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

Finally, in addition to the spontaneous words and actions of the monks (part 4), the rich and frequent scenes of prayers, hymns and liturgy, an integral part of the fabric of the film, contributes enormously to the depiction of the monks’ Catholic milieu, their beliefs and spirituality.

We’ve already seen the immense significance accorded to Christmas in a crucial early sequence, with its Christmas hymn recounting how “God has prepared the earth like a cradle / For his coming from above” as “the Child of life divine,” “taking flesh of our flesh,” etc. Later in that sequence, we see the monks tenderly place a manger holding the Christ child in...READ MORE

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

How Catholic Is Of Gods and Men? Part 4

04/06/2011 Comments (6)

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

After three posts exploring the Catholic content of Of Gods and Men, I thought I was finished, but combox responses persuaded me to add two more posts.

One comment expressed concerns about edits being made to eliminate references to Jesus Christ. Another expressed doubts regarding the extent to which the monks’ conversations, including their debates about whether or not to remain in Algeria, made reference to Jesus, God or spiritual considerations. Other readers have written to me with related questions and misgivings, though to be fair I’ve also heard from many deeply appreciative viewers of the film.

To an extent some of these questions are...READ MORE

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

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

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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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, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.