Why I'm glad The King's Speech won…

…even though I liked True Grit better.

02/28/2011 Comments (9)

Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

Last night at the Academy Awards, my favorite film of 2010, True Grit, went 0 for 10, winning none of the impressive lineup of nominations it had garnered including best picture, director, actor, supporting actress and adapted screenplay. (Read full Oscar coverage.)

Ace cinematographer Roger Deakins, nominated eight times before without winning, lost a ninth nomination, this time to Wally Pfister for Inception. And for my money 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld deserved the supporting actress award for her uncanny poise and self-assurance and her ability to hold the screen against Jeff Bridge and Matt Damon—all while effortlessly wrapping her mouth around the screenplay’s archaic language. (By...READ MORE

Filed under 2011 academy awards, academy awards, movies, oscars, the king's speech

Spiritual themes at the Oscars?

02/25/2011 Comments (17)

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech

The Academy Awards are upon us, and the two top contenders for major awards—The King’s Speech and True Grit—are both excellent films with significant moral and/or spiritual overtones. In fact, Lisa Respers France at CNN.com’s Religion Blog suggests that many of this year’s Oscar nominees have “deeply spiritual overtones.”

As an aside, last year’s most profoundly and transcendently religious film—conspicuously not nominated by the Academy, though it’s won lots of other awards, including the jury prize at Cannes—makes its American debut this weekend in New York and Los Angeles: Of Gods and Men. If you live anywhere in the New York or Los Angeles area, go see it. This weekend. I’m not...READ MORE

Filed under academy awards, movies

Best Films of 2010: More Lists

02/25/2011 Comments (3)

My 2010 year-end piece and top 10/20 films has been up for a few weeks, and with the Academy Awards upon us we’re almost ready to be finished with the movie year 2010. Before turning the page entirely, though, I’d like to draw attention to a few more year-end lists worth noting.

Earlier this month, Christianity Today Movies & TV released its two annual top 10 lists, the Most Redeeming Films and Critics’ Choice Awards, both of which I vote in.

From the top, the 2010 CT Movies & TV Critics’ Choice winners are:

  1. The King’s Speech
  2. The Social Network
  3. True Grit
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. Inception
  6. The Fighter
  7. Winter’s Bone
  8. Get Low
  9. 127 Hours
  10. Tangled

Seven of...READ MORE

Filed under movies, top film lists

The 2011 Arts & Faith Top 100 Films!

02/18/2011 Comments (31)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1927)

As a longtime member of the Arts & Faith community, I’m pleased to report that this week Arts & Faith and Image Journal released the 2011 edition of the Arts & Faith Top 100 Films list—possibly the best edition of the list to date, and in many ways an improvement on last year’s list.

For some background on the Arts & Faith Top 100 as well as Arts & Faith and Image Journal—along with some perspective on why I think this year’s list may be the best—please see my essay “Reading the Eternities: The 2011 Arts & Faith Top 100,” the official introduction to this year’s list. (Some trends I’m pleased to see include more Golden Age Hollywood titles (and more English titles generally; last year’s...READ MORE

Filed under arts & faith, movies, top film lists

30-second movie reviews—in verse!

02/08/2011 Comments (12)

Reel Faith

Here’s something I had fun doing: 30-second movie review videos—some in rhyming verse, some not!

The five spots below were created for my cable TV show “Reel Faith,” which I co-host with David DiCerto. Our next full season is this summer, but the show’s not entirely on hiatus: We did a mini-season over Christmas (the last episode of which you can still watch online), and last week we taped a special one-hour Academy Awards episode that I believe will be airing this Sunday (I’ll let you know).

Now David and I have done a series of 30-second spots that run on NET as advertisements for the show, and are available online at YouTube.

Regular readers are probably familiar with my...READ MORE

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

Sanctum an unholy affront

Serial euthanasia and atrocious dialogue at 5000 feet below

02/04/2011 Comments (1)

It is with a mixture of relief and bewilderment that I learn that there was no actual loss of life in the real-life spelunking misadventure on which Sanctum is based.

Relief, not only because everyone was saved, but because it means however rotten the fictionalized movie account might be, at least it doesn’t defame the dead. And bewilderment, because I have a hard time imagining what would possess someone fortunate enough to have lived through the basic premise of the film without loss of life to extrapolate a tale of such perversity and inhumanity.

Andrew Wight, who was leading an expedition into an underwater cave system in western Australia in 1988 when a cyclone struck, trapping 15...READ MORE

Filed under euthanasia, movies, reviews

Sanctum an unholy affront (Part 2)

Serial euthanasia and atrocious dialogue at 5000 feet below

02/04/2011 Comments (22)

< Previous

Aggrieved Son has a chip on his shoulder about Robo-Dad dragging him all his life from cave to cave without ever asking if he liked caves. Robo-Dad is not real understanding about Aggrieved’s issues. Robo-Dad is like the former drill sergeant turned therapist in the GEICO commercial: “That’s interesting. You know what makes me sad? You do! Maybe we should chug on over to mamby-pamby land where maybe we can find some self-confidence for you, ya jack-wagon!”

Here is Hardass’s touching speech immediately after a particularly horrifying death: “She made her own choices. She came down here without experience. She [made other mistakes]. That’s three mistakes in a place where you can...READ MORE

Filed under euthanasia, movies, reviews

MovieGuide corrects distortions of Catholic theology (updated)

MovieGuide gets exorcism movie Rite, Catholic teaching wrong

02/03/2011 Comments (25)

Even savvy Catholics used to bizarre distortions of Catholic teaching by non-Catholics might be startled by the howler in a review of this weekend’s top movie, The Rite, at the Christian movie review site MovieGuide.org.

It should be noted that MovieGuide’s blunder seems not to reflect any kind of obvious anti-Catholic bias. On the contrary, to their credit MovieGuide typically treats Hollywood anti-Catholicism as anti-Christian, and positive images of Catholicism as pro-Christian.

You can see this in their review of The Rite, which their anonymous review credits with a “very strong Christian, moral worldview set in Roman Catholic world.” According to MovieGuide, The Rite “portrays a...READ MORE

Filed under exorcism, movies, the rite

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About Steven D. Greydanus

Steven D. Greydanus
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Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register and creator of Decent Films. With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. He is a candidate for the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Newark, and has degrees in media arts and religious studies. He 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.