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

The Rite – in 30 Seconds!

03/16/2011 Comments (2)

My latest Reel Faith YouTube mini-review.

Filed under exorcism, horror, movies, possession, reel faith, sdg reviews, video reviews

Of Gods and Men – in 30 Seconds

03/09/2011 Comments (2)

Don’t worry—no joking around this time. Silliness is a hallmark of my 30-second reviews so far (most notably yesterday’s The Social Network), but this film is different. Of Gods and Men—read my full-length review—is one of the most sublime films I’ve ever seen. This is a sincere tribute not only to Xavier Beauvois’ film, but to the monks of the Tibhirine monastery itself—and while I do use rhyming verse, it’s quite different from my usual approach. For Ash Wednesday, Of Gods and Men in 30 seconds (additional comments below):

I’ve seen the film twice now; on Sunday I went again with a friend from church, two of his kids and two of mine, and my cousin. What a magnificent preparation for...READ MORE

Filed under 30-second reviews, islam, monastic life, monks, movies, reel faith, reviews

The Social Network – In 30 Seconds!

03/08/2011 Comments (9)

There is no excuse for this, I know. So I won’t try. Creation myths may need a devil, but Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make me do it. Mea cula, mea cula, mea maxima culpa.

More craziness where this came from: The Adjustment Bureau in 30 Seconds, Original 30-second reviews

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

“Secret Millionaires” and Anonymous Heroes

03/07/2011 Comments (10)

Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner of the Love Kitchen.

Last night “Secret Millionaire” premiered on ABC, kicking off the second season of the U.S. version of the philanthropic reality series (season 1 ran on Fox). The show puts undercover super-rich individuals in needy communities where they scout out individuals and charitable groups to work with, ultimately rewarding them with gifts of tens of thousands of dollars (or pounds, in the original UK version).

Last night’s episode put Dani Johnson, an Evangelical entrepreneur who reportedly went from being on welfare to making her first million at 22, in the impoverished Western Heights neighborhood of Knoxville, Tennessee, where she volunteers at three good causes: a soup kitchen run by a pair...READ MORE

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The Adjustment Bureau – In 30 Seconds!

03/04/2011 Comments (4)

Complementing my full-length review of The Adjustment Bureau in today’s news section, here’s my 30-second take on the film in verse—the latest of my “Reel Faith” 30-second reviews from NET TV:

See also The Social Network in 30 seconds and more 30-second reviews!

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

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’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

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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.