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 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

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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.