Don’t Have a Cow, Man!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:44 PM Comments (30)

Babies' Bayar with cows.

A reader raises interesting questions relating to chastity, modesty and raising children in a note about the movie Babies, now in theaters:

We went to see “Babies” with another family from our church ... everyone loved it. This is the best movie now playing (as far as I know ... not that I’ve seen everything in theatres, but from what I’ve read I’m not aware of anything now playing likely to displace “Babies” in my personal estimation).

One question about your review. You say that you “see no real reason” children shouldn’t see “Babies,” in spite of the “cultural and maternal nudity.” I don’t necessarily disagree, but I suspect that the bare-breasted Himba mothers [in Africa] may make...READ MORE

Filed under chastity, movies, parenting

What Are “Real Movies”?

Saturday, May 22, 2010 2:12 PM Comments (12)

Edith Stein, Saint Teresa Benedict of the Cross, wrote her doctoral dissertation and other treatises on empathy.

Borrowing a page from the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale, Roger Ebert blogs from Cannes on the need for a Campaign For Real Movies.

The implicit complaint is the same: In a marketplace glutted with mass-produced product that’s all fizz and no substance, it’s hard to find a hand-crafted product of distinction and local flavor, the kind of product that surprises and challenges you, that engenders real enthusiasm and loyalty. Real Ale is not carbonated or carefully crafted to taste just like every other mass-market brew. Ebert writes:

[Real Movies] also would not be carbonated by CGI or 3D. They would be carefully created by artists, from original recipes, i.e., screenplays. Each movie would be...READ MORE

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What Cannot Be Seen

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 3:54 PM Comments (16)

Goro Miyazaki's Tales From Earthsea (opening August 13)

Beauty, loss, longing, mystery: Fans of Tolkien might reach for such language in describing the power of Middle-earth. They are not words that many Americans naturally associate with animation. American animation typically means humor, slapstick, sentiment, and perhaps a positive message about family or believing in yourself.

Only Pixar rises significantly above that level. The Incredibles and Up are among the most emotionally affecting movies I’ve ever seen. But there’s something that myth does that we don’t find even there. Perhaps WALL-E comes close to “ripping open the inconsolable secret,” as C. S. Lewis put it in “The Weight of Glory”—to awakening us to awe and spiritual hunger for...READ MORE

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"No Movies Please, We’re Catholic"

Friday, May 14, 2010 7:55 PM Comments (83)

I would like to think that the time and energy I’ve devoted over the last ten years to Catholic film criticism—work I’ve always seen as an apostolate to families and individual moviegoers, especially Catholics but also non-Catholics and non-Christians—has contributed in a small way to the kingdom of God. I’m still a little taken aback at how some Catholics seem to feel in effect that the whole endeavor is basically pointless, since movies are such a complete wasteland that there is little or no value in trying to discern good from bad and it would be better simply to wash our hands of the whole business.

Here’s a comment from a combox awhile back on a post mentioning, among other films,...READ MORE

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Don’t Count Out Babies!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 9:33 AM Comments (25)

Defying early box-office nay-sayers, Focus Features’ life-affirming documentary Babies opened over Mother’s Day weekend with significantly better ticket sales than originally estimated, thanks to what the website Box Office Mojo is calling (in the idiom of the movie beat) “a huge Mother’s Day bump.”

For the record, I love Babies; my review opens this way:

Everyone should see Babies. Even people who have cats instead of children should see Babies. … Directed by documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmès, who lives in Paris with his wife and three children, Babies is pro-life in the best possible sense: It is a celebration of new life, of love, of family, of the wonder of the world.

Other...READ MORE

Filed under babies, movies

The Trouble With Trailers

Saturday, May 08, 2010 11:39 AM Comments (35)

Have movie previews gotten to be too much?

Parents have been complaining for years about inappropriate coming attractions playing before movies aimed at younger or more innocent viewers—and it’s getting worse.

Part of the problem is simply more trailers. Enticed by marketing dollars, theater owners are cramming more and more previews in front of movies these days, as a recent Hollywood Reporter article notes.

What used to be two, three or four trailers ten years ago has ramped up to six, seven or even more—so many that marketers and exhibitors are starting to worry about poisoning audiences’ moods before the movie even begins. Plus, packing more trailers on more films only makes...READ MORE

Filed under movies, parenting

What is Peter Bart Smoking?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 2:34 PM Comments (6)

The celebratory media frenzy over the 50th anniversary of The Pill has reached even the pages of Variety, where past editor and current vice president and editorial director Peter Bart has written a strange essay called “‘Sex’ and the summer franchise” (subscription required) that somehow contrives to link a blip in summer movie patterns to five decades of contraception.

Bearing the subtitle “Fifty years ago the Pill changed everything, including the movies,” the essay is an odd mishmash of social commentary predicated on a tenuous entertainment news note: This summer’s movie roster features two (2) chick-flick franchise sequels (the third Twilight movie and a Sex and the City sequel),...READ MORE

Filed under birth control, contraception, feminism, marriage, pill

Crazy Heart in 3D?

Saturday, May 01, 2010 3:48 PM Comments (20)

Roger Ebert, a long-time opponent of 3D and a skeptic of most 3D movies, has an essay in Newsweek explaining why. His opening salvo is typical both of his views on the subject and of his lucid, vigorous writing style:

3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any...READ MORE

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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.