Don’t Count Out Babies!

05/11/2010 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

05/08/2010 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?

05/04/2010 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?

05/01/2010 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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"Houston, We Have a Problem."

04/29/2010 Comments (49)

Those words, uttered by Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell in Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning Apollo 13, plastered across posters for the film, have become a ubiquitous part of the English lexicon—even though they’re not exactly what the real Jim Lovell actually said. According to Wikipedia, Lovell, repeating his fellow Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, actually said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” All rightee then.

Speaking of which, “All rightee then” is another one of those phrases you hear everywhere, often from people who have no idea where it comes from, or even that it comes from anywhere at all. When Morgan Freeman as God said it to Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, it took me a beat to process that...READ MORE

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Filming Carmelites

04/23/2010 Comments (3)

In 2009, two films were released with the title No Greater Love. One, with shades of Fireproof, is an Evangelical-produced drama about marriage woes and recovery. Forget that one. The one I’m interested in suggests shades of Into Great Silence, Philip Groning’s transcendent cinematic portrait of Carthusian spirituality.

British filmmaker Michael Whyte’s indie documentary No Greater Love takes us into the silence of Most Holy Trinity, a monastery of Carmelite nuns unobtrusively situated in the fashionable Notting Hill area of West London. (My interview with Whyte is in today’s Register Web Exclusives.)

Much like Groning, who waited 16 years for permission to film the monks at the Grand...READ MORE

Filed under movies

Parents' Concerns and the Media

04/21/2010 Comments (3)

Last week the US bishops conference released a survey inquiring about parental concerns about inappropriate media content and its effect on children. Called Parents’ Hopes & Concerns About the Impact of Media on their Children, the survey suggests that most parents are concerned about their children being exposed to inappropriate content, and that many are interested in parental control technology such as the V-chip.

According to the survey:

  • More than 80 percent of respondents say they want control of media content involving violence, sex, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and profane language.

  • Parents are more concerned about inappropriate content on television and the Internet than...READ MORE

Filed under media, parenting

Babies Are Back!

04/15/2010 Comments (5)

Thomas Balmes's Babies opens on May 7, just in time for Mother's Day.

After the population-collapse anxieties of Children of Men, all the unwanted-pregnancy movies of 2007 and a slew of apocalyptic disaster films, is Hollywood moving toward a posterity state of mind?

Babies are everywhere this year, it seems. Babies is the name of a Focus Features documentary, opening on Mother’s Day weekend, about the first year in the lives of four babies from different corners of the world. Also opening that weekend, Rodrigo García’s Mother and Child tells three overlapping stories of women and adoption, including a mother seeking to adopt a baby born during the course of the film.

Then there’s a problematic pair of romantic comedies, The Back-up Plan and The Switch,...READ MORE

Filed under family, movies, pro-life

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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.