In Praise of Pixar Short Films

The second collection of Pixar short films is available today in Blu-ray/DVD.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:23 AM Comments (8)

One of the more striking marks of Pixar’s innovative stature and impact on the world of Hollywood animation has been their pioneering revival of the long-neglected animated short film prior to the feature (at least prior to animated features) as an industry staple.

In 1998, moviegoers watching A Bug’s Life were treated to the outstanding short “Geri’s Game,” a brilliantly crafted tale of an old man playing chess against himself in the park. The following year, Toy Story 2 was preceded by a much earlier short, the groundbreaking “Luxo Jr,” a simple vignette about a pair of anthropomorphic desk lamps that gave Pixar its animated logo as well as its trademark rubber ball.

Since then,...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family films, pixar

Decision 2012: Hitting Bottom? A Moment of Clarity

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 1:27 PM Comments (64)

The idea of “hitting bottom” is somewhat contested in addiction and recovery circles. The experience of beginning the road to recovery after finding oneself with “nowhere to go but up” resonates with the experience of some recovering addicts; but it’s been pointed out that every new low can potentially feel like “bottom,” until you sink lower still. Thus, one speaks of “hitting bottom” in retrospect, after a pivotal “moment of clarity”—a realization that one has been deluded, that one has a problem, that the way one has been living isn’t working, and that one doesn’t want to continue down the same path.

For the pro-life movement, for people who tend to vote Republican, and for people...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, election 2012, politics, pro-lifers

My Most Dubious Review…Evah?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 8:14 AM Comments (8)

I…I don't know what I was thinking. Is this really how Finding Nemo goes?

Last week I went to the NET studio to shoot a batch of "Reel Faith" 60-second reviews, and while I don't quite remember one that went exactly like this, it's all such a blur now. I can't deny that I really said all these things. Am I slipping so soon after going on semi-hiatus for my diaconal studies?

I suppose I have alert reader Victor to thank for highlighting this lapse in critical acumen on his YouTube channel and keeping me humble. In addition to being the Catholic blogosphere's MVC (most valuable commenter), he's also a very funny guy. I hear he has mad digital studio skillz, too. Hm. 

P.S. My latest...READ MORE

Filed under 60-second reviews, humor, movies, reel faith, reviews, video reviews

In 60 Seconds: Frankenweenie! Looper! Hotel Transylvania! More!

Friday, October 05, 2012 8:22 AM Comments (15)

60 Second Reviews are back! In between studying Synoptic Gospels and Revelation & Faith at Immaculate Conception Seminary for my diaconal studies, I've had time to catch a few movies, and while I haven't written any full reviews lately (though I've got one coming up), I did shoot some 60s this week. Enjoy!

Frankenweenie (SDG)

Looper (SDG)

Hotel Transylvania (SDG)

Finding Nemo (SDG)

The Master (DD)

Restless Heart (DD)

Trouble with the Curve (DD)

Filed under 60-second reviews, animation, family films, movies, reel faith, reviews, video reviews

Singing to Babies (and Kids)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 8:08 AM Comments (32)

Our new arrival, Matthew, is going on a month old, and he’s learning a lot about the world. One of the things he’s learning is that when Papa holds him, it’s not delicious like with Mama — but Papa sings songs, which seems to interest him. Suz says that when he’s not hungry he seems to prefer to be held by Papa, which may have as much to do with my patented rocking hold technique as my crooning, but I like to think the crooning helps too.

I’ve always sung songs to all our kids. We sing hymns every evening with prayers, and occasionally I sing religious songs, but for the most part my eclectic repertoire centers on folk, work songs, lullabies and songs for children.

When I was a kid I...READ MORE

Filed under music, parenting

Announcement: Where I’ll Be and What I’ll Be Doing

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:47 PM Comments (45)

Saint Stephen the Protomartyr: Ora pro nobis.

Everything is always changing, but August 2012 will go down as a month of particularly momentous milestones for the Greydanus family—some of which will have repercussions on my life and work, including my film review work, for many years to come.

Just a few days ago, our eldest, Sarah Elisabeth, left us and began life at college—the first of our children to depart the nest. (If you missed my blog post on Sarah’s review of Whisper of the Heart, check it out.)

The week before that, Suz and I welcomed our seventh child, Matthew Richard. Around the same time, I wrapped up the third summer season of “Reel Faith.” (If you missed our season finale, catch it at the show’s website (coming...READ MORE

Filed under

In 60 Seconds: ParaNorman! Odd Life of Timothy Green! Bourne! Total Recall!

Thursday, August 16, 2012 1:34 PM Comments (0)

Latest 60s … enjoy!

Note: If you want my take on The Odd Life of Timothy Green, be sure to tune into the season finale of “Reel Faith” on Friday, August 17 at 8pm ET (watch NET live). See also the penultimate episode (still available on the show’s website) for my takes on The Bourne Legacy and Total Recall.

ParaNorman (SDG)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (DD)

The Bourne Legacy (DD)

Total Recall (DD)

Filed under 60-second reviews, movies, reel faith, reviews, video reviews, zombies

Sarah Greydanus Reviews Whisper of the Heart

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 2:17 PM Comments (23)

Note: Eight years ago, I collaborated with my nine-year-old daughter Sarah on a brief review of an animated film starring Clifford the Big Red Dog. It seems like yesterday, yet here Sarah is about to be a college student. In fact, she's leaving us this week. Her writing and her critical insights have matured a great deal in the last eight years, and over the years she's tried her hand at a few more movie reviews. This one, an essay on the Studio Ghibli coming-of-age tale Whisper of the Heart, is, I think, one of her best; certainly the first review I wrote as a college graduate (for the Warren Beatty film Dick Tracy, as I recall) doesn't hold a candle to this. Sarah captures this film so...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family films, movies, reviews, studio ghibli

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About Steven D. Greydanus

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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.