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"You can't measure the success of a [film] on how many tickets it sells. You can only measure it in how many hearts it changes." Hayao Miyazaki …more »»  
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What’s the deal here?

Have you ever had a blinding flash of clarity about a better life or a better world? A moment where you thought, “Hey, maybe there’s life before death”? It can change you, and it can start with a moment in a movie.

That’s what is about: finding life through film. Whether a film is old or new, we turn things around: We spend less time critiquing a film and more time asking if the film can critique us. With any film, we:

  • Focus first on how a film embodies the best in life — good, true, beautiful things — even if its filmcraft falls short.
  • Tone down (but don’t ignore) our critique of a film’s failings.
  • Allow a film to show ugly sides of life if, by doing so, it might help us see the best in life more clearly.

Why? Because life is better when the world’s a better place, and that starts with us. Whether on DVD or in a theater, we have a good time with film and we want movies to help us get better. Other bits you’ll find on the site:

A angle on film is about how we change from the inside out and how film can help us do that. It works like this:

Change from the inside out

  • Heart. On the inside, in our hearts, is who we really are. A film can show us the best things in life and move us toward loving them.
  • Beauty. Our hearts move with Beauty — good, true, pleasing things. A film can help us feel the joy of real Beauty or the pain of Beauty’s absence.
  • Love. As a film moves us toward Beauty, we can find and live love and relationship with those around us.

Be thoughtful about film

  • Find a film’s heart. Seeing a film, we want more than the fun of the moment. We also want the film’s heart to move us toward the best in life.
  • Take care with content. We see films that dive deep into ugly issues of this life, and thus show ugly things, but we don’t want to enjoy ugly content for its own sake.
  • Consider what to watch. We see a broad range of films, yet we aim to choose better films that enrich our lives with Beauty in the moment and that also help us get better.

I hope you’ll join us.

Randy Heffner

Talk about great films: Away We Go (2009)

Before viewing talk
With light-hearted seriousness, Away We Go romps us through a young couple's search for life. Or, actually, their search is for a place to live, ...more »»
After viewing talk
The love at the center of Away We Go is a beautiful thing to see, particularly because of how Burt & Verona tolerate each other, and it's their relationship … more »»
…more »»  

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My Favorite Film of 2014: The Strange Little Cat
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The Fault in Our Stars (2014): First Impressions
If I were struggling with cancer, I suspect this movie would come across as punch in the gut.…

Moses and Errin’ — A Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Looking Closer’s Thanksgiving Movie: Terrence Malick’s The New World
So, putting on my film critic hat, I will do as I usually do at Thanksgiving — I will recommend that we remember the origins…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 — My First Impressions
Our futures will be shaped by the capacity of rising generations to challenge and test what their screens and gadgets tell them…

Looking Closer at “Saving Christmas”: Featuring Novelist N. D. Wilson’s Review
I've been talking to my new friend N. D. Wilson, author of Boys of Blur, Death by Living, 100 Cupboards, and more. While discussing…

Interstellar (2014)
After I got home from seeing Interstellar — I saw it in good old-fashioned 35 mm, not in IMAX — I had mixed feelings about…

Birdman (2014)
I've read that Birdman is a movie that pulls back the curtain to reveal (surprise!) that show-biz is really just a hell of egomaniacs…

Updated: 26 Feb 2015, 23:00 UTC


2015 Oscar nominees default to (mostly white) men
(If you want to know who I hope will win, you have to come to our awards party!) The U.S. film industry’s celebration of…

Sr. Rose to present first Razzie “Redemption” Award!
I have to say, it was a surprise to be asked! Check the website. There is still time to vote for who should be redeemed!  …

‘Selma’ shows how nonviolence can achieve social change
On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It outlawed all discrimination in the United States…

‘The Railway Man’ is a powerful story of a wounded soul
“The Railway Man” is probably the best film you haven’t seen this year. From the time he was a boy, Eric Lomax…

‘Fury’ fuels the ‘war is hell’ mentality without shining fresh light on it
“Fury” is writer/director David Ayer’s latest action film, moving from city streets (“Street Kings,”…

‘The Decent One’: Documentary on Himmler a compelling contribution to Holocaust filmography
  Heinrich Himmler — the Nazi Gestapo chief, head of the German police in the Third Reich, head of the Reich Main Security…

‘The Good Lie’ and the true story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
  Catholic moral theology teaches that it is never acceptable to lie. It also teaches that there is no such thing as a “good…

‘The Giver’ what happens when we destroy what makes us human
  The word “dystopian” has always intrigued me. The easy definition is that it means “anti-utopian,”…

‘Gabrielle’ a sweet story of a young woman struggling for acceptance
  Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) is a 22-year old woman who lives in a group home for cognitively disabled adults in…

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith
  Here is my interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith about her revealing and inspiring documentary about the Camino de Santiago…

Updated: 26 Feb 2015, 23:00 UTC