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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
organizer

Talk about great films: Wit (2001)

Before viewing talk
In the context of a life and death scenario, Wit intensely explores issues of life before death by juxtaposing the emotional sterility of the typical ...more »»
After viewing talk
Having seen Wit, I want to take life more seriously. What I mean is that I want to take living life fully more seriously. I tend to think that living seriously … more »»
 
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites



Inside Out (2015)
Take a deep dive into your own head. Do an archaeological dig. Work your way all the way to the center. What do you find? Core…

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
It's explosive fun. It's even more fun the second time. And I think it'll be justly celebrated as one of the all-time great achievements…

Tomorrowland? Or Tomorrow-bland?
I hoped that Brad Bird would experience a much more positive response to his own passion project — the long-anticipated Tomorrowland…

My Favorite Film of 2014: The Strange Little Cat
[This review was included in my Favorite Films of 2014 post. But, for the archives, it gets a post of its own.] • In one scene,…

Something, Anything
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Looking Closer at Selma: My Review and Some Other Perspectives
By choosing intimacy over an epic scale, by going small instead of large, by discernment and selectivity over throwing everything…

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
Dear Ridley Scott, My name is Aaron. I’m the brother of Moses. In the Holy Scriptures, when Moses balks at God’s call…

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…

Updated: 26 Sep 2016, 06:00 UTC

 


‘Queen of Katwe’ tells of a mighty girl chess prodigy from Uganda
(This is from my column but I loved, loved, loved, this movie because Phiona is a mighty girl – and her mother a mighty…

Netflix: The light of grace in human stories
  When Netflix was launched by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1998 as a DVD rental service by mail, late fees applied…

‘Sully’ the man and the miracle
Everyone knows the story of US Airways Flight 1549. On January 15, 2009 Captain Sully “Sullenberger” (Tom Hanks) and his co-pilot…

“Ben Hur” a path of redemption
Today the fourth cinematic adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a reimagining for the…

‘Gleason’ and two other summer movies about fathers: Hunt for the Wilderpeople & Captain Fantastic
  Fathers are a theme that keeps emerging in this summer’s movies. We always complain about how women are portrayed…

‘The Innocents’ tells a story of trauma, grace
At last, the long night of World War II is over in Europe, but for a Benedictine monastery of nuns in northern Poland, the nightmare…

‘Thelma & Louise’ 25 years later still poses a challenge to male entitlement
I first saw “Thelma and Louise” while studying for a master’s in education in media studies in London in 1995.…

RISEN now available on DVD, Blu-Ray. digital
RISEN is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, digital, etc. Here’s a link to the cast talking about meeting the Pope as well as…

‘The Angry Birds Movie’ is a volatile pun fest
Flying off the gigantic success of its 2009 online video game “Angry Birds,” Rovio Entertainment of Finland commissioned…

Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics
After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through…

Updated: 26 Sep 2016, 06:00 UTC