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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: Batman Begins (2005)

Before viewing talk
Batman Begins is an superb example of what excellent screenwriting and directing can do for a familiar story. Batman can easily be (and has been) ...more »»
After viewing talk
Watching Batman Begins, seeing Bruce Wayne's internal struggle to find the right response to evil, and seeing the contrast with Ducard's definition of … more »»
 
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Like the boy that shares its name, the Harry Potter series stumbled from the gate, saddled not entirely unexpectedly with inexperience…

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
It is no secret that I disliked the first two Transformers films. In fact, I employ no hyperbole whatsoever in admitting that…

Larry Crowne
Several years ago, one of my dearest friends starred in a national CitiCard commercial in which a woman Feng shuis her house (the…

Cars 2
It was bound to happen. No one can keep a winning streak like that going forever. A 25-year perfect game isn’t exactly shabby.…

The Green Lantern
When I was young, I accidentally punched a hole in the side of our garage wall with a wayward snow shovel. Terrified at the implications…

Super 8
Nostalgia is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy…

X-Men: First Class
In a summer unfortunately glutted with superhero movies, every one an origins story, X-Men: First Class not only eclipses its…

The Tree of Life
Author’s Note: The following is less a standard film review and more a lengthy, deeply personal and impressionistic filmic examination. When…

Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2 is disappointing only because it is not the original Kung Fu Panda, a rare animated action-packed adventure that…

The Hangover: Part II
To dispense with a lengthy plot synopsis for The Hangover: Part II would be a profound waste of the time it would take me to write…

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Fan fiction is an awkward literary subset written not by the original creator of a given work, but rather by fans. Nearly always…

Bridesmaids
It is both artistically dishonest and embarrassingly naive to grant the status of “classic” to something only newly born.…

Priest
Priest is the sort of movie you walk into knowing full well its IQ is significantly less than the bucket of popcorn balanced in…

Thor
The problem with the current crop of superhero movies is that once you’ve exhausted the A-list (Superman, Spider-Man, Batman),…

Fast Five
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states roughly that there is a universal tendency for all things to progress from order to disorder.…

Updated: 15 Aug 2013, 06:00 UTC

 


Sr. Jaguar’s Journey Takes a Healing Odyssey Through the Amazon Rainforest
Sister Jaguar’s Journey is both a film and a book about the life of Sr. Judy Bisognano. My review was published today over…

‘The Star’ new animated Christmas feature coming November 2017
I interviewed the director Timothy Reckart yesterday and I am writing a feature article about him and his new film for St. Anthony…

Ribald and Irreverent, ‘The Little Hours’ has Nothing to Recommend it
It’s been more than a month since I have posted a review here on Patheos! I’ve been on retreat, attended community…

‘Polina’ – so you think you can dance?
Polina (French title: Polina, danser sa vie)   Somewhere in Russia, Polina (Veronika Zhovnytska and Anastasia Shevtsova)…

“The Promise”- a too familiar world
In the early 1900s, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians lived within the borders of the dying Ottoman Empire, led by what is now…

“Gifted” a look at genius and a selfish grandmother
Six-year-old Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) doesn’t want to go to school, but her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans), insists. Their neighbor…

‘The Great War’ is a master class on US involvement in World War I
Writer-director Stephen Ives’ three-part, six-hour documentary on how President Woodrow Wilson got the United States into…

‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ asks: What’s in a name?
Note: there are spoilers but I am assuming you are older than seven if you are reading this and won’t mind or care. Besides…

‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ – a true story of compassion and courage
This latest film from director Niki Caro (Whalerider) is perhaps one of the most unknown historical dramas that took place during…

‘Cries from Syria’: J’accuse! Airs tonight 3/13/17 HBO
The opening scene of Cries from Syria is of a two-year old baby laying dead on the sea shore, the rippled waves washing over him,…

Updated: 20 Sep 2017, 06:00 UTC