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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: Doubt (2008)

Before viewing talk
The simple title Doubt captures the film's exploration well. The story deals with certainty and doubt around certain events, but the film evokes an exploration ...more »»
After viewing talk
Doubt reinforced for me the dangers of prematurely moving into a position of certainty. In the film, the core issue of doubt versus certainty revolves … more »»
 
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites



Believe Me (Bakke, 2014)
I don’t think I have ever bumped into a principle of sociology stated this way anywhere, but a subculture may be defined…

Grisgris (Haroun, 2013)
Gris Gris runs into a few issues in its third act, as the story seems to run out of steam. Also, its two leads remain pretty undeveloped throughout.…

The Strange Little Cat (Zürcher, 2013)
  The youngest daughter in The Strange Little Cat is the nearest approximation to my seven year old daughter I have seen…

Day of Wrath (Dreyer, 1943)
    “Day of Wrath, for pity take My sins away from Satan’s grasp And bear my soul to Heaven at last.”…

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch, 2013)
“For rhythm and harmony penetrate deeply into the mind and have a most powerful effect on it, and if education is good, bring…

Ikiru (Akira Kurowawa, 1952)
Akira Kurosawa's epic Samurai films are among the greatest movies ever made. But it is a quiet, intimate story about a very different…

Nothing Bad Can Happen (Gebbe, 2013)
    Katrin Gebbe’s first feature, Nothing Bad Can Happen, quite impressively made it all the way to Cannes in…

Ida (Pawlikowski, 2013)
Pawlikowski’s Ida is a throwback to an era during which directors took their craft seriously enough to produce worlds with…

The Immigrant (Gray, 2013)
“The waters of the harbor were translucent and aquamarine; they ran thick with shards of ice and white islands as big as polar…

The Power of Blackness: True Detective
 At all events, perhaps no writer has ever wielded this terrific thought with greater terror than this same harmless Hawthorne.…

Updated: 25 Oct 2014, 14:00 UTC

 


Magic in the Moonlight
[National Review; July 25, 2014] When they invent a really reliable time machine, I’m going back to the day I graduated…

The Fault in Our Stars
It was “beautifully tragic,” my young companion said, and judging from the sobs and sighing all around us, this opinion…

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is surely the most Wes-Andersony of all the Wes Anderson movies, and if you’ve never seen a Wes…

Inside Llewyn Davis
There’s much to admire, but not much to enjoy, in Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest film from the Coen brothers. Joel and…

Austenland
The elements of Austenland are terrific: It has a clever premise, is based on a successful novel, has Jerusha Hess (of Napoleon…

Monsters University
Never seen a Pixar movie before? Monsters, Inc. (2001) is a good place to start. It’s a buddy movie, about Sully and his…

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  The movie hadn’t been on very long, but I had the feeling that most of the funny scenes from the trailer had already…

Brave
As I watched the trailer for Brave I had a sinking feeling. It’s funny, of course, and the images and characters are brightly…

W.E.
As the last scene of this movie faded away, replaced by a screen reading “Directed by Madonna,” I asked my companion,…

The Adventures of Tintin
I have 11 grandchildren. I see plenty of children’s movies. I have acquired a jaundiced eye. As autumn leaves drift into…

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This might be an excellent movie; it certainly looks impressive. But I’m only a little less baffled now, after reading up…

Main Street
Playwright Horton Foote (1916-2009) made the comment a few years back, “The people hardest on [my work] always say that…

There Be Dragons
First the bad news, for adolescent viewers, anyway: there don’t be any dragons. Not the leathery-winged kind, at least.…

In Time
And that’s the happy ending.   It’s this unintentional resonance that threatens to turn In Time from a nifty…

PBS Interview: Higher Ground
[October 8, 2011] Here’s a link to my interview on the PBS show, “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” about the…

Updated: 28 Aug 2014, 22:00 UTC