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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: After Life (1999)

Before viewing talk
Imaginative, compassionate, and perceptive, Kore-eda Hirokazu's After Life creates a crucible of sorts to distill a person's life down to its essence — or at ...more »»
After viewing talk
Kore-eda's intimate observation and deliberate pacing in After Life draw me beyond its central notion (choosing a single memory) and into a longing … more »»
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites

Favorite Films of 2014
It is that time of the year when with a heave and a sigh I launch my top ten list out among all the others, knowing that mere…

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (Amirpour, 2014 – SLIFF, 2014)
I am not sure what A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night actually is. It emerges from the recent crop of vampire films cloaked in…

Norte, The End of History (Diaz, 2013)
In 1989, Fukuyama declared the “end of history” in the “universalization of Western liberal democracy as the…

Classy and Fabulous: Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
The following is an expansion of a Twitter-conversation the three authors–Ryan Holt, Evan Cogswell, and Nathanael Booth–had…

A Master Builder (Demme, 2014 – SLIFF, 2014)
Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory shared a simple theatrical frame My Dinner With Andre. The film is quintessential art house cinema,…

The Theory of Everything (Marsh, 2014)
The Theory of Everything is a film potentially about so much it runs into the problem of deciding what it has to say. The marriage…

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…

Grigris (Haroun, 2013)
Grigris 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.”…

Updated: 18 Dec 2014, 15:00 UTC


Film Break: “John Carter”
My review of the new sci-fi blockbuster, John Carter, is posted at CT. I’ll happily go on record saying that this is a better…

Ten Favorite Films from 2011
Just in time for Oscar Week. I shan’t bore you with any Academy Award will win/should win talk– though you can make…

Film Break: “The Descendants”
My take on Alexander Payne’s quite good new movie, The Descendants, is now up. Between this one, The Muppets, and, I expect,…

Film Break: This Year’s Favorites
I have seen fewer movies this year than in any previous year that I can remember. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in film,…

Film Break: “Tower Heist”
Silly, but not at all unpleasant.…

Film Break: “The Three Musketeers”
File this one under Morbid Curiosities, I suppose, but my review of the new Three Musketeers movie is posted at CT. You can pretty…

Film Break: “The Ides of March”
A rare interlude for film this morning– and a mighty good one, at that. George Clooney’s The Ides of March is riveting,…

Film Break: “Cars 2″
I reviewed the latest from Team Pixar for CT; you can read my take here. Wish I could say that Cars 2 was yet another addition…

Film Break: “Rejoice and Shout”
Rejoice and Shout is a terrific new documentary– out in limited release today– that functions as a sort of whirlwind…

Film Break: “Hanna”
My review of Joe Wright’s new movie Hanna is posted at CT Movies. I’m afraid the visual stylishness of this one wasn’t…

Updated: 18 Dec 2014, 15:00 UTC