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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: 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

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
Ida, Ewa, Gloria, and now… the final contestant in this, the Looking Closer Beauty Pageant. Readers, let me catch you up:…

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: 23 Oct 2016, 22:00 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: 23 Oct 2016, 22:00 UTC