Media Matters Archive

Disobedience

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June 15, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio recently won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman, the story of a transgender woman in Chile. It was one of my favorite films of 2017. Disobedience, which Lelio directed and cowrote, is Lelio’s first English-language film. It feels very different from A Fantastic Woman, though it also showcases Lelio’s ability to elicit masterful performances from his actors, allowing the characters to speak as loudly with their expressions as with their words. Disobedience tells the story of Ronit (Rachel Weisz), Esti (Rachel McAdams), and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), the closest of friends […]

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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June 8, 2018 Carmen Andres

By: Carmen Andres I can barely remember my life without Star Wars. As a kid, I daydreamed about using Jedi powers to do everything from my chores to defending the galaxy. As an adult, when the prequels started coming out, I secured opening night tickets for my husband and myself each time. When our own children got old enough to watch the films, we treated it like a rite of passage—and each new film that comes out is a family event. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes closest to the fun and adventurous feel of the original trilogy—something I didn’t […]

What Are We Doing Here?

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June 1, 2018 Gordon Houser

By Gordon Houser “What Are We Doing Here?” is the title of one of the 15 essays in Marilynne Robinson’s new book, What Are We Doing Here? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 USD), and while it addresses a specific audience that includes many literature teachers, it also serves as a major theme of the book, addressed to all of us. Although Robinson is known more as a novelist (Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila), this is her sixth book of nonfiction. It collects mostly lectures she’s given in the last few years. In the preface, she notes that these essays reflect “matters of […]

Lean on Pete

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May 25, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

By Matthew Kauffman Smith Kids and animals. That’s a combination that moviemakers and advertisers alike gravitate to time and again. Cute sells. Flipper was the first movie I saw, and The Black Stallion might have been my second. Benji may have been my third. Even before I became a father, I enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie and My Dog Skip. As a father, I have endured/enjoyed my share of animal movies.  Lean on Pete is the latest movie about a human and animal bond, but it elevates the narrative to a whole new level. The new movie from writer/director Andrew Haigh […]

Avengers: Infinity War

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May 18, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Written by Michelle Sinclair PSA: This review is a spoiler-free zone. Despite the nauseating amount of my life that I have spent watching every tangential Marvel film to ensure I would Know All The Things going into Avengers: Infinity War, I didn’t particularly want to see it. Some of that is superhero burnout, but mostly I was turned off by the plethora of articles online speculating that the film would be the darkest installment and gushing over how many major characters could die. Not my favorite things. On top of everything else, the title Infinity War does not sound even remotely […]

Tully

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May 10, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Review by Vic Thiessen Among the countless forgotten films lost in the hype surrounding Avengers: Infinity War (which I don’t plan to see) is this wonderful indie comedy-drama from director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, who collaborated on Juno (2007) and Young Adult (2011). Like those two films, Tully has profound things to say about life today and does so with a subtle humor, an unusually intelligent plot, and great acting. Tully stars Charlize Theron as Marlo, who gives birth to her third child, Mia, early in the film. The other two children were already a handful, especially with […]

The Power of Art

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May 4, 2018 Gordon Houser

By Gordon Houser A delightful French film, Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda and JR, is a documentary from 2017 that appeared on many critics’ top 10 lists, and it would have appeared on mine, had I seen it in time. Varda, 89, is a well-known director (she was part of the French New Wave in the early 1960s), and JR, 33, is a photographer known for placing large photos on buildings. The two travel through rural France and create portraits of people they come across, then paste them onto surrounding buildings. These are regular people, not celebrities.   The […]

A Quiet Place

April 27, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

I may owe Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn an apology. In last month’s review, I claimed that the sound-editing award makes for a good time to grab a snack during the Academy Award broadcast. Then I saw A Quiet Place, a movie in which sound—or lack thereof—is essentially the movie’s main character. While the actors and directing were excellent, it is Aadahl and Van der Ryn’s sound design that triggers every seat-squirming moment in this new thriller. The story takes place in the year 2020, when mysterious monsters wipe out most of the earth’s population. Completely blind, the monsters hunt […]

Amateur

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April 20, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Netflix is releasing new movies direct to its streaming site at a rate of about one or two a week, and despite the acclaim garnered by some of its earlier projects, it is not skewing toward quality. “Throw everything at the ceiling and see what sticks” seems to be the ruling approach. From that inauspicious breeding ground comes Amateur, a social media–infused spin on the old underdog sports story. Number blindness poses challenges on the court as well—how does a point guard who can’t read the shot clock or the scoreboard control the flow of the game? Eighth grader Terron […]

Paul, Apostle of Christ

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April 13, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Recent years have witnessed a major upsurge in films aimed at a Christian audience. Fueled by outstanding box office numbers, this is a trend that will continue for some time. Among the positive outcomes of this trend is a general improvement in the quality of these Christian films. The acting is getting better, the production values are almost state-of-the-art, and a higher caliber of writers and directors is being employed to make these films. Almost none of the cover story of Paul, Apostle of Christ is found in the Bible, yet I would describe the film as very faithful to […]