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Posts tagged "MATM"


Come See The Pawnbroker in Stamford with PZ (Weds 7/27)

mBdFO2DLxyDyz14zjeiZOu6NG7RThe Pawnbroker came out in 1965 and stars Rod Steiger as a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz who is suffering from acute P.T.S.D. The Pawnbroker was notorious at the time for a scene of nudity that was a “first” for Hollywood. It also contained a way of editing flashbacks that was exciting and fresh. Moreover, The Pawnbroker was the first mainstream movie to deal directly with the Holocaust.

But seeing it now — and all the above are true — it is even better. The film observes a man under overwhelming stress from suppressed memories. They simply will break through. The Pawnbroker also makes some powerful observations about men and women. A scene towards the end between Rod Steiger and Geraldine Fitzgerald is almost worth the entire movie.

For religious people, and specifically for Christians, there are images in The Pawnbroker from the Passion that are both moving and somewhat controversial, especially if you believe, as many do, that the Holocaust is the possession solely of its actual victims. I myself think the iconography of The Pawnbroker works. When I saw it 51 years ago, I was affected to my teenaged core and didn’t know why.

Join me, Paul Zahl, this Wednesday in Stamford, CT at The Avon (right off I-95 and parking is easy); the theater is also short walking distance from the Stamford RR station — for the second in our Mockingbird-sponsored series entitled “Religious Hope from the Movies”. That’s Wednesday, July 27 at 7:30 pm. I shall introduce the movie briefly, and moderate a short discussion afterwards.

The Irresistible Father: Grace in The Water Diviner

The Irresistible Father: Grace in The Water Diviner

I know it may not have received very good reviews, but Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner may be one of the greatest movies I have ever seen.

In my opinion, it’s better than The Mission. It’s better than Of Gods and Men. It may even be better than Red Beard.

Why? It’s because you don’t see it coming. You have no idea of the irresistible grace that is headed your way as you watch the movie unfold.  And it hits you, again, and again (and again).

Russell Crowe portrays an Australian farmer, Joshua Connor, who allows his three sons to enlist with the ANZAC troops in World War I….

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Now Available! Mockingbird at the Movies

Now Available! Mockingbird at the Movies

Thrilled to announce our latest publication, Mockingbird at the Movies, just in time for a certain holiday. It’s a collection of over 40 essays about some of our favorite films, from all over the cinematic map. Edited by CJ Green with David Peterson, half the entries are brand-new, half appeared in some form on this site–and have been substantially rewritten/expanded. We’re really proud of this one, and at just $14, its 352 pages are a serious value. Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Coolest cover yet?

A movie theater is a magical place. We laugh and cry, marvel and curse–occasionally we are…

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Mining Netflix: The Common Mess of a Punch-Drunk Love

Mining Netflix: The Common Mess of a Punch-Drunk Love

(For the optimal reading experience, listen to the film’s soundtrack on Spotify while reading.) 

The phantasmal kid films of the mid to late 1990’s functioned as educational catechisms for my comprehension of cinematic storytelling. And make no mistake, the 90’s were a golden age for children’s movies. With the birth of Pixar in ‘95 and the far too premature peak of Nickelodeon Movies in the latter part of the decade, there surely was never a better time for school to be in session. There was, however, one common denominator, shared by nearly all children’s films, that severely irked me: the obligatory…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: A Quick 2013 Summer Blockbuster Preview

Mockingbird at the Movies: A Quick 2013 Summer Blockbuster Preview

It’s April, and you know what that means? A mere four weeks away till the start of the summer blockbuster season! By no means complete, here’s a list of “big” movies to look out for this summer, based upon trailers, the likelihood they’ll merit a fuller Mbird review after they premiere, and my personal taste in movies. But if I run afoul of the almighty Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, perhaps my recommendations will change? As has been noted elsewhere, it looks like we’re in for a quite a bit of post-apocalyptic mayhem:

4/5 Jurassic Park 3D: This is the first…

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The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

[Spoiler Alert – those who haven’t seen it, run don’t walk…it’s fantastic!]

“All their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest.”   -Ecclesiastes 2:23

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”   -Matthew 26.52

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that…

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Alien Righteousness: Reflections on Prometheus and its “Sequels”

Alien Righteousness: Reflections on Prometheus and its “Sequels”

It’s time to talk about Prometheus. If you haven’t seen it, probably best to stop reading now [rhymes with ‘boiler inert’]. But before we do, a few reflections on the franchise out of whose chest it sprang.

For all of its flaws, the Alien quadrilogy has aged remarkably well. In fact, the flaws are a big part of what makes the series so fascinating. The first installment notwithstanding, that is – it is essentially flawless. Alien might be that rare film that creates its own genre while spinning a narrative so engrossing and visually astounding that its filmic “importance” becomes secondary…

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The Dark Side of the Force: Teenagers, Superpowers and Chronicle

The Dark Side of the Force: Teenagers, Superpowers and Chronicle

With the glut of prequels and sequels hitting the theaters these days, it’s always refreshing to find a few originals that become successful at the box office for their creativity and storytelling. I found that to be the case with March’s Chronicle, now out on DVD, which blends the found footage style of The Blair Witch Project and the bleak comic book realism of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. What sets Chronicle apart, though, is its surprisingly thoughtful premise, taking the question “what if teenagers had Jedi Force powers?” to a powerful and logical conclusion.

The film revolves around a high school outcast who, with his too-cool cousin and the senior…

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Mockingbird (Conference) at the Movies: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Love

Mockingbird (Conference) at the Movies: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Love

C.S. Lewis described four kinds of love (based on the four Greek words): affection, friendship, romance, and charity (unconditional love). Since I’m about half as smart as him, I’ll say that, at the root, there are two kinds of love: love that requires something, and love that requires nothing. In this break-out session at the upcoming Mockingbird Conference (Friday, April 20th at 2:30pm), we’ll look at these two loves through the celluloid eyes of Hollywood.

In their effort to get us to put cash on the barrelhead at theaters across the country, the movies often tempt us with stories of love….

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May I Interject One Notion at This Juncture? Betrayal and Grace in Broadway Danny Rose

May I Interject One Notion at This Juncture? Betrayal and Grace in Broadway Danny Rose

Broadway Danny Rose is something of an anomaly in Woody Allen’s filmography. Released 1984, it came smack dab in the middle of his golden period (1977-1992), right after Zelig and just before The Purple Rose of Cairo, when Woody could do no wrong. His increased confidence as an actor and filmmaker showed itself in his decision to vary his character more than he ever had before, or since. Instead of a conflicted-yet-talented college-educated neurotic, Woody plays a long-suffering, working-class hustler, a guy who just can’t catch a break (and you can see why) working as an agent for end-of-the-line nightclub…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: The Descendants

Mockingbird at the Movies: The Descendants

It’s been a while since Alexander Payne made a movie.  He’s one of my favorite directors, and I’ve loved all his films. Sideways (2004) was probably his most successful work, and in the 7 years since it came out, I’ve been anxiously awaiting his next offering.

I loved The Descendants. It’s not an overwhelming film, in the sense that you don’t walk out of the theater thinking, “WOW!  What a movie!” In fact, as I left the theater, I wouldn’t have put it among Payne’s best work. Let the story percolate for a few days, though, and it…

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Steve Bartman: Sacrificial Lamb

Steve Bartman: Sacrificial Lamb

ESPN recently aired a piece of original programming, a documentary called Catching Hell. It was directed by Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) who, apparently, loves colons. I wish I could say it was a “great” documentary because it’s about a story that I find absolutely fascinating, but my fascination is, I think, the thing that saved the doc from being pretty sub-par.

The story of Catching Hell is the story of Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan who…

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