I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.

 

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Entries in Movie Reviews (167)

Monday
Oct232006

The Prestige

[National Review Online, October 23, 2006] 

For the first few minutes of “The Prestige,” I wondered if the projectionist had loaded the trailer by mistake. After a brief, surreal opening shot (but file it away for later), we hear wise old stage-magician Cutter (Michael Caine) describing in voice-over the three “acts” of a magic trick.

 

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Friday
Oct132006

Infamous

[National Review Online, October 13, 2006] 

When David Cathcart completed his screenplay about Truman Capote, he phoned Bingham Ray, the head of United Artists, and offered to send it over. Ray responded, “It’s on my desk.” This surprised Cathcart, since he thought the work hadn’t yet left his own desk. Ray insisted, “I’m looking at it right now. ‘Capote’ by Dan…”

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Sunday
Oct012006

Open Season on Beauty

[Dallas Morning News, October 1, 2006] 

 “I didn’t like the part in the restaurant,” Hannah, my 6-year-old granddaughter, said. We were leaving a screening of Sony’s new animated feature, “Open Season,” and I was trying to remember any scene in a restaurant. When she said it was “too messy,” I realized that she meant an early scene where the movie’s lead characters, a suburban bear and a one-antlered deer, run loose in a mini-mart.

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Saturday
Sep302006

The Science of Sleep

[National Review, September 29, 2006]

Early in Michel Gondry’s new film, “The Science of Sleep,” lead character Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) is joyfully recounting a concert he attended with his beloved dad. He’s awed as Duke Ellington comes out on stage, resplendent in a white suit.

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Friday
Sep222006

Flyboys

[National Review Online, September 22, 2006]

War movies are the Dinty Moore Beef Stew of cinema: meat, potatoes, coupla carrots, and no surprises. You got your dashing-but-human cowboy, the center of the story. You got your noble African-American. You got your clean-cut fellow who will at some point go, sweating and trembling, into shock. You got your plump, condescending child of privilege. And you got your enigmatic battle-hardened hero, who appears as if from the shadows, speaks lines that are somehow both cryptic and blunt, and then retreats. In this movie, he has a pet lion, which might push things over the top a bit.

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Friday
Sep222006

All the King's Men

[National Review Online, September 22, 2006] 

In 1946 Robert Penn Warren published a novel, “All the King’s Men,” which took Louisiana governor Huey P. Long as the inspiration for Willie Stark, a strong-minded Southern agrarian politician of the 30’s. Willie’s story is told by his assistant, a more complex and ambivalent man, Jack Burden.

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Thursday
Sep072006

Hollywoodland

[National Review Online, September 7, 2006]

What really happened the night George Reeves died?

Sounds like a pretty promising idea for a movie. George Reeves was the All-American hunk who played Superman on TV in the 1950’s, and many a Baby Boomer’s ideas of courage, nobility, and strength were shaped by that half-hour afternoon show. So it was devastating news when Reeves was found dead of a shot to the head, on a June night in 1959. His death was ruled a suicide.

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Friday
Jul282006

Scoop

[National Review Online, July 28, 2006]

After a run of movies that were so-so or worse, Woody Allen won praise for last year’s “Match Point,” and hopes were raised that he’d again found his footing. Unfortunately, “Scoop” slips. A comedy that is not very funny, a murder mystery that is not very suspenseful, “Scoop” is one more in a series of movieplex disappointments this summer.

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Thursday
Jun082006

Cars

[National Review Online, June 9, 2006]

If anybody can turn out a car-themed movie that’s warm-hearted, funny, and original, the genius crew at Pixar Animation can.

So that’s why I hate to tell that they can’t. Or, at least, they don’t. “Cars” is the first disappointment from a studio that has had one well-deserved hit after another.

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Thursday
May182006

DaVinci Code

[National Review Online, May 18, 2006]

An ordinary man – a professor, say – gets caught in a deadly game of mystery and murder. He’s thrown together with a cool, attractive young woman who may be more than she seems. After many chases and escapes, the two wind up safe in each other’s arms.

Alfred Hitchcock gave us goosebumps with that theme and variations. Ron Howard’s “The DaVinci Code” turns similar material into a big yawn. What happened?

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