Reel Spirituality

Cold Souls

One will be hard pressed to find another film that deals as explicitly with the idea of the soul, what it means to have a soul – to be some strange mix of the spiritual and physical – what it means that we are all soul-full beings, shaped by our experiences, and what our responsibilities are to ourselves and more importantly each other as soul-full women and men…

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SubZero

This film excels in its portrayal of Mr. Freeze. His story is compelling because he’s not just trying to steal for thievery’s sake; he’s trying to save his wife. He is a man rocked by grief. Batman, and by extension, this film, is to be commended for treating him with compassion…

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The Best (And Most Overrated) Films of 2010

Nonetheless, this is not the time to be cynical. Rather, we have all the more reason to forge ahead with perseverance and innovation, and to recognize and celebrate achievements whenever praise is due. Of all the films I saw in 2010, the following are my favorites…

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Truer Grit

We are given a verse, and then the first image we see is a cross, shining through the blackness, out of focus but shining nonetheless…

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The King’s Speech

Films about the British royal family always carry an air of inaccessibility, but it is that very air that makes them engrossing. The best British royal films always show the royals to be just like the rest of us albeit a bit more concerned about decorum. This is okay too though, because they are, after all, not allowed to be themselves, but carriers of an identity hundreds of years old…

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Tron Legacy

The film’s visuals are stunning and unlike anything else audiences have ever seen, but somehow nothing in the movies makes sense. If you can turn off your mind and enjoy the show, you’ll have a great time…

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American Beauty

Like an artful sermon, Beauty acknowledges evil, but also offers legitimate hope. Ricky explains the ultimate meaning of the film’s title. He talks about a homeless woman, frozen to death, that he captured on video. “When you see something like that, it’s just like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you’re careful, you can look right back.”

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About A Boy

Watching Marcus wear down Will is just one of the many humorous pleasures of the film. Eventually, but kicking and screaming most of the way, Will sees that life without another is meaningless, and that “once you open your heart to one person, you open it to others.” About a Boy is sweet, but also often bittersweet, for it deals with the human condition in a realistic way. Both comedy and drama come from the characters and their situations, for such is life…

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The Year of Living Dangerously

Our experiences in a movie theater can range from pure entertainment to art to a divine moment. Rob has shared how the film Beckett became an experience of hearing God’s call to ministry. The Year of Living Dangerously became a moment of “conversion” in my life…

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A Serious Man

The Coens have often been accused by detractors as cold, analytical misanthropes, but whether or not their new film’s pessimism is an epistemologically warranted position, or merely another case of personal neurosis blown to cosmic proportion, is beside the point. As it stands, A Serious Man is an impeccably made comedy that offers some gravely serious reflections on what it means to be human…

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inception poster

Inception

Nolan’s post-modern leanings fall into the realm of, as I mentioned before, epistemology, or how we know what we know. He often accomplishes this through the manipulation of time…

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Despicable Me

Despicable Me is anything but despicable. Following How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 this summer movie season (both excellent films in their own rights), Despicable Me carries a charm all its own. It is engaging and fun in just about every possible way…

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Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

The film Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man is a visual and musical memoir of the legendary singer-songwriter of the 60’s and 70’s, Leonard Cohen, and the current artists he has influenced. This documentary, while centering on the “Come So Far for Beauty” concert at the Sydney Opera House in 2005 in honor of Cohen, also includes intimate interviews with this Canadian beat poet who put much of his work to music, and with the artists who draw inspiration from him…

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A Prairie Home Companion

Similar to the radio show, which has been on the air since 1974 (or as Guy Noir says, “…since Jesus was in the 3rd grade.”), this fictional movie is not about anything in particular really. Less about plot (the viewer is supposedly getting a behind-the-scenes look at the final radio broadcast of the show due to the sale of the Fitzgerald Theater to a cold-hearted corporate hack), the film is more about moments, songs, conversations, and characters…

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Iris

“Iris,” the most adult film of the three movies, is also a true story of a woman stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Adapted from John Bayley’s (portrayed by Jim Broadbent) memoir of his wife, the philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench), the movie shows viewers their 40-plus year marriage. It movingly brings to light the love and pain which commitment can bring, particularly when one of the life partners slowly loses her mind to Alzheimer’s disease…

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I Am Sam

Though the plot is somewhat predictable and a tear-jerker (in the best and worst sense of the phrase), Sam’s unconditional, unabashed, and inexhaustible love for Lucy is inspiring to any parent regardless of their I.Q. Even Rita is transformed, as she discovers her own humanity by seeing the beauty of Sam’s…

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A Beautiful Mind

Mental illness is not something we “successful and self-reliant” Americans like to look at. Thus, these portrayals give us a window into persons we often otherwise fail to see…

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2012

2012 is ridiculous in an awesome kind of way, but what else can you expect from a disaster movie literally about the end of the world?

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American Beauty

Extreme demands extreme art. American Beauty is extreme. Extremely funny, extremely touching, extremely disturbing…

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Side Effects – Visual Parables

We’ve all heard those pharmaceutical commercials in which the warning about the medication’s side effects takes up more time than the rosy claim that this pill is the salvation from the ailment making your life miserable…

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Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl is like the medieval miracle and morality plays. These portrayals of biblical stories and ethical tales were staples of village life in pre-literate Europe and the Middle East. These plays spread the teachings of the Bible and Gospels far and wide…

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