Friday, September 29, 2006

Spielberg in the making

When I start to get tired of all the formula garbage being served up from Hollywood, I take heart in the future of film.

Young people know about film, not just from going to the multiplex but from videotaping their friends from the time they're old enough to press a record button. Making movies to them is like a first language. (For me, I had to sneak the super 8 from my dad's closet... not an easy task.)

Making my point today is local teen James Killian, a sophomore at St.Mary's High School, whose awesome short film, "The First Day of School" is competing on a site by Kohl's department store.

Check it out (and vote for it) at

That's his brother Alex doing his hair and trying to get dressed. What fun. Check out the smooth special effects as one pair of shoes changes to another. These kids have talent.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Last week, I went to see "Flyboys" with my two sons. We all thoroughly enjoyed the movie. My kids were surprised to find that I'd rated the movie a D+.

"I thought you liked it," my 14-year-old son Eli said.

There was a sense of betrayal in his tone.

OK, here's the deal. I love movies. I love good movies. I love bad movies. I had fun at "Battleship Earth," for heaven sake. I've even had fun sitting in a theater with nobody but a bunch of other film critics.

But I especially like going out to the movies with my family.

Even though I'm a critic, I don't watch movies with analytical detachment. I try to enjoy every movie as much as I can, and sitting there with my family and a bunch of popcorn, the odds are good I will.

It's only afterward, when I'm trying to compose my review, that I kick in my inner-critic. Then, I ask myself if I enjoyed it as much as I wanted to, and, if not, why not. I try to give readers the take on the movie that I would have liked a critic to give me.

I think that's a fair way to do it. I may be a critic, but that doesn't mean I'll sacrifice having a great time at the movies with my family.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jackass: The nation

Jackass Number Two has become this week's highest-grossing film. What's wrong with this country?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Best war movies

Saving Private Ryan
Catch 22
Apocalypse Now

What are your favorites? And if anybody says "Thin Red Line," I'm gonna have to get out my AK47.

Jesus Campers

I got an interesting call from reader Rebecca Schindler today. Her 10-year-old daughter Amy asked her why "Jesus Camp" was rated PG-13.

She wondered why she might be excluded from a movie about kids younger than she is.

Good question.

IMDB says the movie was rated PG-13 because of " for some discussions of mature subject matter."

I saw the movie with my kids and can't quite figure out what they mean. There were discussions about abortion but nothing I found in any way offensive or over-the-head of most 9 year olds.

Curious. It makes you wonder if the rating was in some what politically motivated.

A Christian football movie that comes out in a few weeks, "Facing the Giants," was rated PG "for some thematic elements," and that point has caused a bit of controversy because, apparently, those "thematic elements" were religious discussions.


Friday, September 15, 2006

I want to know what real people (aka non critics) think about movies. The real people seem to be raving about The Illusionist.
Here are a couple of recent comments:

Anonymous said....

The Illusionist was very good. Worth seeing again to catch all the details to solve the mystery. Definitely will be on my list to rent over and over again.

2:03 PM

Anonymous said...

The Illusionist was one of the best movies, other than Pirates of Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest. The Illusionist held your attention from beginning to end. The theatre was expecially quiet throughout the movie.

4:37 PM