04 Jun 2017

Looking Closer at Wonder Woman

My hopes: That Wonder Woman is one of those rare comic-book films that capture and hold my attention by questioning whether the glorification of violence is the way to celebrate true courage, conscience, and conviction. That Wonder Woman subverts the idea that masculinity is defined by muscularity and “fighting good.” That Wonder Woman offers

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29 Nov 2015

Mistress America (2015)

This review is currently for Looking Closer Specialists only. Learn about how to become a Specialist here.

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21 Nov 2015

Spotlight (2015): first impressions and a film forum

How in the world is anybody supposed to make a successful movie about the journalists who brought the sexual abuse coverups in the Catholic church to global headlines? Let’s ask Peter Jackson. “Orcs,” he says. “All you need to do is create a new subplot in which there are some Catholic orcs

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07 Nov 2015

The Peanuts Movie (2015): A Looking Closer Film Forum

As The Peanuts Movie opens in theaters, the news seems to be good.

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17 Oct 2015

Bridge of Spies (2015): A Looking Closer Film Forum

Bridge of Spies is on a long list of films I plan to catch after I meet a bunch of homework deadlines. I’m thrilled to see a Steven Spielberg film drawing such high praise so consistently from sources I find generally reliable. Have you seen it? Post your thoughts below.

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11 Oct 2015

The Walk (2015): A Looking Closer Film Forum

Should I do it? Should I walk out onto the Robert Zemeckis tightrope between contemplative art and sensationalistic entertainment once again? Most of the time, I go tumbling into a void of clumsy storytelling, shallow philosophizing, and sentimentality. But once in a while, Zemeckis can deliver a charge of ambitious

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02 Oct 2015

The Martian (2015): A Looking Closer Film Forum

The Martian has a reputation: Science enthusiasts — even more than science fiction enthusiasts — think the novel is the best thing since the Large Hadron Collider. Of course, it takes more than a lot of scientific details to make a great novel. And it’s even more of a challenge to

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25 Sep 2015

War Room (2015): A Looking Closer Film Forum

When War Room, the latest movie by the Kendrick brothers (who also made Facing the Giants), scored the #1 spot at the box office — on a very weak moviegoing weekend, with little in the way of competition — the film’s media campaign became celebratory, as if this was some kind

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16 Jun 2015

Jurassic World (2015): What specialists say

Since I haven’t had a chance to see Jurassic World yet, I asked the Looking Closer Specialists for their first impressions. Here’s what they’re saying…

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25 May 2015

Tomorrowland (2015): Tomorrow-bland?

I hoped that Brad Bird would experience a much more positive response to his own passion project — the long-anticipated Tomorrowland — than Andrew Stanton did for his passion project, “John Carter.”

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