Living: a reverent but strangely abbreviated remake of a Kurosawa masterpiece

The great Bill Nighy is masterful in a strangely simplified adaptation of "Ikiru."


0 Comments7 Minutes

Leveling up! Subscribe for free to Overstreet’s new online journal.

Now, Looking Closer has a companion Substack newsletter!


0 Comments3 Minutes

Favorite Recordings of 2022: Part One — Honorable Mentions

As I'll need some time to prepare my post on my Top 30 Favorite Recordings of 2022, I hope that this substantial feast of "Honorable Mentions" leads you to many hours of new musical discoveries.


2 Comments29 Minutes

Twas the season of “comfort food” movies…

A flashback to the '80s: Here's a new reflection on a "comfort food" movie worth revisiting during the holidays.


1 Comment25 Minutes

A conversation with Frederick Buechner in my quiet, snowbound house

Wondrous things can happen at Christmastime. And so it was that I found myself in deep conversation with the late Frederick Buechner just before Christmas. I wrote it down, and as it's probably relevant for many of us, I'm sharing it.


0 Comments6 Minutes

Overstreet Archives: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Ten years ago, I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol for another website, marking the film's 20th anniversary. Here, at the film's 30th anniversary, I'm bringing that review to Looking Closer.


0 Comments9 Minutes

The Wonder: a film about what we believe and why it matters

On the week that I watched The Wonder , I had a challenging encounter with a stranger that brought the movie's central tension vividly to mind. It seems that the best way I can highlight my admiration for the movie is to share my experience alongside my review.


0 Comments31 Minutes

All-Stars: Steven D. Greydanus and 20+ years of extraordinary writing on film

Star-gazing again, I'm pointing to one of the brightest in the cosmos of criticism: Steven D. Greydanus. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a critic who has had a more consistently inspiring influence on me over the last 20 years of my engagement with film and with film essays.


1 Comment9 Minutes

Sparks but no fireworks from My Father’s Dragon

The source material, a 1948 children's book by Ruth Stiles Gannett, is whimsical and funny, and has clearly influenced storytellers for generations, but it's a meandering and episodic tale that lacks a certain gravity. Can Cartoon Saloon storytellers revise it into something resonant?


0 Comments17 Minutes

A loud recommendation for All Quiet on the Western Front

Do we need another epic war movie in 2022? Yes, if it serves to strip away any sense that battlefields are about heroes or glory. All Quiet has always been about telling the truth, and this new German-made adaptation on Netflix is no exception.


0 Comments15 Minutes

Stuck in the middle with Tár

Director Todd Field's return to the big screen is an unforgettable spectacle. And it is, almost inarguably, the greatest performance of Cate Blanchett's remarkable career. Some will call it a masterpiece. I'm not so sure.


0 Comments15 Minutes

Looking Closer All-Stars: Sarah Welch-Larson on The Rings of Power

Star-gazing, I'm highlighting Sarah Welch-Larson as the first Looking Closer "all-star" — a writer whose wisdom and wit set her apart as exceptional in guiding us to the best in art and culture. Here, she finds her way to insight about why Amazon's The Rings of Power is such a fascinating and frustrating show.


0 Comments2 Minutes

Sinead O’Connor was right all along

It has taken three decades — 30 years to the month! — for the truth to come into focus. In the early '90s, Sinead O'Connor risked her career to speak truth to power. She was condemned by Christians, by pop culture, by almost everyone. And now we've seen her laments justified, her prophecies coming true. Here, thank God, is a movie that loves her and grieves for her.


0 Comments12 Minutes

Two new essays in one week: The Enlightened Replicant and the Liberated Marionette

New writing is heating up my laptop these days. I have two new essays — my first ever contribution to my favorite film-essay website, Bright Wall Dark Room, and the second in my new series on faith and fantasy at The Rabbit Room, a reflection on Disney's 1940 feature Pinocchio.


0 Comments1 Minutes

Where Did My Community Go? Marcel the Shell Offers Insight at The Rabbit Room

After posting my initial review of Marcel the Shell With Shoes One here at Looking Closer, I've contributed a second consideration of the film (after seeing the film twice more) to the wonderful website hosted by my friends at The Rabbit Room.


0 Comments1 Minutes

In Roger Michell’s final film*, Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren are in trouble with the law

Roger Michell's final film* is an endearing epilogue to an impressive career, but even the headliners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren can't make this one memorable.


0 Comments7 Minutes

Mrs. Harris goes to the land of pure imagination

The great Leslie Manville proves that she can make even a cloying crowdpleaser like this worth watching. You might find this "power of positive thinking" fairy tale a blessed relief it is from the punishing darkness and violence of almost everything else this summer. (Or, if you're like me, you might find it too sticky sweet for its own good.)


0 Comments14 Minutes

Moretz is magnificent as the gremlin-fighting Maude

This isn't a one-woman show, but it's close: Chloë Grace Moretz gives this cartoonish action film a far stronger central performance than it needs, and that turns an otherwise forgettable action thriller into surprisingly compelling experience.


0 Comments9 Minutes

Hilarity and hardship: an unforgettable Iranian road movie

The son of the great Jafar Panahi has become a promising filmmaker himself. Panah Panahi's first movie takes backroads that lead to laughs, surprises, and troubling revelations.


3 Comments12 Minutes

My multi-viewings of the year’s best multi-verse movie

A conversation between moviegoers Cravis Frankly and Jeffrey Overstreet about the most complicated and most exciting multi-verse movie of the year.


0 Comments22 Minutes

Making Marcel the Shell my new mentor…

Marcel is the kind of film that I suspect Jim Henson would have loved: It's childlike, playful, hopeful and wise — and all of this without ever stooping to sentimentality. Its characters seem to have been brought to life with patience, attention, and love. Just as I have learned more from Kermit the Frog about living a meaningful life than I have from most movie characters, I'm adopting Marcel as a mentor during dark times.


0 Comments21 Minutes

Emergency is not what it looks like

Can this friendship survive the worst night ever? Kunle and Sean — and, to a degree, the cannabis-clouded Carlos — are spiraling down into crisis as they try to save a stranger in this funny but sobering "calamity comedy."


0 Comments13 Minutes

Cronenberg’s performance-art surgery

In Cronenberg's latest sci-fi nightmare, human bodies are evolving and surgeons are bringing brand new organs out into the spotlight... in public, as performance art. It's unsettling. It's meaningful. And it's hilarious.


0 Comments19 Minutes

Maverick and Me: Part Two

As an action movie, Top Gun: Maverick is compelling entertainment. As art, it exists more as a celebration of Tom Cruise, exalting a version of reckless masculinity and whiteness that I might have hoped we'd left behind.


1 Comment21 Minutes

Maverick and Me: Part One

Before diving fast and furious into a review of Top Gun: Maverick, I should probably provide some personal history about me and Maverick.


0 Comments15 Minutes

Weekender: New Twitter. Doctor Strange’s Multiverse. Faith in musicals. SDG on The Northman.

Looking Closer has a new Twitter account! Also: Here are my first impressions of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a link to the latest Arts & Faith movie list, and one of the reviews of The Northman I've been most looking forward to.


1 Comment7 Minutes

Arcade Fire’s big noise is back, and so are the sermons

Arcade Fire's seven-track tapestry of anxiety, alienation, and disillusionment sounds epic, but it can be a bit disillusioning itself in its obvious sermonizing.


0 Comments13 Minutes

Catch the rare treasure Petite Maman on the big screen if you can

Like Jacques Doillon's Ponette and John Sayles's The Secret of Roan Inish, Céline Sciamma's new film is about very young children living with loss and grief. And, like those films, it casts an unforgettable spell. Don't miss it!


1 Comment8 Minutes

Conflicted about The Northman’s conflict

With full respect for arguments to the contrary, I'm of a mind to say that Robert Eggers's The Northman, while very clearly in the category of "Not My Kind of Movie," is a complex and meaningful film that deserves heavy cautions, the raising of certain concerns, and considerable praise. Viewer discretion is very forcefully advised.


0 Comments25 Minutes

Weekender: Allison Russell, Philip Yancey, and Enchanted Journey II: Ex-vangelical Boogaloo

In this edition of The Weekender, a miscellany of podcast highlights, insights on faith and race, a prayer worth memorizing, and a memorable TED Talk.


0 Comments11 Minutes

Alas, it may be too late for you to see one of 2022’s most enthralling cinematic experiences

The greatest films are becoming the most difficult to see in a theater. Memoria — the third transcendent cinematic experience I've enjoyed in 2022 — is, like the others, one that moviegoers will have to seek out on their own, and they're unlikely to ever see it on a big screen.


0 Comments15 Minutes

Jon Batiste’s “We Are” — a Looking Closer Top 20 of 2021 favorite — wins Album of the Year.

One of my favorite records of 2021 won the Album of the Year award: Jon Batiste's We Are.


0 Comments6 Minutes

Looking Closer with Jeffrey Overstreet

(now the ears of my ears awake andnow the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e. e. cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing”