Is this the “best first film” for very young children?

This Oscar-nominated animated short is a rare wonder that will likely become an early-childhood treasure for young viewers and families.


0 Comments4 Minutes

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

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

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?


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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

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.


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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