Articles

Undefended: They Should Have Switched Places

In his review of “The Talented Mr Ripley,” Anthony Lane complains of the obvious casting choices. Matt Damon as the pasty, deviant recluse and Jude Law as the beach-going playboy… how much more interesting would the movie have been had they switched roles? As much as I like “Ripley,” I’ve always been fascinated by the…Read On

Undefended: Greatest On-Screen Arguments

You might have seen (and taken part) in more on-line arguments than usual lately. To that end, this week we’re looking at the greatest on-screen arguments in cinematic history. Timothy Lawrence: All 102 minutes of The Unknown Known. The genius of Errol Morris’s self-designed interview camera is that it slides the distinction between the interviewer…Read On

Undefended: Best Hospital/Surgery Scenes

This week, the greatest hospital/surgery scenes in motion picture history. Thomas Banks: Gene Wilder’s “Life! Give my creation life!” scene in “Young Frankenstein.” Because really, how often is the parody more memorable than the work parodied? Jack Nicholson/Louise Fletcher in the “Nurse Ratchet, you turn that television on scene” in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s…Read On

Undefended: Animal Movies

To the zoo. This week, the top five animal movies. Timothy Lawrence: War Horse: Spielberg’s masterful direction really elevates this one. The Rover: I won’t spoil it, but the way in which this film turns out to be “about an animal” is meaningful and heartbreaking. Where The Wild Things Are: In which the “animals” are…Read On

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The Conversation

“It had nothing to do with me. I just turned in the tapes.” Again and again, that’s the refrain of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. Overlooked in favor of Coppola’s more famous features when it was released in 1974, The Conversation’s small-scale tragedy presents a powerful study of the way in which sin grows out…Read On

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Why The Rubber Suit Monster Is Better Than The CG Monster

Why go to the trouble of flying all the way to New York City just to see the Metropolitan when you can order a book which features highlights from the museum collection and enjoy it at home? Or, cheaper yet, just browse the Met website for a few hours? In the last five years, I…Read On

Undefended: Top Five Movie Monsters

With the recent release of Jurassic World, we decided to take a look at the greatest movie monsters of all time. Fraser Martens The Xenomorph, Alien. A list of 5 great movie monsters is really a list of the 4 greatest monsters other than the Xenomorph. None of the sequels have done justice to how…Read On

Michael Allen

Christian Movies and Four-Letter Words: A Conversation with Michael B. Allen

Michael B. Allen, co-writer/co-producer of Believe Me and co-founder of Riot Studios, thinks that the mainstream independent Christian film movement is growing irrelevant. With Believe Me’s wickedly satiric take on evangelical culture—which gained the New York Times’s approval—he hopes to unite the Gospel with artistic excellence. I took a few minutes to learn more about…Read On

Undefended: Films About Travel

School’s out, vacations are beginning. This week, the five best films which deal with travel. Brian Murnion: “Ugetsu” dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953 “The Wages of Fear” dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953 “Alice in the Cities” dir. Wim Wenders, 1974 “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” dir. Stanley Kramer, 1963 “Weekend” dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1967 Elizabeth…Read On

Undefended: Top Five Hot Weather Movies

For the last several years, I’ve figured that there is something Dionysian about Summer and something Apollonian about Winter. When November rolls around, the Best Picture candidates come out. Everyone gets thoughtful, but in the Summer, nothing doing. A few films do a pretty fine job capturing the madness of Summer… I think of “The…Read On

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The Captivating Perversity Of Hitchcock’s Three Best Films.

M Night Shyamalan might be Hitchcock’s greatest living devotee, but no matter how good Shyamalan’s films were ten to fifteen years ago, even his best work missed lacked the essence and toxic potency of Hitchcock’s best work. Shyamalan is an innocent. He makes moral films, pure films. On the other hand, the battery which powers…Read On

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Inside A Scene: The End Of Kubrick’s Paths Of Glory

In Paths of Glory, Col. Dax is the righteous, indignant military lawyer who defends three innocent French soldiers being tried on trumped up charges of cowardice. In truth, the three soldiers are merely scapegoats of the upper brass and are ultimately put to death to cover over the shame and selfishness of top generals. Dax…Read On

Undefended: I Take It Back

You feel intimidated. Ten minutes in, you think, “This can’t be going anywhere good. I should probably get while the getting is good.” But you have nothing else to do, nowhere to go, nothing else to watch. So you sit and you sit and you sit and you do not like it one little bit…Read On

How Safe Is It To Watch A Cautionary Tale?

If the characters are not wicked, the book is. Thus spake GK Chesterton in All Things Considered. Often enough, the quote is a little mangled. I grew up hearing it thus: A story without wicked characters is a wicked story. Granting for the moment that the quote is true, let us admit that the maxim…Read On

Undefended: Good Movies Streaming On Netflix Right Now.

Tired of spending forever trying to find something worth watching on Netflix? This week, the five best films streaming on Netflix. Brian Murnion: The Apartment (1960) Sunset Boulevard (1950) In Bloom (2014) Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) Clueless (1995) Remy Wilkins: There Will Be Blood : People should be aware that the greatest movie of…Read On

Undefended: Old Age

The average citizen of the West now lives nearly twice as long as he did a thousand years ago. An extension of the sunset years has proven disorienting to us, a fact chiefly observable in the growing legality and popularity of physician assisted suicide. This week, give five films which deal lucidly with old age…Read On

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Wes Anderson’s Monsieur Gustave H

No one is perfect, neither living people nor fictional people. We must forgive our friends much, and we must forgive our favorite characters much, as well. We forgive our friends for sins they do not confess, because we want God to forgive the sins we do not confess, and we forgive the sins of our…Read On

Undefended: The Greatest TV Episodes Since The Debut Of Lost.

The first episode of Lost premiered September 22, 2004 and ushered in what more than a few critics have called “the new golden age of television,” which lasts up until today. What are the five greatest individual episodes of television to have aired in this era? Jon Paul Pope “The Wheel,” Mad Men Episode 1.13…Read On

“Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight path and woke to find myself in a dark wood.”

Mad Men

“Utopia – The Place That Cannot Be”: How Mad Men Incorporates the Divine Comedy Into the American Dream “They taught us at Barnard about that word, ‘utopia,’” says Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff) in “Babylon,” the sixth episode of Mad Men’s first season. “The Greeks had two meanings for it: ‘eu-topos,’ meaning ‘the good place,’ and ‘u-topos,’…Read On

The Road, Film And Novel

The epic of the wasteland, at worst, beats you over the head with a cricket bat. At best, the epic of the wasteland is the greatest analysis of the absolute depravity humans can sink to and the heights to which they can soar. It is the ultimate nightmare of a world obsessed with its own survival…Read On