By the time the credits began to roll for Lars and the Real Girl, the movie was at the head of my list of top movies of 2007. Writer Nancy Oliver and director Craig Gillespie deliver a sensitive portrait of Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling), a young man so gripped by shyness that the only companion he dares relate to is a life-size silicon doll.
Republican and Democratic candidates who survive the February 5 delegate nomination marathon should be ready to confront a hidden danger to their campaigns—movies. Hillary Clinton, for example, should be concerned about Primary Colors (1998), a thinly disguised portrait of her and Bill.
If Abe Lincoln were to once again borrow from Jesus—but for C-SPAN’s cameras—he might say, “A house divided against itself cannot stand each other.” Partisan rancor is everywhere, leaving a few brilliant minds—Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher among them—to revel in and play with the fray on TV.
The biopic is a film genre that presents itself as history and is received as such by its audience. Jesus biopics, in particular, stake their historical claim on a creedal and harmonious treatment of the Gospels. But, as biblical scholar Adele Reinhartz points out, the Gospels are diverse and present a number of historical problems.
Dinner would have to wait. Eddie Schmidt and Kirby Dick wanted to interview me in connection with a documentary they were making for the Independent Film Channel (IFC), and Schmidt wanted to discuss the church’s relationship to the film industry. It looked like a promising interview. I should have known better.
North America’s largest Islamic organization has elected Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian-born convert and Islamic scholar, as president, making her the first woman to lead any major Muslim organization on the continent.
The myth that sports are racially redemptive makes for formulaic movies. Glory Road feels a lot like Remember the Titans. The films (both produced by Jerry Bruckheimer) show how a team’s drive to win a championship overcomes racial divisions and leads blacks and whites to bond like brothers.
If the increasing number of book titles and Web sites devoted to the subject is any indication, discourse about religion and film has grown markedly in recent years. Many conservative church folk remain suspicious of Hollywood, saving their applause for the occasional epic on the life of Jesus.
Veteran Italian director Ettore Scola begins his latest film, Gente di Roma (People of Rome), by following an older couple going through their morning routine—she preparing food, he dressing for work. Their apartment is small, so one camera covers their movements between rooms. The wife puts coffee on a counter, the husband sips it while she packs his lunch in brown paper.