The National Catholic Review

Film

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  • Martin Scorsese’s new film “Silence,” about 17th-century Jesuit missionaries in Japan, recently opened worldwide. In the days following its release, I’ve been asked many questions by people who know that I served as one of the film’s consultants. Many of the questions were remarkably similar. And these same issues have bedeviled a few reviewers who seem not to have fully grasped some of the film’s significant religious themes. In general, reviewers who seem open to questions of faith have...

  • Of all the strains of declinist cultural criticism, surely the most precious and blinkered is the furrowed-brow concern for the twilight of once-beloved genres. Depending on the circles you run in, you might hear elegies for the heyday of the film Western, the rock concept album, the three-camera network sitcom or the brand-new opera—as if culture has not always been a teeming, ungovernable river, a particle accelerator where old forms are torn apart and recombined as much as...

  • Plenty of movies make you think. Far fewer allow you to think, which is something rather different. Take “Manchester by the Sea,” writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s heartbreaker starring Casey Affleck: There’s the occasional sense of a breath being taken, of visual caesurae, which—as the story unfolds across its mournfully gray New England landscapes and seascapes—permits one to ruminate about vanishing industry and vanishing fisheries; climate change and societal upheaval; moral...

  • November 21, 2016

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such [interracial] marriage[s]. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    Thus spake Leon Bazile, the Virginia trial judge who in late 1958 set out to uphold a pair of unfortunate American traditions: Racial segregation and the invocation of God to...

  • Martin Scorsese on the set of 'Silence,' a film based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo.

    Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Silence , will be released on December 23 . The story follows a young Jesuit who travels to 17th century Japan, where Christianity is outlawed, to find his old mentor.

    The film is based upon a novel of the same name by the Japanese Catholic author Shusaku Endo. In anticipation of the film’s release, America has gathered its coverage of Silence here. Check back for...

  • October 10, 2016

    Oliver Stone’s Snowden is an abysmal movie in almost all the ways by which we usually judge cinema. The acting is mannered; the actors are smirking; the music presumes an emotional grandeur the storytelling has not earned; the visuals include the now-standard-issue technological eye candy by which we are “transported” inside the high-speed circuitry of the National Security Agency’s computers and data mining—a.k.a., C.G.I. blather. The movie also swaggers, oblivious to the fact...

  • August 15-22, 2016

    “Behind all joy lies the cross.” It is hard to cite anything else as provocative, or enigmatic, as that single line of dialogue in French director Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents . It is a line that leaves one profoundly disturbed. And bewildered. Is the speaker, Sister Maria (Agata Buzek), offering up a morbid allegory for all Catholic thought? Or a shorthand psychoanalysis of one convent’s worth of tortured souls?

    “The Innocents,” which concerns nuns who have...

  • August 1-8, 2016

    On Sept. 5, 1941, Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” went into general release in the American market. On its 75th anniversary, coming in the light of this election cycle, it is eerily relevant, even timeless. In short, it is the story of a media manipulator who strives to turn his celebrity into elective office. Draw what parallels you may.

    The opening segment is an obituary of Charles Foster Kane, presented in the...

  • July 4-11, 2016

    Summer at the movies? Sequels, sequels, remakes and more sequels. Already on hand this season are “The Conjuring 2,” the spine-tingling follow-up to director James Wan’s fright-fest of 2013, and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” a mutant movie far less urgent than its title might suggest. A fresh new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has just hatched at the multiplex, which will also be hosting another “Captain America,” another “Ice Age,” another “Star Trek,” another Bourne film, an all-women “Ghostbusters...

  • April 4-11, 2016

    What a time to be alive! Take note, gentle reader, that we live in an age when leaked test footage of one of the most over-the-top comic book characters of one of the most over-the-top comic book eras can provoke sufficient enthusiasm to make a movie. Made with a relatively modest budget, the Deadpool movie embraces the violence, sex and ridiculousness that lies in its comic book core and seizes an R rating with gusto. To top it all off, it had the highest-...