If the purpose of art is to help us live better, then to have integrity, storytellers who feature characters who behave badly have a responsibility to illunminate their motivation and context.
These films create new benchmarks for the mainstream depiction of black history, black struggle, and wider perceptions.
Here's my list of the 10 best films of 2014 (many more are worthy, but 10 are all that will fit).
A cisgender straight character dressing up has little or nothing to do with the real stories of the "T" in LGBTQ.
They think that what they're doing is changing the world for the better, but that's doubtful.
Calvary is a rare and beautiful film, one that tells the truth, or at least asks for it honestly.
Studios have been realizing that there is an audience for long-form storytelling that is willing to think.
At film festivals, because we're all living together for a few days, people let their guard down.
To build a new world, sometimes you have to tear the old one down.
James Patterson has pioneered something beautiful in the world of books and will be remembered for it.
Without conscious resistance, the flattened culture of entertainment globalization is going to continue to dominate.
The Coens realize that sometimes, of course, comedy is bleak. But the point of gargoyles is to remind us that sacred and profane coexist.
Fifty years ago, a kind of innocence was taken, and a kind of brokenness remains unrepaired.
The makers of The Butler have told a kind of truth about the struggle for "beloved community" that has rarely been seen so clearly on multiplex screens.
When we experience movies like memories, we meditate rather than consume, and do what Pascal suggested was the antidote to all the problems in the world: sitting still for 10 minutes and thinking.
If beauty heals the world, and the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better, who's up for demanding a better cinema experience?
The History Channel's The Bible, like so much of so-callled "religious pop culture," seemed to be the product of good people trying to do a good thing, but at best putting the desire to convey a particular message ahead of making the best artwork for the medium.
The beginning of wisdom proposed in the best documentaries is simply this: telling the truth, to ourselves and others, as best as we can.
The new Criterion BluRay edition of On the Waterfront not only offers the crispest representation of the 1954 New Jersey dockyard visuals any of us have ever seen, it also illustrates the sociopolitical and creative context in a manner richer than any previously released.
There is an overwhelming need for publicly compelling conversation about violence, guns, and the role of entertainment media.
We shouldn't really expect the Oscars to grasp the point of history, though this year the films nominated for Best Picture are a fascinating snapshot of what ails—and could heal—us.
Three of the best films of the year: Samsara, Looper, and Seven Psychopaths.
It's a mark of the moral complexity of The Master that it can critique the damage done by demonic religion while honoring the best hopes of its angelic shades.
The wonderful thing about Pixar’s Brave is how it negates the historic disempowerment of female fairy tale protagonists.
The Dictator, amid its crudity and over-the-top stereotypes, asks us to reimagine democracy.
Three highlights from Full Frame are films that mingle mature cinematic craft with ethical depth.
The best parts of the Disney worldview look like the eschatological images in a Martin Luther King Jr. speech; the worst merely bolster a culture of privilege and exclusion.
Along with the silent film The Artist, Haywire, and War Horse, the smartest wide-release recent movie is Chronicle, a kinetic fusion of Breakfast Club-style teenage angst with post-9/11 violence-as-a-way-of-life (or at least way-to-be-noticed).
A perfect time to catch up on the 10 best Blu-ray releases of the past year.
Hugo, Take Shelter, and The Mill and the Cross have little in common on the surface other than their quality; look deeper and you may find love-filled, theologically profound, hopeful invitations to live better.
Roland Emmerich is known for making the kind of disaster movies that fans of quality filmmaking love to hate.
Clooney's new movie, The Ides of March, serves as a thoughtful and entertaining mirror for next year's presidential election.
The round-up on late-summer cinema, including: Solaris, The Tree of Life, and Super 8.
The award for most surprisingly profound film of 2011 might go to Bridesmaids. This story of a woman trying to figure out her path in the midst of witness
Gareth Higgins reviews Batle: Los Angeles, Saving Private Ryan, and Chinatown.
Preachers in American fiction are usually not to be trusted -- Elmer Gantry might steal from you, the priest in Mystic River might kidnap you, Robert Duvall’s Sonny i
The most significant DVD release of 2010 is America Lost and Found, packaging seven films produced between 1968 and 1972, including Easy Rider and The Last Picture Show.
Gareth Higgins reviews Submarine, Project Nim, and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
George Lucas may have had a role in my childhood, but it's not up to him to tell my story for me.
It’s ironic that the explosive, high-budget thrill rides understand so little about their own themes.
Documentary films have the potential to both show us the world and change it.
The multiplex stabbing is the consequence of a dehumanized culture that defaults to sarcasm and nurtures angry condemnation.
It’s the end of the world for Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli, one of the legion of recent films (including one actually titled Legion) that suggest that while the earth ma