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Websites offer the most efficient way to find movie information and reviews. The list below includes both general websites where you can find information on literally thousands of movies, as well as websites that offer reviews from a Christian perspective. Of those with a Christian orientation, some are mainly interested in offering warnings about aspects of a movie that viewers might find offensive, others seek to draw moralistic analogies between the Bible and movies, and still others focus on bringing theological insight to bear on the interpretation of movies. My hope is that these sites will contribute to serious reflection on the intersection of Film and faith. Although you can find hundreds of websites on movies, this list of suggestions includes many of the sites that I have found most helpful. Your suggestions will be gratefully accepted.
Finding Movie Reviews
Internet Movie Database Search. An excerpt from this site: "The IMDb is the ultimate movie reference source and covers everything you could ever possibly want to know about movies. It's fully hyperlinked both within the database and to thousands of external sites and is updated continuously ... It currently covers over 170,479 titles with over 2,462,516 filmography entries and is expanding continuously."
Metacritic. "Metacritic compiles reviews from respected critics and publications for Film, video/dvd, music and games."
MovieJuice! Irreverent reviews that mock the pretentiousness of current movies.
Chicago Reader Movie Section -- Reviews by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Killer Movie Reviews -- by Andrea Chase
Latest Movie Releases -- from the Spirituality & Health website, an archived site focusing on spiritual values and vision. Reviews and excellent discussion guides. Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat write, "We are drawn primarily to resources that are expressive of the quest for meaning and purpose, wholeness and healing, commitment and community, mysticism and social activism. We are open to works representing all the world's religions and a wide variety of spiritual traditions." See also, Latest DVD Releases.
Movie Theology Blogs
Hollywood Jesus -- See links to Blogs by 18 of the Site's Reviewers on the left side of the main web page under the heading "Dialogue"
Rose Pacatte's Movie Blog. Sister Rose is Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, Culver City, CA. She is coauthor, with Peter Malone, of Lights, Camera . . . Faith! A Movie Lover's Guide to Scripture.
Brian Godawa. Author of Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment (InterVarsity, 2002). Note also his list of recommended movies.
Australian Catholic Film Office. Reviews by Father Richard Leonard SJ, Father Peter Malone MSC, and Ms Jan Epstein.
Catholic News Service. Offers a list of the latest movie reviews as well as an alphabetical list of the latest 100 movies reviewed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Film and Broadcasting.
Christian Spotlight on the Movies. Offers movie reviews from a conservative evangelical perspective. Also, provides a "rating" for each Film (e.g., a "1" is very offensive, while a "5" describes a movie containing nothing offensive). Contains interesting comments on its bulletin board.
Christianity Today's Film Forum. Each week Jeffrey Overstreet compiles an excellent digest of his own and other reviewers' comments on current movies.
Christianity Today's Movies. Commentaries, reviews and articles on current movies.
Cinema in Focus. "It is our desire for the reader to explore with us each week the values portrayed in contemporary films, to be drawn into discussions about the deeper experiences of life." Denny Wayman is pastor of the Free Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, CA (MDiv, Asbury; DMin, Fuller). Hal Conklin is the President of the California Center for Civic Renewal.
Cross Current's Flames. Reviews by Charles Henderson. Reviews on this Web site spring from a "lively faith in which the passions of the heart are brought into harmony with the life of the mind. We prefer to praise films that speak to the point of intersection between the mind and the spirit." Excellent reviews.
CrossWalk.com. From the mission statement: "For many of us, faith is too often something we think or feel while life is something we do. Finding practical, everyday ways to integrate faith into life is the stuff of lessons and sermons for thousands of years past, and it seems to be an increasingly difficult mission in today's fast-paced, chaotic world."
CultureWatch. Created by radio show host Dick Staub, this site is dedicated to the interpretation of faith at the intersection of popular culture. Each review includes a statement of the central theme, plot summary, summary of "beliefs" reflected in the movie, discussion questions, and provocative quotes.
Damaris CultureWatch. "Exploring the Message Behind the Media." A UK based organization dedicated to Christian reflection on Film, television, music, books, and art. Go directly to the Film Page, with its excellent articles and discussion guides.
Decent Films. "A site of Film appreciation, information and criticism informed by Christian faith." Steven D. Greydanus, the creator of the site, is a publishing Film critic with degrees in media arts and religious studies.
The Dove Foundation's Home Page. The site includes brief reviews of current movies. Each review includes a paragraph on "Christian worldview," along with evaluation and warnings regarding sexuality, language, violence, drugs, nudity and occultism. Identifies movies that have received the Dove seal of approval.
The Film Forum: A Christian Movie Commentary. "The goal of The Film Forum is to encourage readers to listen to the Spirit of God in whatever they do." One of the best things about the site is their "LINKS" page. Unfortunately you can't bookmark a favourite directly without going to their homepage first.
Hollywood Jesus. Pop Culture from a Spiritual Point of View. Webmaster David Bruce is a pastor who says: "I love to go to church and Film festivals. For me they are both spiritual experiences. I believe that our search for God and life's meaning is reflected in Hollywood films and in our culture. Our reviews are visual and look beyond the surface to the deeper emotional, spiritual, and biblical connections."
Imaginarium. Articles and Reviews from the Cornerstone Festival.
INTERFILM (Click on the UK flag for English) An international network that brings together interested individuals and institutions concerned with Film and theology, and church and cinema. Interfilm participates, with SIGNIS (the World Catholic Association for Communication), in the Ecumenical Juries at about twenty-two international Film festivals. The juries give awards to films for their artistic quality; for depicting human attitudes or expressions of the Gospel, and for sensitizing viewers to spiritual and social questions and values. Find listings of Ecumenical Prize winners by clicking on the Festivals link. The Links button takes you to an extensive list of international church-related Film organziations.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's 2100 Productions. Reviews of films worth talking about.
Longpauses. A fine new site with thoughtful, critical commentary, reviews and articles. Darren Hughes is a doctoral candidate in 20th century American literature at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Looking Closer at the Movies. "Movies, like any art form, can reveal for us pieces of the truth, no matter who directed the Film, who starred in it, or what it is about. The better the Film, the truer the Film. All aspects of a Film can work towards this revelation." Jeffrey Overstreet, editor of the site.
MEDIAFILM A service of the Catholic church in Quebec: MEDIAFILM est une agence de presse qui regroupe tous les services d'information en cinema de Communication et societe, un organisme a but non lucratif cree en 1956 sous l'appellation Centre Catholique national du cinema, de la radio et de la television, et connu par la suite sous le nom d'Office des communications sociales (OCS). Includes annotated lists: Masterpieces of Cinema, and Worst Films in the history of Cinema!
Metaphilm: "We Don't Review Films; We Interpret Them." This site is creative, thoughtful, and provocative.
Ministry and Media. From the creators of Group Magazine and Youthministry.com: "We've created this site to be a storehouse of pop culture information and programming ideas that will help youth workers use media to relate the gospel to teenagers. We hope to offer a range of options that allows everyone to find something that speaks to those whom God has placed in his or her ministry."
Movie Bible Studies. Discussion guides from Christianity Today. Try a free sample of the study guide for Big Fish.
Movie Concordance. From The Text This Week site. "This project is a 'concordance' of a kind -- an attempt to gather together scenes in movies which serve as 'comparative texts' in relationship to Biblical/spiritual themes and passages." Linked to Scripture texts in the Common lectionary. Especially helpful is the Theme Index, which lists over 200 theological themes and biblical motifs.
Movie Glimpse. "Our desire at Movieglimpse is to help reconnect your heart to the greatest story ever told. How? By revealing it to you in the movies that you love." A small selection of reviews by Leslie Hand.
MovieGuide. A sampling of current reviews, along with articles that offer critique of the media. More and fuller reviews are available to subscribers. The site is dedicated to "redeeming the values of the media according to biblical principles." Reviews movies according to potentially offensive elements, and identifies the movie's "worldview" as: Christian, environmentalist, humanist or socialist, homosexual, false religion, New Age or Pagan, etc.
MovieMinistry. A resource site dedicated to providing illustrations from movies for biblical texts and theological themes. Some resources are free; most are by subscription. Free email newsletters.
MovieMission. Chooses movies that are worth viewing because, in the opinion of the editors, they "share your values and vision, that redeem and uplift, that leave you feeling fulfilled and hopeful for the future."
Movie Parables. Featuring the reviews and spiritual commentary of Film critic Michael Elliott who writes: "Just as Jesus Christ taught God's truth by using images and events taken from the culture of his day, it is this reviewer's intention to use the culture of our day and time for the same purpose."
The Movie Reporter -- Movie Reviews from a Christian Perspective. Phil Boatwright has been writing Film reviews from a Christian perspective for thirteen years. However, rather than telling which films you should or shouldn't attend, he simply provides you with the synopsis, the content -- the reason for the rating -- and his opinion. Given this data you can discuss "hot" new movies without subjecting yourselves to the offensive material.
Movies Matter. Resources for group discussions of Film and faith.
Pauline Center for Media Studies. Excellent Film essays and reviews, including by Rose Pacatte, FSP, Director of the Pauline Center and co-author of Lights, Camera ... Faith! A Movie Lectionary. Note the link to reviews written by children.
Peaceweb -- Movies with a Conscience. This site lists suggested "movies with a conscience" by category (e.g. "Antiwar," "Biography," "Environment," "Religion," etc.).
The Phantom Tollbooth. "We are an on-line magazine that publishes a wide range of album, concert and movie reviews, interviews, features and resource links. We began in December, 1996 and our monthly readership now numbers over five thousand."
Planet Wisdom. A site designed for youth that focuses on the intersection of movies and a Christian worldview.
Plugged In Film Reviews. An on-line version of Focus on the Family's Plugged In magazine. Reviews offer plot summary, comments about positive elements in the movie, spiritual content, as well as warnings regarding sexual content, violence, language warnings, drug use, etc.
Ransom Fellowship. "Thinking Christianly about movies and culture." Some reviews include excellent discussion guides. There is also a useful "Generic Discussion Guide," including William Romanowski's "A Matrix for Analysis of Popular Artworks" (from his book Eyes Wide Open).
Reel Spirituality: An Institute for Moving Pictures. Codirectors Robert K. Johnston and Barry Taylor and others offer study guides, reviews and essays. The Institute focuses on the "creative encounter between the church and Hollywood . . . in discovery of common ground as story tellers, image shapers, and culture makers."
SIGNIS: the World Catholic Association for Communication. The SIGNIS Television and Film Festivals page includes links to most of the major internatinal Film festivals, and a link to an alphabetical list of 75 years of SIGNIS or Ecumenical Prize winning films (up to 1999). Check out the Cinema page on SIGNISmag, and the reviews by Peter Malone (Signis President).
SydneyAnglicans.net. A very fine, active site geared to popular culture analysis.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Movie Reviews. From the Office of Film and Broadcasting. Includes Vatican Top 45 List.
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of South Australia, Movie reviews for group discussion A downloadable PDF file of movie discussion sheets is available here [large file].
YouthTools.com. Part of the reinvented iBelieve.com website. Reviews include plot and theme summary, and discussion questions. (Click on "Movies" to see reviews.)
Film Discussion Groups
Arts & Faith. Online Film discussion forum.
OnFilm. "A forum to discuss movies from a Christian perspective."
Magazines, Journals, etc.
Books & Culture "We need to learn what it means to think like a Christian -- to think within a specifically Christian framework -- across the whole spectrum of modern learning. Where to begin? One good place is Books & Culture." Mark Noll, Wheaton College.
Film Comment Published by the Film Society of Lincoln Centre.
Journal of Religion and Film An academic journal that offers a wide array of essays and papers on religion and the movies.
The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture "is a web-based journal committed to the academic exploration, analysis and interpretation, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, of the interrelations and interactions between religion and religious expression and popular culture, broadly defined as the products of contemporary mass culture."
Screening the Past An international, refereed, electronic journal of visual media and history.
Senses of Cinema "An online Film journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema."
Sight & Sound Published by the British Film Institute.
Reviews for Parents: