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. 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.”
Metacritic.“Metacritic compiles reviews from respected critics and publications
for film, video/dvd, music and games.”
Filmwell. A daily updated blog
interested in cinema off the beaten track, criticism at the margins of the great
conversation, and how art points the way to (as Henry Miller says) “life more
god is not elsewhere,
by Gareth Higgins, author of How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding
Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films (Relevant Books,
2003). See also the archive of Gareth Higgins’s previous blogs.
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.
Reviews at Godweb. 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
INTERFILM NORTH AMERICA. An international network that brings together interested
individuals and institutions concerned with film and theology, and church
and cinema. For the European site, click here. 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 on the European site, and the Awards link on the North American site.
Longpauses. A fine site
with thoughtful, critical commentary, reviews and articles.
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: MÉDIAFILM est une agence de presse qui regroupe
tous les services d’information en cinéma de Communication et société, un
organisme à but non lucratif créé en 1956 sous l’appellation Centre Catholique
national du cinéma, de la radio et de la télévision, et connu par la suite
sous le nom d’Office des communications sociales (OCS).
Metaphilm: “We Don’t Review
Films; We Interpret Them.” This site is creative, thoughtful, and provocative.
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.
Past the Popcorn. “Reviews and essays will attempt a serious analysis of a film’s meaning,
both from the audience’s point of view and from the filmmakers’, as much
as is critically possible. Recognizing that all films still exist (in part)
as entertainment, films will also be subjectively reviewed for ‘nutritainment
value’ and audience-appropriateness.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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,
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.”
ParentsTV Movie Reviews Includes reviews by Michael Medved. The
“Clean Films” banner at the top of the page is advertising and does not
represent the intent of the reviews listed here. The home page of ParentsTV focuses on
& Film list by Daniel B. Clendenin, Ph.D., who writes, “Here
are over 110 films that provoked me to think afresh about our human
condition and what it means to believe, confess and live the Gospel
in our modern world.”
Sound Best Films of All Time In 1952 Sight & Sound polled the
world’s leading film critics to compile a list of the best films of
all time. The magazine has repeated this poll every ten years to show
which films stand the test of time in the face of shifting critical
Adherents.com’s Guide to
Religious Movies. This page presents “films that adherents and representatives
of various specific religious groups have recommended as being possibly
instructive about or representative of their specific faith. We have also
included films that deal with comparative religion and general religious
I loved McEwan’s novel Saturday of a few years ago, with its riveting details of one day in the life of a London surgeon: crime, family, poetry, peace marches, and a rousing game of squash. This latest novel doesn’t take place in one day, but it feels like a female counterpart to Saturday, since it closely follows one woman’s experience of contemporary London. She’s a busy Judge with a faltering marriage, and McEwan’s intricate presentation of a legal case involving an underage Jehovah’s Witness refusing medical treatment is far more fascinating than you might expect. I think of McEwan as a very secular writer, but there is thoughtful consideration here of the intersection of faith and law. More than anything else I value his beautifully humane treatment of vulnerable characters and also the way he shows the unpredictable links between events in our lives.