National Catholic Register
National Catholic Register is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Steven D. Greydanus
There is plenty to criticize in Eternals-and some things that I might praise, in another story set in another universe-but I'm not sure any story set in this universe could possibly offer anything to care about one way or the other.
Posted Nov 5, 2021
Black Widow (2021)
Almost completely lacking in Black Widow is any sense of outrage over the grotesque violations of human rights and human dignity at the root of the whole premise of the film.
Posted Aug 28, 2021
Jungle Cruise (2021)
Plays like fan fiction for, like, all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies combined...If you're tempted to go easy on the slipshod plot, just recall what a well-oiled machine the original Pirates is.
Posted Jul 29, 2021
A gentle, overtly Miyazaki-esque coming-of-age period piece struggles under the heavy weight of iron-clad Disney/Pixar formula requirements and story beats.
Posted Jun 17, 2021
A Quiet Place Part II (2021)
Like its predecessor, the kind of horror film in which the ordinariness of normal human life is highlighted rather than subverted by extremely abnormal circumstances.
Posted May 21, 2021
Not unlike a movie about Shakespeare in which you hear lines like "To be or not to be, that is the question"...but everyone seems to have heard them already. There's no sense of revelation or discovery; no one is struck by them or finds them intriguing.
Posted Mar 25, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Bonkers in a way that superhero movies these days don't have the nerve to be.
Posted Dec 23, 2020
The sharpest Pixar screenplay in years, with a screwball vibe and consistently witty use of cutaway gags. So much of it works at such a high level. What keeps it from achieving greatness?
Posted Dec 22, 2020
I enjoyed Mulan, but I couldn't avoid the sense of disconnect inherent in watching a wuxia-style period piece with Chinese actors speaking accented English dialogue.
Posted Sep 4, 2020
Easily the most compelling dramatization of the Fátima story to date.
Posted Aug 27, 2020
Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)
Halfway through I found myself rooting for the film to be the best version of itself, a sign that a film is working even when it's not completely successful.
Posted Aug 21, 2020
I Still Believe (2020)
As earnestly as the spiritual conflict is handled, opportunities to flesh out the humanity of the characters through other forms of conflict or struggle are overlooked.
Posted Mar 13, 2020
The Way Back (2020)
Blends the beats of two familiar genres, the underdog sports movie and the addiction and recovery movie, in the process finding a rhythm that feels at once familiar and not quite like anything I've seen before.
Posted Mar 6, 2020
Works more than it doesn't. Scanlon hits the dramatic and emotional beats effectively enough, and there are nice touches that elevate the film.
Posted Mar 4, 2020
A film that shouldn't exist. It's a style of moviemaking that seems to have no place in today's cookie-cutter film market - that seems to have no audience, even, unless the audience is you.
Posted Feb 28, 2020
They could play John Williams' ominous "Imperial March" over scenes of Uncle Deadly from the Muppets lobbing Green Goblin pumpkin-bombs at Scrat the saber-squirrel (I mean, they literally could, legally...), and many of us would still feel emotions stir.
Posted Dec 19, 2019
A Hidden Life (2019)
An ecstatic, anguished three-hour cinematic hymn ... I am awed by parts of The New World, The Tree of Life and To The Wonder; A Hidden Life overwhelms me in its totality.
Posted Dec 11, 2019
The Two Popes (2019)
Undermined by the same penchant for Wikipedia-like biography and oversimplified caricature marking McCarten's other biopic screenplays, The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Posted Nov 27, 2019
Wisely and gently subversive in blurring the barrier between the as-it-ought-to-be world of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and the as-it-is world of adult conflict and complications.
Posted Nov 22, 2019
Frozen II (2019)
Despite this warmer tone, Frozen II is pretty much a mess - from the mostly unmemorable songs to the jumble of half-baked to outright bad ideas making up the muddled, complicated plot.
Posted Nov 15, 2019
Light from Light (2019)
I'm tempted to call 'Light from Light' the first ghost story I've ever seen that I completely believe.
Posted Nov 1, 2019
What makes the portrait of Preynat so effective is that while he's a monster, you also see how this guy won the confidence and respect of parents and parishioners, how he groomed not only children but a whole community.
Posted Oct 25, 2019
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
'Maleficent' at least felt like a fairy tale, if a recycled, darkly subversive one, with something to say. This sequel feels like a set of attitudes and themes in search of material to recycle.
Posted Oct 18, 2019
Is it possible, in the world of 'Joker,' to believe in real heroism? Do the filmmakers even care about that question?
Posted Oct 11, 2019
Ad Astra (2019)
At once attractive and frustrating.
Posted Sep 19, 2019
One Child Nation (2019)
The filmmakers' politics aside, 'One Child Nation' is overwhelmingly, and on multiple levels, a pro-life film.
Posted Aug 30, 2019
The Lion King (2019)
Favreau wasn't hired as a creative, but as a taxidermist.
Posted Jul 17, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Tony, Tony, Tony. How can we miss you if you won't go away?
Posted Jul 2, 2019
Toy Story 4 (2019)
As with Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory, it's slick and inventive enough to make time spent with old friends pass quickly and warmly, with plenty of laughs as well as a few tears.
Posted Jun 21, 2019
It's the classic movie monster's dilemma: You either die a villain or live long enough to see yourself become the hero.
Posted May 31, 2019
There are no spoilers in this review because how could there be?
Posted May 23, 2019
A compellingly attractive if one-sided portrait of a figure of exceptional gifts, astonishingly diverse accomplishments and extraordinary influence.
Posted May 2, 2019
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Builds to an impressively ambitious finale, highlighting both the strengths and the limitations of the franchise as a whole.
Posted Apr 25, 2019
Mary Magdalene (2019)
Ironically, in its enthusiasm for its exceptional heroine, the film actually undermines Jesus' challenge to the patriarchal norms of his day.
Posted Apr 17, 2019
Goofy, often quite funny, sometimes touching, and occasionally a bit darker or nastier than I expected from a superhero movie that seems to want to skew younger than most.
Posted Apr 5, 2019
A kind of cinematic personal testimony, told from Johnson's post-conversion point of view...crafted specifically for Pure Flix's target audience, an audience that is already pro-life.
Posted Mar 29, 2019
The Disney nostalgia train rumbles on with Tim Burton back at the throttle - not quite throttling the iconic tale, but only barely rising to the challenge, sort of like Casey Junior struggling to clear that daunting hill.
Posted Mar 28, 2019
Captain Marvel (2019)
A perfectly fine Marvel installment that I can't fathom deeply loving or hating, although I'm sure many viewers will manage to do both.
Posted Mar 8, 2019
There's some emotional heft in the end, but my overall sense is that we've stayed too long in this world.
Posted Feb 14, 2019
Like the Star Wars prequels, like Avatar, it's a movie with tons of problems, but it also contains images that made me catch my breath - gorgeous and even numinous sights I will remember forever.
Posted Dec 20, 2018
Changes what is possible for superhero films and animated films.
Posted Dec 12, 2018
The Grinch (2018)
I'm happy to state, though my praise may be faint-ish / My critical heart is more pleased than complaint-ish. (Review in Seussian verse)
Posted Nov 9, 2018
There's nothing wrong with artistic borrowing, but the filmmakers just throw all of these borrowed ingredients into a heap without fashioning them into something with a character of its own.
Posted Nov 2, 2018
Tells a story worth telling, and does so reasonably well, but while it avoids actual preaching, it's still addressed to the choir. That doesn't make it a bad film, but it could have been a better one.
Posted Oct 19, 2018
First Man (2018)
Ultimately more about the "man" than the "first."... Above all, it's the story of a fragile human being who was never the same after a defining tragedy -- who loved his daughter to the moon and back.
Posted Oct 10, 2018
Unbroken: Path to Redemption (2018)
Worthwhile religious movies explore the implications and the lived experience of faith or perhaps illuminate the reality of life without it. Path to Redemption has no interest in the first and isn't up to the second.
Posted Sep 14, 2018
The resolution is clever, giving both secular and religious viewers something to hold on to, but unsatisfying in giving short shrift to the final piece of its complicated puzzle.
Posted Sep 7, 2018
Operation Finale (2018)
Tells a decent story well enough, but what does it want to say?
Posted Aug 29, 2018
Christopher Robin (2018)
Like ‘Finding Neverland,’ full of melancholy and a wan approximation of the whimsical spirit of its literary inspiration.
Posted Aug 3, 2018