Steven D. Greydanus

Steven D. Greydanus
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Steven D. Greydanus is the film critic for the National Catholic Register, and has been with the Register since 2003. He has also written regular columns for Crux (then a Boston Globe website) and Catholic Digest. He has contributed entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He co-hosts the Gabriel Award-winning TV show "Reel Faith" for New Evangelization Television in Brooklyn, and is a frequent radio guest. A permanent deacon in the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, he has MAs in religious studies and theology from Catholic seminaries as well as a BFA from the School of Visual Arts.
Favorites:
Steven D. Greydanus' all-time favorites include The Big Sleep, Brooklyn, Drunken Master II, Fantasia, Into Great Silence, The Kid Brother, The Kid With a Bike, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Spirited Away, The Tree of Wooden Clogs and The Wrong Man.
Location: New Jersey, 20 minutes outside Manhattan
Official Websites: http://decentfilms.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B- 89% Luca (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2021
B+ 91% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2021
C- No Score Yet Resurrection (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2021
C+ 95% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) A story about the importance of trust that spends nearly all its running time establishing that trust is for chumps... It's about redemption without work and reconciliation without reckoning. - Catholic Herald EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
B- 60% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Bonkers in a way that superhero movies these days don't have the nerve to be. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2020
B+ 95% Soul (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? - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
B 72% Mulan (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
A- 59% Fatima (2020) Easily the most compelling dramatization of the Fátima story to date. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
B+ 89% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
B- 51% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2020
B+ 83% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
B- 88% Onward (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
B+ 38% Wendy (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2020
A- No Score Yet Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2002) Not a remake of the 1939 classic but a new adaptation of Hilton's sentimental novella... couldn't be more different from the 1939 film, and that's all to the good. - Decent Films Guide EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
C 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
A+ 81% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
D 89% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
A- 95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
C- 78% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
A 93% Light from Light (2019) I'm tempted to call 'Light from Light' the first ghost story I've ever seen that I completely believe. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
A- 96% By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
D 39% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
C 68% Joker (2019) Is it possible, in the world of 'Joker,' to believe in real heroism? Do the filmmakers even care about that question? - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
3/4 91% The Elephant Queen (2019) Anthropomorphism is generally kept to reasonable levels, and the total effect conveys real respect for nature. - Salt Lake City Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
C 83% Ad Astra (2019) At once attractive and frustrating. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
A 98% One Child Nation (2019) The filmmakers' politics aside, 'One Child Nation' is overwhelmingly, and on multiple levels, a pro-life film. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
C- 52% The Lion King (2019) Favreau wasn't hired as a creative, but as a taxidermist. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2019
B 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Tony, Tony, Tony. How can we miss you if you won't go away? - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
B 97% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
100% Emanuel (2019) Forgiveness is a radical act. So is speaking against injustices suffered by minorities but easily overlooked by the majority. 'Emanuel' challenges viewers to recognize the importance of both. - Decent Films Guide EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2019
B- 42% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) It's the classic movie monster's dilemma: You either die a villain or live long enough to see yourself become the hero. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
C 57% Aladdin (2019) There are no spoilers in this review because how could there be? - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
B+ 82% Hesburgh (2019) A compellingly attractive if one-sided portrait of a figure of exceptional gifts, astonishingly diverse accomplishments and extraordinary influence. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
B+ 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Builds to an impressively ambitious finale, highlighting both the strengths and the limitations of the franchise as a whole. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
D+ 44% Mary Magdalene (2019) Ironically, in its enthusiasm for its exceptional heroine, the film actually undermines Jesus' challenge to the patriarchal norms of his day. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
B 90% Shazam! (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
B- 42% Unplanned (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
C 46% Dumbo (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
B- 79% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
C+ 90% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) There's some emotional heft in the end, but my overall sense is that we've stayed too long in this world. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
B 65% Aquaman (2018) 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
A- 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Changes what is possible for superhero films and animated films. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
B- 59% 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) - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
D+ 32% The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2018
B 60% Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
A- 87% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
C- 38% 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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2018
C+ 73% The Apparition (L'apparition) (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. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
B- 60% Operation Finale (2018) Tells a decent story well enough, but what does it want to say? - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
C 72% Christopher Robin (2018) Like ‘Finding Neverland,’ full of melancholy and a wan approximation of the whimsical spirit of its literary inspiration. - National Catholic Register EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2018