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
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
Completes possibly the most improbable cinematic hat trick in Hollywood history: An unpromising series that began with three patchy, uneven entries has now produced three terrifically entertaining ones.
Posted Jul 27, 2018
"Zinging" is destiny, and even if it strikes one person before the other, it's still meant to be. In the real world this translates to harassment and stalking.
Posted Jul 13, 2018
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
I'm not ashamed to say that I most enjoyed "Ant-Man" when it felt like a sequel in spirit to "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." "Ant-Man and the Wasp" doubles down on that vibe and then some.
Posted Jul 3, 2018
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Smart, funny, energetic and a lot of fun, which means it's about as good as we can hope for from the studio that used to be Pixar.
Posted Jun 15, 2018
Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
For a few formative years of our lives, Mr. Rogers showed us the way. Why don't we walk that way? Because of all the voices dominating the discussion ever since.
Posted Jun 8, 2018
First Reformed (2018)
First Reformed can hardly imagine a hopeful future for the world, [yet] the film is full of longing for redemption... Toller hopes that his journal is a kind of prayer. Perhaps Schrader hopes the same for his film.
Posted Jun 1, 2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
There's nothing here like the wince-inducing dialogue or wooden acting of George Lucas's prequel trilogy. On the other hand, there's nothing like their visionary quality either.
Posted May 24, 2018
If it isn't the documentary final word on the 266th pope, in a way it's something better: It's a winsome, challenging call to take the Gospel more seriously and to work to make the world around us a little bit better.
Posted May 14, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Yes, I want to see the next Marvel movie. But I long for popcorn movies like the last couple of Mission: Impossible installments, in which, after two-plus hours of ridiculously entertaining action, the mission actually is accomplished.
Posted Apr 26, 2018
The Devil and Father Amorth (2018)
There is little, if any, genuinely religious dimension ... It's basically a "boo" movie in documentary form - that, and an exercise in brand reinforcement and exploitation.
Posted Apr 20, 2018
A dialogue, and a mutual cross-examination, not only among the main characters ... and above all between man and God, but also between Péguy and Dumont, and even between Péguy the Socialist unbeliever of 1897 and Péguy the believing Catholic of 1910.
Posted Apr 13, 2018
A Quiet Place (2018)
Even though A Quiet Place is a terrific film just the way it is, I can't help wishing there were more families like this in other kinds of movies.
Posted Apr 7, 2018
Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)
The most dramatically and thematically interesting material emerges from the agonized deliberations of the Roman Christians ... the prospect and the plausibility of violence in the name of Christ is treated with a level of complexity welcome in such a film.
Posted Mar 22, 2018
Tomb Raider (2018)
Jolie's Lara was perhaps having too much fun for much sense of urgency, but Vikander's Lara isn't really having fun at all, which makes it hard for the audience to have much fun either.
Posted Mar 16, 2018
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
Sentence I did not expect to write: The film's portrayal of the otherworldly Mrs. W's...makes the depiction of the Holy Trinity in The Shack profound and numinous by comparison.
Posted Mar 9, 2018
Perhaps...I am being too hard on a pretty okay movie that will make a lot of viewers happy.
Posted Feb 16, 2018
Black Panther (2018)
Makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe a bigger, more interesting, more engaging place, one where for the first time women and people of color aren't limited to token or supporting roles.
Posted Feb 9, 2018
Paddington 2 (2018)
I don't want to review Paddington 2: I want to live in it, and invite you to live in it with me.
Posted Jan 24, 2018
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Has fresh story beats and new ideas ... Yet as the complicated, messy plot unfolds, the lack of a larger vision in this new trilogy becomes more glaring.
Posted Dec 14, 2017
Coco's flaws and limitations would sting less if it weren't the one original Pixar film in a string of sequels...With each new release it seems clearer that Pixar's glory days are an increasingly distant memory.
Posted Nov 22, 2017
The Star (2017)
A little like The Nativity Story meets The Secret Life of Pets, which probably sounds like a winning formula to some people. If you think The Secret Life of Pets is as mediocre as I think it is...
Posted Nov 17, 2017
Justice League (2017)
The notion of Superman as a guiding ideal haunts these films...It's a vision [the filmmakers] recognize Superman is supposed to embody, but seem incapable of...actually realizing.
Posted Nov 16, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
If Ragnarok doesn't matter in a Thor movie, what could you possibly put onscreen ever again that would matter?
Posted Nov 2, 2017
Jenny's search is a quest for atonement, not only for herself, but also for others. A physician of the body, she becomes a kind of physician of the soul, her clinic office a secular confessional, sealed by her ethic of doctor-patient confidentiality.
Posted Sep 22, 2017
All Saints (2017)
A vanishing rarity: a film that explores the Christian ideal in a way that is attractive regardless of viewers' faith or lack thereof, while challenging believers to live up to that ideal.
Posted Sep 1, 2017
The interminable central act, dramatizing the events at the Algiers [Motel], overflows with impotent rage and horror.
Posted Aug 18, 2017
A Ghost Story (2017)
Lowery finds power in the image's very absurdity ... [The ghost] is so silent, so slow and so often still, that it becomes first arresting, then poignant, and finally unbearably sad.
Posted Jul 28, 2017
The first film Nolan has made that feels bigger than the director's preoccupations and obsessions.
Posted Jul 20, 2017
How? How did this happen? How has Fox's rebooted Planet of the Apes series emerged, against all odds, as the most compelling, most morally resonant franchise of our times?
Posted Jul 13, 2017
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Another good-enough Marvel movie that is less than the sum of its parts, a crowd-pleaser with many fine scenes but no great ones.
Posted Jul 6, 2017
Despicable Me 3 (2017)
To call Despicable Me 3 desperate would be to ascribe too much effort and passion to the thing. Ice Age: Collision Course, now: There was a properly desperate sequel.
Posted Jun 30, 2017
Cars 3 (2017)
At this point it seems like too much to hope for that any Pixar sequel, let alone a Cars sequel, should function smoothly from start to finish, but at least it ends well.
Posted Jun 16, 2017
The Mummy (2017)
I have never seen a movie work harder or more hopelessly...not merely to launch a new franchise, but to jump from a standing start into a full-blown Marvel-style shared cinematic universe in one go.
Posted Jun 9, 2017
Maybe if I watched it again, Dead Men would make more sense, but here's the thing: I didn't get Curse of the Black Pearl all in one go either, but I knew I wanted to watch it again.
Posted May 25, 2017
Revenge. It's the cheapest, laziest, lowest-common-denominator character motivation in the book. Cultural vandalism.
Posted May 11, 2017
The Case for Christ (2017)
The atheists and nonbelievers in The Case for Christ don't have horns and tails … The believers aren't persecuted, marginalized victims.
Posted Apr 7, 2017
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Scarlett Johansson is becoming - no, at this point it's safe to say she is - the default Hollywood poster girl for transhumanism.
Posted Mar 31, 2017
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Can a realistically computer-rendered French gilt bronze candelabra be debonair? Jaunty? Rakish, even?
Posted Mar 13, 2017
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Look, if you want to see King Kong duking it out with creatures that are literally called "Skullcrawlers," or locked in battle with a giant octopus...this film is your huckleberry.
Posted Mar 11, 2017
Whenever the filmmakers have a choice between cruelly slaughtering characters and letting them live, they almost always choose the cruel path.
Posted Mar 3, 2017
The Shack (2017)
God can meet people even in the kitschy and maudlin, just as he meets people even in suffering and tragedy. (Not that this justifies either.)
Posted Mar 2, 2017
The Great Wall (2017)