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Dramatic Insights News

All the latest goings-on with Greg and Jenn Wright, Hollywood Jesus Books and DIM.

About Greg & Jenn Wright: Greg and Jenn Wright have been married since 1999, and share passions for God, drama, literature and movies (among other things). In 2003, they were honored as Best Actor and Best Actress in a production of While the Lights Were Out at Redwood Theatre in Redmond, Washington; since then, health issues have kept them off the stage. Freelance writers and editors, they both have degrees in Literature and Theology, and are proud to be members of Harambee Church in Renton. Greg is Writer in Residence at Puget Sound Christian College in Everett, Washington, and is the author of Peter Jackson in Perspective: The Power Behind Cinema's The Lord of the Rings (HJ Books, 2004) and Tolkien in Perspective: Sifting the Gold from the Glitter (VMI, 2003). Together, they have edited and published a number of other books.
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Past the Popcorn Launches

Our new film review site launched last Friday. Here's a blurb from our official press release:

Does God care about filmmakers? Christian film critic Greg Wright thinks so. But he also thinks that the Church tends to be more concerned about how films affect families than it is about the people who make movies. To help address the problem, Wright and his wife Jenn, both long-time editors with Hollywood Jesus, have partnered with Gospelcom.net to launch a new website devoted to analysis of films—and to listening to “the artists who make the films.”

Case is point is the new film Conversations with God. While the theology of the film (and the series of books on which it is based) clearly reflects an unorthodox, new-age universalist spirituality, Wright’s review addresses the film as art, not primarily as polemic. The new website, “Past the Popcorn,” also features a lengthy interview with Conversations author Neale Donald Walsch, a talk during which Wright makes no bones about his personal beliefs while still listening closely to what Walsch and film director Stephen Simon have to say, finding common metaphysical ground where possible along the way.

“The idea behind Past the Popcorn,” says Wright, “is that there’s more to popular entertainment than meets the eye. So first, we’re after a serious, educational examination of filmmaking technique, of looking at how filmmakers go about saying what they do; and second, we’re interested in understanding film as communication—specific ideas being presented by real people with real passions and real souls.” The effect, Wright believes, can be a renewed interest in vital discussions about art. “Seriously,” Jenn Wright continues, “why should the Church be listened to—why should the Gospel get a legitimate hearing—if all we want to do is talk? We need to listen, too. Communication is a two-way street.”

On the listening end of the score, Past the Popcorn’s debut offerings today also include a review of the documentary Deliver Us from Evil, and an interview with the film’s director, former CNN staffer Amy Berg. The movie is an unflinching critique of clergy sexual abuse and pedophilia, and the Church’s failure to deal with such sinful (and criminal) behavior proactively. The film may not offer solutions that the Church finds workable or theologically sound, but prophetic voices often reform from the outside—if they are heard.

Recent Reviews

The Queen
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: If you’re looking for a Disney theme park ride, rent Dead Man’s Chest again; but if you’re looking for a thoughtful and brilliantly written, performed, and directed commentary on why we find Johnny Depp and Kiera Knightly so fascinating—and what the cost of that fascination can be—then this is the movie for you.

Flags of Our Fathers
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: It just so happens that the jackass writing this review is very sympathetic to what Eastwood’s film has to say, particular given my indoctrination at the hands of The Outsider. Right away, Flags’ script affirms that heroes and villains are “not what we think they are,” and Eastwood unfolds the action in such a way that we see the sense in that statement.

Barry Pepper
Greg interviews at Hollywood Jesus: You realize that in releasing a film like that, being part of a film like that, you have to answer to a lot of questions, and there’s a lot veterans that want to talk about it. It releases a lot of dialogue for people—emotions, maybe even closure for a lot of veterans. So you realize, wow, I’m a part of something a lot bigger than just playing soldier.

Marie Antoinette
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: Waste is not Coppola’s point. Instead, she illustrates that Marie Antoinette’s lifestyle was as natural to her—and no more excessive—than a sheep’s luxuriant meal of wildflowers, or a bumblebee’s wallow in a blossom’s pollen. Do we criticize a lamb for being a lamb, or a bee for being a bee?

Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: Good intentions and partial successes don’t add up to a satisfying whole. The film’s own fascination with celebrity disqualifies it from any meaningful commentary on the way in which Capote both publicly and privately traded on name recognition and glamour.

Man of the Year
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: Levinson’s misstep, if one can call it that, is in taking his politics so seriously. He desperately wants to question the Red-State / Blue-State talking-head cable-news nonsense that has gripped the country. And, in my humble opinion, he’s right to. He’s just not comfortable, apparently, in turning loose Williams to make the point through comedy.

The Last King of Scotland
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: As Garrigan, McAvoy shines as brightly as Whitaker. In fact, it’s hard to find anything resembling a run-of-the-mill performance in this film. What we do find, however, aside from Whitaker’s Amin, are characters who are either difficult to take seriously or who function purely as symbols.

My Country, My Country
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: My Country, My Country is a refreshing and compelling throwback to old-fashioned documentary filmmaking, an approach in which the filmmaker documents but does not (for the most part) participate, and whose filmed and edited sequences provide all the commentary, irony, and insight we need to interpret events.

Facing the Giants
Greg reviews at Hollywood Jesus: While I’m very open-minded about independent films that typically open on the arthouse circuit, I’m pretty badly biased against independent films made by Christians, for Christian audiences. I expect pure cheese, and that’s usually what I find. But dollar for production dollar, Facing the Giants is frankly an astounding success.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon
Jenn reviews at Hollywood Jesus: Seeing and hearing about the events that didn’t make the nightly news (and therefore didn’t make the high school history textbooks) offered a better, and perhaps even more balanced, representation of the time than anything I ever learned in school or in my straight-laced home.

Further Archives

January 2005

September 2004

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January 2003

November 2002

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Copyright © 2002 - 2005  Greg & Jenn Wright