Lily Gladstone goes soul-searching in The Unknown Country

You're probably hearing a lot about Lily Gladstone's performance in Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon. In fact, she was just as magnetic earlier this year in The Unknown Country, a film worth seeking out on streaming services, and one of my favorites of 2023.


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Barbie, Pt. 3: My full review!

My three-part series on Greta Gerwig's Barbie culminates with my full review.


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Killers of My Substack Journal: New films by Scorsese and Fincher

In a season of intensifying violence — in American neighborhoods, and in battlefields of global significance — some of our best filmmakers are telling stories about gun-wielding villains. I've just published thoughts on The Killer and Killers of the Flower Moon.


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Barbie, Pt. 2: Action figures, their accessories, and me

In Part Two of my Barbie coverage, I establish some necessary context for my upcoming film review. My history with toy trends is a story of formative influences: Barbies for girls, armed men for boys.


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Barbie, Pt. 1: While frightened men burn dolls, Christian women rave about Barbie’s wisdom

Greta Gerwig's brilliant blockbuster gets us laughing at the absurdity of real-world hierarchies (including injustices often reinforced in Christian circles to the harm of everyone involved).


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Was Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Christopher Nolan seems to be remaking Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in this profound meditation on America's self-righteous obsession with coercive violence and apocalyptic firepower.


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A scorecard for Star Wars: Visions — Season 2

A quick review of my personal Star Wars history and notes on this new animated series, which has a few delightful surprises... and a whole lot of storytelling that might've been ChatGPT'd.


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Showing Up: a movie that will make artists feel seen

Kelly Reichardt's latest depicts the day-to-day challenges of artmaking with such truthfulness that artists may find it almost too familiar.


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Second star to the right and straight on ’til … mourning?

David Lowery's "Peter Pan and Wendy" gives us a glimpse of the unconventionally meditative and innovative adaptation that might have been. But what it actually is? That might well be the result of studio interference, judging from these strangely incoherent results.


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Kelly Fremon Craig gives us the perfect prelude to Barbie

Most people missed the long-awaited adaptation of "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret." in the theater. That's a shame, as it's one of 2023's most enjoyable films so far.


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First impressions of They Cloned Tyrone

The new Netflix sci-fi comedy features John Boyega and Jamie Foxx in their best performances in years.


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The best rom-com of 2023? Don’t miss Rye Lane!

This rom-com from newcomer Raine Allen Miller just might be the meet-cutest film of the year.


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First impressions of Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning

Here's a preview of Overstreet's thoughts on the latest Mission: Impossible movie.


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A guy sets up a camera on his balcony… and magic happens

Pawel Łoziński offers us the privilege of meeting his neighbors in a documentary full of chance encounters and surprises.


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How to Blow Up a Pipeline: a call to arms to save the world

Daniel Goldhaber's film about desperate measures for desperate times is one of the year's most critically acclaimed films, and it's now available for rental on AppleTV+ and other streaming platforms.


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Return to Seoul: a personal crisis of mistaken identity

If we don't know the context we came from, or the biology from which we were born, we might face particular challenges in figuring out who we are. That's the idea that drives Freddie on an erratic journey of self-discovery and reinvention in this riveting film.


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Down in “the miry clay” of the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

This Oscar-nominated documentary exposes corporate cruelty from a voice of experience and a heart of compassion.


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Overstreet Archives: Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002)

A flashback to a curious moment at the crossroads of Christianity and the big screen: a VeggieTales movie that actually scored "fresh" on... wait for it... Rotten Tomatoes.


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The Quiet Girl (2023)

No, this isn't about a girl who doesn't speak. Cáit has plenty to say throughout. This is, instead, a movie about the extraordinary power of people who have the patience and generosity to listen — to the soft-spoken, the uncertain, and the insecure.


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Overstreet’s Favorite Films of 2022 — Part Three: The Top Ten

The day has finally come — I've seen enough films from 2022, and spent enough time reading about them, talking about them with thoughtful moviegoers, and writing about them that I'm ready to post my favorite films of 2022. (Just in time for the Oscars!)


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Overstreet’s Favorite Films of 2022 — Part Two: Top-Ten-Worthy Runners-Up

This list of fifteen more represents all of the movies that I cannot believe I’m not including in my final Top Ten list.


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Overstreet’s Favorite Recordings of 2022: The Top Ten

This year, my countdown of the previous year's best music has been a marathon of four posts: Honorable Mentions, #36 through #21, #20 through #11... and now this one. Here are my ten favorite albums of 2022. Sample tracks from each one and see if any of them speak to you. Then, post notes about your own favorites in the Comments if your favorites differ from mine!


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Favorite Recordings of 2022: #20 – #11

Are you up for a treasure hunt? Here we go with one of the last two parts of my 2022 musical review.


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Overstreet’s Favorite Films of 2022 — Part One: Honorable Mentions

The Academy Awards are about to hand out a bunch of Oscars, and they're going to throw around the term "best" a lot. That's a relatively meaningless term. I want to know about the films that moved and inspired you. Here's Part One of a three-part post on my own favorite films of 2022.


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Is this the “best first film” for very young children?

This Oscar-nominated animated short is a rare wonder that will likely become an early-childhood treasure for young viewers and families.


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Living (2023)

The great Bill Nighy is masterful in a strangely simplified adaptation of "Ikiru."


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Leveling up! Subscribe for free to Overstreet’s new online journal.

Now, Looking Closer has a companion Substack newsletter!


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Favorite Recordings of 2022: #36 – #21

You're likely to find some new favorites here in this wildly diverse list of albums and selected tracks from my favorite 2022 recordings.


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Favorite Recordings of 2022: Part One — Honorable Mentions

As I'll need some time to prepare my post on my Top 30 Favorite Recordings of 2022, I hope that this substantial feast of "Honorable Mentions" leads you to many hours of new musical discoveries.


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Twas the season of “comfort food” movies…

A flashback to the '80s: Here's a new reflection on a "comfort food" movie worth revisiting during the holidays.


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A conversation with Frederick Buechner in my quiet, snowbound house

Wondrous things can happen at Christmastime. And so it was that I found myself in deep conversation with the late Frederick Buechner just before Christmas. I wrote it down, and as it's probably relevant for many of us, I'm sharing it.


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Overstreet Archives: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Ten years ago, I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol for another website, marking the film's 20th anniversary. Here, at the film's 30th anniversary, I'm bringing that review to Looking Closer.


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The Wonder (2022)

On the week that I watched The Wonder , I had a challenging encounter with a stranger that brought the movie's central tension vividly to mind. It seems that the best way I can highlight my admiration for the movie is to share my experience alongside my review.


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All-Stars: Steven D. Greydanus and 20+ years of extraordinary writing on film

Star-gazing again, I'm pointing to one of the brightest in the cosmos of criticism: Steven D. Greydanus. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a critic who has had a more consistently inspiring influence on me over the last 20 years of my engagement with film and with film essays.


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My Father’s Dragon (2022)

The source material, a 1948 children's book by Ruth Stiles Gannett, is whimsical and funny, and has clearly influenced storytellers for generations, but it's a meandering and episodic tale that lacks a certain gravity. Can Cartoon Saloon storytellers revise it into something resonant?


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All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Do we need another epic war movie in 2022? Yes, if it serves to strip away any sense that battlefields are about heroes or glory. All Quiet has always been about telling the truth, and this new German-made adaptation on Netflix is no exception.


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Looking Closer with Jeffrey Overstreet

(now the ears of my ears awake andnow the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e. e. cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing”