What do you think of Christian movie review websites?

Hi,

I’m currently undertaking an extensive re-design of www.soulfoodcinema.com. The new design will be much more interactive, allowing you to log-in and log-out of your own account, leave your thoughts and opinions on 100s of films, create lists of favorites etc. The site will also feature reviews of the latest films at cinemas, as opposed to only DVDs as at present.

My question to you is: What features of current Christian (Catholic or otherwise) movie review websites do you like and which features do you not like? Do you check these sites on a regular basis? What would you like to see incorporated into the new Soul Food Cinema design?

Some reminders of current websites:

usccb.org/movies/current.shtml
decentfilms.com/
christianitytoday.com/movies/
movieguide.org/
pluggedinonline.com/movies/
hollywoodjesus.com/
christiananswers.net/spotlight/

Thank you and God bless.

Mark Banks

Critic Rankings
Family Friendliness Rating(Or commentary in the reviews)
Positive issues the film raised

I think there is a tendancy to class “Christian” as meaning “Family based”, Some positive issue provoking films are not “family based”(In terms of lack of violence, language, etc), like “The Passion of The Christ” for example.

Spiritual thematic rating is also a good thing.

Thanks Colliric.

What do you have in mind when you say critic rankings? do you mean a mark out of five stars or something?

Mark

yep.

I use the Plugged In website (less frequently now that my two movie goers are both over eighteen). It’s organized well and gives a lot of information for what I consider to be important categories. There is/was a website maintained by bishops. I’ve only referenced it a couple of times (so seldom that I can’t remember its actual title or if it’s sponsored by the US Bishops or just my diocese). I didn’t like it and actually disagreed with what it found to be appropriate entertainment. (I will concede that I am picky about what I view. I have watched approximately three R-rated movies in the past ten years and would never consider The Golden Compass as acceptable viewing from a Catholic perspective). Plugged In provides me with the information that I need to make an informed decision as to whether or not I think that a movie could have a negative effect on my soul. As far as needing a rating for entertainment value, that’s not important to me, at best, it’s secondary information. It’s far too subjective.

Thanks Gidget, that’s helpful.

Once I start posting reviews of the latest cinema releases these will be in more detail and laid out in a similar structure to the Plugged-In reviews.

I’ll review the film under the headings of:

[LIST]
*]Overall Summary
*]The Plot
*]Artistic and Technical Merit
*]Moral Merit
*]Redemptive Merit
*]Content and Age Appropriateness
[/LIST]

The US Bishop’s reviews seem to polarize a lot people in their opinions!

Mark,
On a different but somewhat-related note –
Have you ever considered doing video game reviews on your website as well? There is a huge void when it comes to reviews of games and what is available online is often difficult to find. A “one-stop review shop” for popular entertainment would be awesome.

I haven’t considered that as to be honest I have zero knowledge of that field. I can see how such a site would be helpful though.

Because video games, unlike movies, are highly unlikely to have any Protestant/Catholic differences I would think you could design such a site for all Christians, thus increasing your target audience.

I’m not sure how you’d assess them but it might be helpful as well as a ‘playability’ rating to have moral ratings, educational value, age appropriateness etc.

I’m not a parent but if/when I do become one those are the types of things I’d like to be aware of in knowing whether to let my child play certain games or not.

If you do your research well you may be able to put forward a proposal to the US Catholic Bishops to fund such reviews; considering how much kids engage with these things it makes little sense to have movie reviews but not video game reviews.

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