The year I turned six, my parents took me to see my first film in a movie theater. Our conservative church disapproved of the cinema, but my father thought this exceptional film was qualitatively different and was worth seeing. He was right. The film was director Irving Pichel's Martin Luther (1953). It garnered two Oscar nominations. And 50 years later, it still had enough life in it for Vision Video to bring back a special DVD.
Some people in our congregation criticized us for seeing Martin Luther. Listening to my parents discuss their decision gave me my first lesson in Christian freedom—one of Luther's favorite themes. It also taught me to exercise judgment rather than simply to live by other people's rules.
Fifty years later, many members of the conservative churches that would once have frowned on any cinema attendance are now frequent attenders.
CT has long tried to help readers use good judgment in their movie choices, and since 1999 we have published an online feature called Film Forum. Each Thursday, Christian critic Jeffrey Overstreet (who publishes his own reviews on a website called Looking Closer) summarizes the varied reactions of Christian film reviewers to the current crop of new releases.
The consistent popularity of that feature was one reason we decided to create a new web channel, ChristianityTodayMovies.com. The channel will be updated every Friday (the day people plan their weekend entertainment) and Monday (the day people play the critic at coffee break).
Mark Moring, who will edit this channel, confesses that his first movie was The Deadly Mantis. Mark calls that 1957 movie "a lame horror flick." But the nightmares it gave him taught him the power of the silver screen.
Mark is a family man: his wife, Nina, ...