11 Jan 2016

The Revenant | Movie Review

The marketing materials for “The Revenant” have pitched the movie as a Canadian-wilderness revenge drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who gets smashed around by a gigantic bear. And while that’s all entirely accurate, “The Revenant” aspires to be something more – a haunting glimpse of alien northern landscapes untouched by human hands, within which a lone survivor must come to terms with both his own mortality and his own insignificance. In the capable hands of director

John Ehrett 0
07 Jan 2016

Concussion | Movie Review

For many today, the observation that “football causes concussions” is such an intuitive proposition that it borders on the redundant. The precise link between professional football and severe neurological damage, however, hadn’t been identified until recently – via a controversial series of events that sparked multimillion-dollar litigation. Inspired by an outstanding GQ article, “Concussion” recounts the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an neurodegenerative condition found in NFL players as

John Ehrett 0
21 Dec 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Movie Review

Out of all the giant megafranchises that rule Hollywood, “Star Wars” holds a special place in my heart. I first saw the original trilogy as a kindergartener during the 1997 rereleases, grew up with the prequels, played several of the video games, read a few of the novels, and generally acquired an embarrassing level of dork knowledge (if you want to talk about the difference between Dathomir and Dantooine, or between the Rodians and the

John Ehrett 0
14 Dec 2015

Spotlight | Movie Review

Journalists – particularly those covering highly sensitive events – are often the targets of well-deserved critique (consider, for instance, the grotesque spectacle of the past week that witnessed live news crews rooting through the apartment of deceased mass shooters). Yet often it is journalists who do the legwork required to properly expose hidden evil to public scrutiny, igniting the sparks of major change. “Spotlight” is the story of one such exposure: namely, the revelation that

John Ehrett 0
11 Dec 2015

Gospel of the Lord | Book Review

Gospel Studies exists as a relatively neglected field that has long taken a back seat to the study of the Historical Jesus or perspectives on Paul. Yet—argues Michael F. Bird—this realm of study stands ripe with opportunities for research and theological growth. To begin addressing the historical problem of how the life and teachings of Jesus became the fourfold gospel accounts of the New Testament, Bird offers The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early

Jacob Prahlow 1
16 Nov 2015

Spectre | Movie Review

“Spectre” is a frustrating film to review: in its attempt to provide a resolution to the last several films, it has one hand in the best of modern James Bond (“Casino Royale,” “Skyfall”) and one in the worst (“Quantum of Solace”). Here, Bond (Daniel Craig) continues his journey into the modern era: MI6 is planning to launch a giant global surveillance program, while villainous organization Spectre (headed by an enigmatic figure allegedly from Bond’s past)

John Ehrett 0
14 Nov 2015

The Adventures of the Sea Kids (Book Giveaways)

The Adventures of the Sea Kids is a children’s book series that features Christian themes alongside fun (and fishy!) illustrations. To date, there are three books in there series: Fast Freddy, What a Bragger, and forthcoming I’m Not Afraid. The books are full-color, fully illustrated, fish-tales about a school of kids (fish) who learn not to discriminate (Fast Freddy) or gasconade (What a Bragger). The books also incorporate a hidden fish symbol for children to search for on each page. We

Guest Author 0
15 Oct 2015

Go Set A Watchman | Book Review

Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscience.1 In reading the long hoped for follow up to To Kill A Mockingbird, one is struck by similarities and differences: similarities in setting and characters, differences from how we expected those characters and settings to turn out. Despite some minor quibbles (noted below), Go Set A Watchman presents a good companion piece for To Kill

Jeff Reid 0
07 Oct 2015

Everest | Movie Review

Having dabbled in entry-level rock climbing in my preprofessional life, I’m fascinated by movies exploring the subject. I was nowhere near proficient: just hiking up Colorado’s 14,000-foot Mount Elbert was an unforgettably grueling experience. Needless to say, I have great admiration for those who face the savage physical test that is Mount Everest. Such a feat, however, carries with it extreme risks to life and limb. “Everest” depicts the 1996 disaster that claimed the lives

John Ehrett 0
25 Aug 2015

Courtship in Crisis | Book Review

As I thought about writing this book review, I realized that I couldn’t write it as only a typical book review. Every so often books are published that represent significant paradigmatic evolution within a culture or discourse. Courtship in Crisis: The Case For Traditional Dating by Thomas Umstattd Jr. is one such book. I feel this post could reasonably be titled “How Courtship in Crisis Has Changed The Christian Matrimonial Discourse as We Know It.”

Justin Megna 2
23 Jul 2015

Did God Really Command Genocide? | Book Review

Any contemporary reader of the Bible will be struck by the seeming divide between the God of Jesus Christ and the God who commands the destruction of whole nations and the obliteration of Canaanites during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. While many Christians simply don’t think about the possible difficulties of a loving God commanding genocide, that has not stopped critics of Christianity—especially the New Atheists—from using portions of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges as

Jacob Prahlow 0
22 Jul 2015

Review: Finding Your Way Back to God

Finding Your Way Back to God Dave Ferguson & Jon Ferguson Multnomah Books, 2015 $22.99 His name was Chris. For many years, there was a book he hated. He said it was the worst book he ever read! One day he told this to the Executive Officer (“XO”) of his Marine Corps unit. This is the story. Before a long holiday weekend, Chris’s unit commander called for every Marine to have their personal vehicle inspected

Chris Casberg 1
22 Jun 2015

Inside Out | Movie Review

The latest confoundingly creative masterpiece from veteran Pixar director Pete Docter (“Up”) is a magnificent achievement. It’s by far the best film Pixar has made since “Toy Story 3”: for the sheer scope of its vision and the genius of its execution, “Inside Out” is unmatched in Pixar’s pantheon. Ostensibly centered on 11-year-old girl Riley Anderson’s psychological turmoil after moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, “Inside Out” emphasizes the reciprocal relationships between her anthropomorphized emotions.

John Ehrett 1
15 Jun 2015

Jurassic World | Movie Review

You can keep your “Avengers” sequels: aside from the forthcoming “Star Wars” reboot, this was far-and-away my most anticipated film of the year. (For reference, I watch the original “Jurassic Park” at least twice a year and saw it in 3D during the 20th anniversary rerelease). That said, it is a truth universally acknowledged that “The Lost World” was a bit of a letdown and that “Jurassic Park III” was an outright debacle. So does

John Ehrett 1
12 Jun 2015

Restoring All Things | Book Review

If you pay attention to the news, you have probably been tempted to see the world through a pessimistic lens on more than one occasion. So much in our world seems wrong, particularly if you hold to the Christian faith. We read headlines about the demographic decline of Christianity in the West and we see more and more evidence each day of the church’s waning moral influence in our culture. Commentators and pundits make it

Jeff Hart 0
10 Jun 2015

The Anthropology of The Avengers: Age of Ultron

This article is not so much a film critique as it is an attempt to extract some ultimate meaning from this popular flick.  I do not attend the theatre as often as I would like or can afford, but when I do I find myself constantly trying to perceive applicability to real life from what I see on screen.  I am fascinated and beguiled by the world of visual narrative, and I believe we are

Joseph Green 2
05 Jun 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road | Movie Review

I have never seen a film quite like this: a hyperkinetic, utterly relentless aural and visual onslaught that somehow never runs out of gas. George Miller’s postapocalyptic action spectacle is a thrilling summer movie if ever there was one, and demands to be viewed on the largest screen possible (if it’s between this and “Age of Ultron,” see “Fury Road”). The aesthetic is almost indescribable: a grungy ultra-saturated color palette coupled with outlandishly stylized dieselpunk

John Ehrett 2
14 May 2015

Ex Machina | Movie Review

Artificial intelligence is clearly the menace of the cinematic hour. The old menace posed by the Skynet of the “Terminator” franchise has taken on additional credibility in the era of “big data,” which offers the possibility of algorithmic analysis on a heretofore undreamt-of scale. Alex Garland’s recent thriller “Ex Machina,” however, trades guns for words and explosions for psychological turbulence, raising fundamental questions within a deeply intimate context. “Ex Machina” opens as Caleb Smith (Domhnall

John Ehrett 0
04 May 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron | Movie Review

After living through a decade or so of superhero epics, I’m starting to feel a bit fatigued by the whole thing: Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is done, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series was unceremoniously truncated, and the prospect of additional Wolverine-centric X-Men films is looking a bit dim. That said, last summer marked the release of my favorite Marvel film to date – “Guardians of the Galaxy” – so clearly there’s still some gas in the

John Ehrett 2
01 May 2015

Life, Dreams, and Everything

When I was eighteen years old I purchased the film Waking Life, by director Richard Linklater. Its premise, plot, and production epitomize our postmodern moment. Linklater develops a story about dreams within dreams, in which a character travels seamlessly through surreal worlds while witnessing a plethora of philosophical conversations about life and death. The tagline reads, “Are we sleepwalking through our waking state, or wake-walking through our dreams?” Utilizing stunning visual effects,1 a haunting score,

Benjamin Winter 1