A few months ago, after reading Timon Cline’s review, I watched the recent documentary film Calvinist. The film is not a history of the Reformed tradition or even of the “doctrines of grace’ themselves. Rather, it’s a celebration of a distinctly contemporary moment in American Christianity—namely, the “Calvinist turn” in evangelical theology and culture that goes by the moniker Young, Restless, and Reformed (often abbreviated “YRR”). In the film’s optimistic telling, this particular revival of
Note: This review does not spoil key plot points. The Florida Project was the best film of 2017. I have been waiting for some time to write my review; the gravity of this film’s message demanded both multiple viewings and careful reflection. I can now say that Sean Baker has put together a magnificent and enduring work of art. The Florida Project is a gritty take on the elusivity and hollowness of the American dream.
Review of Mother! (dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2017) My Rating: 9/10 Recommended viewing, provided you have the stomach for psychological horror. Note: This review first appeared on Theology + Movies. Note: Do not read this review if you are planning to see the film (spoilers). But come back and read/comment afterwards, because you’ll want to talk about it! =) Prologue On a rare night out with a friend, I experienced the film Mother!, directed by Darren Aronofsky.
I watched this movie, first and foremost, because I promised the filmmakers on Twitter that I would, back when they were trying to get it greenlit. (Never let it be said that I don’t put my social media slacktivism into practice!) Clearly, an R-rated superhero black comedy was a hard sell to the studio–and indeed, Deadpool isn’t exactly a member of Marvel’s A-list squad. While “Deadpool” exists within the same satirical tradition that gave viewers
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
“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)
Late last week, I found myself embroiled in a long online conversation with an acquaintance over my review of the recent film “Straight Outta Compton.” The movie, which charts the rise of controversial rap group N.W.A., is a well-made biographical drama that raises challenging questions. It also, as one might expect given the subject matter, contains a good deal of content that will be off-putting to certain viewers (and is undoubtedly inappropriate for audiences beneath
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
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
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,
As “big, dumb movies” go, the last few “Fast and Furious” films are some of the best – they’re solidly character-driven, and generally pack an emotional heft beyond your average superhero flick. “Furious 7” is no exception: it’s a briskly paced, action-drenched adventure that hits a new high point for the franchise. In a nutshell, the “Fast and Furious” series centers on Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), and their team of exceptionally
Irrational Contradiction, or Divine Mystery? The Incarnation is a puzzle, and puzzles are either a lot of fun or a major problem. The puzzle goes like this: Since God created space, time, and humanity, God could exist without space, without time, and without humans. But in the Incarnation, God becomes a temporal, spatial human. How can one thing be both spatial and non-spatial, both temporal and non-temporal, both human and non-human? While Christians often respond,
“Our two little granddaughters have a sense of community which many adults have lost; people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only…The loneliness, the namelessness of cocktail-party relationships surround us. We meet, but even when we kiss we do not touch. We avoid the responsibility of community.”1 —Madeleine L’Engle There is
Some thoughts are too big for fiction and movies. I was thinking that when I watched God is Not Dead for the first time a few weeks ago. Yes, I put it off for as long as I possibly could. As much as I like to support Christian films (I am a film script writer, after all), I find that I cringe my way through many of them. Though there were some commendable points to