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Thor: Ragnarok - When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

Thor: Ragnarok – When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

This review was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

After having grown extremely used to superhero films presenting gritty realities in harsh, dark tones, I was initially off put by the trailer for the latest Thor installment. Candy-colored and none-too-serious, this, it seemed, was uncharted territory and I proceeded to the theatre warily- excited, at the very least, to see Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup-but unsure of what to expect beyond that.

The film begins with Thor in a kind of pseudo-underworld where Chris Hemsworth (the ever-muscular and flaxen-haired), while taking on a fiery enemy and his minions, is given a chance…

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20 Years Later: Reflecting on the Ageless Imputation of Good Will Hunting

20 Years Later: Reflecting on the Ageless Imputation of Good Will Hunting

This timely reminder of the (timeless) emotional punch packed by Good Will Hunting comes to us from Sam Guthrie, twenty years after the film’s release.

Twenty years ago, a few no-name actors from New England wrote a screenplay about a math prodigy from South Boston. With the help of stars like Robin Williams and Stellan Skarsgård and the vision of director Gus Van Zant, Good Will Hunting became a hit and kickstarted the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (as well as his brother Casey) who in time would all become household names.

Out of the numerous gems in the treasure chest of Good…

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Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

If it’s true what Stephen Marche writes in The Unmade Bed, that there’s nothing less manly than talking about manliness, I’m not sure where that leaves me. After reading Marche’s latest column in The New York Times, “The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido,” I realized I’m averaging one essay per year on the subject:

Underachieving Boys and the Masks Men Wear
Online Males, Deadbeat Females, and the Simplest Thing in the World
Are You Man Enough? When Virile Was a Compliment
Please Help The Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness

It’s some of the stuff I’m most proud of, to be honest, partly because…

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Raising the Stakes Is Lowering the Stakes for Justice League

Raising the Stakes Is Lowering the Stakes for Justice League

From Justice League expert Jeremiah Lawson, here is an insightful look at the recent holiday season blockbuster.

It may be a law of blockbuster cinema that there is an inversely proportional relationship between how high the stakes are raised in explicit and implicit narrative terms and the actual significance of said stakes. In a phrase, when everything is at stake, you can be relatively confident nothing is at stake, and this is, in sum, a weakness that the film Justice League can’t shake off.

The plot is as follows: in the wake of Superman’s death through Kryptonite exposure and injuries fighting General Zod,…

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When Kiss Means Kill: Reflections on the Apocalypse of Language

When Kiss Means Kill: Reflections on the Apocalypse of Language

“As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other the word water, firstly slowly then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Suddenly I felt the misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened by soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free… Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought….

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The Hidden Link Between Martin Luther and... Peter Parker?

The Hidden Link Between Martin Luther and… Peter Parker?

Can’t say I was expecting the following (timely!) illustration to pop up in the Substitution chapter of Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion, ht RS:

A substantive argument against the motif of atonement and substitution is that people in other cultures around the world do not see themselves in the categories we have been discussing–guilt, incapacity, bondage, shame, failure, defeat. Yet the more one hears this, the more the categories seem to pop up. Here is an example that originated in American comic-book culture and spread around the world. In a highbrow essay review of Spider-Man, the blockbuster movie of 2002, Geoffrey O’Brien,…

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Little Sister: Good News for the Goth Family

Little Sister: Good News for the Goth Family

This spooky little treat comes to us from Caleb Stallings.

“Fail to see the tragic,
Turn it into magic!”

– Marilyn Manson

“Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago, which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.”

– Psalm 74:2, NRSV

Halloween came strangely early for me this year. By the time September was settling in, I was already halfway through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with The Cramps’ Off the Bone constantly buzzing in the background. And as soon as October arrived, the un-carved pumpkins were placed, the paper skeletons were hung, and the ghoulish festivities were well under way. Horror was on my…

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PZ's Podcast: Psychosis & One Monkey

PZ’s Podcast: Psychosis & One Monkey

EPISODE 236: Psychosis

“Psychosis” is a very strong word for a cultural phenomenon. But it allows us to speak of a fissure over against reality, when groups of people see things around them in a way that is divorced from the facts.

You can apply the phenomenon of group fissure from reality, to anything you like. I can see it in the way a very specific historical reality, the Anglican Church as the English expression of legal and official Protestantism, has been so completely buried by a different “narrative” that it is as if the reality never was and never existed.

So completely,…

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The Art of Memoir and a Divine Glimpse of Stefani in Gaga: Five Foot Two

The Art of Memoir and a Divine Glimpse of Stefani in Gaga: Five Foot Two

I spent the better part of my 20s working with teenagers in one form or another. Whether as a youth minister, a creative writing teacher, or a photography TA, one dazzling thread remained the same: Gaga. I spent time with kids who didn’t just adore her music, they worshiped her. They felt freed in some way by who she allowed them to be; she allowed them to be themselves (or whatever version of themselves they wanted to be) in all their average weirdness. In Gaga: Five Foot Two (a documentary released last month on Netflix), one of Lady Gaga’s fans…

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Art and Death in A Ghost Story: An Interview with David Lowery

Art and Death in A Ghost Story: An Interview with David Lowery

This interview was conducted by Daniel Melvill Jones. A Ghost Story is available for rent on iTunes and other outlets as of today Tuesday, October 3.

Director David Lowery burst onto the filmmaking scene with his breakout indie hit, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. This led to Disney entrusting him with last year’s remake of Pete’s Dragon, a critical success praised for its personal vision. But nothing prepared critics for this year’s Sundance hit, A Ghost Story. Wholly unique, this small film has a scope at once cosmic and contained. It elegantly expresses questions of loss, death, creativity, and the permanence of…

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Pennywise the Clown, Stephen King, and Jesus

Pennywise the Clown, Stephen King, and Jesus

This piece was written by Jill Moran.

I married a man who learned from God through fiction. My husband swears by the hand of Stephen King in his spiritual life just as he does Brennan Manning, G.K. Chesterton, and the Apostle Paul. The sceptic in me, at first, saw only blood and horror at the sight of a Stephen King book. I wanted nothing to do with it, as I don’t with most dark things, assuming there is nothing sacred to be found in the midst of gore. I now see something much deeper as I peer through the pages of these…

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Mother!: Sinners in the Hands of a Petty God

Mother!: Sinners in the Hands of a Petty God

This look at the controversial new film was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

Mother! was advertised as a mystery-thriller and the trailer, which was riveting, left much to the imagination. Thus, on opening weekend, hordes of thrill-seeking men and women went to see it, each with their own set of expectations. Some came for horror, some expected gore, many came to see Jennifer Lawrence, that darling of the silver screen, be terrified herself; but most of all, they, and I in many ways, came that Saturday night to simply be entertained. Stuffed to the gills with excitement and no small amount…

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