Film

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Simply put, which is the best way to put it, 2014 was a pleasing year for the avid movie-goer. Now that it’s nearing its end, I thought it fitting to give the Mockingbird reader a list of personal favorites in a two-part top ten list. Disclaimer: Alas, I am not yet a member of the Academy. I do not get the year’s best films delivered to my doorstep free of charge. I will admit, there are many (presumably) good films that I have just have not seen yet, because, well, movies cost money. But here are the bottom five of Joe Nooft’s personal, paid for, top…

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The Office: Middle Earth

As we brace ourselves for the final Hobbit film hitting screens this week, SNL produced a truly funny parody:

For more along these lines, check out Stephen Colbert’s interview with Smaug.

Star Wars Reticence

Star Wars Reticence

On this site, it is hard to miss the emphasis on God’s grace and our passivity. Grace as God’s overriding disposition toward the human condition in Christ and passivity as suffering the work of an interested and loving God on His people. All of the grace, celebration, joy, redemption, and catharsis we receive rest on The Great Ending of One Finished Act of God we suffer… an act we observe and hear about instead of work to bring to pass. This Great Ending is the basis of all of our mining on Mockingbird.

So, count me as one who is deeply…

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A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2014 Edition)

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2014 Edition)

Last year’s gift guide was so popular that we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition. Apologies in advance for once again not straying too far from our books/movies/music wheelhouse.

For Those About to Host a Christmas Party: A Very Love and Mercy Christmas by Sam Bush and Kathryn Caine

For Your Friend Who Is Always Complaining About How Bad the Sermons Are at Their Church: Sermons of Grace by John Zahl

For Anyone Looking to Spice Up Their Office or Bring Their Inner Child to Work: An assortment of Funko’s “Reaction Figures”. Recommendations include Chunk from The Goonies, Zoe from Firefly, Kane…

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Fury at the Cross(roads): The Gospel in the Violence of History

Fury at the Cross(roads): The Gospel in the Violence of History

Another great contribution from Michael W. Nicholson, this reflection on the film Fury’s religious dimension first appeared on his blog, Tides of God.

The most religious film many moviegoers will see this year will not be an inspirational story from a faith-based production company; it will be writer-director David Ayer’s WWII tank combat epic Fury. And in some ways Fury is also a more compelling narrative about redemption than many of the sermons preached from Church pulpits on any given Sunday.

Fury is a slice-of-combat-life story that follows a few days’ action of a Sherman tank crew during the final campaign against Germany in…

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George Lucas is Darth Vader is Your Father

George Lucas is Darth Vader is Your Father

For children of the 70s and 80s, the phrase “cautiously optimistic” perfectly fits our feelings about the first teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. We love “the original trilogy” (Episodes IV through VI) almost as much as we regret having ever heard of the prequels (Episodes I through III). Most of us, though I can’t speak for the true die-hard Star Trek fans, like what Abrams did with his Star Trek reboot and are hopeful that he can bring back some of this series’ luster—a shine that was lost in Jar Jar Binks’s…

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Risky Business: Jesus Meets a Control Freak – RJ Heijmen

The second of our Fall Conference videos is here!

Risky Business: Jesus Meets a Control Freak – RJ Heijmen from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash: A Parable of Stifling Perfection

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash: A Parable of Stifling Perfection

[Mild spoilers follow.] As a writer, I’ve found, you’re always searching for material. A friend’s talking to you about a bad breakup, years of religious doubt and self-recrimination for doubting, a car wreck, DUI, or lost job. Suddenly, once an insight seems to hit you – or even a situation with a certain intellectual appeal – the ideas become all, and their textures, contexts, and the unfortunate people living in them become pared back, leaving you with what feels like the beginnings of a great article, essay, even poem. The real world fades away, and all you’re left with, all you…

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The Trivial Pursuits of Lena Dunham

The Trivial Pursuits of Lena Dunham

In one of the final chapters of Lena Dunham’s new memoir Not That Kind of Girl, entitled “Therapy & Me”, Lena describes her first anxiety-ridden experience of sitting down as a germophobic, obsessive-compulsive nine-year-old with a prospective shrink. It is a “quirky, self-destructive Lena” moment, like so many moments in her book, and her show Girls, and so it would be nearly unremarkable if it weren’t for the subtext:

The first doctor, a violet-haired grandma-aged woman with a German surname, asks me a few simple questions and then invites me to play with the toys scattered across her floor. She sits…

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Another Week Ends: Life in Psychiatric Records, Faith as Ambiguous Blessing, Evangelical Women, Relentlessly Positive Millennials, Flawed In-Laws, and Friends of Sinners

Another Week Ends: Life in Psychiatric Records, Faith as Ambiguous Blessing, Evangelical Women, Relentlessly Positive Millennials, Flawed In-Laws, and Friends of Sinners

1. If anyone thought that medical records couldn’t be riveting and deeply touching, you’re not alone. But George Scialabba, an acclaimed thinker, writer, and book reviewer, voluntarily posted his psychiatric medical history in the current issue of The Baffler. Apart from the courage and vulnerability  such a move shows, as well as the compassion for fellow sufferers which presumably undergirds his release, Scialabba’s post offers a curious mixture of elements as a reader: self-reproach for such intimate voyeurism combined with a feeling that you’re really seeing yourself; wonder at how far short even highly accomplished people can fall far short of…

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Sinner and Saint Vincent

Sinner and Saint Vincent

St. Vincent arrived in theaters just in time for All Saints’ Sunday, the day the church recognizes and remembers those in the parish community who have died, and all the other “saints” that went before them. It is not a coincidence; first-time director Ted Melfi must have known what was on the church calendar in some regard, given the assignment that’s handed out by Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd), to his middle school class. The assignment is this: to find out about and present on a living saint in the community—not Athanasius, not Mother Teresa, not even Pope Francis—but a “saint…

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A Short Guide To Hammer Horror

A Short Guide To Hammer Horror

“Born into a land of brutality and evil…it came from terror and fear! The curse…laid on a baby!” A brief list you’ll find in Issue 3 of The Mockingbird, right in time for Halloween! The Gospel According to…Hammer Horror! Nearly all are available to watch in full on YouTube. Ah Ah Ah Ahhh! “Don’t look into the eyes!”

Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Some would consider Curse of the Werewolf to be the apogee of ‘Christian’ presence in the Hammer canon.

Leon’s Baptism, the coincidence of his conception and birth with Christmas and the Christmas story, and the silver bullet from the Father: these…

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