New Here?
     
Film


Three Minutes of Pixar Easter Eggs

Because we could all use a mental health break this AM:

p.s. Remember when we released “The Gospel According to Pixar”? Me neither…

The Dirty Deacon’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

The Dirty Deacon’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

Disclaimer: Pinning down actual years on films is a tricky endeavor. Some films travel film festival circuits and have limited theater releases well before they’re actually “out”. However, my list below contains the top 10 horror films that had a wide release in 2016, whether it was in theaters or through video-on-demand services. So while films like The Love Witch might have been seen by some in the more metropolitan areas, I do not include them here, because if I can’t get my paws on it somehow in the Panhandle of Texas, then it’s not wide enough.

That being said, I saw 53 horror films that…

Read More > > >

The Top Ten Films of 2016

The Top Ten Films of 2016

Listen, 2016 has been…difficult. From political turmoil to national racial unrest, and the deaths of many beloved pop-icons such as Bowie, Prince, and, most recently, one of the more daring heroines the cine-verse has ever known, Carrie Fisher. But, as Sarah Condon so gracefully pointed out, 2016 wasn’t the worst year ever. As both the enthusiastic cinephile and the average moviegoer can attest, 2016 provided an admirable follow-up to an excellent year of film in 2015. Listed below are the ten best films that I saw in 2016. With a variety of genres and production levels represented, there is truly something for everyone! I hope you enjoy,…

Read More > > >

A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

Here we go! A look into some of 2016’s most-talked-about films…

Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker’s film shares a title with D.W. Griffith’s 1915 technical masterpiece, yet inverts the idyllic narrative that championed the victory of white supremacy over the supposed societal dangers of Reconstruction. Where Griffith’s storyline details the violence that ensues when fear drives one people group to inflict genocide on another, Parker’s 21st century vision shows us the violence preceding the redemption of a people who have historically responded to oppression via artistic innovation and spiritual transcendence.

A rare film abundantly flowing with references to Scripture without attempting…

Read More > > >

In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

Everybody!!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story delivers magnificently on the promise Star Wars fans have known still lurked within the franchise but struggled to manifest over the last seventeen years of films. Yes, I’m hyperventilating a little–but so will you. Rogue One is so excellent it would be easy to drown the internet in superlatives praising it but part of the excitement that accompanies it is the sheer wonder of witnessing a story that celebrates heroism and hope without resorting to the stale devices that characterize so many blockbusters. Gareth Edwards has composed an elegy to broken human beings consecrated to…

Read More > > >

Martin Scorsese Explains That God Is Always Present, Even in His Silence

Martin Scorsese Explains That God Is Always Present, Even in His Silence

If you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the release of Silence, Martin Scorsese’s adaption of the classic novel by Shūsaku Endō, check out the foreword to the 2016 edition, excerpted below. Written by the movie magician himself, Scorsese reveals how the novel has been intensely personal for him, and why it is this story–one of persecution, doubt, and betrayal–that best illustrates Christian faith.

How do you tell the story of Christian faith? The difficulty, the crisis, of believing? How do you describe the struggle? There have been many great twentieth-century novelists drawn to the subject–Graham Greene, of course, and François Mauriac, Georges Bernanos and,…

Read More > > >

Rogue One: Moral Licensing and a Father’s Love

Rogue One: Moral Licensing and a Father’s Love

Bust out your bagel-hair earmuffs and blast the John Williams! The latest installment of the Star Wars Universe, Rogue One, blasted its way into theaters this weekend. On the podcast last year, I noted my disappointment with Ep. VII, particularly derivative plot and narrative callbacks. Rogue One was the droid I was looking for. A standalone entry to the Star Wars Universe, the movie tells the story of how Princess Leia got those super-important Death Star plans back in 1977. It needed about three more minutes of character development, and a few of the CGI characters were a bit off, but…

Read More > > >

The Cruelty of Age in “The Crown”

The Cruelty of Age in “The Crown”

Carrie Willard’s recent assessment is dead-on — “The Crown” deserves to be savored instead of binged. In the ninth episode, one of the more interesting subplots had the artist Graham Sutherland being commissioned to paint Winston Churchill’s portrait for his 80th birthday [spoilers follow]. Churchill (John Lithgow) is anything but a willing subject, nor is he excited about the unveiling of the finished product before an audience at Westminster Abbey. And while the audience applauds politely at the unveiling, Churchill’s initial disgust is barely masked by a forced smile. “A fine patriotic piece of modern art,” he manages.

After hearing that Churchill has…

Read More > > >

Manchester By the Sea: Notes on the Best Film of the Year

Manchester By the Sea: Notes on the Best Film of the Year

I’m pretty sure my wife and I would’ve gotten together without Kenneth Lonergan’s help, but you never know. It was the summer of 2002, and she was the first person I’d ever heard mention his film You Can Count On Me in casual conversation. A deceptively smart mixture of pathos and heart (and great acting), she counted it among her favorites as well. I’ve told the story elsewhere–let’s just say the episode doesn’t reflect particularly well on yours truly. But it should give you a sense of what the man’s work means to me.

When Lonergan’s long-delayed follow-up Margaret finally appeared…

Read More > > >

The Sad Optimism of La La Land

The Sad Optimism of La La Land

In the end of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone get what they’ve always wanted. Once it’s theirs, though, they realize it’s not what they were expecting. Stone’s imagination steers us through the final scene, a montage of what could have been. It’s funny and heartbreaking, in turns. Her quirky, unsuccessful play premiers to a sold out auditorium, and Gosling’s depressing gig playing mood music at a lousy restaurant wins impossible acclaim. It’s not what actually happened, and it’s not the way things ever happen.

Happy endings are the stuff of fairytales. And though it feels like…

Read More > > >

Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

One of the more attractive elements of grace-based living is that it removes (in doctrine, anyway, if not always in practice) the pressure to discern every decision correctly. Both the roughing-it-through-the-grind and seeking-the-horizon are both valid and acceptable approaches to life. This stance contrasts with FOMO-driven media in both the general and Christian spheres. Such movies, books, sermons, etc emphasize the importance of striving over settling. Persistence involves driving forward toward goals, not simply making it through.

Mbird contributors (and, I think, readers) have diverse views on theology and practice, but we are mostly united in our skepticism of the ever-striving-forward…

Read More > > >

Arrival and the Problem with Drawing Lines

Arrival and the Problem with Drawing Lines

“Plenty of directors make violent movies. Denis Villeneuve makes movies about violence, which is not quite the same thing,” writes A.O. Scott in a review of last year’s Sicario. That film followed Emily Blunt as an idealistic FBI agent enlisted in an off-the-record task force fighting cartels. Another Villeneuve film, Prisoners, featured Hugh Jackman as a blue-collar father seeking vigilante justice for his children’s kidnappers. In both, characters decide to draw their own morality lines, using their better judgment and a perceived “greater good” as barometers for action. In Sicario, we see the effect of this thinking in institutions whereas in Prisoners…

Read More > > >