Archives for 2016

“Hell House” and shock-and-awe evangelism

 George Ratliff’s  “Hell House,” (2002) resonates with me in a way few documentaries have. Its depiction of evangelicalism is strikingly familiar. When its church members speak about sin, salvation, and Hell, I hear phrases that could have come from my own lips 20 years ago. As I’ve returned to the film over 10 years, my relationship to it has changed. At first, I was sympathetic to the members of Trinity Church, located in Cedar Hill, Texas. Years later, I was frustrated. Now, I find th … [Read more...]

5 pieces of pop culture to help you endure the election

The election. I know, I'm sick of it, too. But take heart: November 8 is less than a month away. One month from now, the political ads will stop, a candidate will have been chosen, and we'll begin the difficult work of moving on.I doubt there are many undecided voters left. Whether you're casting a ballot for Donald Trump (shudder), Hillary Clinton (a slightly less violent shudder), a third party, or abstaining all together (which is your right), you've probably already chosen your side and … [Read more...]

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Elections, conscience and the will of God

 I hope my usual readers who come to this site looking for thoughts on film, television and other entertainment will indulge one last political post. Believe me, I can't wait to get back to writing about pop culture and movies, and I hope to do that shortly. But this is a crucial time for our country and for the Church. And as a Christian with a platform, I feel it is necessary to put into words what God has laid on my heart. It's no surprise that I've been thinking a lot lately … [Read more...]

Trump, the image of God, and righteous anger

**Yes, I know this is an entertainment blog. But there are matters that transcend entertainment and as a writer who also focuses on faith, I feel I have a responsibility to address that. ** I thought this weekend's release of Donald Trump's repugnant sexual comments would be the straw that broke the camel's back when it came to Christians' support of the Republican presidential candidate. After more than a year of supporting or only lightly chiding his crude remarks about Mexicans, Muslims a … [Read more...]

The Monthly Catch: Wilderpeople, Beatles, Raiders and more!

If you're a constant reader, you've probably noticed my productivity has dropped a notch (or several) recently. This post was originally supposed to go live at the end of September, and here we are well into October. Well, there's a reason for that: it's back-to-school time. I started grad school the day after Labor Day, pursuing a master's in communications with an emphasis in media studies, and it's a lot of work. On top of that, the kids are getting older, work is getting busy, we've had some … [Read more...]

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Thank you, Jim Henson

Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending...It was 2009. I was just turning 30 and, as I watched those final moments to "The Muppet Movie," tears were streaming down my face.It had been years since I'd seen the Muppets' first cinematic foray; decades, even. I don't even know what made me decide to revisit it on the cusp of turning 30. I think that, at the behest of some coworkers, I'd recently rented "The Muppet Show" on DVD and rediscovered the fondness … [Read more...]

Why I don’t need a black and white “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Well, it's happening. After months of rumor and speculation, we're getting a black and white version of "Mad Max: Fury Road." It will be coming out in December in a DVD set that also can include the entire series on Blu-Ray for $80 (four films for that price is pretty good). Director George Miller had been hinting that this version existed for awhile, so it was really just a question of "when," not "if."I’m a huge fan of “Fury Road.” I've seen it several times, and it was my favorite film of … [Read more...]

Is the Internet the Antichrist?

When my dad bought our first computer with a modem and America Online shortly after Christmas in 1998, my life changed forever. I was in my second year of college, and I'd only used the internet a few times. I acclimated quickly. While my family was at a gathering on New Year's Day, I spent eight hours online, meeting new friends in chat rooms and on Instant Messenger, devouring movie news, and marveling at my ability to communicate with people from around the world from our living room. I was … [Read more...]

The Monthly Catch: Harry Potter, Sing Street, Kubo and more

I can't believe we're September already (sorry, this is coming a day late). It's been a fast summer, and it feels like it was just yesterday that I was gearing up for Memorial Day weekend. Now we're prepping for Labor Day, the start of school and cooler weather. It's been a busy month, both on the blog and in my personal life. But there's still a lot I read and watched that I wasn't able to write about, so here is your annual roundup of what I was loving during the past four weeks!  … [Read more...]

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Review: Don’t Breathe

"Don't Breathe" is a late summer surprise, a superbly crafted genre piece thick with suspense and light on mercy. It's best seen in a packed theater, with a crowd that screams and laughs as director Fede Alvarez doesn't so much play them like a piano as beat them like a drum.Set in Detroit, the film is about three friends trying to fund their escape from the city through burglary. One is the son of an alarm company worker and they steal the codes to enter the homes, careful to only take p … [Read more...]