How the movies helped me reconcile faith and science

Writing about the relationship between faith and science for the blog series on National Geographic's "The Story of God" was one of my highlights from last year. I was honored to be asked to participate in the blog carnival, but I also had no idea how the project would also send me on my own faith journey.Discussing my views on the origins of the universe caused me to address questions I'd been wrestling with for years. I knew that the traditional Young Earth Creation views I'd been raised … [Read more...]

Review: Charm keeps “Fate of the Furious” from stalling

The final 45 minutes of "The Fate of the Furious" are some of the most gleefully ridiculous in the 16-year franchise. There are cars on ice, a Russian submarine and The Rock redirecting a torpedo with his bare hands. Miles above, another character gets in a blistering fight on plane, a gun in one hand and a baby in the other. Director F. Gary Gray delivers pure insanity, which is what the Fast and Furious movies do best.It's a welcome boost of adrenaline. Because in its earliest going, this i … [Read more...]

Crashing: Christian in the wild

HBO's new series "Crashing" finished its first season on Sunday. As with many of the network's other comedies, I highly enjoyed it. The combination of star/creator Pete Holmes and executive producer Judd Apatow made this look into the stressful world of stand-up comedy heartfelt, awkward and funny, often in the same beat. But it's the show's spiritual side that made it resonate."Crashing" follows Holmes (playing a slightly fictionalized version of himself) as he tries to make a break in New … [Read more...]

Review: Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor return for another hit in “T2 Trainspotting”

The 1996 cult classic "Trainspotting" was released 12 years prior to director Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" and three years before star Ewan McGregor became a Jedi. Based on Irvine Welsh's acclaimed novel, its scuzzy, rough-around-the-edges aesthetic fit its energetic, seat-of-your-pants vibe. It holds up as a surreal, vibrant, sometimes horrifying look at youth, friendship and drug culture in 1990s Edinburgh.Trading raucous energy for a creak in the bones and reckless opt … [Read more...]

“Beauty and the Beast” and the backfiring of outrage

So, my piece a few weeks back on the outrage over Disney's choice to include an "explicitly gay" moment in its remake of "Beauty and the Beast" caused quite a stir. As of this writing, there are 195 comments and it's one of my most-read pieces here at Patheos. I'm thankful to everyone who shared, read and commented.The film is out now (you can read my review here), and the controversy doesn't seem to have hurt its performance at the box office one bit; the film grossed a record $170 million t … [Read more...]

Review: “Beauty and the Beast” charms, never fully enchants

Disney's recent trend of remaking its animated classics has been successful because of the studio's ability to find new angles on beloved tales. "Cinderella" added a dose of compassion and was anchored by a fantastic performance by Lily James. "Jungle Book" found new notes of menace and adventure. "Pete's Dragon" brought soul to a silly, slapdash story. This approach has allowed these live-action remakes to stand proudly alongside, and sometimes above, their animated predecessors.But what do … [Read more...]

Logan: Wolverine’s R-rated redemption

I've been wanting to write about "Logan," Hugh Jackman's final go-round as Wolverine, since I walked out of a theater a week ago, stunned silent by James Mangold's film. It's the rare comic book movie to provoke a visceral, emotional response, one of the few that is about something more than blue lights, shiny gizmos or franchise setups. It's not just a great superhero movie; it's a great movie, period. So, let's talk about it.Warning: From here on out, spoilers for the entire film.  My own … [Read more...]

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Fail as Old as Time: Why Boycotting Disney is Stupid

Two things happened this week regarding Disney's live action remake of "Beauty and the Beast."First, director Bill Condon remarked that a character in the beloved story would be gay, a first for a Disney film. That was followed, very predictably, by anger from many conservative evangelicals, including usual angry suspects Matt Walsh, Franklin Graham and, well, Alabama. They've taken to their pedestals to cry for a boycott and decry the company whose films probably make up half of their home v … [Read more...]

3 Reasons You Should See ‘Moonlight’ This Weekend

Hot off Sunday's historic — and famously gaffe-laden — Academy Awards, Best Picture winner "Moonlight" is expanding into 1,500 movie theaters this weekend. It's a victory lap for the indie darling, which was made for only $1.5 million and has since grossed more than $22 million.While that's not a giant number, it's a strong showing for such a small film, especially one that could be mistaken as a niche product. Barry Jenkins' film might be about a young, gay black man in Miami, but its theme … [Read more...]

So, let’s talk about that weird Oscar night

Of all the times for me to go to bed early on Oscar night.I'm sure you've witnessed the envelope rip heard around the world, but just in case you haven't:So, yeah, if you're having a rough Monday morning, just take heart: at least you didn't produce last night's Academy Awards.Here are a few belated thoughts:First off, I'm elated at "Moonlight's" win for best picture. I never boarded the "La La Land" hate wagon; indeed, the film was one of my favorites last year. But I saw … [Read more...]