Christian Movies Need More “Blue Like Jazz” and Less “God’s Not Dead”

Whenever people find out that I’m a Christian and a film critic (but not, I should stress, a Christian film critic), there’s one movie they always ask me about. Depending on their background and leanings, they either expect that I love it or want to know why it’s so terrible. That movie is “God’s Not Dead.” I’ve had friends ask me if I like it, reporters ask me why it’s so bad and I’ve talked about it on podcasts. The most… Read more

Movies, comedy and parenting advice via podcasts!

Well, we’re in the thick of fall now (except, of course, on the calendar). My son started kindergarten this week and my second year of grad school is officially underway. I got back into the screening groove this week with “It,” which you can read about next week, along with an announcement detailing why it’s a bit delayed. And there’s some good stuff I’m working on to post in the coming days, including my thoughts on the recent re-release of… Read more

Christians: Read the Room

If God has a PR person, they should be fired after this week. At a time when the public perception of Christianity in America is already in the toilet, this week it took another hit on two fairly large fronts. First, megachurch prosperity preacher Joel Osteen caught heat when it appeared he was closing the doors of his Houston church to residents seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Although Lakewood eventually opened its doors — and Osteen claimed they had never been closed —… Read more

Punk Rock, Theme Parks and More on a Double Dose of CROSS.CULTURE.CRITIC.

Don’t worry, we’re going to get back to movies soon. I intentionally try to take a breather from new releases in August. The summer movie season exhausts me, even after one as strong as this summer. Plus, the fall season is looking insane. That’s not a bad thing. A glimpse at the fall film release schedule shows me there’s something potentially great coming nearly every week, and as I prepare to balance the awards season review slate with grad school,… Read more

What Are the Greatest Comedies of All Time?

Comedy films and comedians often don’t get the respect they deserve from film buffs. Think of the last pure comedy or comedic performance to walk away with an Academy Award or to top an end-of-the-year list. People often mistake “serious” for “good,” and neglect to acknowledge that making people laugh often takes more skill and calculation than making them cry. To this day, I’ll insist that “Borat” should have been nominated for an Oscar, and that Sacha Baron Cohen should… Read more

A Summer Break

It has been a heck of a summer. Usually by August, I’m ready to toss in the towel and never set foot in a theater again, worn down by sub-par blockbusters and action flicks. This year, though, summer has been one for the books. “Dunkirk,” “Detroit,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Baby Driver” and “Spider-man: Homecoming” are just some of the films I’ve been so thrilled to get to write about. And… Read more

Podcast Roundup: Reese Roper! Dunkirk! Christian Art!

I’ll keep this brief, because you have a lot of listening to do. This has turned into a productive and fun summer. Not only have the film’s been shockingly great, leading to some fun reviews to write, but the podcasts I participate in have become so much more engaging in recent months, leading me to opportunities I’d have never dreamed of. So going into this weekend, I wanted to post some of them here. As I said a few weeks… Read more

The Rainbow Reconnection: How “The Muppet Movie” Helped Me Fight Cynicism

I could blame it on sitting alone in my apartment on a Saturday night, eating cold pizza and drinking flat Pepsi, but I know the truth: it was the banjo-playing frog that made me cry. It was early summer 2009. I was still single, and my younger siblings were married and starting families. Earlier that year, I quit a newspaper job I loved to take on a tedious but higher-paying position as a marketing writer with the Army. Dreams of… Read more

Review: “Detroit” is Brutal, Messy and Essential

I grew up in the shadows of Detroit.  I was raised in the suburbs outside the city, in a commuter town that owed its existence to the white flight that contributed to the unrest of the 1960s. Despite my outsider status, when out-of-towners asked where I was from, I never said Warren. I said Detroit. Even so, I rarely visited the city. Maybe for a Tigers game or a show at the Fox. As a teen, my parents dissuaded me… Read more

Review: “Dunkirk” Is Christopher Nolan’s WW2 Masterpiece

“Dunkirk” is a visceral experience unlike any war movie I’ve seen. It’s the type of movie that an opportunistic marketer could have a field day with, imploring you to FEEL the claustrophobia, HEAR the gunfire and SMELL the diesel. That it’s more than just an intense simulation is a testament to director Christopher Nolan, who plays to his strengths and avoids his worst tendencies. A craftsman who’s enamored with meticulousness, Nolan creates an innovative and precise look at one of World… Read more

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