“Cars 3” Review: How Lightning Got His Vroom Back

It's official: I'm just never going to "get" Pixar's Cars universe.Despite the studio's ability to make me care for friendly monsters, plastic toys, foodie rats, wisecracking bugs and personified emotions, I've been left cold by the adventures of Lightning McQueen and his buddies. There's just something about their design that makes it hard to connect. Aside from their windshield eyes and bumper-lips, these are still just vehicles moving around roadways and tracks, and something in me … [Read more...]

“It’s My Favorite” Returns With a Pop Culture Gumbo!

If, like me, you have an insatiable addiction to pop culture, this a great time. It seems like every week, there are numerous different options hitting various streaming platforms, much of it very high quality. Right now, my wife and I are halfway through the third season of "Kimmy Schmidt" and "The Keepers" on Netflix, both of them excellent. I want to savor those shows, but I'm also aware that I still have new episodes of "Master of None," "Fargo" and "Better Call Saul" backed up behind me. … [Read more...]

The Truman Show, Freedom and Less-Wild Lovers

In their book “The Sacred Romance,” Brent Curtis and John Eldredge discuss the rut that many people often find themselves in. Yearning for lives of adventure and romance but finding that those very things require risk, many settle for what the authors call “less-wild lovers” — distractions that temporarily pacify desire without requiring too much.There are two forms these “lovers” often take. The first is addiction  — drugs, pornography, materialism — that give the rush you’re looking for wit … [Read more...]

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Holiday Road: My 5 Favorite Movie Road Trips

As you read this, I'm on a week-long vacation with my family. As such, I'm taking a bit of a social media break, aside from making sure posts hit Facebook and Twitter accordingly. But I didn't want to leave you content-less, so I have two posts hitting this week. This first is lighter and fun. The second, which posts Thursday, is a deep dive into one of my favorite films.There's a bit of a vacation tie-in to these posts. The one hitting Thursday concerns a movie that filmed in the area where … [Read more...]

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Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” keeps Marvel weird

It's easy to forget that "Guardians of the Galaxy" was the first big question mark for Marvel. After having great success with its earthbound heroes, the studio took its first big leap into the cosmic realm, anchoring it to a group of misfits that included a Walkman-wearing Earthling, a green-skinned assassin, a tattooed warrior, a badass raccoon and a sentient tree named Groot. It was easy to see this as a possible bridge too far for mainstream audiences, especially since the Guardians were at … [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...]

Holy Week Viewing: 7 Films About Jesus

We're about to enter the most important week of the Christian faith. As we commemorate Palm Sunday this weekend, our attention will then turn from the Triumphal Entry to the road to Gethsemane in preparation for Good Friday and Easter. And as such, I find it might be an interesting time to revisit films about Jesus.Over the years, I've come to love movies about Jesus. Cinema gives us the great opportunity to view this beloved story from different angles and through a variety of viewpoints, … [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...]

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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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...]