Grace Notes: Lovesliescrushing, Cut Copy

LovesliescrushingLovesliescrushing -- the duo of guitarist Scott Cortez and vocalist Melissa Arpin-Duimstra -- have been been releasing abstract shoegazer ambience for roughly two decades now. And when I say "abstract shoegazer ambience", I mean that in the truest sense of the term. Points of comparison might be My Bloody Valentine, the Cocteau Twins, and perhaps even Sigur Rós at times, but Lovesliescrushing's music goes even further, eschewing song structures altogether in favor of massive, … [Read more...]

Are You Ready For This Saturday's Rapture?

The Rapture is a funny thing. Not that I think the Second Coming of Christ is a laughing matter, mind you -- far from it. Rather, it's that the whole topic evokes such a jumble of thoughts and emotions for me that it becomes more than a "mere" theological event.I was a child during the height of the Cold War, when "mutually assured destruction" was a frightening and very real possibility. I also attended a church with a strong dispensational premillennial bent. During this time, I read books … [Read more...]

10 Foreign Films That Christians Should Care About

Last week, I explained why I believe that Christians should care about foreign films. But getting into foreign films can be daunting. It's hard enough to stay on top of Hollywood's output, nevermind the cinematic output of Japan, Iran, Russia, France, etc. (This is one area where the Internet has truly been a blessing.) To that end, I've compiled a list of foreign films that I think everyone should watch, but that I think Christians will find especially interesting and … [Read more...]

Why Christians Should Care About Foreign Films

This week marks the start of the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, arguably the world's most famous film festival. As always, many of the world's best filmmakers will be bringing their films to southern France to be watched and judged by critics, fellow directors, and festival judges, not to mention a multitude of cinephiles. This year's line-up is yet another strong one, and features titles from the likes of Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Pedro Almodóvar (The Skin I Live In), Lars V … [Read more...]

Spring Spheres and Christian Persecution

On April 13, 2011, a story broke that seemed too weird to not be true, and at the same time, seemed to buy into many Christians' perceptions regarding the increasing secularism of American society. A young woman named Jessica who attended a private high school claimed to have been doing volunteer work at a Seattle public high school, where she offered to hand out Easter eggs full of candy to the students. The teacher agreed, so long as Jessica called them "spring spheres".Needless to say, this … [Read more...]

Winter Is Coming: An Introduction to "Game of Thrones"

On April 17, HBO will premiere what is arguably the largest fantasy film-making effort since Peter Jackson's adaptation of Lord of the Rings: the first season of Game of Thrones, an adaptation of the first book in George R.R. Martin's long-running Song of Ice and Fire series. I don't make the comparison to Jackson's epic adaptations lightly - the HBO press department has been rolling out teasers and "behind the scenes" featurettes on a pretty regular basis for the last few months, and from the … [Read more...]

Japan, Pearl Harbor, and the Wrath of God

On Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by the biggest earthquake in the country's recorded history, followed by a series of tsunamis. As I type this, the country is still experiencing aftershocks, dealing with potential meltdowns at nuclear power plants that were damaged by the earthquake, and facing the possibility of another large earthquake. Thankfully, it appears as if Japan's earthquake preparedness strategies -- e.g., strict building codes, sea walls, school drills -- may have spared the … [Read more...]

Character Flaws and the "Final Frontier"

When I was in junior high and high school, my world was basically dominated by Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched the show religiously, and my classmates and fellow nerds would often discuss -- in our physics class, natch -- the series and especially its myriad technologies, e.g., warp drives, photon torpedoes, and transporters. I would create and draw up my own starships, dream up my own storylines... Lord only knows what access to the Web circa 1992 would've done to my Trekkie-ness, … [Read more...]

Marketing Our Families

If you're feeling somewhat cynical, you could probably argue that -- in this day and age of unceasing attempts by corporations to make their branding as ubiquitous as possible -- we are all walking billboards. As such, it shouldn't be all that surprising for people to try and make some money doing so. No doubt you've heard of individuals who have allowed themselves to be tattooed, permanently or otherwise, by corporations. And so enter the Billboard Family, a family that -- you guessed it -- has … [Read more...]

The 2011 edition of the Arts & Faith Top 100 Films

Over at Image Journal, Steven Greydanus has officially announced the release of the 2011 edition of Arts & Faith's Top 100 films and explains why this year's list might be the best yet: There are a number of reasons why the 2011 list may be the best Top 100 A&F has yet produced. For one thing, this year saw far and away the highest voter turnout, making for a more representative list. Last year’s turnout, 44 voters, was a new high, but this year’s turnout climbed to 65 -- an increase of n … [Read more...]