The Kiddy Pool: The Burden of Not Knowing & the Loving Arms of Advent

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, my elder daughter and I snuggled under a blanket and watched The Muppets Christmas Carol; I think I inherited my love of this story from my father, who includes several versions of A Christmas Carol in his rotation of ten films to re-watch for the rest of his life. It’s got mystery, drama, comedy (c’mon, “there’s more of gravy than … [Read more...]

Connecting Head and Hands: The Tragedy of Science Fiction Without Redemption

by Chelsea Willis Fritz Lang’s 1927 German impressionist film Metropolis opens with a dramatic contrast between flesh and technology. The frantic pumping of cylinders and the screeching of whistles transition to the mechanized marching of the hands—workers confined to the dim underground of the great city above them and powerless to do anything but work and die for something they can never attain. Stretching into the sky above ground is the Tower of Babel, strong and secure, a construction symb … [Read more...]

Moving Images: Interpreting Film In Spirit and Truth

Maybe more than any other people group, Christians believe that stories shape people, making us suspicious about the pernicious influence of non-Christian stories and eager to use our own stories for evangelism and discipleship. This posture towards stories is understandable. Our Savior was the Word. Our Holy Scriptures are one great narrative comprised of a myriad of smaller ones. Christ used stories extensively in His teaching.In earlier centuries, Christians worried about the harmful … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Jim Henson’s Compromise

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I’ve long appreciated the Muppets—those on Sesame Street as well as in the films and on the quintessential The Muppet Show—for their appeal to both children and adults. The quality of children’s entertainment programs often reveals the creators’ understanding of children; some shows are “dumbed down” with the unspoken belief that children are stupid simply by virtue o … [Read more...]

‘Ender’s Game,’ Genocide, and Moral Culpability

Warning: This piece contains spoilers for the novel and movie versions of Ender’s Game. A film version of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game has been a long time coming, though in the months leading up to its release, the headlines were as much about Card’s social and political views as the content of the book itself. But even before Card’s views on homosexuality took center stage, Card was already courting controversy just by publishing the very book upon which his reputation largely re … [Read more...]

The Gospel According to Inigo Montoya (aka Mandy Patinkin)

Sometime in my adulthood, I finally watched The Princess Bride. I watched it reluctantly, for after so many years of hearing so many boast of its wonders, I had come to believe it wasn't possible for a movie to be that wonderful. It took just one viewing for me to change my opinion.Over the years, it has remained a cult classic. Its starring cast has carved out permanents spots in many a heart. And the scripting? So clever, we’re still quoting lines some 25 years later. One of the most i … [Read more...]

I Finally Made Myself Watch The Exorcist, and I Did Not Leave Without Hope

Each October in Logan Square, a Chicago neighborhood where I used to live, the Logan Theater does a run of late-night showings of classic horror films. Hundreds of people turn out to see movies like The Shining and Halloween on the big screen, queuing up at the ticket booth even in the wee hours on a weeknight. They buy 16 oz PBR Tall Boys with large popcorns, yell out answers to pre-film trivia, and laugh. The joyful, boozy, and communal mockery of these films’ campiness is part of the f … [Read more...]

Why Bad News is Good News for ‘The Silver Chair’

Three years ago, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) sank The Chronicles of Narnia fantasy film franchise. But now, as fans are likely to say, “Aslan is on the move” again: As  NarniaWeb reported and elaborated on Oct. 1, franchise shepherd and C.S. Lewis stepson Douglas Gresham has found a new Narnia  film producer in Mark Gordon. Mark Gordon stated, "Like many readers, both young and old, I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis's beautiful and allegorical world of Narnia. These fantasy … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Lost in the Cosmos, a Review of Gravity

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films."So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It's when I'm weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig's having lashed across it open. I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand … [Read more...]

How Hollywood’s Bro-Fest Hurts Us All

More often than I’d like to admit, I need to fill my quota of mind-numbing movie watching. I become like the zombie in Warm Bodies and feast off the brain matter of someone else’s seemingly more interesting story, so I can escape my own for a while. Therefore, I now confess that I pretty much watched every major film that came out this summer. This puts me in-the-know about everything, because Hollywood rules the world. So imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I decided to read something (on … [Read more...]