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DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: OUR DAILY MICROAGGRESSIONS

Dear White People is a letter (or film) addressed to people like me.   I am a college educated, indie film fan, aware of America’s tangled history of race relations, and eager to do the right thing. And yet, Dear White People senses that I (maybe even we) haven’t rooted out a curious fascination and indirect [Read More...]

HOW TRANSFORMERS AND MICHAEL BAY SHILL FOR CHINA (& UNDERCUT HONG KONG)

I was so happy to miss Transformers: Age of Extinction in theaters.   Director Michael Bay engages in such an unrelenting assault on the senses.   The cuts and crashes happen so fast and so frequently that audiences rarely have time to consider what is actually transpiring onscreen.   Most viewers don’t care where Optimus Prime and the [Read More...]

WHIPLASH: What Price Glory?

Whiplash is the bracing flip-side to Mr. Holland’s Opus, an exploration of how cruel and demanding teachers may drive students to dizzying heights (if they don’t destroy them in the process). It is feel good film about a feel bad teacher, Terence Fletcher, and his driven student, Andrew Neyman. Whiplash depicts the hours of practice [Read More...]

Musical Healing in God Help the Girl

Where does music come from? Is there a deity who bestows the perfect pop songs?   Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian desperately wants to craft the ultimate three minute single.   From “If You’re Feeling Sinister” in 1996 to the “The Life Pursuit” in 2006, Murdoch has polished his songwriting chops, updating the sixties sounds of [Read More...]

Calvary and the Cost of Following God

How shall the Roman Catholic Church pay for her sins? [Read more...]

Jesus in the Movies: A Complicated History

After Son of God, Noah, and God’s Not Dead demonstrated strong box office appeal, the media has dubbed 2014 as “The Year of the Biblical Epic.”   Stories in the Los Angeles Times, Fox News, NPR, The Daily Beast, U.S. News and World Report and The Telegraph have chronicled this ‘flood’ of faith fueled films.  Another [Read More...]

The Haunting Reality Beyond Captain Phillips

It took me a long time to work up the courage to see Captain Phillips.   Despite all the positive reviews and even Academy Award nominations, I stayed away because the story struck me as far too real.   I couldn’t view the movie as mere entertainment because I had followed another hijacking by Somali pirates with [Read More...]

TREE OF LIFE: From Genesis to Revelation

A friend was recently searching for my original review of Tree of Life and discovered it was no longer available online.   So here are my initial thoughts about Terrence Malick’s towering cinematic achievement from May 2011: Tree of Life resurrects the era when Hollywood still aspired to greatness.  Not since 2001:  A Space Odyssey (or [Read More...]

THE ESOTERIC ELVIS: Gary Tillery’s “The Seeker King”

I have always been an Elvis fan, initially because we shared the same birthday.   Over time, I came to truly love his classic songs, from the Sun Sessions in Memphis to his NBC Comeback Special in 1968.    When Elvis was encouraged to find something deep within his soul, the results were startling—a bolt of rock [Read More...]

BEHIND THE OSCAR SNUBS AND SURPRISES

Plenty will be written about how Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Emma Thompson, and Oprah Winfrey got snubbed by the Oscars.   Many may wonder how Inside Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks and Lee Daniels’ The Butler could be overlooked for Best Picture (after all, the Academy could have nominated 10 films, not just the nine [Read More...]

HER: The Lure and Limits of iLove

We live in an era of profound possibilities and deep-seated anxieties.   We believe the future is bright, but we’re scared of the present.   We seek solace in our digital devices, embracing the virtual when the actual feels too weird, wild, and uncontrollable.    We are hyper-connected and yet oddly isolated.   As Louis C.K. has noted, “Everything [Read More...]


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