“Will Work for Meaning”: I review “Two Days, One Night”

at AmCon: The most tense scene I saw in any movie this year was Marion Cotillard leaning against a blank wall gulping from a bottle of water.Cotillard is playing Sandra in “Two Days, One Night,” yet another must-see from Belgium’s Dardenne brothers (“The Kid with a Bike,” “Rosetta,” “The Child,” “The Son”). Sandra is waiting for the results of a vote taken by the employees of Solwal, the company where she used to work. When the movie opens she has barely, partially overcome a severe depressi … [Read more...]

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An Amazing Exchange from the Deleted Scenes of “Damsels in Distress”

ROSE: One thought reassures me: Our stupidity must be part of God’s divine plan. He must have made us stupid for a reason.VIOLET: Because he wants us to have kids? Be fruitful and multiply…ROSE: Yes. Probably. via … [Read more...]

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A Couple Best-Of Lists from Wesley Hill and Helen Andrews

Hill: ...I write often about the consolations of friendship, hospitality, and Christian community, but sometimes I wonder if I’m too sanguine, writing as if these were easily attainable and capable of straightforward engineering. These three books, in very different ways, puncture my naivety. more!Andrews: ...Any culture that bestows fame on fiery young radicals will see some of them punished with remorse in old age, but there are surprisingly few role models for writers who find t … [Read more...]

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Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

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“How Should Secular People Approach Sacred Art?”: The Best Essay of Its Kind

I've read a ton of these and Pelagia Horgan's appreciation of Fra Angelico is the best by far. Give it time to build: The loveliest image I know is Fra Angelico’s ‘Entry of the Blessed into Paradise’, a scene from his painting The Last Judgment of 1431. In it, the blessed, just risen from their graves, gather together in a flowering garden to join hands with angels and dance into the light of heaven. There’s a scene in D H Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915) when Anna Brangwen sees a copy of the … [Read more...]

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“The Mother and the Monster”: I review “The Babadook”

for AmCon. Should've decided in advance how spoilerous I wanted to be; if you haven't seen it yet, I'd definitely recommend either skipping this review or stopping after the first couple paragraphs. One of the year’s most widely-praised horror movies, Australia’s “The Babadook,” methodically chews through a list of terrifying questions: What happens when you can’t protect your child from tragedy and grief? When you can’t protect him from the people around him? From himself? From yourself? more … [Read more...]

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“How to Be Intoxicated”

This article is annoyingly coy (it's all "there's danger in intoxication! there are no guarantees!" but it's scared to say what that actually looks like) but the basic idea is right on and important. And if you want specifics there's always The Secret History so I guess somebody's already written the stuff he leaves out: ...When colleges pick the one book that every new student should read (as they increasingly do through required summer reading programs), they tend to choose something of the … [Read more...]

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