The military procedural

The American Sniper movie is stirring up big controversy in some circles for supposedly glorifying war.  But it’s also a monster hit, possibly on its way to becoming the most popular war movie ever.  Film critic Ann Hornaday says that it’s an example of a new kind of war movie:  the military procedural.

On television, police procedurals have become extremely popular, stories that concentrate on showing how police officers do their jobs.  All of the shows about forensics specialists, physicians, lawyers, etc., are of the same type, showing professionals at work as they overcome obstacles and accomplish the tasks set before them.  That is to say, all of these procedurals are about vocation! [Read more...]

An actor speaks of faith & calling

Whether or not Selma is fair to LBJ, it’s supposed to be a powerful movie.  (I haven’t seen it yet.  Can anyone comment on that?)  And I’m told that the actor playing Dr. King, the Nigerian/British actor David Oyelowo turns in an amazingly good performance.  It turns out, Mr. Oyelowo is a zealous, committed Christian who is not afraid to talk about his faith.

After the jump, I have an excerpt and a link to an interview with Mr. Oyelowo that first appeared on Patheos and was picked up by Time (which also has a link to our discussion of the LBJ controversy).  I don’t vouch for the theology–for example, that God spoke to him directly–but he is also talking about vocation (a.k.a. “calling”), and we hear a perspective that is kind of refreshing coming from Hollywood. [Read more...]

Oscar nominations

The Academy Award nominations have  been announced, and they are already proving controversial.  For example, how could The Lego Movie not get nominated for best animated feature?  “Everything Is Awesome” from that movie did get nominated for best song, but you do not want that earworm to win, lest it drive the population further into madness.

I’ve seen only a few of these (which is one of the complaints, that many of these are obscure art house type films, rather than ones the general public is familiar with).  (But how is American Sniper, which has just come out?)  Do you see any other problems with the list?  See it after the jump.  What would be your nominations? [Read more...]

Confusing LBJ with Robert Kennedy

We’ve blogged about how the movie Selma villainizes Lyndon Johnson, even though he was the president who pushed through the Civil Rights laws that Martin Luther King was marching for.  The movie shows LBJ ordering the FBI to spy on Dr. King to collect dirt on him.  But, as (liberal) columnist Richard Cohen points out, it was Attorney General Robert Kennedy who gave that order during his brother’s administration! [Read more...]

‘Selma’ movie slanders LBJ?

The movie Selma will be released next weekend and is already receiving great acclaim and Oscar buzz for its portrayal of Martin Luther King’s crusade for Civil Rights, centering in the demonstration he organized in Selma, Alabama.

But narratives, even apparently factual movies, like to have a villain, so Selma turns President Lyndon Baines Johnson into King’s nemesis.  But historians are disputing that characterization, pointing out that LBJ was the president who proposed, pushed through, and implemented the Civil Rights laws.  In fact, he even proposed the tactics to sway public opinion that King used in Selma!

[Read more...]

The Hobbit movie as “tedious havoc”

I was greatly disappointed in the third part of Peter Jackson’s makeshift trilogy based on The Hobbit.  The Battle of the Five Armies was mostly, to use Milton’s words, tedious havoc.  It was two-and-a-half hours of killing orcs, with little story beyond that.

But here is what artists who aspire to the genre of fantasy need to realize:  a good fantasy evokes a sense of wonder, of the numinous.  Jackson’s version of The Lord of the Rings had that; his version of the Hobbit did not.  Tolkien’s novels have that on virtually every page. [Read more...]


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