“Alone yet Not Alone” gets Oscar nomination

Alone yet not Alone is one of those small but ambitious “faith-based-films” that usually get little traction in the Hollywood world.  Some of my students and people I know here at Patrick Henry College worked on it.  But I don’t think anybody expected it to win an Oscar nomination, which it did for “best original song.”  Listen to All 5 Tunes Nominated for the ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar.

The music is by Bruce Broughton, the lyrics are by Dennis Spiegel, and the performance is by the remarkable Joni Eareckson Tada.  After the jump, you can hear the song. [Read more...]

The real Osage County

I grew up in northern Oklahoma, so I’ve been noting with bemusement how Osage County all of a sudden has a presence in popular culture.  First there was Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, whose show on the Food Network has introduced foodies to the cuisine I grew up with and whose blog about her life on the vast Drummond Ranch has introduced a wide audience to Oklahoma culture.  Then native Oklahoman Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for his play August:  Osage County, which was then turned into a movie featuring a whole army of A-list actors, such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and (of course, since he’s seemingly been in every other movie this year) Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was shot on location, so all of these Hollywood superstars lived for two months in a condo complex in Bartlesville and shot the movie in a house in Boulanger, with scenes in Pawhuska and Barnsdall.  So I had to see this movie. [Read more...]

Move the nation’s capital to Nebraska

We talk about politics here at the Cranach blog, being careful to keep the two kingdoms distinguished, but we don’t do politicking, in the sense of agitating for one candidate or another.   But I wanted to show you this campaign video as a virtuoso example of the genre.

Ben Sasse is running for the senate in Nebraska.  I have known him personally for a long time in different capacities, and he’s a good guy.  He’s a Lutheran, and I’ve worshiped with him at  Immanuel in Alexandria, where he attended when he lived in the D.C. area.

I know at least one of you will cringe at the exaltation of rural midwestern values, and I admit that some of the conventions of the genre–brilliantly realized in this video–can get kind of cheesy (the waving flags, the obligatory interview with the wife and kids, etc.).  But Ben presents himself ridiculously well.   As for his signature issue here, I am pretty sure he is (mostly) being ironic and metaphorical, but he’s got himself a clever slogan, one that voters will remember and that sets him apart from the pack in the Republican primary.

We are certainly not endorsing him, knowing nothing of his competition or of the issues in the state of Nebraska.  But you’ve got to see this video, after the jump. [Read more...]

Best movies of 2013?

You tell me.  What do you think was the best movie of 2013?

My take on “The Hobbit” 2

We’re on the road, and Friday we were caught in the ice storm in Oklahoma City, taking shelter in a hotel in Bricktown, OKC’s very cool entertainment district.  It was 9:30 p.m. and I was just settling down for a long winter’s nap, when my wife said, “Let’s go see the Hobbit!”  Showing that we nearly-senior citizens can be just as impulsive, reckless, and irresponsible as the callow young, we walked four blocks through the freezing rain, slip sliding away to the nearly-empty multiplex where we were just in time for the 9:45 p. m. showing.  (It was nearly 1:00 a.m. when we made our way back, way, way past our accustomed bed times.)

As my wife commented, most critics have been saying that the first installment of the Hobbit was kind of slow, with all that atmosphere and exposition, and that the second installment, The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug is much better, with non-stop action from the very beginning.  As often happens, the critics describe something true, but fail in their interpretation and in their assessment.   There is way too much action in this second movie, which is not nearly as good as the first one. [Read more...]

“Son of God,” the movie

A movie entitled The Son of God will be released February 28.  An expanded version of material from the Bible TV ministeries but released from a major studio (20th Century Fox), it will keep in the miracles, unlike some film renditions of Jesus’ story.  Details from Variety after the jump.  Here is the trailer.  (But does it look good?  Is it really helpful to turn material from the Word of God into the visual medium of film?)

[Read more...]


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