Song of the Sea (2014): A Conversation With Animator and Author Ken Priebe

The Secret of Kells is gorgeous, dramatic, funny, moving, alive with mystery, and bursting with details that continue to emerge viewing after viewing. It’s no surprise that it took so many years for Tomm Moore and his team to come up with another feature-length film: Song of the Sea. [Read more...]

Foxcatcher poster

3 Jeffs & the Truth: Foxcatcher

In which three film enthusiasts — all named Jeff — discuss and debate Foxcatcher. [Read more...]


Taylor Swift, Nirvana, Andrew Peterson, and Bob Dylan All Appear in This Headline

Imagine that your favorite band tries on a new sound, or a new look. Imagine that fans are not happy, and they complain about it. Imagine that the band decides to push back… in song. It’s happened before. It’s happened quite frequently, actually. Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan, The Decemberists, and U2 have all answered their fans and [Read More...]


Are Christians “David”? Is Hollywood “Goliath”?

In today’s episode of Sadly, This is Not a Satire… Check out this website promoting David and Goliath, a movie that hopes to attract audiences by condemning “Hollywood” as the Enemy of God. Note, I put “Hollywood” in quotes. Because… who exactly is this looming, powerful giant? I’m not going to post the David and Goliath trailer here: I [Read More...]

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An Hour of Wisdom and Storytelling with Joe Henry

Joe Henry, who recorded my favorite record of 2014 (Invisible Hour), was the guest on the latest installment of the excellent podcast “On Being,” with Krista Tippett. [Read more...]

Soundtrack for a Day Job: Great Songs About Hard Times

Songs about this day-job, bill-paying struggle are a dime a dozen — or, rather about $16.99 a dozen in this economy. [Read more...]

Memento or Vertigo? What’s Your Favorite Film About Memory?

The long-running community of friends and colleagues called Arts and Faith has published their latest list of essential films: The Top 25 Films on Memory. [Read more...]

Bruce Cockburn to Receive the 2015 Denise Levertov Award

Wow. [Read more...]

#Ferguson and #Mockingjay

Two guys — a blogger and his friend — after watching the blu-ray of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part One on the friend’s giant plasma TV: Blogger: “So, let me get this straight. You were cheering for Katniss and her friends in their rebellion against the evil oppressors.” Friend: “Right.” Blogger: “But she’s acting in an anti-authoritarian way.” [Read more...]

A Conversation with Sam Phillips: Revisiting The Image 20th Anniversary Interview

This weekend, Sam Phillips joined Joe Henry onstage for what was reportedly a knockout, 2 1/2-hour concert. Oh, if only I could have teleported down to L.A. to at the Coronet. I’ve been in a bit of a funk, knowing that I was missing one of my dream concerts. To cheer myself up, I’m revisiting [Read More...]

What Do Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Phillips, and the Movie “Amélie” Have in Common?

When a music critic declares an album “perfect,” it tends to say more about that listener’s enthusiasm—and, perhaps, hubris—than it does about the record. So I’m holding myself back from that kind of overreach here. Suffice it to say that I’d have a hard time imagining a stronger “debut” record for Rhiannon Giddens than Tomorrow Is [Read More...]

My Favorite Film of 2014: The Strange Little Cat

[This review was included in my Favorite Films of 2014 post. But, for the archives, it gets a post of its own.] • In one scene, two young people play Connect Four. Do you remember Connect Four? I loved playing this game when I was a kid. There was the tic-tac-toe fun of trying to see [Read More...]

Oscars 2015: Listen to My Discussion and Debate with Dr. Jeff Keuss, Novelist Jennie Spohr, and Producer Anna Miller

Finally… an Oscar year that brings some much needed focus to a subject sorely overlooked at the movies — great men with big dreams! [Read more...]

Something, Anything

Ida, Ewa, Gloria, and now… the final contestant in this, the Looking Closer Beauty Pageant. Readers, let me catch you up: In early 2014, I began a four-part series in which I focused on films that captured the rare cinematic marvel of a living, breathing, three-dimensional female character — somebody who does not capture our attention [Read More...]

Seek Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

Bear with me. This isn’t a movie review or a music review. This is just something that’s on my mind today. I’ll explain why, but first I have to write down the heavy stuff. [Read more...]

The Lone Bellow, U2, Bob Dylan, and Aaron Strumpel – or, How I Learned to Stop Scowling and Love Liturgy

I may have sensed, on some level, the dissonance between such prejudice and Jesus’ own teachings. But if I did, I suppressed it. That sense of superiority, of being on the right team, of having Jesus’ favor: they felt too good to give up. One of the easiest targets on my denominational dartboard was liturgy. [Read more...]

Two Visits to London, Two Well-Rounded Characters

This weekend, I had an incredible amount of writing to accomplish. So I only allowed myself two breaks, and I stuffed them with two movies. I chose wisely. The two I chose have a few things in common. Both films take us to London. Both bring beloved characters to life (one fictional, one historical). And both [Read More...]

God, Family, Country… Right? American Sniper’s Troubling Anti-War Truth

So, I avoided seeing American Sniper for a few weeks because the highly politicized debate about it was so intense. I’d been given a very strong impression from certain ugly responses to the movie that it was a celebration of heroism in the Iraq War; that it glorified the killing of Iraqis; that it depicted the [Read More...]

Looking Closer at Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups screened at Berlinale today. Here come the reviews… [Read more...]

Now Streaming: One of 2014′s Most Meaningful Thrillers

Even more evidence that films about faith are alive and well in contemporary cinema (and that there is no need for a preachy “Christian movie industry”): As It Is In Heaven is an intelligent, riveting thriller that shows wisdom on the subject of cults and their appeal. [Read more...]

Discover The Chrysostom Society: Meet Editor and Book Enthusiast John Wilson

In the early days, they plotted how to kill each other. [Read more...]