Browser: Still Walking. Unforgivable Blackness. Joe Henry. Inglourious Basterds.

Hi ho, Jeffrey the Recovering Storyteller here.

It’s my first real day off since completing Raven’s Ladder. I plan to rest. Write reviews. And see movies. 500 Days of Summer and District 9, to be specific. My friend, painter Laura Lasworth, loved the first one, and blogger Mark Shea, who I encountered in the grocery store parking lot yesterday, was very impressed by the second. Can’t wait to see them both.

But first, some notes…

1.

Alissa Wilkinson is so lucky, having both the time and the geographic fortune to get to see the new Hirokazu Kore-eda film Still Walking. The film reminds her of Rachel Getting Married and Summer Hours… and that’s high praise, as far as I’m concerned. Report at Filmwell.

It’s a quiet, buoyant tale of a family gathering to celebrate the memorial of a loved one’s passing, and without giving much away, I can say that in its cheerfulness, its celebration, and its dark moments, the film has much to say about treasuring loved ones before it’s too late, about regret and what it does to people, and about the nature of memory. At one point, a photograph of the missing loved one is actually carried into the family photograph that’s being taken, reminding us that, as one character says, “People might die, but they are never really gone.”

2.

History teachers, take note: Michael S. Smith had found a movie for you.

The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American boxer to win the heavyweight title, is in many respects a microcosm of this larger dilemma of race within a democratic society, and Ken Burns’ documentary about Johnson, Unforgivable Blackness (which I recently watched for the first time), is a fairly illuminating look at the connection between the life and the history.

3.

No Depression has pulled a great interview with Joe Henry from their archives.

4.
Wow. Annie Young Frisbie, critic for Christianity Today, gives Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” 3.5 stars out of 4. I suspect the CT editors are going to get some very interesting mail this weekend…

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Rick Ro.

    While I haven’t seen the movie and can’t comment on it specifically, I can comment on Ms. Frisbie’s review. I guess I would’ve expected a review in Christianity Today to contain more spiritual discussion, or talk about how a film does or doesn’t address spiritual issues in our lives, or how the film might illuminate God’s will for us, etc. For example, I was more intrigued by Ms. Frisbie’s discussion questions (Talk About It Discussion starters: 1) Where do you draw the line between justified and gratuitous onscreen violence?; 2) What distinguishes righteous from unrighteous vengeance?; and 3) What is to be our response when we encounter great evil?) than her review of the movie, and think those are the kinds of thoughts she should’ve illuminated for us in her review. I guess I found the lack of any real spiritual or God element in her review puzzling.

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett

    I juggled the question of seeing this for quite awhile — on the one hand Tarantino is a movie fan using his talent and ear for dialogue to make movies that pay homage to his favorites in a way that can provoke some serious reflection (“Pulp Fiction” standing out as an example). And movies like “The Dirty Dozen,” “Where Eagles Dare,” “Force 10 from Navarone,” etc., are among my faves — root for the good guys, defeat the Nazis, etc.

    But the other hand won — I couldn’t in good conscience see or support anything by Eli Roth or featuring him in it. I don’t know if Roth himself completely lacks humanity or value of any kind, but the creations he’s put on screen definitely do, and he’s never given any indication of repentance for them.

  • http://motownmovies.blogspot.com chris

    “Inglourious Basterds” is not the film I expected when I saw the first teaser. . . it’s something much better. Definitely not the blood-drenched action epic the trailers are selling, it’s a much tighter, funnier and enjoyable film worth seeing for Tarantino’s dialogue and Christoph Waltz’s awesome performance.


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