Archives for March 2013

A Coen Brothers Easter

It's Easter — hallelujah! — and signs of life and hope are rising up all over.They're even rising in unexpected places like indieWire, where Matt Zoller Seitz abides... and where he oversees the relentlessly intriguing Press Play blog. Matt recently invited me to talk with him about whether or not we can find God, goodness, and hope in the movies of the Coen Brothers.And the result was posted this morning... … [Read more...]

Revisiting Jesse and Celine’s Holy Moments “Before Sunrise”

In January of 1995, when I first watched Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, I think I liked the idea of the movie more than the movie itself.I loved the idea of two strangers meeting on a train, spontaneously jumping off in Vienna, and wandering through the city's night life lost in a meandering and unpredictable conversation. It was as rare a pleasure for moviegoers then as it is today. (Note: Abbas Kairostami's Certified Copy may have been inspired, in part, by this film, and it's my … [Read more...]

O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

It's been more than 12 years since O Brother, Where Art Thou? opened. But the movie is on my mind on this Good Friday in 2013.I've been giving a lot of thought to the films of the Coen Brothers lately, and revisiting many of their films, due to a surprise invitation from one of my favorite film reviewers: Matt Zoller Seitz. He's asked me to join him in exploring some intriguing questions: Are the Coen Brothers moralists? Do they believe in God? Do their films present a compelling vision of … [Read more...]

Sorry! (A Temporary Blog Malfunction)

If you've been checking this blog recently, then you may have seen something strange: Old blog entries suddenly reappearing as if they were brand new, with no explanation.I can explain what's happening, but only in part... … [Read more...]

Why I Want to Be George R. R. Martin’s Neighbor

This article on "Christian fantasy" by novelist Lars Walker confesses something that may surprise his readers: I don’t read much fantasy, and I read almost no Christian fantasy. I’ve been burned too many times. You buy a book, hoping to experience over again the joys great fantasy can provide (for me, the Mines of Moria, the Ride of the Rohirrim, and the resurrection of Aslan provided the greatest moments of joy I’ve ever experienced in literature), and what do you get? Wannabees. Wannabee Tolki … [Read more...]

Like Someone in Love (2012)

A call girl, a scholar, and a mechanic drive across town.Sounds like the setup for a joke, right?And it is, in a way. Like Someone in Love is a comedy. A twisted comedy, but it made me laugh. It was the laughter of recognition — "when you laugh but you feel like dying," as the song goes. It hurt to laugh for all of the sadness and folly that made this scenario possible.As far removed as this story is from my own experience, I laugh as I watch it because I know how these characters a … [Read more...]

Oz the Unfortunate and Underwhelming?

Should I throw myself into the latest Oz tornado? I'm reluctant. And most of the reviewers I trust — even those who are big fans of L. Frank Baum's Oz stories — are frustrated with Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful.If you're looking for guidance, I recommend, above all, Steven Greydanus's review. He writes... … [Read more...]

Musical Highlights of 2013, So Far…

I've been hearing voices. They've been haunting my earphones, roaring through car stereo speakers, rumbling in the hardwood floor of my living room, rattling the windows of my house.Thom Yorke. David Bowie. Zach Williams. Ashley Cleveland. And more.They've given me a spirit-lifting soundtrack for a new year, helping me move on from the madness of the Oscars, fueling my engine as I engaged the the debate over the movie called Amour, and painting new pictures for me as I invest long … [Read more...]

Quentin Tarantino, America’s Competition Addiction, and Movies That the Oscars Overlooked

Strange territory. That's where I found myself this week.In four new articles, I wrote things that made me feel a little lonely. I was writing from a foreign country, far away from the preferences of the general moviegoing audience. And yet, I wasn't feeling much kinship with other film critics either.Art will do that to you. If you're paying attention, it'll lead you to new ways of thinking that make your friends look at you with concern.This story stars a gunslinging hero, some … [Read more...]