Over the Rhine, Reviewed by Thom Jurek

Here's  Thom Jurek's review of Over the Rhine's The Trumpet Child.Jurek, like Andy Whitman, is one of the music critics whose reflections always challenge, inform, and inspire me... even when I disagree.His review of The Trumpet Child is sharp and full of references to send you scurrying about and discovering the treasure troves that inspired Over the Rhine to make this music. He singles out a couple of tracks he wishes they'd left off. Me, I would have made different selections... but t … [Read more...]

“Days of Heaven”: The Criterion DVD

Best DVD news in a while!Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven is coming to The Criterion Collection. And what an intriguing development... it's a going to have a new look.Can the director's cut of The New World be far behind? Please, Criterion, please... … [Read more...]

Thursday Food for Thought: free lunchtime readings at Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific University has begun hosting readings and booksignings at the SPU Library, and they're open to the public.I'm clipping from the calendar here, just so you know what's coming up... … [Read more...]

A Reader Comments on Focus on the Family’s Rejection of Harry Potter

I received this note from a reader in response to something I mentioned in my review of Stardust:After following the Focus on the Family link about Harry Potter in the Looking Closer review of Stardust, I went to Focus's homepage, and the first story was Dr. Dobson talking about the dearth of examples of sacrificial heroes in today's culture. Sometimes I like irony, sometimes it just makes me sad. I have nothing to add to that.Oh, by the way, I've written a review of the latest Harry … [Read more...]

This Week’s Soundtrack

Oh how I want the Looking Closer music page to be more lively than it is. But too much is happening in my life right now, and I'm left singing along with great new albums while I work, wishing I had time to write in-depth reviews of all of them.I'll get around to reviewing some of these eventually, but for the record, here's what's currently getting frequent "rotation" on my iPod... … [Read more...]

Specials: Lynch, Chaucer, and Branagh

It's a bright sunny day in Seattle, and it'll be a bright sunny evening in the theater, as I head out to feast my eyes on Danny Boyle's Sunshine for the first time. I've heard all kinds of things -- severe disappointment (from a trustworthy friend), mixed feelings (from a trustworthy friend), and "Best Movie of the Year" (from a trustworthy friend). Thus... I'm intrigued.Speaking of movies that are sure to divide viewers into enthusiasts and nay-sayers... … [Read more...]

Fantasy Pet Peeves

The fantasy section of the bookstore is such a wasteland of derivative, unimaginative, indulgent storytelling. And I say that as someone whose house is full of fantasy volumes, and who spends many hours every week working on fantasy stories. It's such a rich tradition, but holy Merry Brandybuck, it can be tough to find true inspiration and enchantment amidst so much disposable and recycled material.I laughed and cheered all the way through this hilarious list of fantasy-lit pet peeves, even … [Read more...]

Stardust (2007)

[This is an expanded, revised version of a review originally published at Christianity Today Movies.]-What would we do without "Once upon a time..."?For most of us, that famous opening line conjures vivid memories of children's stories about knights, magic spells, wicked witches, dragons, epic battles, and curses broken by the power of a kiss. But many grownups have folded up their imaginations and stuffed them in a closet, pooh-poohing stories about princesses and goblins.* It's … [Read more...]

A Heavy Dose of “Through a Screen Darkly”

Matt Page has a blog where he tracks the development, release, and reception of movies that are in some way based on the Bible.This last week, he came down with a cold, and he suffered through it by reading Through a Screen Darkly.He's posted a few comments... … [Read more...]

Specials: Bourne, Batman, Potter, Wenders, Derrickson, Bjork, Sunshine, and more.

A few quick notes and links from my flurry of catching up:I can't believe it. After all of the buzz, the hype, the excitement, I've seen The Bourne Ultimatum, and I'm really, really disappointed. It's the least of the three... basically 112 minutes of action, with a plot thread that introduces absolutely ZERO new ideas to the series. Don't get me wrong... the action is slick and exhilarating. And it's still the best sequel of the summer. But the storytellers have utterly failed to take … [Read more...]