Battle in Seattle (or the Movie Directed by That Guy Who Was Almost Aragorn)


Many thanks to Matthew Kaemingk of Christ and Cascadia, who invited me to write on the subject of the spirit of protest in the Pacific Northwest, and about a movie directed by the man who was almost Aragorn. … [Read more...]

A Priest With a Death Sentence: Looking Closer at Calvary


At Christianity Today, Alissa Wilkinson got my attention early by saying, Well, I've just come from a screening of Calvary, the most "Christian" film I've seen in as long as I can remember. I don't think it will be winning any awards from the Christian world (although I guarantee it will show up on my end-of-year list here at Christianity Today, and a few others, too). It has bad words, and it takes place in a universe very like ours — that is, in one where people are suffering the ugly af … [Read more...]

Well-Made Movies Won’t Be… Left Behind


Today, Matt Zoller Seitz, editor of, defended The Good Lie, a movie in which the central characters are Christians, as "a good movie."Why did he feel the need to defend it? Well, the success of The Blind Side inspired some backlash — opposition to movies in which "a white lady comes to the rescue" of those in need, as if down-home American white folks are the world's saviors. And the marketing campaign for The Good Lie certainly makes the movie look like one of those.He's n … [Read more...]

Listen Closer: Second Impressions of U2′s Songs of Innocence

U2 songs of innocence large

Hey, U2 fans, music lovers, and iPhone users... you're invited! I'm joining Dr. Jeff Keuss and others on Monday night, October 13, for a live podcast conversation called "U2, Apple, and the Future of Music." It'll be at Hale's Ales Brewery and Pub in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, and the dinner audience will be involved in the conversation, which will eventually be posted online. Want to join the conversation? Get your tickets here. Okay, let's not waste time talking about … [Read more...]

Listen Closer: Thom Yorke, Luluc, Lucinda Williams, Leonard Cohen, My Brightest Diamond, Sinead O’Connor


It's time to check the New Music Seismograph! What albums are shaking the ground beneath my feet?Those who have followed my blog over the past decade or so know that I'm averse to "rating" art with a point system. (I mean, really... how much can you learn about a record if I tell you "I give it a 72"?)But hey, just to shake things up, I'm going to make an exception. What good is a blog if it doesn't surprise readers from time to time? Introducing the Overst-richter Scale... … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at Left Behind – The Movie!


[This post will be updated over the next few days, so check back as this thrilling — dare I say rapturous? — cinematic occasion unfolds!]Yesterday, I received an advertisement distributed by Christianity Today in which Tim LaHaye said this about the new Left Behind movie:"You will be moved, blessed and thrilled."Yeah, I remember how, when I was six years old, I wrote a story, stapled it together, and then, to make it look like a real book, I put my own rave-review blurb on the cover, … [Read more...]

The Christian Message of David Fincher’s Gone Girl . . . (Not Really)

Gone Girl

It happens all the time. I get an email from an angry reader who says, "Why are you wasting time talking about the technical aspects of a movie? What really matters is the message!" … [Read more...]

The Song “Shares the Weaknesses of Most Faith-Based Films”

The Song

I've received two emails this week asking for my opinion of The Song. This is what I can offer... … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at The Hundred-Foot Journey

hundred foot journey

As I joined the line to buy tickets for a mid-afternoon matinee showing of Guardians of the Galaxy, I had a rare and unsettling experience. A large crowd had assembled at the ticket counter, and I quickly discovered that these moviegoers had come for the opening-day matinee of a movie that I did not know existed.Somehow, I had failed to notice any promotional effort at all for Lasse Haalstrom's The Hundred Foot Journey. … [Read more...]

This Post Contains R-Rated Subject Matter: Viewer Discretion is Advised.

R rating

Watching the trailers before Chef on Friday night, I was reminded by the smirking comments of viewers around me that the "This Motion Picture is Rated..." screen before a preview does as much, if not more, to intrigue viewers about the violence, language, or nudity included in the film than it does to dissuade anybody, or to warn parents about the content of the film.It's been obvious for decades in the way the announcer on television says "Viewer discretion advised!", his sinister tone … [Read more...]