Sufjan Stevens is my new hero.

I liked his Seven Swans album.Then I grew to love it.I liked his Illinois album.These days, I love it more than I can say. The two songs "John Wayne Gacy Jr." and "Casimir Pulaski Day" are better on their own than any other full album I've heard all year.And now this... NPR has rated Illinois as the album of the year, and says, "Sufjan Stevens new album isn't just this year's best album, it's the best album to come out in several years. In an era when most of the music we hear is … [Read more...]

Ladies and Gentlemen… Craig Detweiler.

I interviewed screenwriter/film-instructor Craig Detweiler at Biola several months ago in L.A., before any trailers for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had even been shown. (The trailer debuted above Detweiler's head on a big screen at the Biola Media Conference.)That interview was published today at Christianity Today Movies.Here's a clip: Do you see "good, beautiful, complex, redemptive" films being made today?Detweiler: Almost every class I teach here ends with David Gordon … [Read more...]

Munich: A movie that reflects Spielberg’s belief in sin.

Which mainstream film critic said THIS about Steven Spielberg's Munich? Today’s movie culture has so thoroughly written off the concept of sin that any movie ridiculing it (from Hellboy and My Summer of Love to Squid and the Whale) is guaranteed to be widely praised. This fondness for transgression might explain the trouble Spielberg has run into with Munich. He explicates a grievous sense of wrong-doing that communicates best to those who are open to an Ecumenical view of life (or if that term … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas to all who seek Him, all who have found Him, and all who don’t know what they’re missing.

The joy of Christmas has already filled the Overstreet headquarters, as Anne and I read the Christmas story... Luke, Chapters 1 and 2... last night. And, once again, it was a whole new experience.This time I was especially impressed by the story of Zechariah, the the father of John the Baptist, who was a man of great insight. While he had to take a rather lengthy "time out" to ponder what God can do, he did -- upon comprehending the enormity of what was about to happen -- discern that the … [Read more...]

Specials: Defending Munich. Chesterton’s blog. Chattaway on Cassanova and Munich. London Critics.

Friday specials:DEFENDING MUNICH Here's a forceful, well-composed defense of Steven Spielberg's Munich, which I think is his most restrained, mature, and challenging film since... oh... 1987's Empire of the Sun. (It's at Salon, so if you don't subscribe, just click and watch the brief advertisement so you can get access to the whole article.) This one's going in my Top Ten of 2005.G.K. CHESTERTON ... THE BLOG If Chesterton was blogging today, he'd be my first Web stop of the day. … [Read more...]

Fifteen performances from 2005 that made a difference.

I'm not ready to deliver a Top Ten Films of 2005 yet. There are several key candidates I'll be seeing for the first time in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. I'll publish the list on December 31st, when 2005 really is ending and the buzzer sounds. Then I'll publish a revised list sometime around the end of January when the last heavy hitters of 2005 have become available in Seattle. (All of these folks publishing their top tens... have they really seen all of the key players already? … [Read more...]

Specials: Amy Wellborn – Vigilant. Adam Walter – literate. Chewbacca – full of Christmas spirit. Teachout – thirsty for music.

Open Book, Amy Wellborn's blog, continues to be an essential stop on my daily tour, for her relentless vigilance. Here's one of the recent highlights, regarding mainstream media and faith.Other blog entries worth noting:Adam Walter discovers the new Mark Helprin Web site. I visited Adam last night at the fine bookseller where he works and packaged up a couple of gifts for my wife while we chatted. In spite of my love for the movie world, I greatly envy anyone who gets to spend all day in … [Read more...]

J. Robert Parks’ Top Ten Moviegoing Experiences of 2005

Looking Closer's frequent guest reviewer J. Robert Parks has just turned in his Top Ten Moviegoing Experiences of 2005, plus an alternate Top Ten Films of 2005 list. I've posted it at the Looking Closer movie page.Parks gets to see a much wider variety of films per year than I do, so I always find a lot in his list that helps guide my DVD-watching in the coming year. I think you will too. … [Read more...]

The CT Mailbag: Brokeback Mountain

What's sad is how far short of grace and tact some of these messages fall...What's even sadder is how predictable it was that this would happen... … [Read more...]

Books and Culture: The Top Ten Books of the Year

John Wilson shares the B&C picks...What's the best book YOU read this year? … [Read more...]