I’ve Caught Aaron Strumpel Fever

The only 5-star album I've heard thus far this year. If Nine Inch Nails sang the Psalms and invited avant garde jazzbos The Art Ensemble of Chicago to the studio, it might sound like this. - Paste music critic Andy Whitman In the last several years, I've been excited about a few artists and a few albums, and it's been easy to see. I've shouted myself hoarse here on the blog and Facebook, urging people to check them out.The records that have lit me on fire include:Arcade Fire - Funeral … [Read more...]

Is U2 stealing the title of their next album from another singer?

In short, it appears so.Bono has declared that U2's next album is called Songs of Ascent.With that in mind, it's worth taking note of this: http://bit.ly/1735Tl"Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief," Bono once sang. And it's true. No harm done here. U2's been paraphrasing and expanding on the Psalms their entire career. Why stop now? … [Read more...]

Flannery O’Connor in the Criterion Collection

Here's a new essay at Criterion about their latest release: Wise Blood.I've heard very mixed things about this film, insofar as it represents (or fails to) the story O'Connor wrote. Will you be picking up this DVD? Have you seen the film? I'd love to hear your take on it. … [Read more...]

Up, Up… and a Rave!

Hey, guess what! Looks like this new Pixar movie might be worth seeing!Yep, the latest film from the most consistently impressive filmmaking team at work in the world today is almost here. I'm so thrilled to be reviewing movies in the age of Pixar. What a joy to get to see their films with audiences while the paint is still fresh on the canvas.I said it last year, and I'll say it again: If this thing is worthy of a Best Picture nomination, let's start making noise about it. Last year was … [Read more...]

Browser: ArtsandFaith.com, Pixar Wine, Nick Cave’s Gladiator 2, St. Vincent… and Love.

I'm sorry that things have been slow on the blog lately. I've just wrapped up an essay for an upcoming issue of Image, and I'm burning the midnight oil as I revise Raven's Ladder for an early 2010 publication.But I've collected a few links I thought you might enjoy:1.Speaking of Image...ArtsandFaith.com is, to my knowledge, the busiest, best, and longest-running online community for people interested in movies, music, visual arts, literature, politics, and faith. I was there for … [Read more...]

The next Joe Henry album

Thanks to Andy Whitman for passing along this press release for the new album from Joe Henry: Here's the press release. … [Read more...]

Star Trek (2009)

Let us consider the most prominent franchises that begin with the word "Star."Star Wars and Star Trek have been famously different in their storytelling and style. Some moviegoers enjoy both of the beloved series, but I grew up hearing heated debates about which was the better sci-fi franchise. I had (still have) friends in both camps.Me? I've always been a Star Wars man. The episodic nature of Star Trek, which meant you could watch the shows in almost any order without much trouble, … [Read more...]

Earthshaking news for fantasy fans: George R. R. Martin’s “The Game of Thrones”…

Tom McCarthy, director of The Station Agent and The Visitor, is going to direct HBO's series The Game of Thrones.And it will star Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister.Master Martin himself broke the news.Thanks to Beth Rambo for this link! … [Read more...]

When you watch Benjamin Button, can you forget about Brad Pitt?

During a roundtable interview with Michael Caine, I watched the actor make a tent of his fingers, furrow his brow, and ponder this question: “Is there something that you wish moviegoers and filmcritics would learn to understand about movies, something we just don’t get?”Caine's reply intrigues me. Come on over to Filmwell, and find out what he said in answer... and what that has to do with the title of this post.Also, check out these recent Filmwell entries:Mike Hertenstein, the brai … [Read more...]

In Memory of Dom Deluise…

I have fond memories of Dom Deluise for his enthusiastic opening scene in one of the most influential films of my childhood. … [Read more...]