Mystery and Message, or What We Talk About When We Talk About Art

Anne Overstreet and Jeltsje Cusveller consider a painting at the Kroller Muller Museum.

No one has taught me more about considering and making art than "Mr. D." That's Michael Demkowicz, who was my high school English teacher, and who remains a dear friend to this day. Demkowicz is a photographer, and several of his prints hang on the walls of my home. But he has also influenced what I read, how I watch movies, and how I listen to music. I'm making it an annual event to feature my favorite single article on art, an essay called "Mystery and Message" that he contributed to … [Read more...]

Wanted: Ambiguity

"This weekend, you could go to a good movie, or you could watch me dance!"

I hate to say, "I told you so." Especially when the person I'm addressing is myself.I told myself not to spend full ticket price on The Amazing Spider-man. But I did anyway. And yeah, now it hurts to realize I put down more than $15.00 to see it.I don't regret this evening's moviegoing experience: I got to spend the evening with my friend Danny Walter, who has probably seen more movies with me than anybody on the planet. We had good conversations and an enjoyable evening.But I do … [Read more...]

“Prince Caspian” Update

My least favorite part of Andrew Adamson's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe... the unimaginative, excessive battle scene. … [Read more...]

Have We Lost Our Minds?

If you've been reading the CT Feedback page and reading this blog, you've seen a lot of recent criticism, and read a lot of accusations, regarding the philosophy of CT Movies reviewers.Well, my blog post describing our "philosophy" inspired an invitation to share the same thoughts at Christianity Today Movies. So my editor, Mark Moring, and I did a bit of editing and polishing and now here it is again, new and improved, with a much better title. … [Read more...]

Alfonso Cuarón: “Narrative is the Poison of Cinema”

Children of Men drops you smack dab in the middle of an apocalypse. You'd better be ready.Alfonso Cuarón isn't interested in explaining everything to the audience. He wants us to struggle to get our bearings. The work of understanding is what makes art an experience rather than just an assault or a "message." … [Read more...]

Why My Faith is Not FoxFaith (and Great Art is Not Necessarily “Christian Art”)

When I saw a promotional video for the arrival of FoxFaith, a special library of movies that "Christians and families can enjoy," I had a flashback.As I perused the titles of films being included in that label, I felt the walls closing in, trapping me in a familiar world of art that consisted of: A) Nice, gentle, comfortable entertainment B) American nostalgia C) Bible stories. About ten years ago, I decided that I couldn't take living in such a small world anymore. … [Read more...]

Looking Closer Classic: "Mystery and Message"

Not much to blog about today, as I've been sitting at home and at a top-secret Seattle coffee house all day working at condensing all of my thoughts about the wonder of movies into a book. As I wrote, I kept recalling things that I learned from one man: an art photographer and English instructor named Michael Demkowicz. No one taught me more about art than "Mr. D." … [Read more...]


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