About J. Ryan Parker

Disquiet Time: A Review


It’s been a long time since I’ve had a productive streak of quiet times: portions of the day devoted to scripture reading and prayer. From a young age, I was indoctrinated into the importance of said practices. We even had to check off boxes on the outside of our offering envelopes to let the world know we had been faithful stewards of our time. I feel a little guilty…sometimes. … [Read more...]

A Dance Between Science and Religion

The Theory of Everything trailer - video

Far too many of us are well aware of the tension between science and religion, or at least between the passionate devotees of each realm. However, there are occasions when these diverse adherents fall into conversations that result in members of each camp seeing the world around them in richer, more holistic ways. The new biopic about cosmologist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane, The Theory of Everything, illustrates this better way, which might best be described not as a conversation, but as a … [Read more...]

The Violence of History


Within the genre of war films lies a sub-genre devoted to anti-war war films, films that are so honest and earnest in their depiction of battle that they make us question our own sanity for ever sending women and men into such conditions. David Ayer's latest film, Fury, falls into that category. … [Read more...]

BORGMAN: Movie Review


American filmmakers just don't do weird and disturbing like European, Asian, or, heck, any other region of filmmakers. Borgman, written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam, is one of those weird, disturbing films that's more mentally than physically unsettling. If you're inclined to think along these directions, it felt like a good conversation partner with the far-less-weird Calvary, particularly around themes of theology and religion and their place and role in a post- … [Read more...]

The Drop: Movie Review

The Drop Movie (3)

It's rare that I go see a film based solely on one actor. There are actors that I really like, but the type of movie might keep me away. I'd watch Tom Hardy eat soup. His latest film, The Drop, is a good one made even better by yet another profound performance, which is crucial because he is the linchpin in a morally complex narrative. … [Read more...]

A Rugged Apocalypse


Like Jeff VanderMeer's The Southern Reach trilogy, Edan Lepucki offers little explanation of what caused the downfall of civilization in her post-apocalyptic novel, California. Rather than focusing on the whys of the world's demise, she mines the hows of emotional and physical survival. … [Read more...]

A Match Made in Heaven…Even If It Looks Like Hell


Last week, I had the good fortune to interview Brendan Gleeson and John Michael McDonagh around the release of their film, Calvary. Unfortunately, I didn't get to speak to them at the same time, so I've tried to blend them together into something of a conversation. There are big spoilers throughout, so if you care about that stuff, check it out after you see the film. You can also read my review of the film here. … [Read more...]

The Good and the Reviled

Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in Calvary

For the initiated the title of writer/director John Michael McDonagh's (The Guard) second film, Calvary, will inevitably conjure up thoughts about Jesus' crucifixion, sin, and atonement. It's fitting as larger-than-life themes of sacrifice, atonement, and good and evil form the backbone of this story about a reviled Irish priest and a member of his flock hell-bent on killing him. … [Read more...]