Thoughts on ‘Rogue One’: the Maccabees of the Star Wars Canon

 If the box office receipts are to be believed, you've already seen Rogue One: a Star Wars Story. So rather than a full review, I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on this, the intertestamental literature of the Star Wars saga:  This is the most geek-tastic Star Wars film ever: "THRILL as Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor sift through the structural engineering files of the Galactic Empire! GASP as they try to upload the Death Star plans to a Rebel starship. Will there be … [Read more...]

‘Silence’: A PopTheology Conversation

Martin Scorcese's monumental Silence is now playing in select theaters and is slated for wide release on January 13th. The story of Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan is based on the novel by Japanese Catholic convert Shusaku Endo. It explores the nature of faith and doubt in the most impossible of circumstances--when profession of belief can lead to torture and death. But as the film plays out the conflict between the colonial impulses of Europe, which use Christian conversion as a tool, … [Read more...]

Fantastic Beasts: Carl Jung’s Lawyer Called and He Wants a Writing Credit

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the reboot of the Harry Potter series, takes viewers even further afield into the wizarding world--to the streets of Jazz Age New York.Based on a thin novelty book Rowling published in 2001, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander was supposed to be Harry Potter's first textbook for Care of Magical Creatures class.For a summary review of the film, read here. The following are some thoughts on my viewing of the film.Newt … [Read more...]

John Grant: Joyous Prophet of the Via Negativa

 John Grant has been gracing the covers of international magazines aimed at upscale gay men during the last several months. Long a player on the alternative music scene as a member of The Czars, he has been in the midst of a personal and musical revival for the last six years. Now, at age 48, it seems like we're really getting to know him for the first time.Grant is nothing if not a lumbersexual—in the gay world, a bear. The video for his spring indie hit, the surprisingly groovy " … [Read more...]

Spa Night/Being 17: Two Twists on Coming Out Tales

Having moved back to Civilization, I now have access to an embarrassment of riches when it comes to gay cinema. In the past few weeks I was able to take in Spa Night, a Kickstarter masterpiece by indie director Andrew Ahn, and Being 17, the most recent release from revered French director André Téchiné. Both films place the drama of young gay men coming out within deeply embedded social and geographical contexts: in Being 17, a rugged mountain village in the Pyrénées; in Spa Night, a close-knit f … [Read more...]

The Maltese Falcon and the MacGuffin of the Spirit

As I revel in my return to the Bay Area, I continue to catch up on classics that have to do with San Francisco. Last weekend I rewatched The Maltese Falcon (1941). Truth be told, the film version, based on the Dashiell Hammett novel, could have taken place anywhere. Other than some stock footage of San Francisco, the place names, and "view" of the Oakland Bay Bridge behind Sam Spade's desk, the city doesn’t play much of a role. It's still a classic.The head-scratching plot begins with the c … [Read more...]

San Francisco: The Movie

"I've come to the conclusion that there are really only two types of people in San Francisco…'Jeanettes'…and 'Tonys.' Jeanettes are people who think that the city's theme song is 'San Francisco' as sung by Jeanette MacDonald. Tonys think it’s Tony Bennett singing 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco.' Everyone falls into one camp or another . . . in a manner of speaking." -- Michael Tolliver in Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City.For the last two weeks I have felt what the Israelites mu … [Read more...]

God, Guns, & Family: Why ‘Bible-Believing’ Christians Have no Right to Self Defense, Pt. 2

In my last post I proposed that, against the uniquely American theology of God, guns, and family, the Christian teaching of the New Testament doesn’t allow for self-defense at all. I started with arguments against defending property, which is the easier path, since we know Christianity is anti-materialist. But I want to expand on those thoughts to talk about why Christians also have no Biblically-mandated right to defend themselves or their family using lethal force.First, let’s look at the i … [Read more...]