‘Montage of Heck’: A Gospel of Kurt Cobain

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Last year I got a chance to see and review Seattle’s Experience Music Project’s exhibit on Kurt Cobain and the grunge era. The occasions for the exhibit were the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death and Nirvana’s induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.Now director Brett Morgen has added further to the Nirvaniana with a documentary on Cobain’s life, Montage of Heck. The film debuted at Sundance this year and had a limited theater release before being broadcast on HBO May 4th . It is now ava … [Read more...]

The Multiple Meanings of “Pride”

Pride film still

The British coal miner’s strike of 1984-85 has been fodder for several small but scrappy films in the last twenty years, including Brassed Off (1996), Billy Elliott (2000)  and the steel-industry based but still scrappy The Full Monty (1997).Joining this award-winning lineup is Pride (2014), which won a BAFTA and the heretofore unheard-of “Queer Palm” at Cannes, and is now out on DVD and streaming video on demand.What’s fascinating about these four films is that although they seem to be a … [Read more...]

‘Metalhead’ and the Community of Resurrection

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  Metalhead, an Icelandic film written and directed by Ragnar Bragason, premiered in fall of 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is finally getting limited release in the United States, along with widespread Video on Demand starting April 3.The film starts with a rural farm family experiencing a horrific loss. Their teenage son, Baldur, is killed in a tractor accident as his twelve year-old sister, Hera, watches. The family holds the funeral in the local … [Read more...]

On Mardi Gras with the Mystic Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette

Sherman Mire, Captain of the Krewe of Apollo. Photo by Lisa Westbrook of The Lafayette Advertiser. For more pictures, go to: http://www.theadvertiser.com/picture-gallery/entertainment/2015/01/31/mystic-krewe-of-apollo-de-lafayette-bal-masque-2015/22681121/

I still don’t believe what I witnessed this past weekend. Blinking my eyes in the daylight, I can conjure memories of feathers, explosions of confetti and lights sweeping a bouncing crowd of revelers. There was royalty—kings and queens decked out from tiara to toes in glitter. There was pounding, dance-inducing music. And drag—what drag! Maybe more queens in red carpet gowns and gravity-defying wigs than I have ever seen in one room, even having lived in the gay Meccas of San Francisco and New Yo … [Read more...]

Ryan Parker Reviews ‘Selma’


Ryan Parker had the chance to talk with cast members from Selma, including David Oyelowo, Wendell Pierce, and Common, as well as director Ava Duvernay. Here's David Oyelowo on his sense of calling to play Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma:"My wife and I had moved to L.A. from the U.K. in May of 2007. In July of 2007, I first read the script [for Selma]. To be perfectly honest, in moving here—we had two kids at the time—we asked, “What on earth are we doing here?” But we felt called to move. So … [Read more...]

‘The Silver Chalice’ and the Bible in our Minds

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If one stores a collection of images of a particular literary figure, or setting, or style of costume, that collection is not stored mentally in chronological order. It does not matter whether I have seen Rita Hayworth’s Salome before viewing Gustave Moreau’s painting or after reading the version in the Gospel of Mark. All the representations collide and coalesce in my construction of the figure of Salome. In our postmodern image culture, readers are also spectators. -- Alice Bach*This is o … [Read more...]

Notes on ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

Twitter Activists: Based on this screen shot, I can tell this film is racist--you must not see it!Me: John Turturro and Sigourney Weaver are playing the Pharaoh and his wife? I HAVE to see it!

Ryan Parker already has an excellent review of this film, which actually involves interviews with Christian Bale and Ridley Scott. Not being able to add much to that by way of review, let me just mention a few points of observation on viewing Exodus: Gods and Kings:1.)  There are predictable cries of ‘foul’ from some evangelical Christians for this film. The fact that the film follows the highlights of the Exodus story and shows the destruction of pagan gods at the hands of the One True God o … [Read more...]

Left Behind: It’s as Bad as We Feared


Left Behind is an awful movie. I expected it to be awful on the theological level; I was hoping it wouldn’t be awful on an entertainment level. Unfortunately it is both.First, the film. If you have lived on the East or West Coast for the last 20 years, or are Roman Catholic, you may not know how the Left Behind story goes. But unfortunately for the rest of us, many of the details have trickled down even if we have assiduously avoided this evangelical book/movie/then-another-movie j … [Read more...]