“Moonlight” Is a Film of Great Tenderness and Spirit

Moonlight has been receiving critical buzz since its debut at the winter film festivals last year, some of which has resulted in a Golden Globe for best picture (drama) and a slew of Oscar nominations. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, it is a rare film that features black men being at turns tender and melancholy, crushed and resilient, without the usual Hollywood fetishization as thugs or sex machines. Tracing the coming of age of one black boy, … [Read more...]

At Sundance: THEIR FINEST

Their Finest wasn't on my radar going into Sundance this year, but it turned out to be one of my more enjoyable screenings. Based on the novel, Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans, it focuses on British propaganda filmmakers during WWII. In the process, it's a celebration of cinema and filmmaking and, especially, women's roles in it. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: COLUMBUS

Columbus, the first feature film from Kogonada, a video essayist and artist, reveals a filmmaker who understands the ways in which the aesthetics and narrative of cinema should compliment one another. It's rare to find a writer/director who can execute this relationship at such a high level. … [Read more...]

A Scorsese Q & A

Over the weekend, I had the rare opportunity to listen to--and briefly meet--one of my favorite directors (and one that I consider the greatest of all time), Martin Scorsese. We screened his latest film, Silence, for the Fuller Seminary community. After the jump, you can read some of the highlights from Scorsese's Q & A with Kutter Callaway, assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller, and Mako Fujimura, director of the Brehm Center at Fuller. … [Read more...]

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...]

#KillerSerials: AMANDA KNOX

Tony Jones and Ryan Parker discuss the new Netflix documentary, Amanda Knox, and what it says about unjust legal systems, amoral media outlets, and the public's obsession with crime stories. Take a listen after the jump. … [Read more...]