‘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...]

Movie Review: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief


Alex Gibney's latest film, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, feels more like a horror film than a documentary. Scientology survivors' accounts of their time in the cult (I refuse to call it a church) are almost beyond belief. While it lacks elements that could have made it a great doc, it's still a must-see film that exposes one of the more bizarre and surprisingly successful (?) cults of the 20th and early 21st centuries. … [Read more...]



I've got a Godfather 3 type relationship with the church. Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. Communities and people of faith have serendipitously entered my life--or I theirs--at moments when I was just about to give up on the whole thing. Tony Jones is one of those people and his new book, did God Kill Jesus: Looking for Love in History's Most Famous Execution, is one of those rare texts that is both informative and inspirational. It's given me fresh eyes with which to see the c … [Read more...]



The recent Oscar-nominated foreign language film, Timbuktu, is the most important film of the decade. I know that such comments often sound like grandstanding, but I'm actually tempering my praise. It could be one of the most important films of any decade. With the rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism in ISIL, Timbuktu's story couldn't be more timely, but the ways in which writer/director Abderrahmane Sissako tells his story give it a timelessness that only the most talented of directors can ac … [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...]