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...]

Dear 20″ Plastic Baby Jesus…


For the second week in a row, The Leftovers focuses squarely on religion in its fourth episode, "B.J. and the A.C.," while also revealing more about the ominous Guilty Remnant. As usual, there are spoilers throughout, so read at your own risk. … [Read more...]

This Is a Test


I "bought in" on The Leftovers even before the first episode aired. The pilot met all my expectations while the second episode left me feeling a bit disappointed. However, last night's episode, "Two Boats and a Helicopter," set a benchmark for the young series, taking it in a different narrative direction (focusing on only one character) that I hope subsequent episodes will follow. … [Read more...]

Inter-Species Peacekeeping


I was just as surprised as everyone else by the success of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The latest installment of the franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had more to live up to and, thankfully, hits every note with perfect special effects, a smart script, and a thought-provoking narrative. … [Read more...]

The Mystery Continues


A few weeks ago, I praised the first installment of Jeff Vandermeer's The Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long for the second book, Authority, which is equally haunting and confusing and every bit as brilliant. … [Read more...]

Long Train Runnin’


I thought I had seen the best action-adventure sci-fi film of the summer in Edge of Tomorrow. It's good, but not as wildly imaginative as Bong Joon-Ho's first English-language film, Snowpiercer, which plays like Metropolis on rails with humor and better action sequences. … [Read more...]

The Leftovers: Cynics, Fools, and Prophetic Hyperbole


Yesterday morning at church, we discussed Jacques Lacan's notions of the cynic and the fool and their application to the Jesus narrative. In some circles, this would be about as offensive as last night's HBO premier of The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta's new post-rapture series based on the latter's book. Only a few minutes into the pilot episode, I found myself comparing the series (or at least its potential) to our discussions in church earlier that day. … [Read more...]