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...]

Top 50 Records of 2016

Just under the wire – my personal top 50 albums of the year. This is, of course, in no way an objective list. This is for two reasons: 1) I don’t think that’s possible and 2) I think that’s rather boring. The beauty of year end lists is to discover the music that moved other people and why, discovering not only new artists along the way but, ideally, new ways of looking at the world. That’s what music’s good for, after all – soundtracking our lived experiences. Sure, not all the records on my lis … [Read more...]

#KillerSerials: TRANSPARENT, S3, Eps. 6-10

Tony Jones and Ryan Parker wrap up 2016 with a discussion of one of the year's best series, TRANSPARENT. They talk about the brilliance of Judith Light, lament the absence of Rabbi Raquel, and speculate where the series might go in its upcoming fourth season. Take a listen after the jump. … [Read more...]

#KillerSerials: TRANSPARENT, S3, Eps. 1-5

Tony Jones and Ryan Parker discuss the first five episodes of the third season of TRANSPARENT, streaming on Amazon, and the themes of religiosity, sexuality, classism, and narcissism. Take a listen after the jump. … [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...]

Morning Light – A Review of Childish Gambino’s “Awake, My Love!”

No matter how many think pieces have been written, we don’t quite know who Donald Glover is. And even with all of them waiting in the wings, I don’t think we’re going to get a clear answer. And, thank God, because it has been a joy watching him answer that question for himself. From his early success as a prototype-YouTube celebrity to his hard earned career as a musician, Donald Glover is, in many ways, the promise of the internet generation – documentation of growth through experimentation. We … [Read more...]