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...]

The Sixties Were Groovy — But So Is Today

Open the door

Last week, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. This was a beautiful moment for my family as we gathered with friends in our adopted home in Northern Kentucky. By “adopted” I mean our extended family mostly lives in and around the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where my mom grew up and my parents met. I’m the only member of my immediate family that was born in the Bluegrass State. My parents are transplanted Southerners in a border state.The fun part for me as a student of cu … [Read more...]

If At First You Don’t Succeed…


It's hard to believe that Edge of Tomorrow didn't fare better at the box office over the weekend. I know The Fault in Our Stars was a big draw, but Edge is one of the best blockbuster action films of the summer. I'm anticipating, unlike Godzilla, that it will benefit from strong word of mouth in upcoming weeks. … [Read more...]

Victim and Violator


If an origin story is done well, it often gives us the opportunity to consider a familiar tale in a new light. The risk, however, is in the possibility of "corrupting" that story for legions of its most die-hard fans. Not surprisingly, this was never a danger for me with Disney's Maleficent, an origin story of the Sleeping Beauty villain that I found simultaneously boring and intriguing. … [Read more...]

Notes on ‘Godzilla’

The highlight of any Godzilla film.

For a good full review of the film, see Andrew O’Heir on Salon.com1.) Sometimes whether or not you like a movie may have to do with whether you were set up to like it, like if you’re part of the demographic the movie is pitched to. Sometimes, it just takes a good word from a critic. This is how I came to like Godzilla. Andrew O’Heir’s review set me up to be patient with the narrative the filmmakers wanted to unspool in this film. So I was prepared when three quarters of the film was about a n … [Read more...]

One of the Best Yet


After a disappointing experience with Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past set the summer blockbuster ship aright. With a strong script, a surprise performance, and great special effects, it's one of the strongest (if not the strongest) entries in the series. … [Read more...]