Jesus of Hollywood, A Review

Few books on film and religion are as insightful as Adele Reinhartz's Jesus of Hollywood.  Here, she blends film scholarship with scriptural analysis and cultural studies in seamless fashion.  She not only gives close readings of the Jesus story as told in the Gospels, but she shows how close viewings of Jesus films can highlight the differences between the four scriptural accounts as well.  In the process, she explodes many preconceived notions that we might have about the scriptural Jesus st … [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

After you've all finished stuffing yourself with turkey and football, head on over to Homebrewed Christianity to listen to their newest podcast featuring yours truly.  A couple of weeks ago, Chad Crawford and I got together to discuss all things religion and film.  Tripp Fuller put together the intro.  It's a good dessert to wrap up the feast.  Follow the link after the jump. … [Read more...]

Back to the Beginning…

Looking ahead to today's opening of the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, I decided to look back at Casino Royale last night since the new film picks up right were Casino left off.  Casino Royale is a new Bond beginning in more ways than one, and for a generation of new Bond fans, will color their perception of future Bond films. … [Read more...]

A Bloody Mess…

Twenty-first century cinematic ministers fare little better than their predecessors.  Southerners in contemporary cinema never get it easy either.  Combine the two and you have a recipe for ridicule. The King (2006), directed by the British James Marsh, is an attempt to wrap a Southern gothic fairy tale in religious garb.  Despite a great cast, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Paul Dano, and William Hurt, the extra religious layer burdens a film that is in no shape to shoulder it. … [Read more...]

Virtual Dystopia

One of the most interesting parts of Conrad Ostwalt's book, Secular Steeples, is his comparison of secular and sacred apocalyptic films.  One of the characteristics of secular apocalyptic films is that humans must and do overcome the apocalyptic threat before them through world unity, technological advancements, military might, etc.  Contrary to this, sacred apocalyptic films wait for God to act decisively while humans must endure the violence around them.  Lately, I have observed a string of vi … [Read more...]

New Homebrewed Christianity Podcast

Our friends Tripp Fuller and Chad Crawford have a new podcast up over at Homebrewed Christianity featuring Phyllis Tickle and a capsule review of W. by yours truly.  Follow the link after the jump. … [Read more...]

The Real Thing…

Looking at religious documentaries that expose a certain element of Christianity, we can trace a thread back at least to 1972 and the Academy Award winning film, Marjoe.  Marjoe Gortner began preaching at the age of four, leading revivals and even officiating weddings.  Urged on by his parents, until the age of fifteen, Marjoe left his "ministry" and returned in his young adult years when he realized the financial profitability of his preaching.  Read on for a review and check out the featured vi … [Read more...]

"Without Them, I'm Not Me…"

These are the words that Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker) uses to describe her outrageous eyelashes in the opening of the documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000).  I've said in several places that I feel like we are in a hey-day of religious documentaries.  Any discussion of this genre must include this insightful film about one of televangelism's most (in)famous figures. … [Read more...]