You’re Not Good Enough, You’re Not Smart Enough, and Some People Don’t Like You: The Refreshing Realism of Monsters University

Review of Monsters University, Directed by Dan Scanlon When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian. And a farmer. And an ice skater. But time passed, and I realized that I was far too sensitive (about animals, anyway) to endure the heartache of watching families say goodbye to beloved pets. Raising animals for slaughter was likewise out of the question. I lacked the dedication and, quite frankly, the physical grace to be a skater. Plus, it turns out that veterinarian/ice skater/farmer is a … [Read more...]

‘Epic’ Community Focuses on Serving, Not Deserving

Review of Epic, Directed by Chris WedgeFrom Chris Wedge, director of Ice Age, comes Epic, a passable animated feature based on William Joyce’s  The Leaf-Men and the Brave Good Bugs. The plot is … well, kind of complex and hard to summarize. If you don’t care about the plot and just want the review, you can skip this next bit. If you want the rundown, well, buckle up, because it’s a doozy.***Life is hard for teenager Mary Catherine (that’s ‘M.K.’ to you). Following her mother’s death, … [Read more...]

‘Bound Together’ in Suffering…and Salvation

Review of Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris BraunsAs Americans, we love our independence. I am my own man (or woman), I make my own destiny, I am autonomous, don't tread on me. But for all our cowboy sentiment, there is a union, communion, and solidarity to humanity that we cannot escape. Despite my wish to the contrary, I am not solely my own man—I am affected by the choices of others. I benefit from the good choices of others (through no merit of my … [Read more...]

Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca!

Review of Casablanca, Directed by Michael CurtizIt’s December of 1941 in sunny, depressing Casablanca, where refugees flock in an attempt to flee the ravages of Nazi-infested Europe. They flock to Vichy-controlled Casablanca, and there they stay—unless Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) cares to bestow upon them the coveted exit visas that will allow them to catch the plane to Portugal and thence to freedom. These visas are a precious commodity, and Renault is careful only to trade them for … [Read more...]

Killing the Green-Eyed Monster

Review of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa B. KrugerBy ALEXIS NEALCovetousness is a mother sin. […I]t is a breach of all the ten commandments.  ~Thomas WatsonHave you ever considered that the Ten Commandments begin and end with virtually the same commandment—‘You shall have no other gods before me’ and ‘You shall not covet’? These are almost equivalent commands. Coveting is desiring anything other than God in a way that betrays a loss of contentment and … [Read more...]

Man or Mouse: Humanity and Morality in The Secret of NIMH

Review of The Secret of NIMH, Directed by Don BluthMrs. Brisby has a serious problem. Her youngest son, Timmy, has a nasty fever. Which would be problem enough, but it’s getting to be plow season. This is bad news for field mice (like the Brisbys) and other such critters currently living in a field on the Fitzgibbons’ farm. Normally, the Brisbys would just relocate, but little Timmy can’t be moved, and Mrs. Brisby is at her wits’ end. The friendly neighborhood apothecary, Mr. Ages, sends her … [Read more...]

More or Less: A Generous Orthopraxis

Review of More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff ShinabargerIs your closet overflowing? Do the contents of your storage area threaten to overwhelm anyone unwise enough to peek inside? Does your junk drawer need a junk drawer? If so, Jeff Shinabarger’s More or Less might be the book for you.Shinabarger is a man on a mission—a mission to find out just how much is ‘enough.’ Through a series of creative experiences, he and his family/friends/acquaintances explore t … [Read more...]

Jurassic Park Is Back and Better Than Ever

Review of Jurassic Park 3D, Directed by Steven SpielbergThe year is 1993, and fictional bajillionaire (and genetic engineering tycoon) John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has finally done the un-doable: he has brought the dinosaurs back to life. Using DNA recovered from prehistoric mosquitoes preserved for millions of years in amber (and supplemented with frog DNA, to fill in any ‘gaps’), Hammond and company have successfully cloned a whole bunch of freaking awesome dinosaurs, from the gen … [Read more...]

‘On the Road’ to Nowhere

Review of On the Road by Jack KerouacWhen I moved to D.C., some friends and I started a book club. Our goal was to work our way through the classics of English/American Literature and read the books that everyone else seemed to have read in high school or college. Books which, for some reason, had never actually wound up on the required reading lists for any of our classes. At the top of that list was Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), which was supposed to be a classic and was included on se … [Read more...]

Burt Wonderstone: From Wonder-Empty to Wonder-Full

Review of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Directed by Don ScardinoYet this I hold against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ~ Revelation 2:4Albert Weinzelstein and his friend Anthony—social outcasts and frequent targets for bullying—wanted nothing more than to explore the wonderful world of magic; a world personified by Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), a stage magician who looks like a live-action Count von Count … if he were a lounge singer. The boys assiduously study and perfec … [Read more...]