Review of Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert By PAUL D. MILLER [Spoilers] Emma Bovary is an idiotic, listless romantic who pines for love and meaning. She tries to find it in novels, marriage, motherhood, two adulterous affairs, Catholic religion, and opulent living. Crushed by debt, she commits suicide. The end. Despite its perfunctory plot, Madame Bovary is nonetheless engaging and Flaubert has some wonderfully descriptive prose. The characters have depth and the book kept my attention. The problem is that I simply… Read more

Review of The Sacred Science, Directed by Nicholas Polizzi By COYLE NEAL Nicholas Polizzi’s The Sacred Science takes eight people out of the West and into the Amazon (the jungle, not the website—though that would possibly have been a better movie) and puts them under the care of tribal shamans. The goal is to see if there is medicinal and curative wisdom to be found in traditional cultures with access to different tools than we have here in civilization. Along… Read more

Review of Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul By CHRISTIAN HAMAKER This September, a singer from Detroit performed “a charming and awesomely odd show”—his first in the Washington, D.C., area in many years. It was a wonder he attracted a paying audience, given his relative obscurity and advancing years, and the fact that, even in his heyday, he never had much of a U.S. following.  But the performer, Sixto Rodriguez, has been recently rediscovered in America thanks to… Read more

Review of Tokyo Story, Directed by Yasujiro Ozu By PAUL D. MILLER Roger Ebert recently updated his personal list of the ten best film of all time.  I had seen eight of them and knew of a ninth, but had never even heard of the tenth.  I Googled the mystery film and learned that it is not on the IMBD’s list of the top 250 films of all time and it won no Oscars—so, really, how good could it be?  But… Read more

Review of Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey By ALEXIS NEAL Young, beautiful Jane Withersteen seems to have it made.  She owns several thousand head of cattle, a powerful lot of land, the fastest, most beautiful pair of black racehorses in the state, and the only spring for miles around.  But trouble is looking for Jane Withersteen.  See, as a wealthy, unmarried Mormon woman, she’s quite the catch for the men in her community, and Elder Tull has had his… Read more

Review of Hereafter, Directed by Clint Eastwood Review by KENDRICK KUO The very name and premise of Hereafter promise viewers an exploration of the afterlife. Stylistically and in substance, the film fails to do the topic any justice. Hereafter follows three lives—a young boy in Britain who loses his twin brother, a French journalist that “dies” during the tsunami in Indonesia, but is resuscitated, and an American man who is able to communicate with the dead. Sounds like the makings… Read more

Review of Hondo, Directed by Louis L’Amour By COYLE NEAL As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, Americans are always in search of their own body of myths and legends—a literary past we can look to and claim as our own. The most recognizable and uniquely American body of literature that has grown up as a result of this search is the Western. This is particularly of interest to Christians, as perhaps no genre more easily reflects the Gospel than this one…. Read more

Review of Munich, Directed by Steven Spielberg By PAUL D. MILLER Munich (2005) is a sad movie. Unlike Spielberg’s other dramas—Shindler’s List (1993), Amistad (1997), or Saving Private Ryan (1998)—Munich ends without hope, full of questions, under a heart of sorrow. It asks “How do you balance the need to respond to terrorism with the knowledge that the response may provoke more terrorism?” In simpler form, “How do you balance justice with peace?” It is a heart-rending choice. We see the heartache reflected in the… Read more

Review of Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace by Miroslav Volf By JUSTIN HAWKINS The greatest cause for joy in the life of the Christian is the fact that God has forgiven the presumably indelible stain of his depravity. It follows, then, that the Christian’s forgiveness of others ought to be quick and unhesitating, because it represents an opportunity to imitate the greatest act done on our behalf by our God.  Free of Charge,… Read more

 Review of Mao’s Last Dancer, Directed by Bruce Beresford By KENDRICK KUO I’ve become the resident reviewer of Chinese foreign films and movies about China. And in due course I will also become the reviewer of books about China. Having grown up as an Asian American, let’s say this is a way for me to get in touch with my roots. So in the same vein, I decided to continue my trend of watching China-related movies and watched Mao’s Last… Read more

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