If you love America, go see Pain & Gain

Review of Pain and Gain, Directed by Michael Bay “Don’t be a don’t-er, do be a doer.” Such is the motto of body-builders/gym-rats Danny Lugo, Paul Doyle, and Adrian Doorball (Marky Mark, the Rock, and Anthony Mackie). Okay, if we’re being all technical about it, it’s the motto of Johnny Wu—the hottest self-help guru to [Read More...]

My Beef With a Delicious Read

A Review of Recipe for Joy, by Robin Davis By Jennilee Miller I like personal interest stories and I love to cook.  And eat.  So it wasn’t a tough sell for me to pick up “Recipe for Joy” when my husband encouraged me to check it out. “It’s a memoir about a woman’s journey of [Read More...]

Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca!

Review of Casablanca, Directed by Michael Curtiz It’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 [Read More...]

Killing the Green-Eyed Monster

Review of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa B. Kruger By ALEXIS NEAL Covetousness is a mother sin. […I]t is a breach of all the ten commandments.  ~Thomas Watson Have you ever considered that the Ten Commandments begin and end with virtually the same commandment—‘You shall have no other gods [Read More...]

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

Review of The Secret of NIMH, Directed by Don Bluth Mrs. 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 [Read More...]

“Oblivion” and Earth’s Horatius

Oblivion, directed by Joseph Kosinski Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: “To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods? -From Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome [Read More...]

Always Online, Ever “Disconnected”

Review of Disconnect, Directed by Henry Alex Rubin Disconnect gives us four stories about people growing estranged from one another and how they reach a breaking point, only to find that reconnection is still possible. The narrative struggles with the growing disconnectedness in an American society awash in social media and communication technologies; and this [Read More...]

The Genealogy of Evangelicalism

Review of The Evangelical Heritage by Bernard Ramm Bernard Ramm’s short book The Evangelical Heritage, traces the development of evangelical thought from the origins of Christianity to the present day.  He reviews major theological developments and arguments in the history of Christianity and discusses what relevance they have for the evangelical today, what positions evangelical theology typically [Read More...]

More or Less: A Generous Orthopraxis

Review of More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger Is 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 [Read More...]

Swamplandia! Should Remain a Short Story

Review of Swamplandia! by Karen Russell Although Swamplandia! somehow stole one of the three finalist positions for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the book lacks the strength to compete at that level. It is a simple exile-and-return story of a family.  The only element that might keep readers interested would be Karen Russell’s ingenuity [Read More...]

Are We All in a Trance?

Review of Trance, Directed by Danny Boyle What is the role of memory in shaping our identity and our motives? This question drives the plot of Trance, Danny Boyle’s (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) newest film. If you just watch the trailer, you immediately know that the film is not what it seems. There are going to [Read More...]

Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder: A Stunted Scriptural Meditation on Marriage and Ministry

Review of To the Wonder, Directed by Terrence Malick Terrence Malick, the reclusive filmmaker of Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line, has turned to more explicit religious themes in his most recent films. The Tree of Life, Malick’s 2011 epic, included a long creation sequence and a mystical moment of reunion with deceased loved [Read More...]

42 and Jackie Robinson’s Legacy of Nonviolence

Review of 42, Directed by Brian Helgeland The story of Jackie Robinson is familiar to most Americans, but being an American who grew up overseas, I must confess ignorance of this iconic hero before watching 42. (The educational value of the film itself makes it worth watching: among other things, 42 underlines the exalted position [Read More...]

Rambling Through a Classic Western

Review of Warlock by Oakley Hall The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. (Deut. 28:23) For a Western, Warlock is a ridiculously complicated book. In one sense, it is a novelization of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Lincoln County War. In another sense, it is the story of Marshall Clay Blaisdell in his quest to keep [Read More...]


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