Why #AskPontifex Anything At All?

Benedito

“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” Pope Benedict XVI’s much-anticipated arrival in the Twitterverse this morning caused quite a commotion.  And there is doubtless a great deal more to be said in the coming [Read More...]

Monteverdi’s Marian Love Letter

Claudio_Monteverdi

Over at my old stomping grounds, the incomparable Robert Reilly just reminded me of something that has confounded me for years: I love Monteverdi’s Vespers. “Why confounding,” you ask? Because despite my relatively large musical sweet spot, I have always struggled to enjoy (or even to appreciate) Renaissance music. When confronted by a friend a few [Read More...]

No Sunrises Without Sunsets

T

I hate to see this evening sun go down. Lord, I hate to see this evening sun go down. ’cause it makes me think I’m on my last go ’round. Few things are more enjoyable than watching a legendary actor, nearing the end of a long and illustrious career, who finds the passion and the [Read More...]

It Takes a Town to “Get Low”

It has been said that there is no such thing as a private sin—that the relationship humans share as members of the Body of Christ makes such a distinction impossible. While the theology may be a bit fuzzy, the notion that transgressions committed in secret send ripples throughout all of humanity is borne out by [Read More...]

Film Noir Loves a Tell-Tale Heart

ScarletPoster

He didn’t get away with it, did he? He’ll go to the chair, as he should. A few dates are all it takes to realize that Miss Film Noir, despite her reputation as one of the most beloved and oft-studied genres in cinematic history, is one strange, frighteningly bipolar dame. The deadly molls, hard-bitten gumshoes, and rain-drenched streets popularized [Read More...]

Trust and Doubt: Our Endless Dichotomy

WhiteR1

A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our shelter He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing. The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke’s chilling tale of mystery and violence engulfing a small German town prior to the start of the First World War, is a drama that bears as much relevance to our modern [Read More...]

To Be Pickering in a Henry Higgins World

Pyg1

When George Bernard Shaw first learned of the creative licenses taken in an effort to make the ending of his play Pygmalion more marketable, he was outraged. Confronted by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s claim that “My ending makes money, you ought to be grateful,” he responded (with his trademark sharpness of wit and tongue): “Your ending is [Read More...]

Jumpstarting Grown-Up Wonder in Tarsem Singh’s “The Fall”

TheFall3

The Fall, a genre-defying film from the Indian-born director Tarsem Singh, perfectly encapsulates the occasionally awkward marriage between Hollywood’s independent filmmakers and their commercial counterparts. Tarsem, probably best known for his visually arresting music video to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” has produced a mind-bending, one-of-a-kind work one could accurately describe as both a vanity project and a labor [Read More...]

Capes, Masks, and Ordinary Heroes

Cape1

Few popular art forms have so perfectly encapsulated the peculiarly dual nature of the Heroic American Spirit as that of the superhero comic. On one hand stands Superman, Captain America, Thor, Wonder Woman and the like—idealized, anatomically-unlikely characters motivated by such universal principles as Truth, Justice, and The American Way. These heroes, whose perfection and [Read More...]

Death, Where Is Thy Sting?

Departures5

To say that death has become an unimportant part of our cinematic vocabulary would seem like the height of absurdity. The body count from Sly Stallone’s two latest features alone could easily populate a small country, and there are few plot points so frequently used as: “unexpected death of parent/sibling/lover throws protagonist into deep, expressive [Read More...]


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