Embracing Martha While Pining for Mary: Win-Win?


Life in a household of six boys often feels relentlessly jumbled and overwhelming. The wall of sound that greets me on my return home each day; the coughing, congestion and continual runny noses; the endless cycle of feeding, cleaning, and caring for this beloved brood of mine—my wife and I find ourselves willing-yet-worn-thin on the [Read More...]

A Cinematic Refuge for the Valentine-Averse


Well, here we go again. After a year of relative safety, we have arrived once more at Valentine’s Day, that most awkward of holidays, straddling the line twixt Twitterpation and Crass Consumerism. The day crabby old-timers love to hate; the day unromantic types hate because they are expected to love it so much; and the one shining [Read More...]

Shadow-Warriors No More


Above all,” the self-help gurus say, “you must be comfortable in your own skin.” We all know what the confident folk look like; they’re the ones that draw your attention the moment they walk into a room; the self-assured, dynamic ones—the people that make me just a teensy, weensy bit envious; they have achieved a [Read More...]

Losing for the Sake of Winning


Sorry that you feel that way The only thing there is to say Every silver lining’s got a Touch of grey. There are few things in life that bring home the value of a good cliché as quickly as becoming a new parent. A few short months as a father were all it took for [Read More...]

Self-Sacrifice in Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”


Hayao Miyazaki is a rare and indispensible artist. In a creative industry that flits happily between the brutal demythification and saccharine sentimentalization of childhood, his ability to capture the innocence, exuberance, and boundless imagination of youth is unusual. Watching My Neighbor Totoro, Laputa, or Ponyo with an audience of youngsters is a marvelous experience; their rapt expressions and delighted laughter [Read More...]

Elmer Gantry and the Cult of Personality


“I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.” We Americans are obsessed with celebrity. We expend vast amounts of time, energy and money in the obsessive study of our heroes; we live vicariously through the paparazzi-plagued existences of those more “fortunate” than ourselves. So it comes as [Read More...]

No Sunrises Without Sunsets


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...]

The Illusion of Self-Sufficiency


Reinventing a cinematic icon is a daunting task. Ask George Lucas, who has been struggling to rehabilitate one of the silver screen’s greatest villains for over thirty years. Or ask Stan Lee, whose Marvel characters are subjected to ill-conceived “reboots” on a nearly annual basis. Just don’t ask Sylvain Chomet, the insane genius behind The Triplets [Read More...]

Me, Myself, & GERTY


This review discusses a number of SPOILERS. Proceed with caution. Duncan Jones is a grateful man—deeply, unapologetically grateful. Unlike many of Hollywood’s brightest lights, whose lofty positions cloud their ability to recognize the greatness of those who have come before them, Jones is a firm believer in acknowledging his creative influences, seeing himself as just another filmmaker [Read More...]

Bruised for Our Iniquities: “The Passion of Joan of Arc”


Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d’Arc) was released in the spring of 1928, making it one of the oldest Lenten-themed films available for these all-important days of Passiontide. Yet despite its age, it remains a moving cinematic portrayal of redemptive suffering and the power of faith. Based on [Read More...]