Watching God’s Best Movies of the Year

What makes a good movie? Ask a secular movie reviewer, and they’ll talk about the writing, the acting, cinematography, relevance. Ask some Christian movie reviewers, and they’ll talk about how aspirational the themes are and how free it is from nudity, violence and naughty words. The former might rank a movie like, say, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, near the very top of their “good movie” list. The latter might slap it right near the bottom. I’ve had my foot… Read more

Why a Doc about Istanbul’s Stray Cats Might be One of the Year’s Best—and Most Spiritual—Movies

I’m not a cat person. I used to be, back before I realized that they made my eyes swell shut. After that, I turned my attention to dogs, which by any legitimate measure are simply better than cats. Science says they’re smarter. They’re certainly more trainable. If a burglar comes a-burgling, it’s better to have a dog than a cat—unless, naturally, your dog’s a Pomeranian and your cat’s a leopard. Most importantly, dog hair doesn’t make my eyes swell shut…. Read more

Film and Follicles: Hollywood’s Seven Best Beards of 2017

Much has been said and written about the Avengers: Infinity War trailer already. Who is Tony Stark apparently mourning? Does Vision survive the loss of his Infinity Stone? Whose side is Loki on, anyway? Those are all worthy and important questions. But as I watched, one question trumped all. Captain America has a beard? In a team already sprouting with notable facial hair (how long does Tony Stark spend trimming that goatee, anyway?) it’s clear that ol’ Cap is bringing… Read more

Netflix Asks Us to Find God in the Mud of Mudbound

Netflix, the ubiquitous television streaming service, wants to become a venue for must-see movies, too, and it means to do so by winning a whole bunch of shiny awards. And while the Motion Picture Academy has been loath to give Netflix Oscar noms for its dramas, Netflix has unveiled its strongest contender yet: Mudbound. It’s a lyrical, brutal, epic tale of two families in the 1940s whose fates are tied to the rich, loamy soil of southern Mississippi. It’s a… Read more

Check Out ‘A Wrinkle in Time’s’ New Trailer

Disney just released its new trailer for A Wrinkle in Time, in theaters March 9. I’ve already written about how excited I am for the movie, and I still have high hopes. But it was a little jarring to see Zach Galifianakis as the book’s Happy Medium. Clearly, Selma director Ava DuVernay ain’t playing it safe, and I like that. Check out the trailer below. Read more

What Went Wrong With Justice League (and How to Fix It)

I feel kind of sorry for D.C. We know the folks behind Justice League meant well. It’s in their best interest to create a strong franchise. I’d assume they love and respect D.C.’s pantheon of superheroes as much as we do. And it’s not as if Justice League was a total disaster. It corrected some of the mistakes from the past, and let’s face it: We superhero movie fans have gotten a little spoiled. But in the end, Justice League… Read more

Dickens Didn’t ‘Invent’ Christmas. But Here Are Three Ways He Changed It.

Forget the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future. The real inescapable spirit of the season is that of Charles Dickens himself. Try as you might, you can’t run from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol during the holidays. It’s everywhere: His beloved story has been translated to film and television roughly a bazillion times, starring everyone from George C. Scott to Bill Murray to Mr. Magoo. We’ve heard the story so often that many of us might be able to quote… Read more

Sin, Penance and Forgiveness in an Age of Scandal

My favorite movie? It might be The Mission. The 1986 movie unpacks the story of Jesuit missionary Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), who ministers to South America’s Guarani people and trying to protect them from European slavers. Soon he meets with Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro), one of the region’s most notorious slavers, in a prison cell: Mendoza, who murdered his own brother, refuses to see anyone, and he’s slowly starving himself to death. “For me there is no redemption,” Mendoza… Read more

A Spoiler-Free Look at What Murder on the Orient Express Gets Right, and Wrong, About Faith

Every summer, when I’d visit my grandma and grandpa at their Colorado cabin for a week or so, I’d head to the bookcase the very first thing and pick out an old, battered, Agatha Christie book to read.  Those old drawing-room mysteries became a part of my childhood, and they’re still a part of me today. Walk into my study, and you’ll find practically a whole bookshelf filled with murder mysteries. Tattered Agatha Christie books take up two whole shelves…. Read more

How ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Connects With Christian Faith in Four Freaky Ways

Let’s not pretend that Thor: Ragnarok is some profound theological declaration. It’s a superhero movie, and a silly one at that. If you’ve seen it, you know. If not … well, first, you should probably read something else: This column… Read more

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