September 20, 2018

White Boy Rick features two scenes that stick with me. The first: Rick Wershe Sr. (played by Matthew McConaughey) picks up his infant granddaughter for the first time—cradling her in his arms, reminiscing about how he used to hold his son, Rick Jr., the very same way. The second: Father and son sneak into a drug den, looking for Rick Sr.’s daughter, Dawn (Bel Powley). They find her, stoned, nearly incoherent. Rick Sr. picks Dawn up, and she begins wailing,… Read more

September 12, 2018

Say what you will about Nicolas Cage. But when he takes a role, he’s all in. Some call him an incredibly committed actor. Some call him an actor who looks, in some of his roles, as if he should be committed.  I’ve seen him in great movies. I’ve seen him in terrible movies, I’ve even seen him in terrible Christian movies. But this just might be Cage at his undiluted, unhinged best in what I think might be the year’s… Read more

September 7, 2018

I’m a sucker for old-fashioned horror stories. I even love all the clichés—the misty graveyards, the dank subterranean chambers, the creaking floors, all of it. And that’s one of the reasons I appreciate Warner Bros.’ Conjuring movies. The Nun, the fifth film in Warner Bros.’ Conjuring Universe, is admittedly a weaker entrant. The Conjuring was a minor haunted house masterpiece—an R-rated frightfest that really could’ve been PG-13 had it not been so dang scary. The Nun is darker, sillier and… Read more

September 6, 2018

I watched The Nun last night. Very gothic, pretty scary and quite interesting from a spiritual point of view. I’ll spill a lot more thoughts on the flick tomorrow. But in the meantime, Grace Hill was kind enough to offer this faith-tinged featurette from the movie’s creators. Click … if you dare. Oh, and feel free to read my interview with Nun screenwriter Gary Dauberman, too, which I wrote shortly before the release of another movie he penned, Annabelle: Creation. Read more

August 31, 2018

Operation Finale, now in theaters, is a morality study masquerading as an espionage thriller. The plot revolves around the capture of notorious Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann and his dramatic 1960 extraction to Israel to stand trial for his war crimes. But the most gripping moments of the movie take place in a single gloomy room where Eichmann talks with one of his captors, Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac). The most engaging parts of this so-called spy thriller could be boiled down… Read more

August 23, 2018

It’s been an eventful week for my favorite Caped Crusader. First, in commemoration of its 10th anniversary, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight will return to some select IMAX theaters for a weeklong engagement beginning Aug. 24. (Get your tickets now! I will be!) Second, and more importantly, the latest issue of the new Batman comic series–No. 53, written by Tom King—purportedly reveals that Batman’s an atheist. For a guy who wrote a whole book on the spirituality of Batman (and… Read more

August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin may be gone, but her voice lives on. And what a voice. In the wake of her death from pancreatic cancer this morning at the age of 76, much has rightly been made of her influence on music and culture. She was the unquestioned Queen of Soul, and she made her mark on pop, rock and even country. With her exuberant, fierce hit “Respect,” she became an icon for both women and the Civil Rights movement, which she… Read more

August 10, 2018

The Meg paddles into theaters this weekend, and the makers of this Jason Statham action vehicle surely hopes it gobbles up dollars like the prehistoric shark does swimmers. I haven’t seen The Meg, and I doubt it has deep spiritual undertones. But its very presence gives us an opportunity to consider the enduring fascination and fear we have for these and similar creatures. Let me tell you a little secret: I’m kinda scared of big fish. I’m not particularly phobic… Read more

August 9, 2018

To the denizens of the Hundred-Acre Wood, Christopher Robin has always been a hero. In A.A. Milne’s classic stories (and in Disney’s animated cartoons, too), he’s saved them from high waters and heffalumps, from bees and burrows and, very often, from themselves. But in Disney’s Christopher Robin, Christopher (in a fantastic performance by Ewan McGregor) joins the likes of Odysseus, Frodo Baggins and Luke Skywalker in taking a classic Hero’s Journey straight out of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Almost all hero… Read more

August 8, 2018

Robert Redford announced a couple of days ago that he’s retiring from acting at the age of 81. He’ll appear in The Old Man & the Gun this fall, but that’s it, he says. Probably. “Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and [I’ll] move towards retirement after this ’cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I thought, Well, that’s enough. And… Read more

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