February 21, 2015

Ida, Ewa, Gloria, and now… the final contestant in this, the Looking Closer Beauty Pageant. Readers, let me catch you up: In early 2014, I began a four-part series in which I focused on films that captured the rare cinematic marvel of a living, breathing, three-dimensional female character — somebody who does not capture our attention by being fashion-model “perfect,” but rather by evincing a far more human kind of beauty. The fourth part of the series has been long delayed… Read more

February 20, 2015

Bear with me. This isn’t a movie review or a music review. This is just something that’s on my mind today. I’ll explain why, but first I have to write down the heavy stuff. Read more

February 16, 2015

I may have sensed, on some level, the dissonance between such prejudice and Jesus’ own teachings. But if I did, I suppressed it. That sense of superiority, of being on the right team, of having Jesus’ favor: they felt too good to give up. One of the easiest targets on my denominational dartboard was liturgy. Read more

February 15, 2015

This weekend, I had an incredible amount of writing to accomplish. So I only allowed myself two breaks, and I stuffed them with two movies. I chose wisely. The two I chose have a few things in common. Both films take us to London. Both bring beloved characters to life (one fictional, one historical). And both of those characters are… shall we say… well-rounded? (more…) Read more

February 10, 2015

So, I avoided seeing American Sniper for a few weeks because the highly politicized debate about it was so intense. I’d been given a very strong impression from certain ugly responses to the movie that it was a celebration of heroism in the Iraq War; that it glorified the killing of Iraqis; that it depicted the Iraq war as another case of Americans saving the world; and that it failed to question why in the world we went there in the first… Read more

February 8, 2015

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups screened at Berlinale today. Here come the reviews… Read more

February 6, 2015

Even more evidence that films about faith are alive and well in contemporary cinema (and that there is no need for a preachy “Christian movie industry”): As It Is In Heaven is an intelligent, riveting thriller that shows wisdom on the subject of cults and their appeal. Read more

February 3, 2015

In the early days, they plotted how to kill each other. Read more

February 3, 2015

I posted a question on Facebook and elsewhere: What breakup songs or breakup records mean the most to you? What music do you find entangled in your own hurtful experiences of separation? The floodgates burst open. Read more

January 26, 2015

Sharing your heart with someone who in turn takes sledgehammer to it understandably leaves an impression. Read more

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