December 27, 2022

The prospect of immortality, eternal life, or some kind of existence beyond mortal life can be found in most religions. Some variation of the concept is generally promised as a reward for faithful adherents. Everyone wants to live forever, but none of us can really comprehend what that means in practice. And yet, it’s useful to examine the concept from a metaphorical perspective. And I want to do so through the lens of Pixar’s Toy Story 2. All of the... Read more

December 20, 2022

I try to avoid controversial matters when I can on this site, including the question of when it is appropriate to start listening to Christmas music. But I will say that on my calendar, Christmas starts whenever I finally give Michael Curtiz’ 1954 musical, White Christmas, its seasonal viewing. I classify this as my favorite Christmas movie (I refuse to peg It’s a Wonderful Life down as such) and as one of my favorite classical musicals. The drama is rich... Read more

November 29, 2022

  I’m not really a winter person, which makes the coming months something of an ordeal for me. I tend to cope by immersing myself in summer-themed films, and the film that probably best embodies this is (well, probably Jaws, but a close second would be) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s The Way, Way Back. The story sees Duncan, an insecure teenager, vacationing with his mom for the summer with her boyfriend, Trent, at his beach house. Even though he’s the... Read more

November 15, 2022

A few weeks back when I talked about Scream, I mentioned that self-aware movies are generally a harder sell for me. I acknowledged Scream was a rare exception, but I also casually mentioned Disney’s 2007 pastiche fairy-tale, Enchanted, without clarifying that said film definitely falls into the category of “meta” done responsibly. And as the long-awaited sequel hits streaming this week, I guess now is as good a time as any to reflect on why Enchanted is so aptly named.... Read more

October 29, 2022

It’s a miracle that a movie like Scream ever landed on my list of favorite movies. It’s not only a horror film (I’m more of a musical guy myself), it’s also a self-aware horror film. Scream belongs to a special class of film that overtly comments on the genre to which it belongs. (Scream is to slasher films what Enchanted is to Disney fairy tales.) These movies aren’t impossible to do well, but more often than not, their incessant winking at... Read more

October 6, 2022

I remember an experience I had in 9th grade P.E. This was the rare class I had with my best friend since kindergarten. But as fate would have it, this was also a class I shared with a longtime tormentor, the kind of person who’s always there when you drop your books in the hall and never misses the chance to announce it to the world, or the kind that always has special nicknames for you and the life-sustaining but... Read more

September 27, 2022

As we move from the blockbuster season toward that time when all the auteur pieces and Oscar hopefuls bleed into cinemas, I’ve already identified a few films I’m really excited to see. Chief among them being Martin McDonagh’s new film, The Banshees of Inisherin, which reunites the director with Collin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson, who made lightning in McDonagh’s 2008 film, In Bruges. Critic Tasha Robinson put it best when she described the film in her review: “When it’s funny, it’s... Read more

September 20, 2022

JA Bayona’s 2012 epic dramatizes the experience of the real-life Belón family (named the Bennet family in this film) as they were caught in the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Maria and her oldest son, Lucas, are swept away from Henry, the father, as well as the two youngest, Simon and Thomas. In a movie like this, the tension obviously floats on whether or not this loving family is going to find each other by the end, but it’s... Read more

August 30, 2022

In the years leading up to Christ’s birth, the intellectuals of the day anticipated the coming of the Son of God who would free them from their chains. The savior they anticipated was an angelic warrior king who would rain fire on the Romans and break their chains with an awesome display of might. This is one of the reasons why the Pharisees and Sadducees of the day missed it when he came as a humble carpenter, wandering among the... Read more

August 23, 2022

A few weeks ago, we looked at “A Face in the Crowd” as an exploration of false prophets and how they work. Today, we’re going to take a more sympathetic look at prophets, or at least people who operate in a prophetic capacity. The scientists in Netflix original “Don’t Look Up,” for example, are charged with a mission of biblical proportions to warn the world of imminent destruction, only to find that their message isn’t appealing enough to compete with... Read more

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