May 21, 2019

In the closing moments of HBO’s Game of Thrones, a haggard Tyrion Lannister suggests that neither gold nor armies nor patriotic pride rule the world. It’s story. “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story,” he says. “Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” For eight seasons, Game of Thrones has been one of the most popular and compelling stories in culture. And then last night—according to some fans—the whole thing crumbled like King’s Landing…. Read more

May 10, 2019

I was driving to Denver when I heard about another local school shooting–the fourth in Colorado in the last 20 years. Two students of the STEM School in Highlands Ranch walked into school and started firing. One student was killed, eight more were injured. We’re told that heroic action by a few fellow students and a quick response by local police saved many lives. We’re becoming numb to such tragedies. It seems like every month, every week, we hear about… Read more

May 7, 2019

The dust is settling, the ash has blown away. And, inescapably, the internet is roaring with people praising and picking apart Avengers: Endgame. I thought Endgame was eminently satisfying. It closed the book on a marvelous (Marvel-ous?) 22-movie story arc (even as it set the table for others). And while it was about Thanos and Captain America and the Infinity Gauntlet and the Snap and what might’ve been the end of the world, Endgame’s really about second chances. It’s about… Read more

April 26, 2019

Avengers: Endgame is here. Finally. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building toward this moment for 11 years and 22 movies. And after the crushing cliffhanger of Avengers: Infinity War, I’ve been waiting for this movie like a 7-year-old kid waits for Christmas morning. Avengers: Endgame was just what I wanted to find underneath the tree. I’ve got lots to say about Endgame, but I’m not going to do it now—not with so many of you still looking forward to… Read more

April 19, 2019

I’ve never read Pilgrim’s Progress. As a college English major, you think I would’ve. And I should’ve. At one point, pretty much everyone who could read was reading John Bunyan’s Christian allegory. The book has never been out of print since Bunyan first dropped it into the world in 1678. And while some consider it the English language’s first real novel, it didn’t stay strictly “English” for long. Bunyan’s seminal work (officially titled The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to… Read more

April 16, 2019

I’ve written plenty about the spiritual dichotomy we find in horror movies. For lots of Christians, they’re an automatic no-go. And yet, these same films are often the only ones that have permission to explore big spiritual issues, from the eternal conflict of good and evil to what might lurk in the hereafter. The Curse of La Llorona—heading to theaters this weekend—comes freighted with loads of spirituality to go along with all its jump scares. Not all of it is… Read more

April 15, 2019

The fire in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is dying down now. No one knows how much was lost yet. I’ve read the cathedral’s famed rose windows were damaged. No word on many of the art and relics (including, reportedly, Jesus’ crown of thorns) inside. No word on the 8,000-pipe organ, made in the 1730s. But the spire—itself remade in the 19th century—toppled in a flaming mass of orange and black, in fire and ash. Some called Notre Dame “the… Read more

April 10, 2019

Singer Aretha Franklin was at her peak in 1972. She’d recorded more than 20 albums, won five Grammys and was already the undisputed Queen of Soul. But now, in a way, she was coming home—to the music she grew up with, the music that still meant so much to her. Over the course of two January nights at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Aretha Franklin recorded Amazing Grace—a collection of gospel songs that eventually sold more… Read more

April 9, 2019

I just got back from a film junket in Los Angeles for The Curse of La Llorona, the latest horror movie from what’s now being called The Conjuring Universe. For me, the Conjuring movies are a slice above typical, schlocky horror flicks. First of all, they’re pretty scary–a key component, obviously, for a good fright film. Second, most rely more on atmosphere than gore. (Despite the movie’s R rating, for instance, The Curse of La Llorona doesn’t have much blood at… Read more

April 4, 2019

D.C.’s on a roll. After spending years in a post-Christopher Nolan wilderness, D.C. and Warner Bros. are re-discovering what makes a good superhero movie. Latest evidence: Shazam! It’s the D.C. Extended Universe’s second-best movie—behind Wonder Woman, ahead of Aquaman and leagues better than Justice League. It’s light, fun and even silly. But while Shazam! doesn’t take itself too seriously, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some pretty interesting themes here and there—ones that, if you’re so inclined, point to… Read more

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