October 28, 2020

Pan’s Labyrinth is not, exactly, a horror movie—no matter what my podcast partner might say. Guillermo del Toro’s freaky fable is more like a dark fantasy tale spliced together with, admittedly, an all-too-horrifically real war drama. So to post this on Halloween week feels a little like cheating. But the film includes many elements that’d be right at home in supernatural horror movies: monsters, magic and some surprisingly deep reflections on the nature of evil. It’s also deeply interested in… Read more

October 25, 2020

I can’t tell you when you’ll be able to see The Healing Garden. My understanding is that the makers are looking for a distributor now. But hopefully it’ll get one, because there’s definitely an audience for a movie like this. It is as stereotypically Christian a Christian movie as I’ve seen in the last few years. For those who aren’t up on the Christian movie genre, faith-based films tend to follow a formula—as strict as you might find in an… Read more

October 21, 2020

Time, a powerful new documentary directed by Garrett Bradley and available now on Amazon Prime, looks at the criminal justice system through the eyes of Fox Rich, a woman trying for nearly two decades to get her husband released. But the film highlights faith, too. Because when it can’t have faith in the system, this family finds it elsewhere. Fox Rich—also known as Sibil Fox Richardson—helped her husband rob a bank in 1997. They were trying to keep their own… Read more

October 16, 2020

Zach Sobiech wasn’t expecting a miracle when he went to Lourdes. His family made the trip to France shortly after doctors told Zach that his cancer had moved into his lungs. The 17-year-old songwriter was dying. And while he and his mother, Laura, believed that something might happen when Zach waded into those waters—waters that, since 1858, believers have said were miraculous—they knew that miracles were rare: That God might have other plans for Zach. That’s really the most overt… Read more

August 24, 2020

Words on Bathroom Walls, a teen romantic drama released to theaters this past weekend, takes on two subjects rarely dealt with—or, at least, dealt with well—in film: schizophrenia and confession. Adam is schizophrenic, which means he’s never alone. Aspects of his mind take on physical form for him: a hippy, well-meaning guru; a tough-as-nails bodyguard; a bathrobe-wearing schlub that, according to Adam, feels pulled out of an ‘80s-circa romcom. But Adam’s mind contains a darker voice, too—one that pulls Adam… Read more

July 18, 2020

Tom Hanks’ new movie Greyhound takes place during what Winston Churchill called the Battle of the Atlantic, a six-year contest between Allied and German forces to control the ocean linking war-torn Europe and the United States’ bustling factories and resources. But it’s also about a captain—Commander Ernest Krause (played by Hanks), who helms a boat nicknamed Greyhound and leads a handful of Allied destroyers as they shepherd a convoy of merchant vessels through hostile waters. And in a way, it’s… Read more

July 13, 2020

  You wouldn’t think that Andy from Netflix’s The Old Guard would have much to do with good old George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. George is a decent family man and beloved Bedford Falls citizen. Andy is an immortal warrior who, we’re told, has forgotten more ways to kill than whole armies have ever known. Still, if you ever got them together at a dinner party—and wouldn’t that be something if you did—they’d have more in common than… Read more

June 19, 2020

Guor Mading Maker was an experienced runner long before he laced up his first pair of track shoes. He’d been running for most of his life. Guor (formerly known as Guor Marial) was born into war. Sudan’s second civil war erupted in 1983, the year before he came into the world, and it raged throughout his entire childhood. When he was 8, Guor’s parents—fearing for his safety in their war-ravaged village—sent Guor off to fend for himself.  From that moment… Read more

May 29, 2020

In the opening minutes of Amazon Prime’s new film, The Vast of Night, the geekily rakish radio D.J. Everett walks through a tiny high school gym in Cayuga, New Mexico, while people pepper him with questions. Can you help fix the electricity? Will you teach me how to use my tape recorder? Can I re-use this reel-to-reel tape to record the game’s play by play? “You read your Bible, Sam?” Everett asks the sports announcer who asks the third question…. Read more

April 20, 2020

It’s been a strange year for the movie industry, obviously. But while blockbusters have all but disappeared from the horizon, at least for the short term, a number of really interesting films have found their way to the small screen, via video-on-demand. And Scott Teems’ taut, thoughtful The Quarry might just take the early-season prize for 2020’s most spiritually provocative film of the year. (You can rent it through Amazon Prime, Apple, YouTube and a variety of other platforms for… Read more

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