March 30, 2023

Traveling can be stressful for most of us. The flights, the hotels, the pressures to see and do everything that we’ve come to that place to see and do. But whatever we deal with, it’s nothing compared to what the Pope must navigate. Magnolia Pictures’ In Viaggio—essentially a travelogue of Pope Francis’ decade-worth of trips around the world—shows us just how difficult, and delicate, such travel can be. Pope Francis may not need to worry about lost luggage or missing... Read more

March 10, 2023

I swear on my name and the names of the ancestors… That I shall walk the Way of the Mand’alor… And the words of the Creed shall be forever forged in my heart. This is the Way. So goes the Mandalorian Creed—tenants treated by one-time bounty hunter Din Djarin as sacred. That creed (and what it represents) is more than what he believes; it’s who he is. It’s so important to him, in fact, that he’s willing to do almost... Read more

March 2, 2023

Ever since Rocky Balboa stepped into the ring against Apollo Creed in 1976, the Rocky/Creed movies have often held just a teensiest whiff of the Gospel (with a dollop of the old Protestant work ethic). Sure, they’re not advocates of turning the other cheek. But they do stress a lot of messages straight from Sunday school: Turn away from the idols of this world. Don’t get tied down by worldly pleasures. Don’t fixate on outward appearances (Rocky was almost always... Read more

February 24, 2023

In The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton said that the Christian faith has a peculiar character. Often in history (he writes) it seemed as though the “whole soul seemed to have gone out of Christianity; and almost every man in his heart expected its end.” But every man, it seemed, would be wrong. “Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died,” Chesterton wrote. “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it... Read more

December 28, 2022

What makes a good movie? It’s a hard question, and one I ask myself right about now every year. Certainly, the skill and artistry play a huge role, and we’ve seen plenty of films in 2022 showcasing top-notch craft. But it’s not enough. A film’s cinematography might be incredible. It might have rock-solid actors playing memorable characters. But for a film to stick with me, it must move me. Its narrative needs to resonate with where I am and what... Read more

December 15, 2022

For a guy who sometimes claims to be an atheist, Guillermo del Toro sure spends a lot of time talking about faith. Del Toro says he left the Catholic Church as soon as he could. And yet his breakout movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, could be read as something of a Catholic parable of sacrifice and redemption. He turns his back on faith, but his Hellboy movies presupposes heaven and hell, and its titular hero is the most unlikely Christian you can... Read more

December 4, 2022

Bah. Humbug. So I might’ve said a few weeks ago to Spirited, yet another revision of A Christmas Carol. More than 100 versions of Charles Dickens’ classic have been made, featuring everyone from Bill Murray to Mickey Mouse. Hey, I love Scrooge and Tiny Tim as much as anyone. But we’ve seen it. The possibility of finding something new there? Well, that seems deader than a coffin nail. And then I actually saw Spirited, Apple TV+’s clever, musical addendum to... Read more

November 11, 2022

In superhero stories, death is often more of a temporary setback. Spider-Man was gone for five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and returned, no worse for wear. Doctor Strange died literally countless times in his first movie. Sure, Loki was killed with some permanence in Infinity War. But according to Disney+’s Loki, there are plenty more gods of mischief to be had. That’s one thing that makes Black Panther: Wakanda Forever so unusual—and, in its own way,... Read more

November 4, 2022

Causeway, Apple TV+’s new awards-season hopeful, is not a particularly religious movie. The only overt nod to faith came through a single cross dangling from a rear-view mirror. But Jennifer Lawrence’s latest film is still filled with spiritual themes: sin and redemption; pain and hope; salvation and second chances. And in the midst of it all flows one potent symbol: water. The film’s use of water is especially interesting, given that its main protagonist, Lynsey (played by Lawrence), just returned... Read more

November 2, 2022

It was a simple prayer. It was offered with sincerity and conviction. Mamie Till just wanted God to protect her son while he’s down in Mississippi. She wanted him to come home. God is good, her friends assured her. God is merciful. He will protect the boy. So when her boy—14-year-old Emmett Till—comes back in a box, what is a mother to do? How can she reconcile a good God with her mangled son? How can she go on? That... Read more

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