25 Apr 2017

My Box of 64: Episode 2 – Mischa Willett & the power of practice

On the second episode of the new Looking Closer audio journal, My Box of 64… I welcome poet and Seattle Pacific University writing instructor Mischa Willett to talk about why he gave up on entering poetry contests, to share why he memorizes his favorite poems, and to read poems from his

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17 Apr 2017

Don’t Think Twice (2016)

Improv comedy is a demanding art. Making a movie about an improv team — one that is both dramatic and funny — that’s even more challenging. Mike Birbiglia succeeds!

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16 Apr 2017

My Box of 64: the new Looking Closer audio journal!

In which I launch the new LookingCloser.org audio journal. Take your first step into a larger world… of creativity, conversation, and community!

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14 Apr 2017

Get Out (2017)

Earlier this month, my students wrote film reviews of Ava DuVernay’s film Selma.  I pulled sentences from each of them and projected them onto a screen, asking the class to help each other repair grammatical errors in some of the weaker sentences. (This is a great exercise. The class wakes up

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06 Apr 2017

Song to Song (2017)

The latest Terrence Malick pageant of glamorous lovers and their interior-monologues meanders into monotony.

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01 Apr 2017

Silence… like you’ve never heard it before.

Trample! TRAMPLE!

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19 Mar 2017

Embracing dangerous neighbors in Of Gods and Men

I recently posted a review of Martin Scorsese’s Silence that was written by a high school student who took my online film course called “Viewer Discussion Advised.” Today, I’m sharing another review by a first-time film critic who took that class with me over seventeen weeks. Her name is Martha-Grace

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16 Mar 2017

Q&O: What should I see this week?

It’s the post-Oscar-season slump, when studios typically dump their trash into theaters. If I have an itch to go to the movies, what’s actually worth seeing?

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03 Mar 2017

Reflections on Scorsese’s Silence

I’ve been teaching a 17-week online film course for high school students. My students read Through a Screen Darkly, keep reading journals where they respond to what they read, participate in a private Facebook group discussion about film interpretation, watch a wide variety of movies, and write reviews of them. One

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27 Feb 2017

Jesca Hoop’s faith frustrations

Perhaps you’ve been around long enough to remember when, in the late ’80s, Leslie Phillips released an album called The Turning.  It was a life-changing experience for me, hearing her bravely sing about how she couldn’t reconcile her faith-born questions with the judgmental certainties of Christian fundamentalism. The Turning was the prelude

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