23 Dec 2016

Guns and nukes are for cowards

Last week, I introduced Of Gods and Men to the high schoolers in my online film class. After we watched it, we wrestled with hard questions about how these monks chose to answer the threat of terrorism. One of them surprised me with his answer — boldly disagreeing with Roger

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22 Dec 2016

My favorite moment from a Brad Bird classic

In what I would argue is Ratatouille’s most important scene  —  its thesis, so to speak  —  screenwriter Brad Bird makes his appeal to moviegoers that curiosity, playfulness, and a spirit of adventurous experimentation are the secrets to turning merely practical pursuits into a joyful way of life. We watch

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19 Dec 2016

The difference between Gandalf and Saruman

I grew up in a Baptist church. There were a lot of good-hearted people there. I’m still in touch with some of them. But at 14, I began to smell, in that community, a certain stench. It wasn’t the hairspray of the church ladies who sat in the pew in

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15 Dec 2016

The test of a great Star Wars story

“Star Wars at Christmas?” “Put it back in May where it belongs.” Some Star Wars fans had “a bad feeling about this” when The Force Awakens was scheduled for December 18, 2015. But complaints were forgotten when the movie opened to rave reviews. Me, I’ve associated Star Wars with Christmas

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14 Dec 2016

Star Trek Beyon-and-on-and-on…

This is not a review. How can I review a movie if I didn’t pay attention to it? And — I admit it — I did not… no, I could not pay attention to Star Trek Beyond. It’s such a letdown to discover that what the Star Trek franchise has always celebrated as “the final

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09 Dec 2016

Your new favorite Christmas movie

The world outside—it’s a dangerous place. Stick with Christian community. Where it’s safe. I have received that message—sometimes blatant, sometimes merely implied—within so many Christian communities from childhood through adulthood. I’ve been instructed to read only Christian texts, attend only Christian schools, support only Christian charities, seek out Christian doctors,

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09 Dec 2016

Manchester By the Sea (2016)

Twice now I’ve walked into a movie on a dry cold Seattle day and then emerged to become immediately enchanted by a change in the weather — to be specific, heavy snowfall. And both times, the discovery of the weather made me wish I’d spent the time wandering in a

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05 Dec 2016

Arrival (2016)

Reader, I confess: I clicked “unfriend” last month. Several times. Understand, I wasn’t ending friendships. I was respecting them — by refusing to let Facebook’s limitations do them further harm. It troubled me to see conversations we might have enjoyed in person go so horribly awry on social media. And

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23 Nov 2016

The trailer we’ve been waiting for

For more than ten years, I’ve been writing about my anticipation for this, Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of one of my favorite novels.

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19 Nov 2016

Doctor Strange (2016)

It’s easy to see why director Scott Derrickson’s adaptation for the Marvel movie super-franchise is such a success. First: Marvel is a machine that makes blockbusters. Second: Strange boasts standard-setting special effects. (Many say it’s inspired by Inception, but its wildest moments have equivalents in comics that predate Christopher Nolan.)

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