How I Was Wrong About the Movie “Tolkien”

By |2019-05-18T22:09:39-05:00May 18th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature|

There is no doubt that “Tolkien” is a good film with an adroitly crafted storyline, bereft, thankfully, of the poisonous wormtongued agenda that I feared it would have. I have a confession to make. Indeed, I need to make an apology. A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay entitled “Wormtongue’s Revenge”, in which [...]

Death and Deception: “Longford” and “Dead Man Walking”

By |2019-05-11T09:20:47-05:00May 10th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Death, Dwight Longenecker, Evil, Film, Justice|

While the films “Longford” and “Dead Man Walking” are ostensibly about the death penalty, the real value of both films is their profound exploration of the depth of human evil. On June 7, 1998 a Texan, John William King, along with friends Shawn Berry and Lawrence Brewer, killed African American James Byrd. They beat [...]

Easter Movies: “Hail Caesar!” and “Risen”

By |2019-04-19T22:19:29-05:00April 19th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Film|

Movie-watching may not be as common a pastime at Easter as on other holidays, but the Easter movie is a true genre—and an important one. The mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection lends itself to, perhaps even demands, pictorial realization like no other story. This was shown preeminently during the heyday of biblical epics [...]

Is “Unplanned” the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of Our Era?

By |2019-04-17T22:08:03-05:00April 17th, 2019|Categories: Abortion, Film|

In the 1850s the nation was roiled by the issue of slavery. There had been major political compromises regarding slavery both in the nation’s founding documents and in subsequent congressional legislation. There was an uneasy peace between the members of Congress from the South, who were determined not only to preserve slavery but to extend [...]

“Hell or High Water”: Robin Hood in West Texas

By |2019-03-30T10:24:08-05:00March 29th, 2019|Categories: American West, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Film, Morality|

What interests me about Hell or High Water are the moral dilemmas. In addition to its being a smart heist movie and an up-to-date Western, it is also a Robin Hood story. The main characters might be robbing banks illegally but they’re stealing from the bankers who first robbed their family legally. The 2016 [...]

“Stalker”: The Search for Faith Amidst Desolation

By |2019-02-28T23:55:03-05:00February 28th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Film, Pope John Paul II, Russia|

Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker is about a man who leads others, however obliquely, and despite obstacles, both external and internal, to faith. Faith is faith. Without it, man is deprived of any spiritual roots. He is like a blind man. Just more than thirty years ago, on 26 April 1986, a nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear [...]

“Green Book” and Chopin’s Stunning Étude

By |2019-02-26T22:37:43-05:00February 23rd, 2019|Categories: Culture, Film, Frédéric Chopin, Music|

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=QkZxoko_HC0 If you’re a moviegoer who follows the Oscars, you might have seen Green Book, a 2018 movie about an Italian-American bouncer who chauffeurs an African-American pianist on a performing tour through the deep South in the 1960s. It stars actors Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, and I can’t say enough good things about it. What drew [...]

Did John Paul II Change the Course of Irish History?

By |2019-03-17T00:11:03-05:00January 26th, 2019|Categories: Catholicism, Film, Government, Ireland, Politics, Pope John Paul II, War|

Did the speech made by Pope John Paul II at Drogheda during his visit to Ireland in 1979 change the course of Irish history? This is the contention of a new documentary John Paul II in Ireland: A Plea for Peace, written and directed by David Naglieri. The originality of the film’s premise lies [...]

Kind Hearts, Deadly Sins, and How Movies Become Classics

By |2019-01-18T23:16:45-05:00January 18th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Evil, Film, Virtue|

The directors of the films Kind Hearts and Coronets and Se7en make use of the seven deadly sins and the parallel order that opposes them, which are the seven holy virtues: chastity, diligence, temperance, kindness, humility, patience, and charity... Earlier in the film Kind Hearts and Coronets (Ealing Studios, 1949), as the protagonist Louis Mazzini [...]

The All-American Magic of Ricky Jay

By |2018-12-28T21:53:27-05:00December 28th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Film, Imagination, Mystery|

Ricky Jay was born in 1948 and died last Saturday. He was the greatest magician in America for more than a generation and a character whose like we will not see again. He combined the all-American love of wonder, which he understood to fixate on European aristocracy, and the all-American passion for science. He was [...]

Incarnation and the Moving Image: Towards a Christian Philosophy of Film

By |2018-12-09T16:04:02-05:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Film|

In the iconoclasm controversy of the eighth century, the church debated the possibility of images in worship. The Eastern Church, challenged by the rise of Islam, with its total prohibition of religious imagery, worried that Christian imagery broke the commandment forbidding the making of graven images. The iconoclasts also argued that the only true [...]