Film Review: Paterson

Paterson

Paterson written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Amazon Studios, K5 International, Inkjet Productions, R, 118 min) Starring Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Rizwan Manji, Barry Shabaka Henley, Chasten Harmon, and William Jackson Harper. On the Quotidian Collectively, we need to reappraise the quotidian. In our pursuit of the next titillating meme, status update, or app notification, the simple pleasures of life seem to disintegrate like salt upon contact with boiling water. It’s ok to be bored. No. I’ll suggest a stronger statement. BOREDOM IS A VIRTUE. Now, a mind left in idle should never be the only aim. That said, the mundanity of life expands the subconscious atmosphere, opening our minds to creative juices left dormant when we’re always plugged in…. Read More →

Film Review: Silence

Silence

Silence written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount Pictures, Cappa DeFina Productions, CatchPlay, EFO Films, R, 161 min) Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, Issei Ogata, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Yoshi Oida, and Yôsuke Kubozuka. Searching for Rootedness Is there a way for a tree to find roots in a swamp? And if not, is there a way to discover meaning and life without the particular landscaping strategy that includes this tree? Martin Scorsese raises this question in his divine masterwork, Silence. The central challenge to the Christian faith emerges in its application, like an arborist planting trees everywhere. If Christianity is true, should it not apply to all people and all… Read More →

Film Review: The Big Sick

The Big Sick

The Big Sick written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani and directed by Michael Showalter (Amazon Studios, Apatow Productions, FilmNation Entertainment, Story Ink, R, 120 min) Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano. In Consideration of Social Pressures What will they think? Why are social pressures so demanding of our thoughts and actions? Isn’t it odd how human beings avoid decisions with clearly pleasurable results if only because the inner life of another might disapprove? Have you ever stopped to consider how many experiences and relationships have been lost to the hypothetical judgment of a friend or relative? Why do we do it? Why, for all that is good and holy, does it ever matter what… Read More →

Film Review: Get Out

Get Out

Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment, R, 104 min) Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, and LilRel Howery. Lived Experience I can’t begin to try and understand the lived experience of the marginalized in society. While I appreciate and revere the contributions of the movement’s heavyweights—from Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Cone to Ralph Ellison and Ava DuVernay. The contributions to ethics, theology, and the arts are monumental. But I recognize my place as an observer. I’ll never truly know. I hope, only, that I can do my best to educate myself, raise awareness toward injustice, and… Read More →

Film Review: Loving

Loving

Loving written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Raindog Films, Big Beach Films, PG-13, 123 min) Starring Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Terri Abney, Alano Miller, Bill Camp, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass, and Michael Shannon. Brick by Brick A bricklayer carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Before a craftsman home presents itself as a livable entity, the bricklayer kneels with cement in the wheelbarrow, brick after brick mortaring together into a cohesive whole. The bricklayer must work steadily and with an eye toward future gains. The daily monotony of such toil demands a worker with special patience. Repetition toward a belief in something greater, something meaningful, something worthwhile. The bricklayer works toward an imagined end, realized long after the… Read More →

Film Review: American Honey

American Honey

American Honey written and directed by Andrea Arnold (A24, Parts and Labor, British Film Institute, Film4, R, 163 min) Starring Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough, McCaul Lombardi, Arielle Holmes, Crystal Ice, Veronica Ezell, Chad Cox, Garry Howell, Kenneth Kory Tucker, Raymond Coalson, Isaiah Stone, and Dakota Powers. A Suburbanite’s Dance with Poverty My closest dance with poverty waltzed through my life in my early twenties. Mind you, poverty in the most white, suburbanized approach to the word. Even during my lowest earning periods, parents possessed a knack for encouraging currency toward my empty coffers, let alone the fail-safe of an exhibit-quality room waiting for me were I ever to require lodging again (I did). As such, the suburban white… Read More →

Film Review: Dunkirk

Dunkirk

Dunkirk written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Syncopy, Warner Bros., Dombey Street Productions, PG-13, 106 min) Starring Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles. In Observations of Our Senses Life doesn’t often assault the senses. Most days introduce subtle shades of aesthetic experience. The scent of first rain, the afterglow of dusk, the contrapuntal melody of sparrows at dawn, the soft skin of child’s cheek snuggled up against a parent after crawling into the parent’s bed in the middle of the night. These are how we use our senses. War, however, provides an assault on every sense. With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan achieves his aim… Read More →

Film Review: Moonlight

Moonlight

Moonlight written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Barry Jenkins (A24, PASTEL, Plan B Entertainment, R, 111 min) Starring Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Trevante Rhodes, and André Holland. Life-As-It-Is vs. Life-As-It-Should-Be As a father, I often think about my son and the life I want him to lead. I constantly fret over what will make him happy and how my parenting can facilitate a path toward flourishing within family, friends, and community. Looking back the foundations of my upbringing, specifically around my church community, I see the tension between my innate personality and the idealized view of what a person ought to be given the faith… Read More →

Film Review: Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman written and directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO Documentary Films, Vermilion Films, TV-14, 114 min) Starring Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier, Angie Geyser, and Bill Weier. It Happened on Today For a season, my family’s morning routine included the headlines from the Today show. I recognize this program is about as middle-middle one can find in the mainstream and it certainly wasn’t consumed in a hard-hitting manner. Instead, the 7 a.m. headlines offered a general barometer about the events of the world before we all commenced our daily activities. Most days, these headlines go in one ear and out the other. Someone shot someone else. This politician messed up. Weather gonna weather. Yet when I rethink that Today… Read More →

Film Review: Casting JonBenét

Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenét written and directed by Kitty Green (Netflix, Forensic Films, Symbolic Exchange, Meridian Entertainment) Starring lots of people. Life in the Shoes of Someone Else Empathy, I would argue, represents a key characteristic of the human condition. Outside of the rare sociopath in the bunch—stop being sociopaths people—we seek to understand the people around us. Granted, some have more empathy than others. But overall, I contend it isn’t too difficult to consider what life might be like in someone else’s shoes. In fact, this consideration represents a core element of acting. What is acting but the full embodiment of another human being? In Casting JonBenét, Kitty Green sets aside the normal narrative beats of a docudrama for something completely… Read More →