Category: Arts & Leisure

Sex and death in It Follows

The hit independent horror movie It Follows seems, on the surface, to be just another fright flick in which sex equals death. Yet the movie offers a narrative variation that suggests something far more interesting, especially in regard to a Christian understanding of sexuality. The sex-as-death theme goes back to the early days of film - 1942’s Cat People is a good example - yet it came of age, so to speak, in…  [more]

Up Schitt’s Creek, with a dose of democratic satire

At first blush, the redeeming value of Schitt’s Creek - a bawdy new sitcom airing on Pop - isn’t readily apparent. The title itself passes FCC muster only because of a little creative spelling. And in keeping with what the title promises, the show is laden with potty humor, coarse language and generally bad behavior. Yet despite its crass surface, the heart of Schitt’s Creek is family. The story…  [more]

The bombastic beauty of Furious 7

More surprising than the $392 million Furious 7 took in at the box office over Easter weekend has been the number of positive reviews the action flick garnered. This usually doesn’t happen to movies starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and exploding vehicles. There may be a somber explanation for the positive reception, considering the movie is something of a memorial to co-star Paul…  [more]

Little libraries and loving your neighbor

Were I not so lazy, I’d have a Little Free Library perched on my front lawn. Instead of running books I no longer have space for over to the local used bookstore, I’d walk across the lawn to share the “wealth” of a great book with neighbors – with anyone, really, who wanted to take, or leave, a book from my little library. But alas, perhaps it’s best I am lazy and never learned to…  [more]

Seeking agape in The Last Man on Earth

Most movies and television shows depict romantic love as an uncontrollable cosmic event. The “meet cute.” Love at first sight. Cupid’s arrow. In this way of thinking, love is a force of nature, powerless to resist. But believing in a star-crossed, chemistry-coerced, soul mate sort of love has an ugly, unspoken aftermath. What happens when that one special one doesn’t feel so special? What…  [more]

Is it a good thing that Jon Stewart’s minions are multiplying?

News broke earlier this week that Trevor Noah will be taking over The Daily Show when Jon Stewart steps down later this year. Although Stewart is stepping out of the limelight, numerous Daily Show personalities are stepping into it: Samantha Bee is developing a show for TBS; Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show has taken over Stephen Colbert’s time slot; John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is a hit; and, of…  [more]

Audiophiles and spiritual fidelity

Audiophiles seem to be having their moment in the cultural sun. Neil Young’s PonoPlayer, which purports to recreate the experience of vinyl LPs, has turned heads, even as numerous articles aim to debunk the idea that vinyl sounds better. In fact, several corresponding arguments are conflating technical, psychological, emotional and even spiritual ideas surrounding the value of music and the concept of fidelity.…  [more]

Beer, bread, chocolate - and Jesus?

I apologize in advance to those of you who don't live within driving distance of Chicago, because I'm about to literally whet your appetite for something you won't be able to attend. On Tuesday, April 7, I'll be sitting down with TC contributor John J. Thompson to discuss his new book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate; Crafting a Hand-Made Faith in a Mass Market World. The best part? We'll be doing it…  [more]

Getting back to basics with the new Cinderella

Sometimes it seems that even Disney movies have given up on moral instruction. Take last year’s Maleficent, the studio’s revisionist version of the Sleeping Beauty tale. I loved it, but mostly for the way it evoked the psychological effects of trauma while also offering a nuanced understanding of evil. Not exactly kids’ stuff. Meanwhile, as animated efforts become increasingly chaotic, even those…  [more]

Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell: sorrow in the shadow of the cross

Sufjan Stevens has so thoroughly inhabited his own creative space over the last 15 years that future critics likely will append the suffix “esque” to his given name. Where else can you find complex, understated, folk music with swirling mythological, environmental, Christological and psychosexual underpinnings? Stevens’ exceedingly rich musical prowess is prodded ever forward by the best kind of…  [more]

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