The Common Good

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Small Screen, Great Drama
Originally Posted: 07/10/2014 - 10:06am | Type: Magazine Article

Gareth Higgins Studios have been realizing that there is an audience for long-form storytelling that is willing to think. ...

REVIEW: HBO's The Leftovers, a Grim Take on the Limits of Grief and Faith
Originally Posted: 07/07/2014 - 11:22am | Type: Blog

HBO’s “The Leftovers” is the feel-good series of the summer, if your summer revolves around root canals and recreational waterboarding. HBO’s “The Leftovers” is the feel-good seri ...

'Punk Jews' Highlights Judaism's 'Myriad Flavors'
Originally Posted: 06/25/2014 - 6:56am | Type: Blog

Anyone who has been told that it's sacrilegious to set an old hymn to a new tune or has been chastised for listening to Sufjan Stevens because it "isn't Christian music" can probably relate ...

Maleficent the Feminist? A Cautionary Tale
Originally Posted: 06/04/2014 - 12:56pm | Type: Blog

Feminism has always been its own worst enemy when it strives to create women in the image of men rather than encourage women to abandon rivalry with men and seek their flourishing elsewhere. This is a story ab ...

In Remembrance: Maya Angelou
Originally Posted: 05/28/2014 - 5:43pm | Type: Blog

Angelou did not claim to be a theologian, but her words spun theology for a nation. She was speaking of shalom — that biblical concept that envisions the day with the lion and the lamb shall lie together, the ...

Antonio Banderas May Be Cast as Pope Francis in Biopic
Originally Posted: 05/14/2014 - 4:41pm | Type: Blog

Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas may be cast in the role of Pope Francis in the first feature film to be made on the life of the Argentine pontiff. Spanish heartthrob Antonio B ...

A Matter of Misinformation
Originally Posted: 05/08/2014 - 9:30am | Type: Blog

In just the latest evidence that a certain subset of conservative evangelical Christians really has no interest in occupying the real world with the rest of us, the trailer for a new movie called A Matter of F ...

Humor Makes 'Heaven' Accessible
Originally Posted: 04/16/2014 - 4:43pm | Type: Blog

A wide-eyed 4-year-old makes a fairly convincing case for the existence of an afterlife in "Heaven Is for Real." A wide-eyed 4-year-old makes a fairly convincing case fo ...

Why Emma Watson Is The Secret Key To 'Noah'
Originally Posted: 04/07/2014 - 3:40pm | Type: Press

March 27, 2014 Sojo in the News Esther Zuckerman ...

A Biblical Review of 'Noah'
Originally Posted: 04/04/2014 - 9:27am | Type: Blog

The filmmaker weaves a story more in line with St. Augustine’s struggle and Elie Wiesel’s crisis of faith. Noah demand’s the audience to think and feel. We are forced to look at the film with head and heart. ...

Why I Am Troubled by 'God's Not Dead'
Originally Posted: 04/03/2014 - 9:32am | Type: Blog

I am troubled by God’s Not Dead. Specifically, I am troubled by the racial stereotypes that underwrite characters. From the opening scene to its closing postscript,  God’s Not De ...

'Noah:' Deeply, Passionately Biblical
Originally Posted: 03/27/2014 - 3:40pm | Type: Blog

Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, Noah is deeply, passionately biblical. I’ll begin by cutting to the chase: Forget most of what you’ve read about Darren Aronofsky’s new ...

The Fallacy of Good v. Evil: A Q&A with 'Noah' Writer Ari Handel
Originally Posted: 03/27/2014 - 10:04am | Type: Blog

Last Sunday in Los Angeles, Cathleen Falsani sat down with Ari Handel, a screenwriter and frequent collaborator with Noah director Darren Aronofsky, with whom he co-wrote the film and the graphic novel, Noah, ...

'Noah' Spurs Debate Pitting Art vs. Bible
Originally Posted: 03/18/2014 - 12:01pm | Type: Blog

With the release of the movie Noah a couple of weeks away, the waters of controversy are already rising fast. With the release of the movie Noah  a couple of weeks away, the w ...

The United Cinematic States Of America
Originally Posted: 03/12/2014 - 9:45am | Type: Press

March 12, 2014 Sojo in the News Gareth Higgins ...

Anderson Creates Sacred Cinematic Space in 'Grand Budapest Hotel'
Originally Posted: 03/11/2014 - 11:39am | Type: Blog

To my mind, all of Wes Anderson’s films are masterpieces in the truest sense of that word. But his most recent creation, Grand Budapest Hotel, is, perhaps, his chef d’oeuvre. To m ...

'Son of God' Falls into Trap of Most Jesus Depictions
Originally Posted: 03/06/2014 - 11:39pm | Type: Blog

While Son of God leaves much to be desired (as maybe it should), this is a movie I could see some Christian audiences enjoying for the way it repackages the well-known story of Jesus’ life. ...

Russell Crowe Really Wants Pope Francis to See 'Noah'
Originally Posted: 02/25/2014 - 5:36pm | Type: Blog

Actor Russell Crowe is using social media to try to cajole Pope Francis into seeing his latest film, the controversial “Noah,” which stars Crowe as the waterlogged biblical patriarch. ...

Tim Chey's 'Final: The Rapture' Adapts 'Horror Movie' Label
Originally Posted: 02/21/2014 - 5:53pm | Type: Blog

The words “Christian” and “horror movie” rarely appear in the same sentence, much less in the same film’s promotional material. The words “Christian” and “horror movie” rarely app ...

NBC’s 'Parenthood:' When the Winning Strategy is Losing
Originally Posted: 02/20/2014 - 4:02pm | Type: Blog

The strange truth about conflict is that we do not fight because we want different things. If we want different things, what is there to fight about? The writers of Parenthood ...

Roma Downey: Why We Cut Satan From 'Son of God'
Originally Posted: 02/20/2014 - 4:00pm | Type: Blog

Tired of cursing the darkness, my husband Mark and I wanted to shine a light. To do this, we set up a production company called LightWorkers Media. I played an angel on “Touched ...

The (Anti)Gospel of Francis Underwood
Originally Posted: 02/17/2014 - 3:31pm | Type: Blog

Will you trample over others or will you empty yourself, taking the very nature of a servant? In short, will you choose the way of Frances Underwood or the way of Jesus Christ? ...

Rick Warren, Others, Rent Theaters for Premiere of 'Son of God'
Originally Posted: 02/17/2014 - 3:14pm | Type: Blog

Christian leaders, including megachurch pastor Rick Warren, plan to rent every screen in numerous multiplex theaters across 10 cities for the premiere of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s upcoming Jesus film Son ...

Shifting the Frame
Originally Posted: 02/17/2014 - 10:30am | Type: Magazine Article

Otis Moss III U.S. cinema has been an enforcer of our racialized imagination—but that’s changing. “CINEMA IS ...

What 'Frozen' Teaches us about Power, Privilege, and Community
Originally Posted: 02/03/2014 - 2:26pm | Type: Blog

Disney has given us a story to help us reflect more deeply on the powers inherent in our interconnectedness, and how we can best move towards life, leaving the death of winter behind. ...

The Prophets of Sundance
Originally Posted: 01/30/2014 - 5:48pm | Type: Blog

In days of old, God used a burning bush to get Moses’ attention. Today’s prophets are often the truth-telling artists, singers, songwriters, and filmmakers whose modern version of “Thus sayeth the Lord” bursts ...

Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Originally Posted: 01/28/2014 - 10:56am | Type: Blog

400-year “Usoni” experience in Africa (Ex. 22:21; 23:9). In fact, they were to welcome strangers because ...

Three Worlds Collide in 'Jerusalem,' the City and the Film
Originally Posted: 01/15/2014 - 4:29pm | Type: Blog

When the producers of Jerusalem, a new movie for IMAX and other giant screen theaters, decided to approach the topic, they wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the long history. ...

Gareth Higgins on Peace, Politics, and Our Nation's 'Cinematic States'
Originally Posted: 12/04/2013 - 12:24pm | Type: Blog

Lots of people like movies; Gareth Higgins loves movies. But the founding director of the Wild Goose Festival and long-time peace activist engages popular culture with a different eye than most of us. I asked ...

'Lost Faces of the Bible' Reconstructs Four Skeletal Remains Using Science, Forensics
Originally Posted: 11/22/2013 - 6:11pm | Type: Blog

Many artistic renderings of biblical figures hang in churches and museums, but no one really knows what they and their contemporaries looked like. Many artistic renderings of bibl ...

Hollywood: Whitewashing the Bible
Originally Posted: 11/22/2013 - 9:41pm | Type: Blog

Paramount Picture's  Noah  and 21st Century Fox's  Exodus . These two films both boast ...

Mary J. Blige, My Guardian Angel
Originally Posted: 11/19/2013 - 5:43pm | Type: Blog

When I think about the guardian angels who I’ve been told surround me like spiritual body guards, I picture the Angel In Charge as looking and sounding a lot like the Grammy-winning singer Mary J. Blige. ...

'Jerusalem,' a Tribute to the Holy City, Comes to the Giant Screen
Originally Posted: 11/15/2013 - 6:21pm | Type: Blog

It may be as close as a person can get to praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall, without actually going there. It may be as close as ...

Making Once Enough
Originally Posted: 11/12/2013 - 10:26am | Type: Magazine Article

Gareth Higgins About Time is funny, beguiling, and even profound. I RECENTLY saw a photograph of me taken on ...

Hollywood Looks to the Bible for Screenplay Potential
Originally Posted: 10/23/2013 - 5:07pm | Type: Blog

Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as source material for upcoming mainstream films: the Bible. Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as sou ...

'The Fifth Estate:' Is WikiLeaks Good for America?
Originally Posted: 10/18/2013 - 1:56pm | Type: Blog

Despite this latest round of drama revolving around WikiLeaks and its lightning rod of a front man, the question still remains: Is WikiLeaks good for America? Am I the only one wh ...

‘Gravity’ and the Unanswered Questions of Unbelief
Originally Posted: 10/07/2013 - 4:24pm | Type: Blog

Reviews of the new hit movie Gravity note that it’s an unusually fine science fiction film. What they don’t mention is that the main character represents an increasingly common theme in American religion: The ...

Complexities of Struggle and Love
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 9:13am | Type: Magazine Article

Gareth Higgins The makers of The Butler have told a kind of truth about the struggle for "beloved community" that has rarely be ...

Apocalypse Redux
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 9:13am | Type: Magazine Article

Kathryn Reklis Why are blockbuster movies so bad at imagining life after the end of the world? EVERY SUMMER b ...

The Cardinal on Colbert: Dolan Does Comedy Central
Originally Posted: 09/05/2013 - 9:02am | Type: Blog

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the most famous funny man in the American hierarchy, went on The Colbert Report Tuesday night to trade ...

'You've Got Mail,' A Swedish Movie About Death, Kissing Dating Goodbye, and Finding Love Despite Pride and Prejudice
Originally Posted: 08/26/2013 - 3:01pm | Type: Blog

Even for the awkward girl who is afraid of the sound of her own voice and of the possibility of finding someone attractive, there’s the possibility of love, and that, however improbably, changes everything. ...

Steve Jobs: Prophet of a New Religion
Originally Posted: 08/21/2013 - 8:55am | Type: Blog

The truth about Jobs and religion may be that, in this arena as in others, he was ahead of the cutting edge. The new movie about Steve Jobs is short on anything explicitly religio ...

'The Butler:' Owning Our Collective Story
Originally Posted: 08/21/2013 - 8:45am | Type: Blog

of race in America in the 20th and early 21st centuries, of presidential decision making, and of family. ...

PBS' Series 'Life of Muhammad' May Surprise Viewers
Originally Posted: 08/16/2013 - 11:50am | Type: Blog

He’s born poor. By age 6, he’s an orphan. Two years later, he loses his grandfather. Yet he overcomes his circumstances, develops a reputation for business integrity and progressive views on marriage. Then he ...

'The Butler' and His D.C. Church — A Man of Steady Faith
Originally Posted: 08/14/2013 - 5:01pm | Type: Blog

Eugene Allen served eight presidents as a White House butler, and his legendary career is the inspiration for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a film starring Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and a host of A-list Hollywood ...

A Thoroughly Modern Mystic Makes His Way to the Big Screen
Originally Posted: 08/08/2013 - 4:46pm | Type: Blog

in a letter dated June 21, 1966. “I cannot help placing it at the very heart of my aloneness, and not just ...

The Forgiving Corpse: A Parable
Originally Posted: 07/25/2013 - 1:29pm | Type: Blog

I’m pretty sure that Keith Huff did not intend to write a Christian allegory, but the themes of life, death, and resurrection reverberate through the play. Oddly enough, I think Stewart’s story can function as ...

Can a Horror Film Lead People to God?
Originally Posted: 07/25/2013 - 10:18am | Type: Blog

The box office hit The Conjuring has all the requisite features of a standard horror flick: creaky doors, mysterious things that go bump in the night, creepy dolls and a dead witch who seizes the body of an un ...

The Accidental Moral Mirror of Monsters University
Originally Posted: 07/05/2013 - 10:29am | Type: Blog

It struck me that the movie presents – probably quite by accident – an opportunity to talk about a deep moral reality. So what follows will only begin obliquely by talking about cute monsters ...

Superman: Jesus Figure or ‘Anti-Christ?'
Originally Posted: 06/27/2013 - 5:07pm | Type: Blog

Superman has always had a bit of a messiah complex, born as a modern-day Moses in the imagination of two Jewish guys during the Depression and over the years developing and amplifying his Christlike characteri ...