Joe George is a pop-culture writer whose work has appeared at Think Christian, Polygon, The Progressive, and elsewhere. He tweets from @jageorgeiii and collects his work at joewriteswords.com.
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A Murder Mystery With Seances and Surprisingly Accurate Christian Ethics
“No god, no gods, no spirits,” declares Detective Hercule Poirot in A Haunting in Venice. “It’s only us.” Throughout the film, in theaters now, Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) points his ostentatious mustache at all manner of explanations to discredit the spiritualist Mrs. Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) and her apparent powers of divination. But Poirot doesn’t just want to expose the alleged artifice of Mrs. Reynolds’ powers; he wants to reject any and all higher power. In a world so full of injustice, Poirot reasons, how could a just and powerful God exist?
In ‘Asteroid City,’ Spiritual Longing Takes Center Stage
In Asteroid City, Anderson buries ineffable grief under layers and layers of artifice.
In ‘Ted Lasso’ as in the Gospel: Forgiveness Is Frustrating
Ted Lasso season three has been unbelievable, and not just because season two ended with the destruction of the series’ defining image: a yellow paper sign with the word “BELIEVE” scribbled across it.
Grace is a Scarce Resource in ‘The Last of Us’
The Last of Us has some of the characters you’d expect in an end-of-the-world series, including Bill, a survivalist portrayed with comical stoicism by Nick Offerman. Only one word can describe the look on Bill’s face when he emerges from his stately New England home, lowers his pistol, and pulls off his gas mask: relief. Not relief that his neighbors were still there, saved from the disaster that government officials had been warning them about, but quite the opposite: Bill’s relief comes from the fact that his neighbors have gone, evacuated to a quarantine zone while he hid in his heavily fortified safe room. With the entire town to himself, Bill indulges in his new life and gets what most doomsday preppers only dream of: an actual doomsday.
‘Tár': If an Artist Moves Mountains, But Does Not Love, She Is Nothing
Tár may be a 158-minute movie, but it starts rolling its credits at the beginning of the film. Not the usual type of opening credits, listing the names of movie stars and the director. Rather, Tár begins with what movie industry folks call “below-the-line” credits, showing the names of orchestra musicians and the various studio personnel. Most movies would save these credits for the end of the film, but Tár begins by listing every musician and laborer’s name, glowing white text on a black background.
In ‘Honk for Jesus,’ a Prosperity Pastor Hides His Demons
Honk for Jesus follows Lee-Curtis and his wife First Lady Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall) as they prepare a grand reopening for their Atlanta-area megachurch.
Christians Need a Renewed Imagination, Not ‘Copaganda’
Copaganda refers to any piece of media that portrays police as a necessary social institution. While this can include viral videos of police chatting with neighborhood kids or doing lip-sync battles, the most pervasive examples of copaganda are found in pop culture.