Film

Joshua Witchger 02-20-2012

Students protest cafetera food, the art of snowboarding in LED, one man a capella showtunes, spoof street artist Hanksy, and more! Plus, an Animal Extravaganza: Maddie the Coonhound travels the country, remarkable footage of some of the world's strangest creatures, and fashioning an animalistic hair style. All this and more ... inside the blog.

Joshua Witchger 02-16-2012

Over the Rhine's husband/wife duo talks music and life together, old CDs are turned into remarkable animal sculptures, Chipotle takes new strides toward humane practices, a spark of fun in family pictures, restaurant serves edible balloons for dessert... and Disney's Lady and the Tramp is given new life. All this and more ... inside the blog.

Joshua Witchger 02-15-2012

A look at Poster Cred, the Seattle-based art project, Jesse Eisenberg shares his favorite memories of growing up with Jeremy Lin, "Food Rules," by Michael Pollan is born in stop animation, the new film from the writer of Slumdog Millionaire, and Allen Ginsberg vs. the Westminster Dog Show. All this and even more awesomeness... inside the blog.

Joshua Witchger 02-01-2012

Groundhog's Day 101, five-year-old on advertising logos, more on the Puppy Bowl, and dogs delivering receipts to customers at a veterinary clinic. Plus several posts on books, including Jonathan Franzen's thoughts on eBooks, and a look at 2012 Oscar nominee The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorin. Click to see more.

http://youtu.be/7-Nl4JFDLOU

Gareth Higgins 02-01-2012

Hugo, Take Shelter, and The Mill and the Cross have little in common on the surface other than their quality; look deeper and you may find love-filled, theologically profound, hopeful invitations to live better.

Joshua Witchger 01-31-2012

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, which means tons of sweet commercials (OK GO among the most recent buzz), but more importantly, Puppy Bowl VIII. Also in today's links: Stephen Colbert chases Jon Stewart around NYC, and the basics behind the new alternative activity known as hockern, or extreme sitting. Plus bits on David Lynch, Ira and Philip Glass, Arrested Development, and the 2012 Light Festival.      

http://youtu.be/f9ZGOLs-7uE

Cathleen Falsani 01-31-2012
Mother Dolores Hart, as Hollywood starlet and after. Photos by Getty Images.

Mother Dolores Hart, as Hollywood starlet and after. Photos by Getty Images.

During her brief career as star of stage and screen in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dolores Hart won a Theater World Award, was nominated for a Tony Award and gave Elvis Presley his first on-screen kiss (in the 1957 film Loving You) when she was just 19 years old.

Now 73-year-old Hart — better known for most of the last 40 years as Mother Dolores, Prioress of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn. — has a new claim to fame: Oscar nominee.

Last week, God is the Bigger Elvis, a short documentary film about her journey from Hollywood starlet to cloistered Catholic nun, received an Academy Award nomination for best short documentary film.

Cathleen Falsani 01-26-2012
Author Annie Dillard, standing in her writing shed, 1987. By Getty Images.

Author Annie Dillard, standing in her writing shed, 1987. By Getty Images.

When Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis departed on his three-month sabbatical at the beginning of January, I sent him a list of books, films and music that I thought would nourish his mind and spirit in, perhaps, different ways than the media he normally consumes do.

Jim's sabbatical — a true Sabbath in the literal sense — is designed to be a time of rest and, more importantly, rejuvenation. It will also be a creative time when he will be working on a new book.

Jim is a creative. A writer. A visionary. He regularly digs deep into his heart and soul, breaks himself open and pours out his passion, hope and faith for the edification of others. If creatives aren't diligent, though, we can work ourselves into the ground. Our wells can run dry.

In sending Jim this list of what I like to think of as "soul food," I hoped to inspire his imagination and give him new fuel for the fire, if you will.

Tripp Hudgins 01-19-2012
SOPA protest illustration from Unvirtuous Abbey via Facebook

SOPA protest illustration from Unvirtuous Abbey via Facebook www.facebook.com/unvirtuous-abbey

"Wisdom wants to be free. As a Christian, I believe there is actually some theology to this....Wisdom is a woman and she stands at the gates of the city and she cries out to the people, 'Be free. Be free to love and be free to share.'...What if we understood creativity to be wisdom?"

Watch Tripp's v-log on SOPA, creativity, freedom and wisdom inside the blog...

Cathleen Falsani 01-13-2012
Robert Duvall at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival

Robert Duvall at the Toronto Film Festival, 2009. Photo by Josh Jensen via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/3920752942

Many cinephiles have a short list of virtuoso actors who are so graceful and true we'd watch them read a phone book. For me, the list includes Jeff Bridges, Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, John Mahoney, Christopher Plummer and that great icon of American cinema, Oscar-winner Robert Duvall.

So when a publicist for Seven Days in Utopia contacted me recently about the Christian-themed film and asked whether I'd like to interview Duvall, I jumped at the chance. A loudhailer of a film, long on message and cliché but woefully short on subtlety or artistry (save for Duvall's charmingly folksy performance), Seven Days in Utopia — set in rural Texas, it's an exploration of redemption and golf — is not a flick I'm going to be urging you to run out and see or rent, unless you, like me, would watch Duvall read the proverbial White Pages.

In the film, which opened in theaters last fall and was released on DVD at the end of last year, Duval plays Johnny Crawford, a golf-pro-cum-cowboy who helps a young pro golfer, Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black), reclaim his game and his faith. Duvall's Johnny is like Yoda with a five iron and hearkens back to many of the archetypal characters the Oscar-winner (who turned 81 years old last week) has played throughout his storied career.

Duvall, who began his career on the New York stage in the early 1960s (as a struggling young actor at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, he roomed with fellow students Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman), has appeared in some of the most spiritually eloquent films of our time, often playing the role of ersatz sage and spiritual counselor. He is a workingman's working actor with about 150 performances in film and television productions under his belt buckle since his premiere in an episode of the Armstrong Circle Theater television series in 1959.

From "Boo Radley" in 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird and "Tom Hagen" in The Godfather (parts 1 and 2) or "Lieutenant Kilgore" in Apocalypse Now and "Bull Meechum" in The Great Santini, to "Mac Sledge" in Tender Mercies (for which he won the best actor Academy Award) and "Gus McCrae" in Lonesome Dove or "Wayne Cramer" in Crazy Heart and "Felix Bush" in Get Low, Duvall has created indelible characters who are authentic, honest and transcendent.

Christian Piatt 01-13-2012

I was a Star Wars kid. I was almost six years old when the first movie hit theaters and it blew my mind, as it did the minds of all my friends. We all wanted to grow up either to be Darth Vader or Obiwan Kenobi, depending on your particular bent.

Not for nothing, but I did tear up when Vader finally died. Kenobi just wasn’t as cool.

The Star Wars saga helped define pop culture in many ways throughout my childhood. And so George Lucas, creator of the epic films, was the cinematic god of our youth. And if anyone has juice in Hollywood to get things done, it’s Lucas, who owns Lucasfilms (his own production company). So if there’s a film he wants to get made, it’s going to happen.

Unless the stars of the movie are black, that is.

Joshua Witchger 01-11-2012

Polaroid camera are back on the market, apocalypse survival guide, Jack Kerouac for bros, the NBA begins using 3D graphics, the hit show Portlandia, James Franco's new film, classic album covers are given a clip art makeover, and more.

Gareth Higgins 01-01-2012

Roland Emmerich is known for making the kind of disaster movies that fans of quality filmmaking love to hate.

Jack Palmer 12-05-2011

What could Bolling and Gainor have against The Muppets?

What could the movie have done to cause so much offense?

I mean, Sam Eagle got loads of screen time.

Did Fozzie make the GOP presidential candidates the punch line to one of his high-caliber jokes?

Did Bolling Statler and Waldorf heckle Bolling and Gainor?

Were the Fox talking heads offended that the greatest love affair of modern times is between a frog and a pig?

Or perhaps they detected a tacit nod of approval to the gay community in the Muppets' cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" even if it didn't make it into the film?

 

http://youtu.be/tgbNymZ7vqY

 

Nope. It turns out that The Muppets committed a far more serious transgression — the gravest of sins — it poked fun at corporate America.

That’s right, poor defenseless corporate America — in this case, the particularly vulnerable oil industry — faced the mighty wrath and unmitigated cruelty of felted bullies.

Gareth Higgins 12-01-2011

Clooney's new movie, The Ides of March, serves as a thoughtful and entertaining mirror for next year's presidential election.

Jack Palmer 11-29-2011
Homelessness is a growing problem for children around the United States.

Homelessness is a growing problem for children around the United States.

This weekend, 60 Minutes aired a piece that has been commended by many as a shocking but must-see insight into poverty in the United States today.

Sixteen million children now live in poverty, and for many, they don’t even have a proper place to call home. These situations are even more frequent in areas of the country where traditional industries have collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis – such as the construction industry in central Florida.

Cathleen Falsani 11-10-2011
The author's basket of eggs and Mr. Allen.

The author's basket of eggs and Mr. Allen.

Both Colson and Land are such diehard fans that they can -- and did, during conversations with Boorstein -- quote lines from Allen's movies.

Can you imagine Land, with his low Texas drawl, reciting Allen's famous monologue from Annie Hall?:

"The other important joke for me is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx but I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious - and it goes like this. I'm paraphrasing. I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women."

Yeah, me neither.

Joshua Witchger 11-03-2011

Seventy-five years of Santa-school, celebrating National Sandwich Day, Muslims save Jewish bakery, remembering the inventor of the theremin, Cameron Crowe's new film, Lady Gaga's new anti-bullying project, and a new song from Mumford & Sons.

Jack Palmer 10-16-2011

courageous-poster-ec6b2

This was not so much a movie as a (very long) sermon. In fact, it's a sermon that actually culminates in a sermon, as Kendrick's character spells out what he has learned in a message delivered to his church congregation.

Despite its well-meaning intentions, Courageous fails to say anything new about fatherhood, family, faith or anything else, for that matter. The few funny or moving scenes are surrounded by clunky acting, overly-moralistic dialogue and a plot that is trying to be three movies in one -- and none of them terribly believable.

Cathleen Falsani 10-02-2011
The idea behind my new book BELIEBER!: Fame, Faith and The Heart of Justin Bieber was to peel back the veneer of celebrity and take a closer look at Justin as a person and as a cultural phenomenon

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