Lovers of Middle-earth may feel that with the Hobbit films being long concluded now, and rumors of a future Silmarillion film being dismantled, that there may not be much left to milk out of our favorite Lord of the Rings stories. But the past few months have included big news for Tolkien fans.
As Christians, we must not get caught up with the notion that our faith must evolve and change to keep up with the times. Our church, the church catholic, is not an ever-fluid, ever-morphing body, but a body set and sealed by the blood of Christ. We go back to find where life began.
Worship wrests us from the stories of earthly kingdoms, and exposes them for the lies they are – whether it’s the story of Trump’s or Hilary’s America. Our public worship stands to destabilize the entire American empire – every empire. There is no more radical act than the worship of the Church.
In Mercedes Brazier Thurman’s new web series, viewers are presented with a unique, yet familiar look into the life of a thirty-something year old woman who is Christian, single, and surrounded by couples.
You won’t want to miss Hunt for the Wilderpeople, New Zealand’s wise-crack epic and number one movie of all time.
Room invented a new kind of crying for me: the vomit-cry. This kind of crying is the kind of crying that comes without any build up or any warning—kind of like when you wake up in the middle of the night and vomit.
I find it difficult to slough off my cynical skin when I watch movies that have the express purpose of being inspirational. It’s not that I don’t find cinema to be inspirational – quite to the contrary. But rather, when I see and hear the well-worn grooves of an underdog sports movie, the result is […]
One of the most interesting contributions to any film festival are the local contributions; especially so with the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). Drumming up interest with the #mustseeBC campaign, and highlighting the works of local filmmakers, it can be incredibly rewarding and encouraging to see British Columbian talent emerging onto the scene. But, while […]
These Canadian films are breathtaking, resonant Violent The debut film from director Andrew Huculiak (the drummer and songwriter for the British Columbian band We Are The City), and the team at Amazing Factory Productions, Violent is a remarkable – not only because it’s Huculiak’s first feature, but also because it was made in Norway (when none […]
An interview with the makers of Violent, a companion film to We Are The City’s 2012 album Violent, the debut film from local British Columbian talent Andrew Huculiak, Cayne McKenzie, Joseph Schweers, and Josh Huculiak, was one of the highlights of the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The film is a companion of sorts to […]
Part of Converge’s ongoing review of films in the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), on until October 10. Cathedrals of Culture Cathedrals of Culture is the single most disappointing film I’ve yet seen at VIFF. Cathedrals is an ode to modern architecture that is divided into six segments, each covering a unique structure and made by […]
This past Thursday marked the official beginning of the 33rd Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). While not the most prestigious film festival in Canada — that honour goes to Toronto — it is one of the five largest film festivals in North America. In many ways, VIFF is about legitimization. Unproven filmmakers offer up their passion […]
When a theatre full of people doesn’t stop laughing for more than five minutes at a time, chances are the movie is either very funny or incredibly stupid. Guardians of the Galaxy is the former. I loved this movie on first viewing, and as far as I can tell, everyone else I know does too. […]
I really didn’t want to watch The Virgins. Not for any particular reason about the movie itself, or the people involved with it, but simply because it is an independent Christian movie. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there is a certain lack of quality filmmaking within Christian movies, allowing message and content to trump the actual […]
It’s not often that a film’s opening shot will linger on the back of the Statue of Liberty. Doing so, The Immigrant sets the stage for a more complex rumination on the American Dream than a simple unbridled optimism or cynical pessimism. And it’s just a hint at the undercurrent of subtle complexities running through […]
Edge of Tomorrow turns out to be surprise, after watching the uninspiring trailer, as it rewards and entertains in a surprisingly unexpected way.
A review on the latest instalment of the X-Men franchise “What a refreshingly good superhero movie.” This was my first thought once the credits started to roll on X-Men: Days of Future Past. Critics who complain about theatres over-saturated with superheroes and comic book adaptations (of which there are plenty) may be satisfied with Bryan […]
We all love summer. It’s the sunshine, the beaches, the ice cream, the flings…right? Or is it the monsters, the mystery, and the action that light up the screen? The summer movie season is upon us with countless trailers, hinting at what’s to come. Here are a few of the more promising and surprising films […]
Most Christian movies are mocked for eschewing artistic quality in favour of a certain brand of evangelical faith and propriety. While that may be an unfair blanket assumption, more often than not it’s accurate. There have been great Christian filmmakers, such as Tarkovsky, Bresson, and Rohmer, but their films aren’t associated with the genre of Christian movies. […]
This is Martin Bonner is a film that has slipped between the cracks of the feel-good optimism of Christian dramas and the harsh severity of Hollywood crime dramas. Are these the only two options? Of course they’re not; but in a movie that follows the interaction between a man working for a Christian prison ministry […]
Call me a cynic, but I never thought a film called The Lego Movie could be so fun. But it is. The film is written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, makers of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street; and you should expect similar antics in The Lego Movie. […]
Short Term 12 is the kind of movie I love. Small in stature but big in heart, the film far exceeds its own modest expectations to stand among the best films of the year. Set in a foster-care home for kids awaiting placement, the story of the film centres around Grace (Brie Larson), a compassionate, […]
One of the images that lingers from Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is that of a huge rock protruding from the sea, with hundreds of screaming people climbing desperately to its top, being swept off like toys by mighty waves. In the background we see the massive wooden ark, peaceful and secure amidst the deadly raging sea. […]
Frances Ha is a comedic drama about the life of Frances (Greta Gerwig), a 27-year-old woman living in New York. The film follows Frances in her quest to not only to become a dancer, but to also figure her life out. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach and shot in black and white, Frances Ha […]
Before Midnight is one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve ever sat through. It’s like going out for dinner with your married friends, and you can sense the tension going. You know they’re fighting, and it’s awkward for everyone else at the table. But it’s something real. Like the first two movies in the series, […]
They’re re-making Left Behind. Please contain your excitement. Growing up in the church, I heard things about Jesus coming back, and I didn’t fully understand what was going to happen. All this talk about being “taken” scared me a little. Then Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins came along and wrote vivid fictional novels about […]
Among the many things I could say about Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is this: Scorsese sure does put the f—ing in filmmaking, in more ways than one. The movie is filmmaking par excellence. Bravura. Kinetic. An overwhelming experience. But it’s also overwhelmingly profane, breaking the record for the most uses of the […]
Her is one of the best experiences I’ve had at a theatre in a long time. I was sold on the trailer instantly: directed by Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) with a score by Arcade Fire? Sign me up. Coming out of the theatre with my friend Greg, we both had those big goofy […]
It’s a strange time for the movie business. We know what to expect from the summer and fall seasons: blockbusters and award bait, respectively. We even know what to expect in December: movies with either big hearts or big budgets. But January through April is a mishmash of award season rejects (The Monuments Men), risky […]
Disney’s Frozen, loosely based on “The Snow Queen,” came out at the end of November to rave reviews. But I’m conflicted. I’m not sure if I can get behind any Disney princess, no matter how many times reviewers use the words “strong” or “sisterhood” to describe the film. I was a cult follower of Disney […]
The first thing you notice watching Catching Fire is the change of colour. Gone are the lush greens of the forest. Now our eyes are filled with greys and browns: the muted colours of the dead of winter. We meet our hero, the steely Katniss Everdeen, in the woods, but she is anything but victorious […]
January 2012. I ejected the last DVD and breathed a satisfied sigh. I had finished the tenth and final season of Smallville. The journey that had begun when some friends introduced me to this television retelling of Superman’s teenage years had come to a close. Sort of. Because, on the way, I had been instilled […]
Writer-director Brad Wise talks about what’s important, and what’s not, for a Christian who makes movies. It’s not like I was a kid dreaming of making movies one day. I never really set out to do any of this stuff. It just kind of happened. Brad Wise has the shell-shocked look of a guy who just […]
James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs (Oz) in Disney’s new movie Oz the Great and Powerful. The film represents a prequel to the original Warner Brothers film The Wizard of Oz (1939) starring Judy Garland. I was privileged to view the film with a member of the visual effects team, and without being too biased, I must say the […]
A story told well is one that reaches beyond its own literal limits, and gestures toward something worth having outside of these boundaries. For instance, later readers of ancient Greek and Roman epic were able to find in these stories — often grim stories about concrete affairs such as bloody battle and death — a […]
When CS Lewis was a child he had an imaginary land called “Animal Land” that he would often make up stories about. One of his favourite characters was a heroic mouse named Peter. Sound familiar? Lewis insisted to the end that he did not write the Narnia books to be an allegory for the Christian […]
It’s difficult to go a week without hearing about Gandalf’s first visit to Bag End, the intrusive company of dwarves with confusing names, or the moment Bilbo first encounters the Ring of Power. As a follow-up to the incredible Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit is set to hit theatres this December. But what’s […]
The day hurricane Katrina hit we were sitting around tables at a restaurant somewhere outside of Atlanta. I finished my pizza, fidgeted with the salt shaker, and glanced at the corner of the room where a television hung, fixed on CNN. I remember the text as it crawled across the bottom of the screen, and […]
As the saying goes, all wonderful journeys must inevitably come to an end. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the rousing final chapter in his Batman trilogy, which began with 2005’s Batman Begins and spectacularly continued in 2008’s The Dark Knight, is a propulsive ten tonne juggernaut of a motion picture; slightly lumbering out of the gate but ultimately […]
An understandable shockwave of geek-rage exploded in early 2010 when Sony Pictures, amidst rumours of cost-cutting and ongoing arguments over creative direction, scrapped series helmer Sam Raimi’s gestating Spider-Man 4 in favour of a full-on reboot. After all, while 2007’s Spider-Man 3 was a somewhat messy (studio-compromised) disappointment, the film still earned a robust $890 million dollars worldwide and […]
Here we have a prime example of a movie that’s shamelessly entertaining in spite of the fact it’s not very good. Adam Shankman’s off-Broadway play adaptation Rock of Ages is cheesier than a Wisconsin fondue party, and sloppier than Motley Crue’s dressing room, but I’ll be darned if it didn’t win me over with its infectious combination […]
Snow White and the Huntsman is a film peopled by actors not quite known for their portrayal of strong characters — swoony vampire crushes, roaring Norse gods, and alien monsters all come to mind. As one might expect, the acting in this film is not memorable — or so I am told — I myself […]
There are two movies locked in a stubborn struggle for supremacy in Ridley Scott’s muddled Prometheus, a sorta, kinda prequel to his landmark 1979 classic Alien. On one hand, we have a through-and-through science-fiction horror exercise that, akin to its predecessor, chronicles what happens when a group of unprepared, short-sighted humans step foot on a […]
Peter Berg’s Hasbro game adaptation Battleship is an obnoxious all-out assault on the senses and grey matter wrapped up in an insincere flag of American jingoism and military fetishism. This is a picture that paints itself up like a U.S. Navy recruitment commercial – boasting endless gliding shots of state-of-the-art war tech accompanied by a fist-pumping hard […]
There are doubtlessly several directors capable of turning a campy long-running soap opera into a compelling two-hour movie. Alas, Tim Burton really doesn’t belong on the list. The spooky, kooky auteur may be our most successful oddball visual stylist, but as a storyteller he often tends to lose focus – sometimes pleasantly and sometimes maddeningly […]
To Afghan Canadian filmmaker Brishkay Ahmed in any and all cases the burqa is a tool of oppression. Ahmed begins her film, Story of Burqa in Vancouver where she stands on a street corner and asks a woman passing by to try on the full-length veil. The woman obliges and Ahmed instructs her to walk […]
“Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer.” -Aunt May, Spider-Man 2 That wonderfully sentimental and corny speech from […]
When it comes to romantic comedies, there’s only so much conflict an audience can be expected to endure before any hope for a believable happy ending goes sailing out the window. It’s a tricky, indefinable line in the sand – structurally, the genre depends on conflict to fuel a big, sappy, crowd-pleasing third-act reunion – […]
James Cameron’s Titanic is a glorious feat of epic-scale blockbuster engineering. Revisiting the sweeping, tragic tale of the unsinkable ocean liner nearly 15 years after it dominated theatres for a record 15 weeks, tallied up 11 Oscars and sparked an adoring inferno of Leo-Mania, it’s impossible not be impressed by the brilliance of its construction. Blending together […]
It was the summer of 2005 that I discovered the rambling wit and disarming charm of one Donald Miller on display in a weathered copy of Blue Like Jazz I borrowed from a friend. This was after my first year at university, a year filled with strange moments, people and ideas that punctured my faith and punctuated […]
If ever there was a franchise built on a heaping, Olympus-high mountain of wasted potential, it’s Warner Bros.’s Titans series. 2009’sClash of the Titans, a remake of Desmond Davis’s 1981 cult hit, stuffed a monumental cast of thunderous mythological heavy-hitters into a stolid, directionless hack ‘n slash bore-a-thon that struck with all the sound and fury of […]
Ever since Pirates of the Caribbean unexpectedly morphed into a multi-billion dollar juggernaut Walt Disney Pictures has been on a tear to unearth a new live-action tentpole franchise capable of attracting young males to the multiplex by the horde. So far, this questionable business objective has motivated the company to foolishly squander bordering-on-obscene resources on the synthetic, terribly […]
There’s an unmistakeable glint of deceitfulness in Woody Harrelson’s piercing blue eyes, like he knows he’s getting away with something. They stand in sharp contrast to his honest, gentlemanly Southern-fried accent and give him the air of a born con artist; a good-natured dim bulb who is, in reality, ten steps ahead of everyone else, gleefully working out new angles […]
In the annals of Marvel Comics motion picture adaptations, 2007’s Ghost Rider is a sad, misguided footnote barely worth expending the energy to mention. Helmed by Daredevil director Mark Steven Johnson, it was a tediously limp franchise launch that impressively managed to render a tragic flaming biker skeleton boring. No mean feat, that! However, despite toxic word of mouth […]
Of Gods and Men allows us to take a close look at the real meaning of Love Thy Neighbor.