Understanding the Golden Age of Hollywood 

(Spoiler warning follows for The Searchers, Sunset Boulevard, and Strangers on a Train)  Because of Hollywood’s influence on America, to understand our current cultural context it is important to understand Hollywood’s Golden Age. Despite the significance of the topic, most people have a faulty view of this time. Classic Hollywood is often seen as an era that either moralized or simply refused to tackle mature … Continue reading Understanding the Golden Age of Hollywood 

Stoic Perseverance and Horizon Zero Dawn

Guerilla Game’s 2017 action-adventure game Horizon Zero Dawn tells a dual narrative. Story A is set in the game’s past, the later half of the 21st century, while Story B shows the events that happen to the player character, Aloy, in 3040. The two stories parallel each other: in each, a remarkable woman rallies disparate people to defeat some great threat to humanity. HZD‘s gameplay … Continue reading Stoic Perseverance and Horizon Zero Dawn

Meet Me at Our Spot

Humans all have a deeper longing to engage with music in a kind of dance where there is intention, anticipation and response, and a sort of push and pull motion. Recorded music can certainly help facilitate this, but unfortunately it can also dampen that longing. There is a certain language that we learn, whether subconsciously or through a more active process, that helps shape the … Continue reading Meet Me at Our Spot

A Hidden Life

As the Nazi guards beat him, Franz Jägerstätter smiles. It’s a moment that’s unexpected and almost lost among successive scenes of violence, but one that briefly shines the light of Christ within the cracked, water-stained walls of the Nazi prison.  In director Terrence Malick’s newest film, A Hidden Life, Franz Jägerstätter and his wife Fani live with their three young daughters in the Austrian village … Continue reading A Hidden Life

Star Wars

Star Wars closes out its newest trilogy and the entire Skywalker saga, delivering an enjoyable adventure with loads of nostalgia.   We enter the story not long after Last Jedi left off as the Resistance rallies on a jungle planet. Rey, under Leia’s guidance, grows stronger in the Force despite lingering uncertainties about her identity. The brooding Kylo Ren returns, this time with a red-streaked helmet … Continue reading Star Wars

Music Review: Brittany Howard, Jaime

In late September, Brittany Howard released her first solo album and embarked on a two-month international tour. The album, Jaime, takes its name from the older sister who taught Howard to play the piano and who died of cancer as a teenager. A short half-hour and eleven tracks long, Jaime artfully unfolds its maker’s history: her loves, perspective, anxieties and wounds.  To work on this … Continue reading Music Review: Brittany Howard, Jaime

Holiday Inn (1942)

Though cars, planes, and trains contrive to bring all your holiday guests around the table, circumstance doesn’t necessitate community. The black and white 1942 Holiday Inn understands this all too well. When the holiday performance trio of Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby), Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale) collapses into a love triangle, Jim heads for the country to escape the hectic pace … Continue reading Holiday Inn (1942)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” —Clarence Ah, It’s a Wonderful Life. The film that has graced many a cozy living room since 1946. It is a much beloved and familiar tale. George Bailey grows up dreaming of his future away from the sleepy old town of Bedford Falls. … Continue reading It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Antman and the Wasp

Ant Man and the Wasp rejects the high stakes of Infinity War to tell a playful, good-hearted, family story. Scott Lang/Ant Man (Paul Rudd) enjoys fathering his young daughter, though under house arrest due to fallout from the events of Captain America: Civil War. He is starting his own company and is anxious to stay on the right side of the law. This proves more … Continue reading Antman and the Wasp