Archive for May, 2011

A few preliminary notes on The Tree of Life

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I’m traveling right now, so I can’t finish up my review of The Tree of Life just yet.

But… (more…)

The Mystery in Materials

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

A few thoughts about the special effects used in  The Tree of Life crept into my latest post at Good Letters.

So did U2, Madeleine L’Engle, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more.


Happy 70th Birthday, Bob Dylan!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

In honor of the king of American music, here is my review of I’m Not There, the great film by Todd Haynes about the life of Bob Dylan.

Major news for Harry Potter fans!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Today’s Harry Potter news is threatening to make me interested in Harry Potter movies for the first time!

Check it out… (more…)

Where is my Tree of Life review?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

A lot of folks have been asking why I haven’t posted my review of Terrence Malick’s new, Palme d’Or-winning film The Tree of Life.

I appreciate the enthusiasm. My zeal for Malick’s film The New World may have created the impression that my life comes to a standstill when the reclusive director releases a new film. But that’s overstating it. I admire all of Malick’s films, yes, but I only feel a great passion for The New World. I’ve been eager to see The Tree of Life, but the trailer made me apprehensive, so I kept my expectations from rising to unreasonable levels… and I’m glad I did.

It’s true, I saw the film a week ago today at a Seattle press screening, accompanied by two dear friends – the novelist Robert Clark and the program director of Seattle Pacific’s MFA in Creative Writing program Dyana Herron. It was a wonderful evening. The film is still glimmering in the back of my mind. And I’ll be encouraging people to see it on the biggest screen they can find.

But I can’t review it yet. I was originally sworn to withhold my review until its Seattle opening in mid-June. Since I write for national publications, I asked for permission to post earlier. Now, I’m permitted to speak out on May 27th. So stay tuned. I’ll probably post my first-impression thoughts at Filmwell and at the website for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine. Later, I’ll have more to say at Image.

So even though there are a zillion reviews already published, my agreement must be honored for a few more days.

In the meantime, (more…)

Be mindful: Beginners is coming.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

On Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of shaking hands with filmmaker Mike Mills and actor Ewan McGregor, and sitting down with two other journalists (Sarah Fetters and Keith Simanton) to interview them about their new film Beginners, which also stars Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent.

Director Mike Mills and actor Ewan McGregor in Seattle. (Photo by Keith Simanton, courtesy of IMDBlive.)

They were very good company, and I wish our 25 minutes had gone on for an hour. I had a lot of questions for them, because the film really inspired me. Beginners is a pleasant surprise. (more…)

Filmwell returns!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Over the last week, I’ve been thrilled to see Filmwell – the collaborative and strange film blog for adventurous cinephiles that I started with Michael Leary a couple of years ago – transplanted to a new home base at The Other Journal, an online magazine I’ve admired and enjoyed for a long time.

I kicked things off with a “We’re Back!” post, and a few notes on the new Kelly Reichardt film Meek’s Cutoff.

But I’m very excited about what happened at Filmwell today… (more…)

Wait… who gets left behind?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

My friend Matthew Dickerson, author of Ents, Elves and Eriador: the Environmental Vision of J.R.R.Tolkien and Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: the Environmental Vision of C.S.Lewis, presented this meditation – a challenge to the conventional understanding of “the Rapture” – at a gathering of The Chrysostom Society a couple of years ago.

I found it to be quite intriguing.

So I’m pleased that Christianity Today has published it for everyone to read. I realized, listening to Dickerson, that many of the church leaders and teachers who had preached and taught on the subject of “the End Times” may not have been reading their Scriptures very closely. And, well, neither had I. (more…)

Return to The Suburbs: Two new Arcade Fire songs!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Thanks to the folks of, we can listen to two new songs from the upcoming deluxe edition of Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning album The Suburbs. (more…)

Jeff “Shotgun Stories” Nichols returns.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Jeff Nichols’ debut feature film, Shotgun Stories, took me by surprise and became my favorite film of 2008.

So I can’t wait to see this, his second film with actor Michael Shannon: Take Shelter.

Here’s the trailer… (more…)