Looking Closer: The Journal

Update your bookmarks: THIS BLOG HAS MOVED.

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Looking Closer is setting up shop at Patheos.com.

Come on over and check out the new blog, the new neighborhood, and post your thoughts and suggestions.

My 10,000th Tweet is an announcement.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

If you read this blog, then you need to see the big news… (more…)

The most rebellious album I’ve heard all year.

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Rebellion. It may be the single most distinctive characteristic of new music, generation after generation. From Chuck Berry to Michael Jackson, from the Rolling Stones to Nirvana, from Madonna to Lady Gaga, from Bob Dylan to Kanye West, each generation’s icons of pop, rock, and hip-hop plan to shake up the status quo with a rebel yell.

But the most rebellious thing I’ve ever heard a rock star say appeared in print in 2001. Robert Hilburn of The L.A. Times was interviewing Bono about why New Yorkers turned to U2 for inspiration after the attacks on America. Bono responded by talking about the anger that fuels most rock music. “Anger is simple. Any artist knows he can do it with a black brush. That’s what rock is at the moment. It’s an easy thing to do: painting in black.”

Then he added, “Joy is something else. It’s much harder to create because you are dealing with something much deeper and much more emotional. It’s a connection with the audience that borders on faith, believing in something together.”

Joy. Imagine that. To strive for joy may be the most rebellious act for any musician in this present environment of anger, attitude, and egomania.

I say all of this so you will understand why I cannot stop listening to … (more…)

Number 10,000

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Frankly, that number doesn’t mean very much when it comes to Twitter.

In fact, 10,000 Tweets is probably something to be embarrassed about.

But my 10,000th post on Twitter is going to be unusual… (more…)

An unexpected pleasure: Snow White and the Huntsman

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Well, once in a while, the trailer and even the reviews from my favorite critics let me down.

Thanks to my friend Danny Walter for encouraging me to go see a film that all of the marketing, trailers, and reviews had convinced me to avoid. … (more…)

A tour of hell with Miss Bala

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Miss Bala is riveting, stomach-turning stuff. (more…)

Join me. Give up drinking soda at the movies.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

I drank a Diet Coke yesterday for the first time in a couple of years.

I immediately regretted it. Why?  (more…)

My first review for Patheos: First Position

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Allison Backous.

Richard Chess.

Lindsey Crittenden.

Kelly Foster.

David Griffith.

A.G. Harmon.

Chad Thomas Johnston.

Caroline Langston.

Peggy Rosenthal.

Vic Sizemore.

Bradford Winters.

Tony Woodlief.

Sara Zarr.

This team of writers grabs and holds my attention almost every day at the blog called Good Letters. So it is an honor to participate with them as a contributor, in this daily endeavor hosted by my favorite literary journal, Image (a publication and a community that I can honestly say has blessed and changed my daily life) , and published on the bold, expansive network called Patheos.

Today marks my first film-review publication at Good Letters since it relocated to Patheos and appeared before a larger audience. … (more…)

Why I’m in no hurry to see Prometheus

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The reviews of Prometheus from the film critics I admire and trust are saying just about what I expected: That it’s full of intensity and big visual spectacles… the stuff that makes a good trailer… but it’s severely lacking in thoughtful storytelling and decent writing.

I’m not surprised. I haven’t been impressed by a Ridley Scott film since Matchstick Men, and I haven’t been excited about a Ridley Scott film since the early 1980s. His films walk like big important movies, but they’re often thick-headed, hard-hearted, and ultimately kind of blundering. Alien and Blade Runner, well… that was a long, long time ago.

If you haven’t read any reviews yet, well… (more…)

The Joy of Car Talk

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Can’t stop thinking about today’s announcement: That Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk fame are retiring.

Anne and I have listened to Car Talk almost religiously on Saturday mornings for years. Tom and Ray have been a joy because…  (more…)