Bending the air: Defying gravity in &#8220;Avatar,&#8221; <em>Star Wars</em>, Miyazaki and more ARTICLE

Bending the air: Defying gravity in “Avatar,” Star Wars, Miyazaki and more

There is a sense in which “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is for my children in part what Star Wars was for my generation: a new and enthralling mythology about a young hero with a mysterious power slowly learning to channel that power to fight against a tyrannical empire.

Aladdin REVIEW

Aladdin (1992)

Disney’s Aladdin does more than give Williams an opportunity to let loose the comic giant inside him: It offers the Disney animators perhaps their greatest creative challenge, and inspiration, in over half a century.

The theology and philosophy of <em>Avengers: Age of Ultron</em> ARTICLE

The theology and philosophy of Avengers: Age of Ultron

We aren’t exactly talking The Matrix here, but it’s been awhile since a Hollywood popcorn action movie elicited such a range of theological and philosophical analysis.

&#8220;Franciscan&#8221; movies for Pope Francis&#8217; US visit ARTICLE

“Franciscan” movies for Pope Francis’ US visit

Much like Pope Francis himself at times — or even like Jesus himself — Saint Francis of Assisi has often been made into an avatar or mascot of people’s likes (or dislikes) rather than being recognized as the surprising, vibrant figure he really was.

How James Bond lost his soul: <em>Casino Royale</em> ARTICLE

How James Bond lost his soul: Casino Royale

Casino is more than a reboot: It’s also a kind of origin story, based on the first Ian Fleming novel. As such, it’s the story of how James Bond lost his soul, or whatever was left of it, at the very moment when he dared to hope for redemption.

The taking of an oath: Marriage, annulments, Kim Davis, and <em>A Man for All Seasons</em> ARTICLE

The taking of an oath: Marriage, annulments, Kim Davis, and A Man for All Seasons

The name of Saint Thomas More has cropped up in recent discussion of current events as never since — well, if not since the English Reformation, at any rate probably since one of my all-time favorite films, A Man for All Seasons, won six Academy Awards at the 1966 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), and Best Actor (Paul Scofield).

A Nightmare on Elm Street REVIEW

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nightmare’s surreal scares go beyond most slasher fare by evoking an irrational world in which normal rational defenses don’t apply.

&#8220;Brother Ass&#8221; or &#8220;stupid apes&#8221;? Transhumanism, the <em>Imago Dei</em> and Hollywood ARTICLE

“Brother Ass” or “stupid apes”? Transhumanism, the Imago Dei and Hollywood

As technology progresses and the culture and the Gospel continue to draw further apart, transhumanist aspirations flourish, both as a worldview and in the world of popular culture.

Gun culture and Hollywood: Turning away from violence ARTICLE

Gun culture and Hollywood: Turning away from violence

All violence is not the same. There are obvious, important differences between realistic war violence, violence in a serious social drama, cartoon violence in an action movie, horrific violence in a crime movie, slapstick violence in a comedy and so forth. Ultimately, though, I think it’s important to give ourselves regular breaks from violence of any kind. Violence is unavoidably part of human nature, but it’s far from the most interesting part.

The spiritually aware cinema of Jean&#8209;Pierre and Luc Dardenne ARTICLE

The spiritually aware cinema of Jean‑Pierre and Luc Dardenne

The Dardennes’ films generally have redemptive arcs of some sort, or at least the hope of redemption — though there are no traditional happy endings, only hopeful new beginnings. Theologians ponder the mystery of evil; the Dardennes are intrigued by the mystery of goodness.