We are going to change directions a bit at Filmwell for a few cycles. Consider this an experiment that requires your participation, should you be interested.
Typical posting on films, TV, and other media that capture our attention will continue. But we are going to try something different when it comes to the longer format filmwriting that was once far more frequent at this site. Filmwell will begin hosting periodic symposia on specific topics loosely spanning film studies and contemporary theological conversation. These collaborations will begin with a call for papers and deadlines for submission of abstracts. Following the acceptance of abstracts that best fit the stated theme, the following things will happen:
- A brief period of peer review.
- The collected essays will be posted as a series.
- When the series has concluded, the essays will be collected and made available as e-books.
There a few reasons for this shift in programming, some of which simply have to do with the evolving nature of online publication. But as we are now in about decade 4 of the the “theology and film conversation,”* I think it is a fair question to ask: What has the theology and film conversation contributed to our understanding or appreciation of religious discourse, media production, and culture?
The Filmwell Original Series wants to address this question by asking it in specific ways.
So... Read More
I don’t think I have ever bumped into a principle of sociology stated this way anywhere, but a subculture may be defined by its ability to mock itself. The defining characteristics of contemporary Evangelicalism are not dogmatic. This is surprising, given that Evangelicalism as a movement began as a set of theological distinctives packaged with a certain pose toward “cultural engagement” that inspired participation in American politics,... Read More
In 70s and early 80s, a small subculture of American kids shared a very odd and traumatic experience. This was the era of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, which helped popularize the idea that a literal reading of Old and New Testament prophecy matched current events – all signs pointing to the imminent return of Jesus as described in Revelation and related New Testament passages. Hal Lindsey did not invent the idea, as this kind... Read More
All recent roads in crime drama lead to Forbrydelsen, the Danish series known to American audiences by its AMC then Netflix remake The Killing. For many, The Killing introduced a new vibe or set of possibilities for telling stories about crime that British TV critics had labeled Scandinavian or Nordic noir after shows like Wallander and The Bridge made their way across the channel. This vibe has become the dominant storytelling... Read More
[Ed. note: Date Movies is a fascinating ongoing project observing cinema by our current time and date. In this monumental labor, Ron Reed is enabling us to connect with treasured cinema moments in an unexpected way. Ron has very kindly allowed us to link to these from Filmwell as the project grows. Follow Ron @RonReedPT for more.) — Here is the latest installment from the Date Movies project for August 25. Roger Ebert called Day... Read More
Two of the show’s greatest Lindelofian mysteries have been resolved in the last few episodes of The Leftovers, but the now 3 1/2 year distance from the Departure itself indicates there is more to come. For those unfamiliar with classic Dispensationalism (see below for handy chart) – this is the span of time marked for peace during the seven year tribulation following the rapture. The remaining 3 1/2 years are full of literal hell on... Read More
Four years ago, I was blown away by Ink, the second feature from Colorado-based filmmaker Jamin Winans. Ink was not without its flaws, but ultimately, I found it to be a stunning and thought-provoking fantasy film. Or, as I wrote in my review: Ink definitely wears its heart on its sleeve, and is packed with themes of redemption, guilt, forgiveness, the cancerous effects of materialism and pride, the importance of fathers, and the power of stories... Read More
So far, The Leftovers has struggled to capitalize on the human scale of its Rapture narrative. The series has built up a few story arcs, spent a bit of time exploring the backstory of The Guilty Remnant, and nodded toward the big Holy Wayne plot. But I remain skeptical of the show in the same way Fred Clark is not a fan of the Left Behind novels, which he mercilessly critiqued in a legendary collection of blog posts beginning with... Read More
I am not a professional critic, as I don’t write for an outlet that pays me on a regular basis. Feel free to take all this with a grain of salt. I have always been drawn repeatedly to the WordPress dashboard and query letter simply because I feel compelled to share something I have seen, heard, or noticed. But over the years I have had to figure out how professional (or at least, better networked) critics do what they do and take... Read More
Gris Gris runs into a few issues in its third act, as the story seems to run out of steam. Also, its two leads remain pretty undeveloped throughout. But I want to get those criticisms out of the way so that I can share what really works well. The film opens on its greatest asset, which is the dancer (Souleymane Démé) director Mahamet-Saleh Haroun apparently encountered one day and was so impressed that he began to spin a film script around him. It... Read More