M. Leary

Gett: The The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Roni and Shlomi Elkabetz, 2014)

Gett is the end of a series of films about the failed marriage of the Amsalems. In To Take A Wife (2004) and 7 Days (2008), Viviane is already desperate to leave their marriage, which has grown cold over differences in observance of Jewish law, tradition, and Elisha’s efforts to conserve his Moroccan heritage. These films are all dense […]

M. Leary

Mad Men (Season 7, Ep. 10) – Don’s Augustinian Forecast

These last two episodes of Mad Men have felt either disproportionate or clumsy. This is, I think, because life is both disproportionate and clumsy. It is common for critics to excuse the shortcomings of TV shows with this same logic. A script takes a left turn into fan service, or really fumbles some aspect of a series […]

M. Leary

Mad Men (Season 7, Ep. 8) – Don's Religious Vocabulary

Playing off Mad Men as a series of object lessons in modernity is like shooting fish in a barrel. Time and time again, the show has justified the utility of its repetition of Don’s moods and fantasies as an evocation of this era. Around him play out the little dramas of an ad agency and its growing […]

M. Leary

How To Make a Movie About Paul

Peter Chattaway is, as always, right on top of the announcement that there is a film about Paul in the works, with Hugh Jackman in the lead. Given the famous anecdote in the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla which describes him as short, bald, bow-legged, and unibrowed, I have always pictured Paul more as Wallace Shawn than the strapping […]

David A. Garner

The Briefing 3.20.15

Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week. CNN tells the scandalous story of D.E. Paulk and his family: The boy was watching people sing at a sweaty Pentecostal tent service one Sunday morning when a prophet onstage scanned […]

M. Leary

The Americans, Religion, and TV

In a recent review of the excellent FX cold war era spy thriller, The Americans, an Atlantic writer asked: “Do any Christians watch this show? I’d be curious to learn whether they think the show has become too offensive toward religion for its own good.” Yes, Christians do watch this show. I haven’t written much […]

M. Leary

Hard To Be A God (German, 2014)

I have only had the opportunity to see a few of Aleksei German’s films. But watching either Khrustalyov, My Car! or Hard to Be a God is like seeing 8 1/2 or 2001 or The Mirror for the first time. You know that what you are seeing is going to change the way you watch […]

M. Leary

The Horrible Theology of Hannibal

There are a few basic differences between the novels by Thomas Harris and Hannibal, their NBC TV series adaptation. The most intriguing of these is that the Hannibal of the ongoing TV series has a tendency to speak theologically about his hobby horses, which include cannibalism, serial killing, and the presence of God. While most […]

M. Leary

As It Is In Heaven (Overbay, 2014)

As It Is In Heaven is a hushed film; a quiet film in the way of Gitai’s Kadosh or Reygadas’ Silent Light when these films are focused on the ritual lives of their respective communities. Such films remind us that we watch cinema simply because it can do something the other arts cannot. It allows us to […]