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The days of counting swear words are over. Welcome to a fresh voice in film and faith. Join Cinema Faith founder Jonathan Butrin and cinephile Tim Nelson as they discuss film through a Christian lens.
Dec 19, 2019
Christmas movies are overrated. Why not spend the holidays with a film full of sociopaths instead? That was Netflix's gamble when they released Martin Scorsese's latest offering on their streaming platform in December. According to them, 26 million people have streamed the movie to date. Clearly, the gamble paid off. Scorsese has made a lot of features in his 50+ years of filmmaking, but he'll always be best known for his mob movies. The Irishman is the perfect culmination of that legacy. The film is filled with actors that have been with Scorsese from the beginning including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel, while even borrowing the Godfather himself: Al Pacino. Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, The Irishman tells the story of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a hit man for mob boss Russell Bufalino (Pesci). Sheeran is assigned to be the go-between for the mob and famous union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), but their relationship blossoms into a genuine friendship. That proves problematic for Sheeran, however, when Hoffa steps on the wrong toes and becomes the mob's next target. The Irishman is the kind of movie Scorsese could only make this late in his career. All of his signature trademarks are there, but unlike Scorsese's previous mob entries, The Irishman takes the time to explore what happens to a gangster in his final years when all that's left is regret. With five Golden Globes under its belt, the movie is sure to be a major Oscar contender and the perfect highlight reel of Scorsese's legacy. Join Jon and Tim on this month's podcast as they discuss Goodfellas vs. The Godfather, Martin Scorsese's online rant, the problem with Netflix, what makes mob movies interesting, Al Pacino's yelling scenes, Tim's resemblance to Santa Clause, the answer to the stuffing mystery, Robert DeNiro's CGI eyes, Jon's controversial opinion, a defense of It's a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Hoffa as a Christ character, how are choices define us, the inevitability of regret, and what truly matters at the end of our lives.
1 hr 4 min
Nov 29, 2019
As protests spring up worldwide and economic populism becomes the defining politic of the moment, it was only a matter of time before a film tapped into the zeitgeist. That film is Parasite. The movie, directed by Bong Joon-Ho, nabbed the Palm d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, opened in wide release across the country, and has already raked in close to $100 million domestically. Not bad for a foreign film with subtitles. Parasite is about a family of four struggling to make ends meet in a cramped South Korean apartment. Through a chance encounter with an old friend, the oldest son of the family, Kim Ki-woo, lands a tutoring gig for a rich family of four across town who are on the opposite end of the ladder socially and economically. Eventually, Kim Ki-woo sees an opportunity worth exploiting. Through a series of events, Kim Ki-woo finds a way to employ every member of his poor family in the household of the rich family, all while acting as if they are complete strangers. From there, the movie takes a variety of twists and turns, encompasses multiple genres, and finally culminates in a shocking climax. Joon-Ho's directing is crisp and precise. Every shot is honed for maximum impact, and every scene is filled with meaning and symbolism. Some stories are powerful enough to transcend language and culture. Parasite is one of them. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss the movies they're thankful for, a defense of cool whip, why Jon hates Star Wars, the lost theater amenity, strangers in loveseats, Tim's favorite parasite, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, the myth of class dynamism, Jeff Bezos vs. Amazon factory workers, how elites manipulate the masses, why money can buy happiness, and the ways wealth disguises suffering beneath the surface.
1 hr 3 min
Oct 31, 2019
No film in recent memory has been as polarizing as Joker. A scroll through Rotten Tomatoes reveals a spectrum of reactions ranging from the highest praise of the year to anger that the movie was even made. One thing's for sure though: everyone has seen it. Joker is officially the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time bringing in $856.3 million to date. And everyone who's seen it has an opinion. Naturally, the time has come for ours. Joker certainly isn't your average comic book movie. For starters, director Todd Phillips treats the material like a straight-forward psychological drama. Substituting Chicago for Gotham would in no way lessen its impact. For some, that's part of the problem. For others, it's a breath of fresh air. But Joker‘s ultimate offering is the only thing everyone can agree on: Joaquin Phoenix. In what's sure to net him his fourth Oscar nomination, Phoenix is nothing short of a revelation. He brings a haunting, physical approach to the Joker that manages to stand out even in the shadow of the other infamous portrayals of the villain. The praise for Phoenix is unanimous. And yet, no one can agree on the movie he stars in. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss their reactions to the reactions, the 50th Cinema Faith podcast, Ben Stiller's directing, the Mongolian Grill experience, Joaquin Phoenix's filmography, Jon's man-crushes, the streaming revolution, why Millenials don't appreciate Tim Burton enough, Robert De Niro's read-through, comedy directors doing serious films, Tim's HBO subscription, why we need to talk about mental illness, the duty of citizens in a social contract, banning art, and the way of cruciform love.
1 hr 22 min
Oct 1, 2019
Booksmart has been on our radar since its release in May. With a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, it's one of the best-reviewed films of the year. But now, it's our turn. Does the movie live up to the hype? Booksmart is the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde. Whatever faults Wilde brings to her first outing, casting isn't one of them. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein play Amy and Molly, two high school seniors who have made school their sole focus. With their enrollment secured at a prestigious university, they feel superior to their fellow classmates who seemingly care more about partying than homework. But when Amy and Molly learn that the students they looked down on have been accepted to the same elite universities as them, they suddenly realize they may squandered the last four years of their life and vow to cram all of the fun they could have had into one raucous night. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Ira Glass' good looks, why radiation is scary, coming of age films, Jon's pick for the best movie of all time, why we're better than the New York Times, what "thirsty" means, why comedies just need to be funny, the birth of Joker time, when problems feel like the end of the world, the beauty of the Gospel, the false gods of our culture, the perils of individualism, and the value of loyalty.
Aug 30, 2019
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
The ninth film from Quentin Tarantino is now playing, and it's filled to the brim with everything you love or hate about his movies. When Once Upon a Time In Hollywood was first announced, we admittedly feared the worst. A Tarantino film about the Manson murders? Gulp. But the end result is guaranteed to surprise you. Hollywood is the collision of two different stories and two different eras. The first story follows fictional actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) at the tail-end of the 60's coming to grips with the death of the cowboy hero and the birth of 70's counter-culture. The second story chronicles real-life actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) as she follows the trajectory that leads to her real-life murder at the hands of the Manson cult. How do the two tales connect, and what is Tarantino's take on those fateful murders of 1969? The answers are best experienced spoiler-free, but one thing is certain: Hollywood is a welcome return to form for Tarantino after The Hateful Eight. The film is as entertaining as summer movies get with layers of depth to mine underneath the surface. Love him or hate him, a Tarantino film is always worth talking about. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Brad Pitt's abs, their long hiatus, the controversy surrounding Tarantino, Dakota Fanning's scary comeback, where truth meets fiction, why Tim doesn't like Sandra Oh, why Jon doesn't like Jerry Seinfeld, whether Sharon Tate's portrayal is underwritten, the humble morality of Cliff Booth, the ultimate theological debate of 2019, whether God is a pacifist, and why we crave violent heroes.
1 hr 20 min
May 31, 2019
Eleven years ago, Iron Man changed comic book movies forever. Not only was the movie great, it was the beginning of a journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with each film offering something new while also being connected to one large story. Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of that 22-film saga. From this point forward, the MCU will never be the same. In many ways, Endgame is the pinnacle of Marvel's achievements. Their signature blend of comedy and adventure are still in place, but the movie also dives into weightier themes. All of the central heroes we've invested in over the years are together and better than ever. And directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo employ an ingenious plot device that makes the movie both a celebration of the old and an embrace of the new. There's no question that Endgame is a great comic book movie, but is it also a great movie? What began as a normal Cinema Faith podcast became a sprawling discussion on the nature of art itself. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss how to compare art across genres, the Lubezki/Cuarón film no one's heard of, virtual reality movies, how Marvel ruined Jeremy Renner's career, time travel movies, whether The Matrix stands the test of time, how the Marvel heroes differ from Christ, Jon's Game of Thrones rant, why Thanos is right part II, the fine line between cool and ridiculous, the "popular film" Oscar category, Tim's dirty theater experience, the truth about grief and loss, and how to maintain hope in the darkness.
1 hr 9 min
Apr 30, 2019
April is too early to be talking about the Oscars, but sometimes a gem comes along that's worthy of the discussion. Director Sebastián Lelio isn't well-known to American audiences. His only English-language feature prior to this year was 2017's Disobedience. But Gloria Bell could be the film that changes all of that for good. Bell is a remake of Lelio's own Spanish-language movie Gloria. Julianne Moore plays the titular character, a divorced 50-something looking for love and meaning wherever she can find it. She spends her days at a dull office job and her nights at a dance club. The latter is where she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a fellow divorcé. But Lelio is after something deeper than a plot-twisting romance. Bell is a character study first and foremost, inhabited by the best performance of Moore's career. Moore has already earned her place in the Best Actress discussion, and it's only April. And yet, this isn't just a performance in search of a movie. Lelio's talent behind the lens and poignant symbolism make Gloria Bell the best movie of 2019 to date. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Lelio's voyeuristic style, their favorite Julianne Moore movies, the monthly weather report, a super-fan shout out, Jon Turturro's best role, why Tim is a prophet, Christendom's marriage obsession, the latest Netflix original, Jon's Marvel sales pitch, reclaiming the term "life-affirming," the dual natures of Jesus, and why it's better to be alone than inauthentic.
Mar 29, 2019
We're back! After taking February off for all things Oscars, Jon and Tim are ready to turn the page on 2018…by talking about a really old movie. Yes, that's right — 2019 will have to wait. It's a dumpster fire in movie theaters right now, so we thought we'd travel back in time to 1950 and visit the work of a master. There are few directors as influential and legendary as Akira Kurosawa, and Rashomon is the perfect introduction to his work for the uninitiated. Rashomon is a Japanese classic which tells four versions of the same story involving a bandit's attack on a married couple. Kurosawa uses the groundbreaking technique of differing narratives to highlight the fickle nature of truth, justice, and human nature. The movie is even more relevant today than when it was released 69 years ago. As we wrestle over facts in our post-truth era and regularly discover the dark side of people we thought we knew, Kurosawa offers us fresh insight and the one thing we need most of all: hope. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Amy Adams' best performance, Cameron Crowe's fall from grace, why we're living in a golden age of television, highlights from Oscar night, the dynasty of Mexican directors, Jon's confession, the legacy of Akira Kurosawa, the "Rashomon Effect," why we need to take sin seriously, how Rashomon is responsible for Roma‘s Oscar win, the subjective nature of truth, and whether any of us are truly good.
Feb 1, 2019
If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle both directed Oscar-nominated movies this year. The last time that happened was in 2017 when Chazelle's La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner only to be supplanted by the true Best Picture winner — Jenkins' Moonlight. The debacle was a distraction from what should have been Jenkins' sole moment in the spotlight. Moonlight was indeed the best film of 2016. Now, Jenkins is back with a follow-up: If Beale Street Could Talk. Beale Street is an adaptation of the book by James Baldwin released in 1974. The film centers around a wrongfully incarcerated man named Fonnie (Stephan James) and his pregnant fiancée Tish (Kiki Layne) as they desperately try to prove Fonnie's innocence and reclaim their family. The story takes place in the early 70's, but its themes of racism, discrimination, and injustice are just as relevant today. Jenkins employs the same powerful visual style that made Moonlight a masterpiece. This, combined with outstanding acting across the board (including Regina King in an Oscar-nominated performance), makes Beale Street one of the best films of the year. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss the strangest Golden Globes ever, where not to get barbecue in Memphis, what Jenkins gets right about relationships, the most haunting scene of 2018, another voiceover rant, the long forgotten Look Who's Talking Too, the Amazon-Disney One World Government, why moving to France is tempting, the key scene that almost got cut, how cinematography enhances intimacy, why stories work better than arguments, the injustice of mass incarceration, and whether black folks can have a normal life in America.
1 hr 10 min
Dec 28, 2018
It's that time of the year again. Lights are glowing. Music is going. Food is flowing. That's right — it's Oscar season! The festive holiday where we live in movie theaters because all the best films of the year appear over the course of three months. However, Netflix might be changing that. The platform that redefined TV as we know it just released their primary Oscar contender in theaters and streaming simultaneously. So rather than make yet another trip to the theater, you can watch this Oscar favorite from the comfort of your living room. But if you do, you'll be missing out on the most beautiful big screen experience of 2018. The movie is Roma — the latest from director Alfonzo Cuarón. Cuarón won over film buffs with his 2001 indie Y Tu Mamá También. And yet, he's also known for mainstream fare like A Little Princess, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Gravity. But Roma could be his best film to date. It's certainly his most personal. Cuarón constructed the movie primarily from memories of his own childhood growing up with upper class privilege in Mexico City while being taken care of every day by a lower class maid. The film centers around a re-creation of that maid named Cleo (played by first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio) and the unsung life she led. From a visual standpoint, the movie is stunning. Every shot is a work of art. But it's the subtlety and authenticity of Cleo's journey that lends Roma its true power, and it's why we'll be talking about it come Oscar night on February 24th. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss why it's okay to feel good about Christmas, Cuarón's filmography, sex as a personal journey, Michelangelo's Pietà, when dialogue is more effective than special effects, Christmas Eve movie picks, why Y Tu Mamá También is more than a threesome with someone's mom, Jon's Time magazine subscription, what book to film adaptations get wrong, why eating out with kids is always a mistake, Robert McKee on story, the importance of the first scene, God's favorite people, the strength of the powerless, and whether Roma is a true masterpiece.
Nov 30, 2018
First Man / Free Solo
Our audio equipment failed us in October, but we're back and better than ever. Welcome to our first double feature podcast! That's right, this month you get two movies for the price of one. Starting things off is First Man. After launching two masterpieces into the universe with Whiplash and La La Land, director Damien Chazelle is back with a film about Neil Armstrong's infamous walk on the moon. But First Man is so much more than a biopic. Chazelle re-teams with Ryan Gosling for an untold take on the Armstrong story that is far more about his small step than the giant leap for mankind. Once again, Chazelle employs a masterclass in writing, cinematography, directing, and music to create a spellbinding journey into the vastness of space. Next up is the documentary Free Solo about climber Alex Honnold who enjoys summiting mountains with no safety equipment in sight. Directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi follow Honnold as he attempts one of the most dangerous free solo climbs…
Sep 28, 2018
Who is Nicolas Cage? Oscar-winning actor? Charming leading man? The king of rage? The answer of course is all of the above. His nearly four decade career has run the gamut. He's been acclaimed and panned. He's made hits and straight-to-DVD misses. But through it all, Cage is still making movies and we're still talking about him. Cage's latest is the strangest film of the year so far. Writer/Director Panos Cosmatos has an affinity for the grindhouse style of filmmaking. Mandy feels like it was teleported from the 70's and dropped into a projector for the midnight movie crowd. Cage stars as Red, a simple man who lives in the mountains with his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), until a Satanic cult invades his home and sets him on a path of violent vengeance. Mandy is a bizarre exploitation film that highlights the best and worst of Cage's career. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Ozark vs. Breaking Bad, grindhouse movies, Nicolas Cage's filmography, why Mandy‘s aesthetic is groundbreak…
Aug 31, 2018
Anyone who says they loved eighth grade is lying. It's the perfect storm. Bullies, hormones, rejection, fear, doubt, and self-loathing. Rinse, repeat. But what was hell on earth is cinema heaven. Enter stand-up comedian Bo Burnham. Eighth Grade is Burnham's feature film debut, and he couldn't have picked a time in our lives more rife with tension and conflict. You could almost call Eighth Grade a horror movie. With a raw, unflinching aesthetic, we follow Kayla (Elsie Fisher) around in the summer of transition from eighth grade to high school. There is no overarching plot. Kayla is the plot. We watch with dread as she struggles to find her place in the world, remembering what it felt like to walk in her shoes. Eighth Grade received a staggering 98% on Rotten Tomatoes with multiple outlets awarding it a perfect score. But does the movie live up to the hype? Join Jon and Tim as they discuss their eighth grade experiences, the Orson Wells opening that will give you chills, why Bo Burnham i…
Aug 2, 2018
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Could there be a movie more needed in 2018 than Won't You Be My Neighbor? As fear and tribalism reach fever pitch, we desperately need a mirror held up to our humanity. Fred Rogers was that mirror, not by pointing a finger, but by living a life of selfless love that still resonates today. The beauty of Morgan Neville's Neighbor is that he takes a man we thought we knew and reveals so much more. Many remember watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood on childhood sofas after school, but how many were acquainted with Mr. Rogers himself? Neighbor shows us the life behind the scenes, and the journey is sublime. Fred Rogers embodied the best of what humanity can be. Even the hardest heart will walk away changed. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss why Vince Gilligan is a genius, the hidden art of documentary filmmaking, sex-ed videos, Morgan Neville's filmography, Tim's apology to Padooka, KY, how kids shows have changed, the danger of false masculinity, the oppressiveness of advertising, the puppet p…
1 hr 8 min
Jun 29, 2018
Paul Schrader is better known for his writing than directing. Though he's directed over 20 films, it's his screenwriting collaborations with Martin Scorsese that have stood the test of time. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Bringing Out the Dead highlight Schrader's proclivities as a writer. All three feature a tortured protagonist walking against the current of life toward a fateful end. In First Reformed, Schrader brings his trademark themes behind the lens for an addition to his directing resume that won't soon be forgotten. Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller, the overseer of one of the oldest churches in a fictional New York town. Toller lives a life of contemplation and solitude, desperately seeking to rekindle his faith. His congregants are few — a far cry from the parent church, Abundant Life, which hangs like a shadow over the simplicity of First Reformed. When Toller begins to counsel a troubled couple, he's forced to confront his beliefs head on and embark on a path of no…
1 hr 15 min
May 24, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
In 2008, Marvel Studios took the gamble of the century. They released Iron Man, featuring a virtually unknown character outside the comic book world and starring an actor with a checkered past and little box office success in Robert Downey Jr. Raising the stakes even further, prior to the release of Iron Man, Marvel committed themselves to a handful of additional movies and an eventual team-up event starring more lesser known characters like Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk. The result could have been disastrous. But Iron Man proved to be a hit with critics and audiences alike, paving the way for a long and prosperous future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Infinity War is the capstone of Marvel's cinematic achievements. Nearly every character from the 18 films released since Iron Man make an appearance to stop the MCU's most powerful villain to date, Thanos. And once again, the movie strikes gold. Infinity War has already grossed $1.8 billion worldwide, and has garn…
1 hr 7 min
Apr 25, 2018
Ready Player One
We know what you're thinking. Another Spielberg movie? Really? Yes, two podcasts after The Post we're back for another discussion on the legendary filmmaker. But his latest entry couldn't be more different. Ready Player One, based on the novel by the same name, takes place in the year 2045. The world has devolved into a cramped, dirty mess and everyone is looking for an escape. And that's exactly what they find in a virtual reality world called the OASIS. Every day, the people of the future put on their headsets and travel to a place where they can be who they want, go where they want, and do what they want. But there's a catch. If they die in the OASIS, all the power-ups and money they've acquired die too. There's also a secret Easter egg embedded in the virtual world which bestows its finder with wealth and total control over the OASIS itself. The film follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and his band of underdogs as they attempt to find the Easter egg before it lands in the wrong han…
1 hr 5 min
Mar 31, 2018
Our podcast this month was originally on A Wrinkle in Time. Then we saw the movie… Tune in to the beginning for Jon’s epic rant, and then stay for a discussion of a movie that’s actually worth talking about: Annhilation. Alex Garland is a prolific writer, ranging from novels (The Beach) to screenplays (28 Days Later), but in 2014 he began a new trajectory as both writer and director for Ex Machina. The movie is a scary meditation on artificial intelligence starring Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander. Now Garland is back for his second writing/directing outing using many of the same elements of Ex Machina, but on an even grander scale. Once again, Garland dives deep into a wide assortment of existential themes while still managing to tell an entertaining story. When an extraterrestrial shimmer begins to spread on earth altering everything it touches, Lena (Natalie Portman) volunteers to join a team of specialists to enter the shimmer and preserve the human race. An…
Feb 1, 2018
Is there any director with a more impressive filmography than Steven Spielberg? He defined our childhood, explored every genre, invented the blockbuster, and delivered masterpieces worthy of any top ten list. His work is legendary, and he's not done yet. The Post is Spielberg's 31st time behind the director's chair. And this time, he's got politics on the brain. In 1971, a government employee leaked a classified study on the Vietnam War called "The Pentagon Papers" to the New York Times. After the Times posted an excerpt, the Nixon administration took them to court and barred them from releasing any more documents. Enter the Washington Post. When the Post tracks down an additional copy of the Pentagon Papers, the head of the newspaper — Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) — is faced with an impossible decision: release the papers and face untold consequences or play it safe and protect her father's business? The story couldn't be more timely. Reporters today are faced with a similar predicam…
1 hr 5 min
Dec 29, 2017
The Shape of Water
You'd be forgiven for writing off Guillermo del Toro as just another genre director. Entries like Hellboy, Blade Runner II, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak fit neatly in that vein. But if you really want to uncover del Toro's heart, look no further than 2006's Pan's Labyrinth. The film has been described as an "adult fairy tale" — a child-like fantasy set in a grown-up world. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three. The Shape of Water is another fairy tale for adults that seems destined to make a splash at the Oscars. The movie, set in 1962, follows a cleaning woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) stationed at a top-secret government facility who develops an unconventional romance with the prize capture of the compound: a sea creature with extraordinary abilities. Water has some narrative hiccups, but it's unlike anything else released this year. Del Toro's attention to detail — combined with the highest levels of acting, cinematography, visual effects, and score — casts…
1 hr 3 min
Nov 30, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Oscar season. After a dismal year at the movies, studios have saved their best for last. December boasts the most hopefuls, but November has a trick up its sleeve: a little indie called Lady Bird. Greta Gerwig isn't a household name, but you've seen her before. She's acted in roles both big and small for a decade (most recently as Jackie Kennedy's assistant in Jackie). But for Lady Bird, Gerwig steps behind the lens for the first time. The result is perfection. Saoirse Ronan plays Lady Bird, a 17-year-old Senior at a Catholic school desperate to escape her ordinary life and see the world. Laurie Metcalf is her working class mother, Marion, desperate to get her daughter's head out of the clouds and into reality. Gerwig's characters are fascinating, her script is razor-sharp, and the themes she explores ring true. This feels like the work of a veteran, not a first-time filmmaker. The film is 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a shoo-in Oscar threat. There are st…
1 hr 5 min
Oct 19, 2017
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner is a classic. That's undisputed. The 1982 film, directed by Ridley Scott, is a breathtaking blend of noir and science-fiction that offers us a glimpse of the future we desire and dread. Harrison Ford shines as Rick Deckard, a "Blade Runner" tasked with hunting down and killing a group of rogue replicants. Replicants are bio-engineered androids designed to function as slaves, but with enough free will to rebel. Blade Runner opened to an underwhelming response upon release, but has since earned its place as a film for the ages. Now, 35 years later, Deckard is back. Ridley Scott is in the producer's chair this time with directing duties passed to Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival). Villeneuve is a rabid fan of the original and manages to re-create the atmosphere that made the original so compelling. Ryan Gosling plays K, a replicant Blade Runner dedicated to tracking down the rebellious among his own kind and ending their life. But he soon finds himself on a journey that wil…
Sep 28, 2017
Stephen King doesn't typically make the "must read" list for Christians. On the surface, his tales appear dark and deranged, but a deeper look reveals a different story. Regardless of whether King is a practicing Christian (he declared himself one on his website, but has since pushed back on the label), his work speaks for itself. King writes with a clear biblical center — a world where the weak overcome the strong, hope conquers fear, and love is more powerful than evil. King's movie adaptations have been decidedly hit or miss. The Dark Tower bombed at the box office in August and was universally panned by critics. But what a difference a month can make. It is a box office juggernaut, bringing in $270 million domestically and $478 million worldwide — officially making it the highest R-rated film of all time. As if that wasn't enough, It is also one of the best films of the year. Director Andy Muschietti takes time establishing his characters and place to make us emotionally inve…
1 hr 9 min
Aug 25, 2017
2010 was the year of Kathryn Bigelow. She became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director and her breakout indie The Hurt Locker scored a surprise win for Best Picture. The film, about a bomb defusing team in Iraq, is a master-class in tension and a gripping character study to boot. Bigelow had proven her talent and the future was suddenly limitless. But even Academy Award-winning directors are capable of colossal misfires. Case in point: Detroit. The title promises a sweeping portrait of a city. Instead, the film documents an isolated incident at the Algier's Motel involving a racist police officer (Will Poulter) inflicting sadistic mind-games on a group of mostly black victims in an attempt to maintain law and order in the face of the 1967 riots. This is a movie about the black experience written and directed by white people. The lack of color shows up from beginning to end. Film critic Angelica Bastien sums up Detroit best when she states that the movie is a "hollow spectac…
Jul 28, 2017
As Hollywood obsesses over superhero movies, power has shifted from directors to producers. Just ask Edgar Wright and Patty Jenkins — two veteran directors who dropped blockbuster projects after learning Marvel Studios was in charge, not them. But there is one director who continues to buck the trend and maintain his legacy as a true auteur: Christopher Nolan. Nolan's claim to fame was the 2000 indie Memento which wowed critics and audiences alike with its unique story-telling style. From that point forward, Nolan earned the right to do whatever he wanted — a right he's never lost. Nolan's latest film is Dunkirk based on the true World War II account of the British army trapped on a beach in France with no way out. Nolan once again employs a unique approach to the story, covering the event from land, air, and sea. Dunkirk is more than a movie; it's a full-on cinematic experience. Nolan shoots in 70mm film stock with IMAX cameras to deliver a journey that can't be replicated at ho…
Jul 20, 2017
We first crossed paths with Edgar Wright in the 2004 sleeper hit Shaun of the Dead. The film put Wright on the map, along with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Two sequels rounded out the "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy, Hot Fuzz and The World's End, continuing Wright's style of paying homage to genre films with a unique blend of satire and comedy. Wright broke new ground with 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but the movie under-performed at the box office. Now Wright is back with a fresh original, Baby Driver, and this time he has a summer hit on his hands. Baby Driver could be described as one, long car chase — roaring out of the gate and never losing speed. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver for bank robbers. Baby isn't a career criminal like the people he transports. He's in the game to pay off a debt to Kevin Spacey's Doc, a man who plans robberies without getting his hands dirty. When Baby pays off his debt, he wants out. But Doc has other plans. Soon Baby finds himsel…
May 25, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
No one makes superhero movies like Marvel Studios. They've earned their big-screen domination with quality films, and Guardians of the Galaxy is at the top of the list. Released in 2014 after three Iron Mans, two Thors, two Captain Americas, and an Avengers team-up, Guardians was the breath of fresh air Marvel needed. The movie eschewed the seriousness of the genre and delivered an experience that was fresh and fun. Now, the long-awaited sequel has arrived. Kicking off the summer movie season, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is back with all the elements of the first outing: an irreverent tone, a killer soundtrack, and of course our friends Peter, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, and Groot ready to save the galaxy again. But does the sequel hold a candle to the original? Our podcast duo is split down the middle. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss the origin of the blockbuster, how Wild Wild West gave summer a bad name, Tim's disdain for comic book movies, the law of diminishing returns, our need for…
1 hr 1 min
Apr 20, 2017
Song to Song
Chances are high that you haven't seen Terrence Malick's new film Song to Song. Few people have. It's only grossed $421,856 since opening in limited release a month ago. The critical reception has been equally poor. Things weren't always this way for Malick. Six years ago, he released The Tree of Life to universal acclaim and a domestic gross of $54 million. What happened between now and then? That's the subject of this month's podcast. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss the ups and downs of Malick's career, Adrian Brody's 19 year grudge, Tim's man-crush on Emmanuel Lubezki, falling asleep at movies, Jon's obsession with The Tree of Life, the importance of the elevator pitch, and the one thing that makes a story great.
Mar 10, 2017
Jordan Peele is best known for his comedy work on Mad TV and Key and Peele, but for his feature film debut he chose a decidedly different path. Get Out is not only a horror film, it's a horror film about racism. The opening scene sets the tone: a black man walks nervously along the side of the road, his eyes darting wildly at his surroundings. Where is he? The suburbs. The scene is reminiscent of Trayvon Martin, and it's one of many allusions to recent events in the film. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, a black man dating a white woman named Rose (Allison Williams). When Rose takes Chris home to meet her parents for the first time, she doesn't tell them his race. After all, it shouldn't matter and her parents are nice. True enough, Rose's parents take to Chris from the start, but something strange is going on in their home. Not everyone living there seems normal, and the friends of the family are weirder still. The tension reaches a boiling point and we soon discover that nothing is what i…
Feb 14, 2017
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
No one writes movies like Charlie Kaufman. Who else would make his feature screenwriting debut about a portal inside the brain of John Malkovich as he did in Being John Malkovich? Who else would turn his angst of trying to adapt a book into a meta-story of himself trying to adapt a book as he did in his follow-up, Adaptation? For his third feature screenplay, Kaufman took yet another unusual detour into the world of romance. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a brilliant deconstruction of love that for the first time connected Kaufman's head to his heart. Jim Carrey plays Joel, a man fresh off a break-up with his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet). When Joel learns that Clementine has had a procedure to have all the memories of him erased from her mind, Joel retaliates by doing the same. The film takes place primarily inside Joel's head as his moments with Clementine are erased one by one. As Joel's love for Clementine is rekindled, he fights to hold onto his memories before th…
Jan 20, 2017
Cameron Crowe hasn't made a good film in over a decade, but his early work still leaves a mark. Almost Famous will always be his best movie, because it's the one closest to his heart. In the film, William Miller (Patrick Fugit) lands a job writing for Rolling Stone at age 15. He follows the band Stillwater on the road and comes of age before our eyes. The movie is Crowe's unofficial autobiography. He, too, wrote for Rolling Stone at age 15 and toured the country with a band before he knew how to drive. The film drips with authenticity. Every shot is a lived-in experience. The result is a modern-day classic with unforgettable performances from Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Almost Famous is a love letter to music, and one of the best films of all time. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss favorite movies, credit sequences, Crowe's career, supporting roles, the music of the 70's, and the importance of being uncool.
Dec 31, 2016
La La Land
At the end of 2016, we need a movie like La La Land. Musicals offer an alternate universe where people don't sit around mad at each other, they get out on the freeway and sing together.The film is a throwback to the classic era of old-school Hollywood, while still managing to be relevant and fresh. Damien Chazelle, who burst on the scene with 2014's Whiplash, is back with another masterpiece. Chazelle writes and directs with his trademark precision, bringing together lighting, cinematography, costumes, acting, writing, and music to remind us why we go to the movies in the first place. Join Jon and Tim as they talk about the connection between Birdman and Whiplash, Jon's man-crush on Ryan Gosling, why Tim hates musicals, how jazz is a metaphor for relationships, Emma Stone's Oscar chances, and the cost of pursuing your dreams.
1 hr 2 min
Dec 15, 2016
Manchester by the Sea
We've been looking forward to Manchester by the Sea since January when it took Sundance by storm. Now, 11 months later, the film is everywhere and it was worth the wait. Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, best known for 2000's You Can Count on Me, has a crafted a masterful meditation on grief and regret. Casey Affleck plays Lee, a man locked in the prison of the past who's forced to face the harsh realities of the present when his brother dies and appoints him as the guardian of his son. The film is nominated for five Golden Globes including Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, and Best Picture. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss why Casey Affleck is a great actor, what state Manchester is in, the importance of a movie's first scene, the return of the emotional drama, why Spotlight is overrated, Lonergan's unique directing style, the correct way to use flashbacks, and the messiness of grief.
Oct 14, 2016
Birth of a Nation
Few films arrive with as much controversy as Birth of a Nation. A promising run on the festival circuit (complete with a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival) gave way to scandal when disturbing details emerged about writer/director/star Nate Parker's past. The movie is here now, but is it any good? Birth of a Nation tells the true story of Nat Turner, a slave who learns to read at a young age and grows up into a preacher. Nat is paraded around to various plantations in an attempt to preach submission to his fellow slaves. But the more Nat is exposed to injustice, the harder it is to reconcile what he sees with Scripture. Eventually, Nat leads a violent uprising against white owners across the south. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss the Nate Parker controversy, slavery, Nat Turner's legacy, Black Lives Matter, Martin Luther King Jr., and whether violence is ever justified.
Sep 30, 2016
The prodigal son returns! Tim is back on the show to talk about the big release of September — Oliver Stone's Snowden. Snowden tells the true story of Edward Snowden, a brilliant mind who rises through the ranks of the CIA only to turn his back on the agency after discovering the government practice of spying on its citizens. Stone is best known for controversial films of the past like Platoon, JFK, Natural Born Killers, and Born on the Fourth of July. But there's been little controversy in recent years with his preference for plainer storytelling. Is Snowden a throwback to his edgier past or another example of his toned-down present? Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Stone's filmography, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 1984, the Government, Nicolas Cage, freedom, and whether Snowden is an American hero.
Sep 2, 2016
Hell or High Water
Tim is on vacation this month which paved the way for a special guest on our show: Jason Thompson. Jason joins Jon to discuss the new film Hell or High Water starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. The movie, directed by David Mackenzie, tells the story of two brothers on a bank robbing spree and the Texas Ranger who hunts them down. Listen in as we discuss Texas, Nick Cave, the story of Jonah, ethical dilemmas, Chris Pine, grace, and sin. Hell or High Water is playing in a theater near you!
Aug 4, 2016
Do The Right Thing
July was a difficult month for America. The shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile raised national debates about racism, police violence, and Black Lives Matter. The retaliatory shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge ushered in new layers of fear and chaos. Our nation bled from open wounds, and we are still healing. If there is a work of art that can speak to the times we're in, it's Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee's masterpiece was released 27 years ago, but it could have come out yesterday. The themes are as relevant as ever, and the movie hasn't aged a day. Do the Right Thing is the quintessential urban film, depicting city life in all of its beauty and tension. As we see the victims of police violence flash across the screen in the credits, we realize nothing has changed. But the picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X reminds us to keep fighting for a better tomorrow. Listen to this month's podcast as Jon and Tim discuss the classic film, Spike Le…
Jun 23, 2016
Last Days in the Desert
On June 20th, Cinema Faith had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive showing of Last Days in the Desert. The film stars Ewan McGregor as both Jesus and Satan and features cinematography by three-time Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki. Christian movies have a checkered past, but writer/director Rodrigo García breathes new life into the genre. This is a film about Jesus' human side as he wrestles with who he is and what he's been sent to do. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Christian movies, Gnosticism, the Incarnation, Lubezki, father wounds, and the humanity of Jesus.
May 27, 2016
The Nice Guys
Shane Black is the king of buddy action movies. He sold the screenplay to Lethal Weapon at age 22. In 1996, Black scored a then-record-breaking payday of $4 million for The Long Kiss Goodnight. The sale made him enemies, and he disappeared from Hollywood for nine years. Then in 2005, Black returned not just as a writer, but a director as well with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Now Black is back with The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The film channels the noir detective genre, with Black's classic blend of dark comedy and unlikely pairings. Crowe and Gosling are anything but nice guys, but through the heroism of a young girl, they may become them yet. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss Black's career, superheroes, film noir, feminism, loving your enemies, and the return of summer movies for adults.
Apr 29, 2016
Everybody Wants Some!!
Two years after Boyhood, Richard Linklater is back with Everybody Wants Some!! – a "spiritual sequel" to the 1993 classic Dazed and Confused. Linklater has always defied traditional approaches to storytelling. Instead of a plot and three acts, Linklater films are driven by music, characters, and authenticity. Tune in to this month's podcast as we discuss the works of Linklater, the rules of story, the value of community, and the constructs we create in our search for meaning.
Mar 11, 2016
This month's podcast is all about the Coen Brothers. Hail, Caesar! is the latest offering from the eccentric duo. Join Jon and Tim as they discuss their favorite Coen Bros. movies, the sacredness of film, and the magic of Hollywood past.
Feb 2, 2016
Another February 2nd, another chance to discuss the classic film. Join us as we ponder the question: Are we all stuck in Groundhog Day?
Jan 13, 2016
The Hateful Eight
There are few filmmakers as polarizing as Quentin Tarantino. Some celebrate him. Others revile him. Now Tarantino is back with his latest film The Hateful Eight – a fitting title considering this is the eighth film of his career. Listen to this month's podcast as we ask: Is there truth in the works of Quentin Tarantino?
Dec 18, 2015
With Oscar season is in full swing, it's time to look back at 2014's best picture winner: Birdman. Join us as we discuss why Birdman is a perfect film, the value of critics, and the plight of the artist.