Tag Archives: Movies

Harriet Tubman, in movie and real life, guided by faith in fight for freedom

1 Nov

(RNS) — “God don’t mean people to own people.”

That simple statement, uttered by Cynthia Erivo in the title role of “Harriet,” a new movie about Harriet Tubman, reveals a truth long known by scholars of the woman dubbed “Moses.”

Tubman’s lived religion has been well recorded and used to explain how in 1849 a Maryland 20-something slave (her exact birthdate is not known) set out for the North to freedom, then over the next 10 years helped dozens of others gain liberty from enslavement. She embraced faith instead of fear, said Kate Clifford Larson, a historical consultant for the movie.

“It gave her confidence to do the things that she did,” said Larson.

So begins Adelle M. Banks’ report on Harriet Tubman and her faith, in life and in the new film. You may read the entire Religion News Service story here.

How Peter Jackson Made WWI Footage Seem Astonishingly New

17 Dec

As the director of elaborate fantasy epics like the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies, Peter Jackson has become known for meticulous attention to detail. Now he has put the same amount of care into making a documentary.

With “They Shall Not Grow Old,” Jackson has applied new technology to century-old World War I footage to create a vivid, you-are-there feeling that puts real faces front and center and allows us to hear their stories in their own words.

So begins Mekado Murphy’s New York Times post on a new documentary on World War I. You need to watch some of the sample links in the post here!


24 Apr

Avengers Infinity War

Like Iphigenia, Job is the plaything of forces beyond his comprehension. In the universe of myth, the existence of super-beings means that humans have less power, not more. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” That’s the subtext—or, in Job’s case, the actual text—of the old stories about gods.

Superhero stories completely reverse this idea. It’s not an accident that the first superhero lifted his name from Nietzsche’s Superman. The whole premise of the superhero is that the Gods are dead and irrelevant, and that humans can, and should, expand to fill the space left in the cosmos by that divine absence.

The typical superhero film is about some flawed guy (it’s usually a guy) who lacks self-confidence. But then he gains superpowers, finds his inner strength and humanity, and self-actualizes by saving the innocent and bringing evildoers to justice. Instead of Icarus flying too high and then plummeting to Earth, the superhero flaps those wings and whooshes up to bash that evil sun right in the snoot.

So argues Noah Berlatsky at Pacific Standard. You may read his entire argument here.

Jediism–a religion?

16 Mar

Actor Gwendoline Christie at the world premiere of Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi at The Shrine Auditorium on December 9th, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.

Most Jedi beliefs are multi-cultural appropriations of older religious traditions. Leading a workshop on “Force Theory” at the Gathering, one Jedi called it equivalent of the Buddhist “Qi.” Another Jedi has translated the Tao Te Ching from Chinese into the language of Sci-Fi. The “Jedi Creed” is an adaptation of the Prayer of St. Francis Assisi where “Jedi” is substituted for every reference to the “divine master.” Other sect-specific beliefs, like those of the Temple of the Jedi Order, are tailored to their contemporary sociological climate: opposition to the death penalty and torture, and support for gay marriage and separation of church and state.

Read the rest of Ben Rowen’s report at Pacific Standard here.

A.A. Milne, Pooh, and Christopher Robin

14 Nov

Christopher Robin Milne

With the new movie “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” Patrick Sauer recounts a bit of the backstory on A.A. Milne, his son, and the famous Pooh books here at the Smithsonian: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/winnie-pooh-became-household-bear-180967090

Ken Burns, America’s best-known documentarian, explained

28 Sep

His aim is not to make us rethink American history, but, rather, to reexperience it.

So says Todd VanDerWerff in his post at Vox. Read his astute essay on Burns here: Ken Burns, America’s best-known documentarian, explained – Vox

There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever

18 Sep

A new movie sets its doomed entrepreneurs amidst 17th-century “tulipmania”—but historians of the phenomenon have their own bubble to burst. Read Lorraine Boissoneault’s report at the Smithsonian on historian Anne Goldgar’s work on tulipmania here: There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever | History | Smithsonian

Why do white writers keep making films about Indian Country?

16 Sep

Try as they might, two new films–Neither Wolf nor Dog and Wind River–can’t escape old tropes. So argues Jason Asenap in a review at High Country News here: Why do white writers keep making films about Indian Country? — High Country News

Thinking Historically and Theologically about Wonder Woman

28 Jun

Historian and self-identified Christian Beth Allison Barr provides some wonderful history and reflections on Wonder Woman here at The Anxious Bench: Wonder Woman and Complementarianism

Before Jackie Put the White House on TV, Mrs. Hoover Made Home Movies

28 Mar

Stephen Leggett of the Library Congress has a fascinating post, with film clips, of Mrs. Hoover’s color movies from the Hoover White House era: Before Jackie Put the White House on TV, Mrs. Hoover Made Home Movies | Library of Congress Blog

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