Category : Movies & Television

(BBC) Sean Connery: James Bond actor dies aged 90

The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.

Sir Sean died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas, having been “unwell for some time”, his son said.

His acting career spanned five decades and he won an Oscar in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Movies & Television

(Tablet Magazine) American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology–Stop Being Shocked

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as the writer Audre Lorde put it. And the master’s house must be dismantled—because the house is rotted at its foundation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Media, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Politics in General, Secularism

(NPR) Regal Movie Chain Will Close All 536 U.S. Theaters On Thursday

Movie studios have delayed dozens of big releases over the past six months as cinemas sat empty or showed films only to limited audiences.

The postponed titles include likely blockbusters such the superhero movies Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow along with A Quiet Place Part II and Candyman. In addition, Disney shifted several high-profile releases to online-only, including Mulan.

“The prolonged closures have had a detrimental impact on the release slate for the rest of the year, and, in turn, our ability to supply our customers with the lineup of blockbusters they’ve come to expect from us,” Greidinger said. “As such, it is simply impossible to continue operations in our primary markets.”

While the company calls the closures temporary, it did not name a date for a possible resumption of business, saying it will “continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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Posted in Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Movies & Television

(NYT) Diana Rigg, Emma Peel of ‘The Avengers,’ Dies at 82

Diana Rigg, the British actress who enthralled London and New York theater audiences with her performances in classic roles for more than a half-century but remained best known as the quintessential new woman of the 1960s — sexy, confident, witty and karate-adept — on the television series “The Avengers,” died on Thursday at her home in London. She was 82.

Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, said in a statement that the cause was cancer.

Ms. Rigg had late-career success in a recurring role, from 2013 to 2016, as the outspoken and demanding Lady Olenna Tyrell on HBO’s acclaimed series “Game of Thrones.” “I wonder if you’re the worst person I ever met,” Lady Olenna once said to her nemesis Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). “At a certain age, it’s hard to recall.”

But Ms. Rigg’s first and biggest taste of stardom came in 1965, when, as a 26-year-old veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company, she was cast on the fourth season of ITV’s “The Avengers.” As Emma Peel, she was the stylish new crime-fighting partner of the dapper intelligence agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee), replacing Honor Blackman, who had left to star in the James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television

(Local Paper) Charleston’s Bill Murray talks and helps us to laugh amidst the Covid19 pandemic

Scrub-a-dub-dub, it’s Bill Murray in a bathtub.

The Charleston resident and movie star video-chatted with Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday night from his home — more specifically, from his bathtub.

“If there’s anyone that can shake us out of this pandemic doldrum, it’s my guest tonight,” Kimmel begins the video. “He’s joining us tonight from Murray Manor. Please welcome Bill Murray.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Humor / Trivia, Movies & Television

(New Republic) Alex Shephard–The Pandemic Movie of Our Time Isn’t Contagion. It’s Jaws.

There is nothing fast-paced about the coronavirus. For months, dread has slowly accumulated in my midsection. Every day brings a succession of new anxieties about the virus and the economy; about my family and friends; about my hands and the many, many things they touch, particularly my face. Above all, there is the sense that everything that is bad today will be worse tomorrow. And the movie that best reflects that reality is not Contagion but Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.

It is notable that the shark is barely in the movie, appearing for all of four minutes. This was not by design. Initially, Spielberg had three mechanical sharks made, but they looked hokey and frequently broke down. He was forced to embrace his inner Hitchcock, rarely showing the movie’s titular villain. As a result, the shark was more of an invisible threat, which turned out to be even scarier. “The visual ellipsis,” Molly Haskell wrote in her critical biography of Spielberg, “created far greater menace and terror, as the shark is nowhere and everywhere.” Sound familiar? If Jaws had been made only a few years later, we would have almost certainly been burdened with a CGI shark. Forty years after its release, the movie’s great white works as a metaphor as well as it does as a shark.

One of the strangest things about the coronavirus panic is how normal everything seems. Even with few people going out, my neighborhood looks the way it does on a Sunday morning. The difference is that I’m bombarded by a constant stream of push alerts and texts. That is a key part of what makes Jaws work. Even when everything appears fine, you know that terror is lurking just beneath the surface.

Our world is also divided between the types that Jaws establishes. There is Roy Scheider’s Sheriff Brody: apprehensive, well-meaning, but out of his depth. Then there is Richard Dreyfuss’s chatty Spielberg stand-in, Dr. Hooper: jittery, neurotic, a sudden expert on whatever topic is in front of him. The scene in which Brody, a transplanted New York cop who is afraid of boats and open water, comes home to spend the evening reading about sharks, feels particularly relevant. Set in 2020, he would be scrolling Twitter for updates—or, for that matter, watching Contagion.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, History, Movies & Television

(Sightings) Russell Johnson–Film Resurrections and the Denial of Death

The interesting question isn’t why so many filmmakers rely on the resurrection trope, but what effect this has on viewers and what this trope says about American culture in the twenty-first century.

In the 1973 book The Denial of Death, anthropologist Ernest Becker argues that human beings across cultures find ways of rejecting the idea that death has the last word. Societies construct myths, develop cultural practices, and invest in collective pursuits to overcome the anxiety about the inevitability of death. Ancient Greek codes of honor, Chinese practices of ancestor-veneration, and the construction of pyramids and ziggurats in the ancient Near East and Mesoamerica are all, according to Becker, instances of the same human psychological impulse to use collective meaning-making to deny the meaninglessness of death.

On Becker’s theory, religious conceptions of reincarnation or the afterlife are not exceptions to a general acceptance of death. Rather, these religious beliefs are particularly clear, codified expressions of the near-universal human phenomenon of rejecting and repressing the finality of death. In the absence of religious convictions, human beings undertake “immortality projects” and construct socially shared “illusions” to meet their psychological needs. Ever since the decline of religion as the unifying structure of meaning in Western societies—Nietzsche’s famous “death of God”—film and other art forms have increasingly facilitated these shared illusions.

We don’t need to agree with Becker’s more sweeping claims to recognize that he’s right about the pervasiveness of the human tendency to deny the finality of death, whether consciously or not. Seen through this lens, the resurrection trope in popular film and television serves a social purpose. Even if many viewers of these films don’t actually believe that people come back to life, repeated exposure to resurrections and pseudo-resurrections functions as a sort of secular ritual of denying death.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Charlotte Allen–God Goes Missing in ‘Little Women’: The Oscar contender is distinctive, but leaves out a critical part of the story

This weekend director Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It is the seventh feature film to be made from Alcott’s book and perhaps the most distinctive. Unfortunately, the latest film leaves out an important theme from the original text: faith.

The previous six movies hewed more or less to Alcott’s strictly chronological narrative structure, which follows the four March sisters—Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy—from their teen years to their late 20s. Ms. Gerwig’s film instead offers a deconstructed version. The events in Alcott’s book are presented as flashbacks in a deliberately scrambled order that reflects not chronology but the thematic aims of Ms. Gerwig, who also wrote the screenplay.

By violating Alcott’s narrative structure Ms. Gerwig also undermines the writer’s framing of the story as a tale of moral growth in a world at odds with living a Christian life. In particular, Alcott tied her story through explicit references to “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan’s entertaining and hugely successful 17th-century allegory of the journey of a man named Christian—and later, his wife and sons—through the travails of this world to the Celestial City. Bearing the burdens of their sins, they encounter such colorful characters as Mr. Worldly Wiseman and Giant Despair, and pass through such traps for the soul as Vanity Fair, the Slough of Despond, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Well into the 20th century “Pilgrim’s Progress” was, after the Bible, the most-read book in many Anglophone Protestant households.

In Alcott’s “Little Women” each of the March girls has besetting sins that she must overcome through constant striving.

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Posted in Books, History, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

A Telegraph article on the first of a two-part documentary on BBC Two of the Peter Ball case

The disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball repeatedly mentioned his friendship with Prince Charles so he would seem “impregnable”, one of his victims has said.

In 2015 Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester was convicted of sexual offences against 17 teenagers and young men – one of whom took his own life. He was released from prison in February 2017 after serving half of his 32-month sentence. He died aged 87 in June 2019.

Speaking in a new documentary, part two of which airs tonight on BBC Two, one of Ball’s victims, Cliff James, who has waived his right to anonymity, spoke of how Ball would boast about his relationship with the heir to the throne.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Post-Gazette) Buck Henry, ‘Graduate’ screenwriter who co-created ‘Get Smart,’ RIP

“The Graduate,” based on Charles Webb’s 1963 novella, remained their most enduring project. The film made a star of Dustin Hoffman, who played Benjamin Braddock, a college graduate who has an affair with his parents’ friend Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Mixing wry comedy, sexual drama and a soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, the film captured the alienation and rebelliousness of the era and was later ranked No. 7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American movies.

Much to his frustration, Henry shared his Oscar nomination for “The Graduate” with Calder Willingham, who had worked on previous attempts to adapt the novel and sued to receive partial credit for the screenplay.

The book provided much of the film’s dialogue — including the oft-quoted line “Mrs. Robinson, you are trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” — but it was Henry who devised the “plastics” exchange, in which a business associate of Benjamin’s parents offers career advice to the lost young man.

“I just want to say one word to you, just one word,” the businessman declares. “Plastics. … There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”

The suggestion neatly encapsulated what some viewers saw as the artificiality and materialism of older generations.

“I was trying to find a word that summed up a kind of stultifying, silly, conversation-closing effort of one generation to talk to another. Plastics was the obvious one,” Henry told the Orlando Sentinel in 1992. “I was embarrassed some years later. I got to know some people in the plastics business, and they were really nice.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television

(CC) Philip Jenkins–A look at faith in film over the last decade

Matters are different in Eastern Euro­pean countries where Christianity, and especially Catholicism, remain deep­ly rooted in social institutions. In these settings, art still has the capacity to shock and divide. In 2018, the Polish film Clergy (Kler) generated something like a cultural crisis in that country. In a land where religion is deeply intertwined with national identity, the film showed multiple forms of clerical misconduct and concealment, with priestly crimes ranging from child sexual abuse to misconduct with adult women, to embezzlement and alliances with organized crime. The resulting controversy sparked calls for the film to be banned, but it also encouraged many complaints of actual abuse to be reported and publicized.

It appears that apart from monastic settings, churches are generally seen as threatening and deeply suspect places. Even with all the nightmarish images, however, filmmakers keep returning almost despite themselves to core elements of the Judeo-Christian story. I would highlight two examples, each quirky and far removed from traditional Holly­wood Bible epics. The bizarre French-Belgian comedy The Son of Joseph (2016) shows a son searching for his father in a narrative explicitly following a biblical structure, drawing both on the story of Abraham and Isaac and the Nativity. In its weird way, we might call it a parable. Also set in the present day is The Blind Christ (2017), a visually gorgeous Chilean film focused on another kind of quest. After receiving a revelation, a young man—Christ or a prophet?—has to cross a desert to undertake a healing miracle, and his journey involves encounters with many ordinary people, and the stories they tell.

As we enter the second century of Christian cinema, after an especially vibrant decade of cinema, we can say that filmmakers, while anything but uncritical of the faith, still find it a rich vein to mine.

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Posted in Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(NYT) ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament to Settle Question: Who is the Greatest of All Time?

In a television event unlike anything “Jeopardy!” has staged before, three of the game show’s record-breaking players — James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter — will compete against each other for the sweeping title of “greatest of all time.”

The show’s announcement on Monday came shortly after Holzhauer, the most recent player to become a household name, won the Tournament of Champions after facing Emma Boettcher, the contestant who ended his 32-game streak earlier this year. Holzhauer’s dominant strategy and high-value bets made him into a national celebrity and set the stage for a matchup of this magnitude. “Jeopardy!” is milking the combined stardom for all it’s worth.

All three players hold records on the game show’s hall of fame. Jennings captivated “Jeopardy!” fans with a 74-game winning streak in 2004 during which he made $2.52 million, which remains the highest total winnings during regular-season play.

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Posted in * General Interest, America/U.S.A., Movies & Television

An ABC Nightline Profile Piece on Dolly Parton

Sadness is a major theme in Parton’s music. On WNYC host Jad Abumrad’s podcast, “Dolly Parton’s America,” she revealed that she went through a rough time in her 30s when she dealt with weight gain and “some family things.” Parton said she even contemplated writing a last letter during her struggle with depression.

“I don’t think people can live in this world without going through times like that,” Parton said. “People always look at me, they always say, ‘Oh, you just always seem to be so happy.’ I said, ‘that’s the Botox.’ No, but seriously, I’m a very sensitive person. I feel everything to the core.”

It was during that time in the 1980s, she told Roberts, that she’d had “a complete breakdown.”

“I could totally relate to how people do get on drugs or alcohol, how people do commit suicide, because when you’re a tender, loving, caring, sensitive person, you feel like you can only stand so much heartache and sorrow,” Parton added.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Movies & Television

A Terrific NYT Profile Article on Tom Hanks–this Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad

I was worn down over the next few weeks as I spent hours on the phone with people who knew him well. The things they said about him were both remarkable and unremarkable: Heller called him “a human” who “treats everyone like people.” Meg Ryan, who starred with him in “Sleepless in Seattle” and other movies said he has an “astronomical” curiosity. Peter Scolari, who co-starred with him on the sitcom “Bosom Buddies” and then “Lucky Guy” on Broadway, called him “this very special man who is touched by God.” Sally Field told me that Tom Hanks is so good that it actually makes her feel bad. She calls him “Once in a lifetime Tom.”

Hearing that made me think of something Tom Junod said to me in Toronto, how he went into the Mister Rogers story looking for who Fred was but came out knowing only what he did. He stared at all his reporting for a long time before he realized that the doing is actually the thing we should be paying attention to. “I don’t know if Fred was the mask or the mask was Fred,” he said. “But in the end does it even matter?”

I’m not sure where we got the concept of an Everyman, but Tom Hanks isn’t really it. I don’t know people with hundreds of typewriters. He is the Platonic ideal of a man, a projection of what we wish we were, or, more worrisome, a theory of what we actually are, and, well: Have you read the other pages of this newspaper?

I am too old for Mister Rogers. My children are too old for Mister Rogers, too. So instead I showed them “Splash,” then “Forrest Gump,” then “Big,” then “A League of Their Own.” I showed them “That Thing You Do!” and parts of “Cast Away.” I told them about the man who heard I wasn’t feeling well and adjusted his schedule for me. I told them that it doesn’t matter why you do nice things; all that matters is that you do them. And one day, something changed. I had just finished “Toy Story 4,” and suddenly all my algorithms were recommending openhearted movies with heroes and good values, and I realized that I had begun to feel a little better. My heart was never a spike; it was always an umbrella but sometimes it would invert against a storm. That day I recalibrated, and suddenly my umbrella was upright, once again able to shield me from the weather. It was enough. It was more than enough. This is an accurate reflection of the time Tom Hanks spent with a journalist.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Entertainment, Movies & Television

(EF) Letitia Wright and the silencing of personal faith

There was a time when the media assumed that readers had no interest in faith. Whenever spirituality was mentioned, often only exotic beliefs and practices were presented – the Christian faith was not cool enough.

However, things are changing. A few days ago, Apple published a long interview with Kanye West on video about his new album, ‘Jesus Is King’, in which he who is one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, spent much of the time talking openly about his encounter with God and how Jesus changed all of his priorities in life.

But not always the public gets to read such reflections. Due to short space or time, interviews are not usually reproduced or published in full, so there is always a margin for the journalist to decide which ideas of the interviewee will appear, and which will not. It is often then when the references to Christianity, it there are any, disappear.

It happened with the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Denis Mukwege, of whom few reported that his strong Christian worldview informed all of his work in favor of women victims of sexual violence in war. Something similar could be said about this year’s Nobel Peace Laureate, Abiy Ahmed Ali, a Pentecostal Christian.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(CT) The New ‘Harriet’ Biopic Is Faithful to Tubman’s Faith

Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most iconic figures, as evidenced by the proposed (and still delayed) Harriet Tubman 20-dollar bill and the new biopic Harriet, produced by Focus Features.

After she escaped slavery in 1849, Tubman worked as the only female conductor on the Underground Railroad, assisting escapees along a short route through free states. She was one of the few who at great risk entered slave-holding states to extract slaves and lead them north to freedom. Nicknamed “Moses” by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, very few knew Harriet’s real identity; most assumed a man was making these voyages. Tubman also served in the US army as a nurse, advisor, scout, and spy. Her greatest feat in the service was leading the charge that freed over 750 slaves in the Combahee River Raid in South Carolina.

The film, which covers her life from 1849 to 1864, releases nationwide this weekend. Jenny McGill spoke recently with Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, about the historical accuracy of the film, Tubman’s deep Christian faith, and the African American spirituals that were key to her rescue missions.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Movies & Television, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Biggest Late-Night Guests Now Bring a News Angle, Not a Movie Clip

In this supercharged news environment, anchors like Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, both of Fox News, have been late-night guests, as have the CBS News stalwarts Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. When Ms. King and Ms. O’Donnell were the lead guests on Mr. Colbert’s live show after the State of the Union address in February, they drew an audience of 4.6 million.

Jay Sures, a co-president of the United Talent Agency, which represents many news anchors, said he had noticed a spike in bookings for his clients. “They’ve unintentionally become celebrities based on how the news business has become part of our daily routine in a way it never has before,” he said. “The Trump era has elevated news.”

Mr. Burnett, the former producer for Mr. Letterman, agreed. “As a rule, we weren’t trying to book politicians or pundits,” he said. “You were trying to book things that your audience cared about. Back then, people did not care about politics to the extent that they do now.”

As Mr. Tapper put it: “It’s a reflection of people just being incredibly engaged and fascinated and focused and horrified on everything going on in Washington. It’s definitely a new world.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Entertainment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Movies & Television, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Donald Trump, Theology

(NYT) ‘Keeping Faith’ Is a Hit in Two Languages

“Keeping Faith” offered everything the Welsh actor Eve Myles had been waiting for: An unflinching leading lady. A richly layered mystery showcasing her magical homeland. A role so different from anything she’d previously done that it was almost frightening.

And yet she turned it down repeatedly, uncertain that she could dig deep enough into the character — let alone in more than one language.

Developed by the Welsh-language channel S4C and co-produced by BBC Wales and Acorn Media Enterprises, “Keeping Faith” was designed to be shot in two versions: One in English and the other (titled “Un Bore Mercher,” meaning “One Wednesday Morning”) in Welsh, which Myles, like so many natives of Wales, didn’t actually speak.

But in the end, her fear of regretting passing on the job outweighed her fear of actually doing it.

“I had to take a deep breath and go, O.K., if you’re going for it, don’t do a mediocre job,” Myles recalled recently. “If you’re going to do it, smash the [expletive] out of it.”

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Posted in --Wales, England / UK, Entertainment, Movies & Television

9/11 CNBC Coverage from 8:46-8:55

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Media, Movies & Television, Terrorism

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–Young adults get sequence of sex and marriage wrong

These debates happen all the time, and pastors know that many young people in their pews have made their own compromises between centuries of doctrine and premarital sex, said sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

“What’s striking about what we see here is how naive so many young people are about life and love and marriage,” said Wilcox, referring to “The Bachelorette” clash. “They don’t seem to understand how important it is to develop self-control as they try to move seriously into emotional, physical and spiritual relationships. …

“So many young people don’t realize that what the pop culture is selling them is not conducive to a good relationship, based on what we know from the social sciences.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(NYT) ‘The Town Hall of Hollywood.’ Welcome to the Netflix Lobby.

Dolly Parton recently held court there, big wig and all. Leonardo DiCaprio and John Kerry arrived at the same time last month. Cindy Crawford on the left, David Letterman on the right. And isn’t that Beyoncé by the espresso bar?

Welcome to the hottest see-and-be-seen spot in Hollywood: Netflix’s first-floor waiting room.

Scratch that. It’s a “lobby experience” and “creative gateway,” according to a design firm that worked on the space. An 80-foot by 12-foot video screen makes visitors feel like they are inside Netflix shows — visiting the “Narcos” cocaine lab, for instance, or sitting on the Blue Cat Lodge boat dock from “Ozark.” Another wall is covered by at least 3,500 plants, a living mural that includes red Flamingo Lilies, known for their big pistils.

Every era in Hollywood has a symbolic epicenter, a place that sums up everything, especially power and sometimes absurdity. Gifting suites at the Sundance Film Festival epitomized the overheated indie boom of the 2000s. The monolithic new Creative Artists Agency headquarters arrived on cue at the end of that decade and represented an increasingly corporate film business. Next came Comic-Con International, a sweaty July convention for superhero devotees that marked a turn toward franchises and fan communities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Entertainment, Movies & Television

Russell Moore with some Interesting Reflections on Judge Judy, Justice and America

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) Jamie Aten–How A Stephen Curry produced documentary explores forgiveness in the 2015 Charleston church shooting

Q: What first drew you to the “Emanuel” project?

A: I had just gotten married in June 2015, and I was on my honeymoon in New York. I walked into the bedroom, and my wife was crying. She told me nine people had been shot in their Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.

Then she looked at me and said, “You don’t understand, they’re forgiving him. The family members are forgiving the murderer.” I remember looking at her and saying, “I hope whoever tells that story doesn’t skip that part.” It was that moment for me — encountering this radical, scandalous forgiveness and love for the murderer — that drew me into the story. I wanted the world to know that part of the story.

Q: What was different in this story?

A: It was that they loved him. It was this moment when (survivor) Felicia Sanders said something to him that really changed me: “We enjoyed you.”

When I go out and talk about the film, I’m not just talking about them forgiving him because they wanted to be emotionally free from him. I’m talking about a kind of love you rarely see. Their love for the shooter was a love that said, “I will bear the full weight of the wrong,” which is the highest kind of love — a love for your enemy.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

Remembering Especially the Charleston 9 who died 4 years ago today in the Mother Emanuel Church Shooting

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

Still more on the remarkable Josiah Henson–the Trailer for his Documentary

Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, History, Movies & Television, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(BBC) The prosperity gospel preachers getting rich from poor Americans and the Christians trying to thwart their efforts

Televangelists are not as talked about today as they were in the 1980s and 1990s, when many rose to fame and fortune through mushrooming cable channels.

But they have never gone away. Even after numerous press exposés, the rogue elements have often bounced back. Some have got even richer. Many have taken their appeals on to social media.

A number of those making the most persistent pleas for money tap into something called the prosperity gospel, which hinges on a belief that your health and wealth are controlled by God, and God is willing you to be prosperous. Believers are encouraged to show their faith through payments, which they understand will be repaid – many times over – either in the form of wealth or healing.

For followers, it is a way to make sense of sickness and poverty. It can feel empowering and inspiring amid despair. The hard-up donors are often not oblivious to the preachers’ personal wealth – though they may not know the extent of it – but they take the riches as a sign of a direct connection with God. If seed payments have worked for them, maybe they can work for you too?

And if the seeds never flourish? Some are told their faith is not strong enough, or they have hidden sin. In Larry’s case, he often interpreted small pieces of good fortune – a gift of groceries from a neighbour, or the promise of a few extra hours of work for his wife, Darcy – as evidence of fruition.

He estimates he gave about $20,000 to these operators over the years. A little here, a little there. A few years ago, he started tallying it all up.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Movie Scene for Memorial Day 2019 from Mr. Holland’s Opus

Watch it all–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Movies & Television

TV recommendation–‘The Highwaymen’

You can find it on Netflix. The interactions between Kevin Costner And Woody Harrelson alone are worth the price of admission–very well done–KSH.

Posted in Movies & Television

(Guardian) BBC ‘Year of Beliefs’ to shine light on faith and values in modern UK

The BBC is launching a year-long series of programmes examining faith, belief and values in modern Britain.

As part of its coverage of a society that is “more diverse, more complex and more divided than ever before”, the corporation will launch a major survey of attitudes to contentious issues and ethical dilemmas.

The broadcaster’s “Year of Beliefs” commissions include landmark series and one-off documentaries on television and radio to address issues such as science and religion, LGBT+, circumcision, surrogacy and medical ethics.

Among the programmes is Inside the Vatican, a look behind the scenes at the independent city-state at the heart of the Catholic church, filmed over a year. The two-part documentary promises “astonishing access”, including to Pope Francis, the choristers of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican’s security personnel, diplomats and gardeners.

A one-off documentary, Welcome to the Bruderhof, explores a village near Hastings that is home to 300 Christians who live together as disciples of Christ, spurning cars and mobile phones.

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Posted in England / UK, Media, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) ‘Emanuel’ documentary produced by Viola Davis and Steph Curry gets to heart of grace

Filmed in the homes of victims’ family members, and inside the church, the 75-minute award-winning documentary “Emanuel” was produced by Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis, a native of St. Matthews, and NBA basketball star Steph Curry, who started a film production company earlier this year and is outspoken about his Christian faith.

“They both love the film, not only for its message of forgiveness and faith, but also for its dedication to justice and peace in America,” Ivie says. “Their partnership is a rare one in a very divided industry, but it obviously speaks to the power of the story and the heart of these people that we are humbled to represent.”

The documentary is among a few made about the shooting, including hour-long public radio release “Eyes Closed in Prayer” and Tribune Film Festival’s “Leo Twiggs: Requiem for Mother Emanuel.” Yet, it stands apart in its search for the source of the unexpected forgiveness that touched so many heavy hearts in the wake of the tragedy.

There have been other attempts to tell this story,” says Ivie. “Many of them do mention forgiveness, but I also think what separates our telling from all the others is our theological understanding of where that forgiveness comes from. And that is the cross of Jesus Christ.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * South Carolina, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence