Films & music, Social commentary

‘Don’t Look Up’: have we reached Peak Post-Modernity?

by Matthew James At first impression, the Netflix film Don't Look Up, is just another disaster movie. It’s about a comet heading on a collision course with Earth which will cause an Extinction Level Event. It could be seen as a sort of Deep Impact on steroids. But that would be to miss the point… Continue reading ‘Don’t Look Up’: have we reached Peak Post-Modernity?

Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

A prayer in dark times

The Netflix satire Don’t Look Up is about an impending apocalypse caused by a massive meteor heading for earth. Inevitably, there are references to faith and two prayers are said in the film. The first is by the President's Chief of Staff, played by Jonah Hill: 'I’ve been noticing a lot of prayers recently for… Continue reading A prayer in dark times

Films & music, Social commentary

‘Christmas Eve Life Evaluation films’ and what they tell us

Story #1: The Last Train to Christmas Last night, I watched the new festive film The Last Train to Christmas. It focuses on a troubled nightclub owner, Tony Towers (Michael Sheen), who takes a train from London to Nottingham on Christmas Eve with his fiancé. On route, they are joined by his brother and his… Continue reading ‘Christmas Eve Life Evaluation films’ and what they tell us

Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

‘Looking in the rubble for the finger-prints of God’

In the final scene of The Crucible, the flawed hero, John Procter, is hanged along with two innocent women. They are executed at the order of the Church authorities because they refuse to admit guilt in the witch trials in their town of Salem, Massachusetts. As the nooses are put around their necks, the three… Continue reading ‘Looking in the rubble for the finger-prints of God’

Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character George Bailey faces bankruptcy and scandal. After a life of service and sacrifice, someone else’s negligence takes him to the brink of ruin. On Christmas Eve, in the midst of his angst and desperation, George goes home and sees his family. His young daughter, Zuzu,… Continue reading Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

Films & music, Recommended books & reviews

Recreating Narnia: an open letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix, Congratulations on acquiring the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia. I am writing to share five thoughts on what Netflix needs to bear in mind to make the series a success. I cannot claim to know anything about producing films or TV series. But I do know about Narnia. Like millions of others, the… Continue reading Recreating Narnia: an open letter to Netflix

Films & music

Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world

Over the last week I have watched the Lord of the Rings film triology for the first time since seeing them at the cinema.  What struck me again was the tiny glimmer of hope which Frodo and his friend Sam carry through the most hopeless of situations. They keep going through relentless violence, temptations, threats and arguments… Continue reading Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world

Films & music, Sport

Ability, vulnerability and mental health: ‘The Edge’ [review]

This week it was World Mental Health Day. I was struck by the number of men I know posting on social media about their struggles with their mental well-being. Even just a few years ago, I doubt people would have been so open. And this weekend, I watched the film The Edge which is a documentary… Continue reading Ability, vulnerability and mental health: ‘The Edge’ [review]

Films & music, Homelessness

A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Hector is a gritty and moving road-movie about a homeless man travelling from Scotland to London for Christmas. It is tough to watch in parts, but is also heart-warming and brilliantly acted. It avoids sentimentalising the characters or the subject matter. Peter Mullan’s acting is gentle and under-stated in the title-role.  As the film unfolds… Continue reading A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Films & music

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ – a film by Peter Jackson [review]

I will never forget talking with an old school friend in the pub after he got back from the first Gulf War in 1991. He had left school at 16 and joined the army just as I went into the Sixth Form.  In the Gulf he served as an officer in a tank regiment. At… Continue reading ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ – a film by Peter Jackson [review]