All Culture Posts
Brutal realism in the depiction of combat and scripturally inspired spirituality hardly make an obvious pairing.
During the mid-1990s, while my oldest son was shopping for a college, we toured Washington University in St. Louis. There in the heart of the campus was Graham Chapel — a stately edifice that could have been a European cathedral. Our guide informed us that it was used for concerts, lectures and plays. She did not mention it being a site for prayer and worship.
Who knew the Day of the Dead could be so much fun? The Mexican method of observing All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, is the backdrop for “The Book of Life” (Fox), an entertaining and visually stunning 3-D animated film.
If you can look beyond the relentless physical gags, a peeing baby and a vomiting teenager — and a long film title — there’s a small lesson in how a family pulls together through adversity in “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
The movie’s most troubling element is treated so nonchalantly that ethically acute moviegoers are likely to shake their heads even as they squirm.
If viewers dig beneath “Dracula Untold’s” special effects-driven mowing down of Islamic extremists — perhaps sending a message — they might discover the movie’s moral and spiritual ambiguities.
The novel “The Rising” tells of the power of a 9-year-old boy who, after whispering three words to a deceased woman at her wake, causes her to rise from the dead. It examines the good and bad motives of people surrounding him.
Catholic viewers will likely feel left out by “Left Behind” (Freestyle).
A jaundiced view of marriage permeates the abrasive drama “Gone Girl” (Fox).
Two new books help readers understand how different the Chinese experience with religion and the state is from the traditional Western view, and how it affects cultural expression and evangelization in China.