Watch: The Artist

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Artist
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius (Weinstein, 2011)

Those not captivated by Michel Hazanavicius’s silent movie must have a tin ear where their heart should be. In this dazzling black and white romance about the fall of a silent matinee idol, Hazanavicius has mixed Top Hat, A Star Is Born, Singing in the Rain, and Citizen Kane, fashioning a Hollywood epic as American and universal as any modern film in a heartwarming cocktail shot through with grace, wit, and charm.


Read: Journey to the Common Good

By A. Regina Schulte| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Journey to the Common Good
By Walter Brueggemann (Westminster John Knox, 2010)

In this compact study, biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann traces a remarkably similar pattern of cause and effect between the crises in today’s world—chronic war-making, ecological destruction, economic injustices—and the defining events in Jewish tradition.


Read: Party of One

By Alice Camille| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Party of One
By Beth M. Knobbe (St. Anthony Messenger, 2011)

If you are single, this book needs no justification. Though the majority of us inhabit that category innocently for the first two decades of life, if a third decade waxes and wanes, you find you have some explaining to do. And if you manage to close a fourth decade without a partner, the range of responses often moves from pity to suspicion. What’s wrong with you that no one’s popped the question?


Watch: The Ides of March

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Ides of March
Directed by George Clooney (Columbia Pictures, 2011)

As the title suggests, George Clooney’s cynical drama about a presidential campaign is a tale of loyalties and betrayals, both personal and political, and of the hollow victories achieved through these various treasons.


Listen: Undun by the Roots

By Danny Duncan Collum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
undun
The Roots (Def Jam, 2011)

The Roots are famous now as the house band on The Jimmy Fallon Show, but they’ve been legend among America’s better-informed music lovers for a couple of decades. They emerged in the early ’90s as something of a novelty—a rap music act that was really a band, playing real musical instruments and playing them with skill and sophistication.


Read: How to Go From a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in 95 Difficult Steps

By J. Peter Nixon| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
How to Go From a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in 95 Difficult Steps
By Christian Smith (Cascade Books, 2011)

Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions argued that scientific inquiry depended on frameworks of assumptions that he called “paradigms.” Periodically, the process of inquiry uncovers “anomalies” in those frameworks that lead to their being overturned.


Read: Comfort

By Heather Grennan Gary| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Comfort
By Brett C. Hoover (Riverhead Books, 2011)

Don’t let the fuzzy slippers on the cover fool you: Brett C. Hoover’s book Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul is less spa-getaway and more philosophical inquiry that delves into a pervasive, little-critiqued cultural value.


Listen: Working in Tennessee

By Danny Duncan Collum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
Working in Tennessee
Merle Haggard (Vanguard Records, 2011)

Merle Haggard has been a monument of American culture for almost 50 years. His life story is the stuff of myth. He really did grow up dirt poor in a home his father made from an old boxcar. He really did do hard time in San Quentin prison for armed robbery. And he really was in the audience when Johnny Cash played the first of his famous prison concerts.


Listen: A Dreamer's Christmas

By John Christman| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
A Dreamer's Christmas
By John Zorn (Tzadik, 2011)

If Christmas has something to do with wonder and the joy of the unexpected then news of John Zorn making a Christmas album should stir inordinate Christmas spirit. After all, what could be more unexpected than an avant-garde jazz musician known for discordant noise foraying into that most conventional of musical genres, the Christmas album? Would this be an exercise in post-modern irony, a defacing of a popular tradition? Might there be a sentimental tinge of nostalgia lurking behind Zorn’s cutting edge experimentation?


Watch: The Way

By Patrick McCormick| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
The Way
Directed by Emilio Estevez (Arc Entertainment, 2011)

If contemplation, as the mystic and spiritual writer William McNamara once said, is “a long, loving look at the real,” Emilio Estevez’s understated drama of loss, recovery, and reconciliation is a celebration of the ties that make a life worth the journey.


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