Category Archives: Movies


  To my great surprise and delight, I received a note from my favorite podcaster, Sister Dr. Vassa Larin, host of the wildly popular video series Coffee with Sister Vassa. Sr. Dr. Vassa is a Russian Orthodox ryassofor nun, author of many scholarly articles and a monograph on Byzantine liturgy and theology, and outspoken public […]

What Makes an Audience Like One Character More Than Another?

What makes an audience like one character more than another? This question has bedeviled story makers almost from the beginning of time. Theoreticians tend to think that the characters with attractive traits win the allegiance of the audience. Attractiveness leads to empathy, the ability to project one’s own personality into that of the one being […]

Coming October 1…

Another book about John Ford? Yes! Thank you!

John Ford, America’s greatest filmmaker, has been dead for forty one years. Since his death, every aspect of his life and films has been examined cinematically, psychologically, historically, mythically, sociologically, symbolically, and religiously. So why does Chicago iconographer Joseph Malham think the world needs another book about John Ford, and a modest three hundred page […]

Hamlet in Jack Bauer-land

We returned to the Music Box Theater to see an encore of Nicholas Hynter’s 2010 Hamlet at the National Theatre. First of all, Rory Kinnear may be the finest Hamlet I have ever seen. His clear love of the language and linguistic devices arises from his clear conception of the character and the situation. “I […]

The Audience: A Mini-Review

A great disappointment: an unstructured series of humorous political sketches pretending to be a play. Enough said.

OSTROV (The Island): Pavel Lungin’s Masterpiece

Imagine a Samuel Beckett world inhabited by Russian Orthodox monks. When director Pavel Lungin did the result was a beautiful, mysterious, and profound film.   Read The Rad Trad’s review.

Salmon Fishing in Yemen and The Little Engine that Could

In the film, Salmon Fishing in Yemen (2011) Sheik Muhammed of Yemen’s unlikely dream – salmon fishing in Yemen- comes true due to the efforts of Dr. Alfred “Fred” Jones, a fisheries expert, and the sheik’s British agent, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot. The film has been praised as a film about “faith.” But what kind of faith? […]

EAST OF EDEN (1955): Life without God

 “I can’t believe your fickleness – how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message!  It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God.” St Paul, Letter to the Galatians[i] Even […]

MARGARET (2011): Life without Law

Margaret isn’t a character in Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret (2011). Lisa is the name of the main character in this film. Margaret characterizes Lisa by contrasting the Margaret of Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring and Fall” (1880) to the film’s Lisa. Lisa is a student at a posh New York private school. In her English class […]