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Should I #BoycottNetflix? (Part 1 of 2)

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By James Powers Back around Christmas, there was a big furor about an incident of apparent blasphemy on Netflix. A comedy special called The First Temptation of Christ had recently premiered on the streaming service, and portrayed, well… a gay Jesus bringing his boyfriend home to meet the family, among other things. Oof. The film, produced by Brazilian comedy troupe …

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Should I #BoycottNetflix? (Part 2 of 2)

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By James Powers This post continues a 2-part series. Read Part 1 here.  In my previous post, I fell down what proved to be a pretty deep rabbit hole by looking at the “Netflix problem” (which is actually a problem with most secular media in general) through the lens of Catholic moral tradition. Specifically, the tradition surrounding “cooperation in evil,” …

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Netflix’s ‘Messiah’ Offers a Surprisingly Thoughtful – and Tense – Exploration of Faith

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By James Powers One of the more persistent (and annoying) labels given to Jesus is that of political revolutionary. Especially lately, it’s trendy to claim that his primary purpose was to knock down tyrants and give power to the disenfranchised masses; that he was a member of the same club that includes Gandhi and Che and the barricade boys from …

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With ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, Can Star Wars Finally Leave the Past Behind?

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By James Powers Disney has been trying to usher in a new era for Star Wars with The Mandalorian on Disney+, and it looks to end one this weekend with The Rise of Skywalker. The studio is anxious to make a good impression on audiences after a rather troubled past couple of years. But I’m unsure that either the franchise …

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‘Honey Boy’: A Lesson on Masculinity from an Unlikely Source

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By James Powers Lately, one doesn’t have to look far to find a lot of movies that are deeply concerned with the female experience, but nonetheless directed by men. Assassination Nation, Unsane, Widows, Suspiria, Tully and the upcoming Bombshell, to name just a few. Not that there’s anything wrong with male directors making films about female protagonists – “write what …

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The Brilliant Paradox of ‘Parasite’

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By James Powers Contains Mild Spoilers The South Korean film Parasite, this year’s winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or, is full of striking imagery. Unexpected but trenchant symbolism keeps cropping up in this film that might, at first glance, seem to be relatively grounded in realism. But one particular shot, about two-thirds of the way through, struck me as an …

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It’s Weird, but Joker Is the Anti-Hero We Want – And Maybe the One We Deserve

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  – By James Powers – Spoilers below for Joker There was much blood and thunder in the world of pop-culture commentary preceding the release of Joker, with many a critic who had already seen the film at Venice or TIFF proclaiming either that it was a) a trenchant social commentary in the guise of a comic book movie, or …

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You Can’t Find Yourself By Yourself: Reflections on a Decade of Bon Iver

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– By James Powers – The winter of 2006 found young Wisconsinite Justin Vernon in a decidedly bad mood. His longtime band had fizzled out after a failed attempt to put down roots in Raleigh. He was recovering from a particularly painful breakup. He’d blown a bunch of money on online poker. And on top of everything, he had come …