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God and the Problem of Hope in ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’

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–By Sam Hendrian– Contains Spoilers It is safe to say that after staying up to 2:30 AM watching I’m Thinking of Ending Things for a second time within 48 hours, I have never been so profoundly haunted and baffled by a cinematic experience. This new Netflix film from writer/director Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich) …

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Almost There: 10 Disney Films to Help Us Through These Times

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–By Sam Hendrian– When we read the news or scroll through our social media feeds, there are plenty of daily reminders that “we’re not there yet” when it comes to defeating COVID-19, so it may be therapeutic (and healthier) to instead dance to Princess Tiana singing “Almost There” in The Princess and the Frog. Or empathize with Rapunzel singing “When Will …

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Growing ‘Til We Die: Lessons in Virtue from ‘Star Trek: Picard’

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By Sam Hendrian Editor’s Note: Some spoilers below for Season 1 of Picard DAHJ: “Have you ever been a stranger to yourself?” PICARD: “Many times.” This dialogue exchange from the first episode of Star Trek: Picard, a new sci-fi series on CBS All-Access that serves as a follow-up to the hit ‘80s/’90s TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, profoundly …

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‘Children Will Listen’: The Christian Wisdom of Stephen Sondheim

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By Sam Hendrian “Careful the things you say/Children will listen/Careful the things you do/Children will see/And learn” –Into the Woods Solid parenting advice, for sure. This is just one set of lyrics from the vast catalogue of legendary stage composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who turns 90 next month. His wit and wisdom permeates some of Hollywood and Broadway’s greatest morality tales—West …

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The Impractical Nature of Dreams in ‘Rudy’

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By Sam Hendrian This article is part of our Classic Film Throwback Series. “Well, you know what my dad always says: Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.” Technically speaking, the word “dream” is synonymous with “hope,” “goal,” “aspiration,” and several other abstract nouns. Yet it seems to operate on a whole level of its own, transcending any concrete definition …

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‘1917’, WWI Cinema, and the Horrors of War

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– By Sam Hendrian – Hollywood is not-too-fondly renowned for its glorification of terrible things, especially war. Violence has the dangerous ability to entertain rather than disgust, undermining our instinctive understanding of human dignity. Yet despite this unfortunate trend, there are countless examples that do just the opposite, including Sam Mendes’s recently-released, critically-acclaimed World War I film 1917. With the …

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Why We Still Need Little Women

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  – By Sam Hendrian – As someone who enjoyed reading Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel Little Women, and as an admirer of Greta Gerwig’s directorial talents, I went to see the latest cinematic adaptation of the classic story and enjoyed it immensely. Of course, when people are constantly questioning whether Hollywood still has a bone of originality left in …

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Uniting the World Through Entertainment: The Imagineering Story

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  – By Sam Hendrian – “What we are selling is not escapism, but reassurance.” This quote from legendary Disney imagineer John Hench captures Disney’s core mission perfectly, even if the multibillion-dollar company does not always live up to it. Escapism is predominantly commerical and maybe a little psychological; reassurance is profoundly spiritual. In The Imagineering Story, a six-part documentary …

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The Liberty of Forgiveness in ‘Waves’

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– By Sam Hendrian – *Contains spoilers Waves is one of the most powerful movies I have seen in a long time. It is complicatedly simple, heartbreakingly inspiring, and many other perplexing paradoxes. While tough to watch at times, it had me spontaneously praying, “Oh God, this is beautiful!” on multiple occasions, and if that is not a sign of …