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Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

The following review was written by Caleb Ackley. Tully is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other outlets as of today, July 17. Spoilers below.

Charlize Theron isn’t a name typically associated with the average in society. Known best for her roles which require both acting ability and incredible athleticism — think suave assassin in Atomic Blonde or shaven-headed warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road — the name of Theron rarely evokes the pedestrian struggles of a stay-at-home mom. But the year is 2018, after all, and anything, it seems, is possible.

Enter Tully, the latest offering from director Jason Reitman, which stars…

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New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

There’s something deliciously ironic in the fact that a blisteringly hot summer such as this one should serve as a portal for bone-chillingly cold black metal in the form of a new Deafheaven LP. But yea verily, the underworld doth cackle at the fittingness of said album launching on Friday the 13th. Swirling within this nebula of polar opposites and apposite poetics is the culmination of Deafheaven’s development, an album whose cohesion and strange sonic palette shows the world they are more energetically themselves than ever.

To date, Deafheaven have released three full-lengths: Roads to Judah (2011), Sunbather (2013), and New…

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Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in "My Year of Rest and Relaxation"

Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”

When asked about her favorite holiday, writer Ottessa Moshfegh says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been on holiday…?” And then laughs.

On the one hand, I suppose she could be speaking literally. But I take the above response as an invitation, a question: Do human beings ever really relax? After all, we never catch a break from the predominant source of our exhaustion: us.

This points to the central conflict in Moshfegh’s haunting (and darkly funny) new book My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which reviewers have called “the finest existential novel not written by a French author.” (It’s already been optioned…

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The Apostles' Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

I always judge books by their covers. In part, this habit is a terrible prejudice, but I also think it’s a useful way of deciding how to use limited time on an unlimited supply of books. Thankfully, Lexham Press crafted a beautiful design for their recent book The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism. It’s the first in their “Christian Essentials” series, set to cover the Ten Commandments, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Prayer, and corporate worship.

In this book, form and content match beautifully. The design, which merges traditional iconography and contemporary minimalism, reflects the…

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This Table Set For Us: Babette’s Feast

This Table Set For Us: Babette’s Feast

This review was written by David B. Witwer.

We shuffle up the scarlet steps to find the stage already set for us. There is no curtain; sitting down we are transported from the city into a kitchen—marked by a long, simple table and wooden beams standing sentry. Bits of glass dangle overhead, awaiting the light.

We are greeted by many voices. The ever-shifting chorus reveals Berlevåg to us, a quaint town led by a minister who preaches that “God’s paths run across the sea and the snowy mountains, where man’s eye sees no track.” We find that, astonishingly, the villagers have interpreted…

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When God Watches Movies

When God Watches Movies

This review was written by Mockingbird intern Jeff Dillenbeck.

What is the purpose of movies? Is it to entertain? To communicate? I’ve typically seen movies as meant to be artistic expressions (especially after seeing most of the best picture Oscar nominees, this past year), works that evoke emotion or relay something about the human experience in way that the written word can’t quite capture. Like other the other art forms, film has the power to move its human audience—to provoke thought, to encourage, to empower.

But what do movies have to say to the divine?

That’s what film critic Josh Larsen (of the…

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Grace in Molly's Game

Grace in Molly’s Game

This one was written by Anna Nott.

If you haven’t seen the action/drama/thriller/hint of comedy that is Molly’s Game, I suggest that you stop reading this article, and investigate a way to watch it.

Spoilers to follow.

I have been a subscriber to MoviePass, i.e. I have access to unlimited movies in theaters (no more than one movie per day) for 10 bucks a month, since October. So far, Molly’s Game is the only film I’ve made a point of seeing twice.

Molly, played by the exquisite Jessica Chastain, is an Olympic skier for the U.S. women’s team, who, due to an unlucky fall…

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Before the Big Top, There Was Love: The Greatest Showman

Before the Big Top, There Was Love: The Greatest Showman

The many movies that contemplate men experiencing work/dream/family conflicts have not, generally, been helpful to viewers—men or otherwise. This category of film is vast, of course, but they almost always posit that fathers who sincerely return their gaze to family in Act 3 will achieve a previously inconceivable version of whatever they were pursuing to their children’s detriment in Act 1. It’s a bit like the pop theology “let go [of yourdesires/needs/wants] and let God [lavishly reward your moment of selflessness with all the riches and favors you’ve ever wanted].” If I can just trick myself into believing that my…

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The Last Jedi's Last Rites: The Weight of Failure in Star Wars

The Last Jedi‘s Last Rites: The Weight of Failure in Star Wars

It’s really tempting to dismiss December’s new Star Wars movie premiere tradition as the same-old same-old. Three years into this new chapter, and one worries the franchise is falling into the same pattern as the Marvel movies we all have trouble keeping up with. Good guys, bad guys, heroes, villains, you’d be forgiven for writing it all off as a film studio’s easy money or an exercise in blissful nostalgia. It’s an easy critique of 2015’s The Force Awakens, which some panned as an unoriginal remix of A New Hope (a major critique that soured me on the film).

Thankfully, The Last…

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A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2's Songs of Experience

A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2’s Songs of Experience

I don’t think I’ve ever read a review of a U2 record that isn’t preceded by a lengthy prologue wrestling with the band’s stature, either in the culture at large or the reviewer’s upbringing or both. They’re the kind of band that provokes not just adulation and irritation but qualification, even from their most ardent fans. I guess when you court importance–and the record release as Event–as Bono and co have done so doggedly these past 30-ish years, you’re kind of setting yourself up for it. Whatever the case, people have baggage when it comes to U2.

Earlier this year David…

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Waiting At the Altar (No Longer!): Bob Dylan's Gospel Years

Waiting At the Altar (No Longer!): Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years

As promised, a review of the long-awaited Trouble No More boxed set documenting Bob Dylan’s gospel years, courtesy of resident Dylanologist Ken Wilson, who’ll be seeing his 55th (!) show on Friday.

In a career full of surprises, the most amazing is still the “born again” period. Sure Bob Dylan had shocked his folkie fans, and enraged Peter Seeger (or so the legend goes), by going electric, i.e. commercial, at Newport. Sure, he’d retreated from public view and been rumored dead in the wake of a serious motorcycle accident, rhymed “moon and spoon” and crooned with Johnny Cash, and toured…

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Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 1)

Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 1)

On the TV front, two new seasons of Mockingbird favorites are now out for your viewing pleasure. Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty just finished its third season, with Nielsen knighting it the most popular comedy on television, and Bojack Horseman’s fourth season is now available for binging on Netflix. Both shows are regulars in our “best of TV” columns each December, occupying a fair amount of Mockingbird HQ water cooler chitchat. It’s a little silly to think that TV shows featuring an alcoholic super-genius grandfather and a washed up 90s sitcom-star horse garner critical acclaim and commercial success, but that’s…

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