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Houston Baptist University | May 23, 2017

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Essays & Film Reviews

Cinema of Malick: Capturing Augustinian Beauty

July 6, 2015 | One of the most common descriptions applied to Terrence Malick’s films is that they are beautiful, and with good reason. His strict adherence to a set of dogma-inspired rules for cinematography shines through in his later films, while his attention to nature lays a peaceful groundwork for all of his films...

Films of Lucas: Redemption of the Father

June 25, 2015 | From Darth Vader’s infamous line “I am your father” to the dynamic interplay of Indiana Jones and Henry Jones Sr., father-son relationships have played an integral part in George Lucas’ most famous films. “Almost all of our films are about fathers and sons,” Lucas once commented, referring also to the works of his longtime friend and collaborator...

Cinema of Malick: Eliot and the Discipline of Art

June 23, 2015 | I think that Terrence Malick understands art as a kind of discipline, and one place where he shows what art should do is by showing discipline with the wrong objectives. In The Tree of Life, there is a difficult scene where the dad gets angry at his sons at the dinner table, seemingly for being disrespectful...

Films of Lucas: The Master and the Apprentice

June 20, 2015 | 5 Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most pivotal characters in the entire Star Wars saga. A strong argument exists that Obi-Wan not only plays a critical part in helping Luke reject the Dark Side, but long before that is also influential in pushing Anakin away from the Light. Both Anakin and his son are under Obi-Wan’s training, yet one falls and the other does not...

Cinema of Malick: Tarkovsky’s Disruption of the Soul

June 13, 2015 | Terrence Malick is an unconventional filmmaker. In a time when mainstream American cinema lives and dies by its entertainment value, and independent cinema is still trying to get out from under it, Malick is one of the few American directors who doesn’t seem to care if you’re entertained...

The Cinema of Capra, Part 3: Guts & Stardust

May 30, 2015 | Art is a homily, or at least it can be for the artist who strives to show truth, goodness, and beauty in his work. In our modern world, where Christian films are often stereotyped and written off as preachy, sentimental, unrealistic, and corny it might be a good idea to take a look back at a man whose films were nicknamed “Capracorn” for some of the very same reasons...

Films of Lucas: Beyond East Meets West

May 26, 2015 | Star Wars has always revolved around the convergence of disparate cultures, both in the vast and eclectic worlds that the story spans and in the series’ aesthetic and thematic influences. When Star Wars premiered in 1977 it was the best possible version of the East-West crossover film, drawing from the lore and imagery of both classic samurai films and traditional westerns...

The Cinema of Capra, Part 2: Glimpses of Paradise

May 22, 2015 | In 1937 Frank Capra made his most expensive feature film to that date, the $2 million extravagant production of Lost Horizon. A year later he returned to a more modest production with You Can’t Take it With You. While the two films could not be more different with setting and atmosphere they have one very prominent feature in common...

Revisiting the Star Wars Prequels

May 19, 2015 | 23 Ten years ago today, the Galactic Republic transformed into the evil Empire, the Jedi Order was destroyed by the Sith, and young Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) was the long-awaited end of George Lucas’ six-film magnum opus. It completed both the prequel trilogy that Lucas began writing in 1994 and the larger story he had been telling since 1977...

The Cinema of Capra, Part 1: Pride & Humility

May 16, 2015 | 1 “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” This excerpt from the book of James could very well describe any Frank Capra movie. Humility is a strong theme running through the moral center of each of his films. Capra’s own life story recalls the many times he himself was humbled. Growing up as a poor immigrant, he determined at a young age that an education was the way out of poverty...