C. Derick Varn joins the show again to discuss the classic Coen Brothers 2009 film 'A Serious Man.' What does this quirky comedy have to say about religion, Jewish Culture, and why mystery might just be more important to "facts and logic."
Just in time for November 2019 (when the events of Blade Runner were set), Danny and Nathan Gilmour discuss the classic 1982 film and its incredible sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Danny and Nathan discuss, among other things, postmodernism, epistemology, theology, feminism, and much much more.
Based on box office figures, everyone has seen Endgame by now. As required by law, every podcast must have an episode about it. Here is the Sectarian Review take. Our in-house pop culture theologians join the show to discuss the finale to the Infinity Saga. Nathan Gilmour of the Christian Humanist Podcast and Matthew Brake of Pop Culture and Theology help Danny discuss: how the the film completes its character arcs; theological analyses of the film's employment of sacrifice; and how the film's treatment of time travel poses potential ethical quandaries going forward. All this and much much more.
As May Day approaches, the Sectarian Review Podcast explores the classic pagan horror film, The Wicker Man. C. Derick Varn joins the show for a discussion about this fascinating and chilling religious horror film, pitting fundamentalist Christianity against a neo-Pagan cult off the coast of Britain. In this film, a stuffy, Christian, British cop gets called to a bizarre Pagan island off the coast to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and....blah blah blah....human sacrifice! What does this film say about religion? About secularism (is that just another form of religion?)? How does the movie connect with other Christopher Lee films, like The Devil Rides Out? A wonderful discussion of a truly great, truly disturbing film.
"The Various Versions of The Wicker Man"
"Christopher Lee Defeats the Devil"
Documentary about The Wicker Man
Get out your red Swingline staplers, everyone. Danny Anderson is joined by Jordan Poss and Jeffrey Carter for a fun, lively discussion about the enduring appeal of Mike Judge's 1999 classic, 'Office Space.' What makes Judge's work so effective? (hint- it's all in the details). What was it about office life that this film captures? One of the most memeable movies ever turns 20 this week, and the Sectarian Review Podcast is there.
Love actually is all around. A Christian Humanist couples-only episode about the ultimate couples movie. In this episode, Danny and Kim Anderson are joined by Victoria and Michial Farmer to discuss the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually. What is it about this film that makes it such a beloved holiday classic? How well have the films sexual and class politics aged? In answering these questions, our panel explores the various relationships depicted in the film and discusses why Emma Thompson is truly great in this film. All this and much more!
This week, the Sectarian Review Podcast examines our second Andrei Tarkovsky film. A while back we looked at Andrei Rublev, and this week we take a deep dive into Stalker. In what has become SR tradition, C. Derick Varn joins the show to discuss another Soviet-era cinematic masterpiece. As with Rublev, however, this film also has massive theological implications. James K.A. Smith invokes the film in his work, so it’s good enough for us here at SR. What does this masterwork of World Cinema have to teach us about theology? What role do our desires play in dictating our lives? What the heck is that dog doing? Telekinesis? As always, Tarkovsky gives us a lot to talk about.
Inspired by our recent episode on Elon Musk, this show explores the nightmarish futuristic vision of the class Fritz Lang film, Metropolis. Learn all about the background of this film’s socialist politics and groundbreaking cinematography. Still stunning to look at 90 years later, this 1927 masterpiece has influenced countless science fiction films since its release. What does the film have to say about technology and the mechanization of mankind? Is it a transhumanist fantasy or nightmare? How does this film make use of religious imagery in order to make the case for its socialist politics? Is the heart the mediator between head and hands? Plus, sexy robots! All this and much much more. Todd Pedlar of the the Book of Nature Podcast and Micah Redding of the Christian Transhumanist Society join for this great discussion about an essential film.
Since its release last year, DC’s “Justice League” has been heavily maligned, with some critics going so far as to call it the worst superhero movie ever made. This show is meant to dispel that ridiculous claim. Joining Danny for this episode is Coyle Neal of the City of Man Podcast. Coyle suggested the show and Danny took him up on it, watching it twice in two days. Much to his surprise, Danny thought the movie was not only “not bad,” it was actually “quite good.” Why does this tale of Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and a resurrected-Superman not connect with critics and audiences as much as Marvel’s Avengers-based universe? Certainly the residual hatred of Batman Vs. Superman had something to do with this consensus, but Danny has a different thesis: “Everyone loves Marvel and everyone hates DC right now.The outsized adulation for Infinity War is even more galling when paired against the snarky dismissal of Justice League. My theory is that people love what Marvel is doing because it is perfectly in sync with our current liberal democratic ideological state. Marvel is, in Gramsci’s (or is it Althusser's? Sorry it's been a while) terms, an ideological state apparatus, reflecting and perpetuating our shared values of equal rights for individuals and drone strikes for American military hegemony. DC, on the other hand is offering a decidedly pre-modern, even religious ideology. This is what the critics really hate about it.”
Agree? Disagree? Listen to the show for more. And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Plus, please go to Facebook and like the show there for much more content.
One more dive into the philosophical and moral depths of Marvel’s Infinity War. For this episode Kristen Filipic and Kim Anderson join the show to discuss Thanos’s utilitarianism against the ethical and theological backdrop of Pope Francis’s encyclical about consumerism and the environment, “Laudato Si.” Tune in to hear: highlights from the first Infinity War episode, some context about “Laudato Si” and how it relates to consumption and Christian ethics, an exploration of the motif of self-sacrifice in the Avengers: Infinity War, the role of Wakanda in this moral play, the difficult realities of a truly “pro-life” politics, and some thoughts about Distributism. As always, please take the time to respond to what you hear!
Kristen Filipic’s “Perfect Balance”
William Cavanaugh on Pope Francis and Economics at Saint Mary’s College
Pope John Paul II “Centesimus Annus”
Recently the United States Congress has passed a law that mandates all podcasts to do an episode on Infinity War (Disney’s pernicious influence, no doubt).
So for this episode, good patriot Danny Anderson is joined by Nathan Gilmour and Kristen Filipic to discuss the biggest superhero movie of them all. Why is it that this movie has struck such a powerful chord with moviegoers? What are the theological questions it asks? What does death really mean in this universe? Plus, Pope Francis makes his way into this one!
Marvel Studios’ latest film, Black Panther, has been a blockbuster of the highest order. A primarily black film, it has torched the box office and has started a great conversation about race, politics, and representation in cinema. Joining Danny to discuss this film is Chris Maverick, a comics scholar who works with such questions. Hailed as a revolutionary film, just how radical are the film’s politics? Does this film, like other Marvel ventures, simply argue for a more pleasant status quo? How important is the representation of black people in this movie? Danny and Chris discuss all this and much more. How did Iron Man set the tone for the typical Marvel cinematic plot? Has Iron Man’s political stance basically set the political agenda for all the films that follow it? Does Black Panther subvert historical colonial narratives? This is a big, fun-filled episode. Join in on the conversation!
Washington Post Video about Representation and Black Panther
Invite to the Mount Aloysius Conference on College Teaching
Quasi Duo Fantasias: A Straussian Reading of Black Panther - by Zizek
Kaila Philo: Fear of a Black Universe
Christopher Lebron: Black Panther is not the Movie We Deserve
Adam Serwer: The Tragedy of Erik Killmonger
Chris Maverick’s Blog
In this episode, Danny is joined by Chris Burlingame to discuss the politics behind the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. The novel, which follows Wall Street serial killer Patrick Bateman, included Donald Trump as a central figure. Mary Harron's film adaptation, however, completely eliminates his presence. What motivated such a decision? Listen and find out about how the film adapts the novel in order to tackle issues of structural inequality, sexism, and white privilege. What can this film teach us about Trumpism today? Plus, NEW THEME MUSIC! Thanks to the Blind Revelators for providing us with our new theme song. Find their music here: https://theblindrevelators.bandcamp.com/
Special thanks to Andrew Burlingame for providing the cover art for this episode.
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A discussion about the all-time great Tarkovsky film Andrei Rublev. Learn about how Tarkovsky made a profoundly religious film in the Soviet system. How does this film reflect on the intersection between politics and religion? What special contributions to Christianity has the Orthodox tradition provided? Is Andrei Rublev the quintessential Christian Humanist film? C. Derick Varn returns for this enlightening discussion.
Has the Radical Left finished cannibalizing itself?
Protestants and Radicals (not so different).
A plug for Andrei Rublev as a Christian Humanist ideal.
Tarkovsky’s career: a religious filmmaker in the Soviet system.
The structure of Andrei Rublev the film.
A plug for Derek’s forthcoming book of poetry.
A brief history of the formation of the Russian state.
Listener question from Twitter-follower Joe McClure.
The specificities of Orthodox Christianity.
There are several versions of this film and Martin Scorsese is involved.
Tarkovsky’s philosophical ideas: Art exists within imperfection, Experience and knowledge must be gained individually, polished art inhibits personal experience, Learn to love solitude.
Andrei Rublev’s plot
The tradition of the jester in pre-Russia.
Theophanes the Greek and the passing down of religious tradition
The Passion instantiates in Russia
An encounter with pagans
The Orthodox discomfort with wrath and punishment
“Oh my God, he made this under Khrushchev!”
Using the atheist state to perpetuate the Gospel
The Last Judgement
Parallels between Andrei Rublev and Game of Thrones
The Holy Fool enters and becomes Rublev’s conscience
A Monk draws blood
Theophanes challenging theology
In the midst of art, theology through chaos
Salvation through the Holy Fool
Kiril’s broken return to God
Difference between Bergman and Tarkovsky
Bell-making as a transcendent act of faith through art
Making art as a God-given role
The return of the Holy Fool
Cut to color and the actual work of Andrei Rublev
Kierkegaard as philosophical grounding
Redemptive work of art
That balloon scene!
Humans are both divine and fallen
How do you film “faith?”
Derek’s boredom with Leftism
It’s that magical time of the year! Time for the annual Christian Humanist Radio Network Halloween Crossover. The Sectarian Review Podcast’s contribution features Katie Grubbs and Michial Farmer who join Danny to talk about the Universal classic The Wolf Man. Take a deep dive into the film’s story, background, and subtexts. Freud, Feminism, Class Struggle and more. Also, the team tackle questions about the film from listeners via Twitter. Plus, Danny makes an impassioned defense of the 2010 remake of the film.
Join Danny and C. Derrick Varn for an *in-depth* discussion of the the 1967 Soviet horror film, Viy (based on the Gogol short story). Danny and Derek talk about the cultural significance of Cossacks in Russian history, the Soviet film industry, Ideology, and Eastern Christianity. The film is freely available on YouTube if you want to watch beforehand, but this episode will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Soviet movies where witches terrorize seminary students who don't believe in God.
Link to full film (subtitled)
Four perspectives about a film about four perspectives. Pretty meta, eh?
In this episode, Danny welcomes Todd Pedlar, Carter Stepper, and Michial Farmer for a discussion about Akira Kurosawa's groundbreaking 1950 film, Rashomon. Why is this film so revered in the history of cinema? How does Kurosawa's technical mastery contribute to the existential philosophical questions Rashomon poses? How does this film's famous exploration of subjectivity speak to our current "Post-Truth" moment? All this and a new intro!
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In this Godzilla-sized episode, Danny Anderson and Drew Van’tland are joined by Ed Simon to talk about the intersections between horror, religion, and ethics. This month’s Sectarians talk horror films, Nietzsche, H.P. Lovecraft, Flies, Babadooks, and, James Robertson’s The Testament of Gideon Mack. Also, Danny interviews Dr. Jamie McDaniel of Pittsburg State University about horror, liminality, and Disability Studies. Also listen for a couple of aural surprises!