By Jack Caravela
You may be wondering why a group of atheists would choose to see a film titled Drag Me to Hell. The short answer is that the movie's co-writer and director, Sam Raimi, treats the concept of eternal damnation about as seriously as we do. Mr. Raimi, recently at the helm of the three blockbuster Spider-Man films, decided to return to his roots with his latest offering. Fans of the Evil Dead series which launched the filmmaker's career will welcome this throwback horror flick, whose first wink to the genre comes before the movie even begins, with the retro Universal Pictures tag (Raimi opted for the rotating Earth logo last seen in the early sixties rather than the modern version).
Like it or not, Christian music is undoubtedly popular. Among my daughter's peer group "Jesus Take the Wheel," by Carrie Underwood, is a very popular song that her friends sing when they get together. During my own adolescence I was an unwilling participant in an evangelical youth group where many discussions took place regarding Christian artists like Amy Grant, Petra, and DC Talk. Given the seemingly timeless popularity and ubiquity of pious music I felt the need to come up with a list of my favorite pro-atheist songs, many of which are delightfully sacrilegious. Some of these songs promote rational freethought, some satirize religious beliefs, and others celebrate science. In creating this list I factored musical composition and anti-ecclesiastical lyrics. Although this list consists of only 30 songs I will pretend to be Casey Kasem and introduce them in the American Top 40 show fashion starting with number 30.
By James Zimmerman
If we take the word Cinema at its root (from the Greek kinesis, meaning "movement"), then pure cinema has been dying since the advent of synchronized sound. Too many movies are simply footage of people talking, or of a camera sitting idly by recording whatever happens to be going on in front of it. In its purest form, perhaps film continued to exist only in the creations of those (such as Chaplin and Hitchcock) who first mastered their trade and came to prominence during film's silent era.
But Pixar does an admirable job of bringing audiences a delicacy for the eyes. In a style first explored in Toy Story, expanded upon in Monsters, Inc., and brought to perfection in WALL·E, the animation studio succeeds in telling a tale via visuals with its latest offering: Up.
In the first fifteen minutes of Up, we are treated to a narrative - told almost entirely without words - of love found, promises made, and decades lived in the lives of Carl and Ellie. It's a poignant story, and the promises made and dreams lost in the picture-perfect montage bring equal parts laughter and tears.