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Coco: The Value of Tradition and Culture

Integrating Mexican culture with rich beautiful visuals, Pixar once again wins big with it’s diversity in storytelling with Coco.

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Justice League: Gods Among Men

Zack Snyder’s follow-up to 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has none of its predecessor’s thematic ambition and theological inclinations.  The crowd-pleaser we get instead is consistently entertaining, even if lacking in a central, grounding theme.

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Thor: Ragnarok and the Refugee Spirit

Thor: Ragnarok has a gained a stronger hold in the affections of Marvel fans than previous Thor films.  This is largely due to its Guardians-esque sense of humor and absurdity, as well as its neon color palette and “buddy cops in space” vibe with the Hulk.  This is all true, and the film is an absolute blast; it also includes some interesting thoughts, though admittedly secondary, on how the Asgardians as immigrants or refugees draw their identity while disconnected from their homeland.

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Music

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Foo Fighters: Concrete and Gold

If you were hoping for something new from the newest album by the Seattle-bred Foo Fighters, well, this isn’t quite your album.  Concrete and Gold isn’t exactly bad, and it even has its better moments, but it brings nothing new to the table, nor does have any discernible thematic focus.

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Sam Smith: The Thrill of it All

Dependable, vulnerable, and perhaps sadly, altogether confused.
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Kelly Clarkson: The Meaning of Life

The original American Idol has released a new album ruminating on The Meaning of Life.  The subject matter of that album, given the record’s title, tells us a lot about how the secular culture establishes meaning and purpose.

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TV Shows

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Stranger Things 2: Strength in Numbers

The binge-worthy fan favorite Stranger Things has hit screens again for a second season, to a great deal of fanfare.  And while this season does not contain as many allusions to faith, it does contain some valuable themes related to community.

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The Tick: Ordinary Heroism

Embracing the parody source material and leaving behind the pilot’s uneven tone, Amazon’s The Tick is a continually entertaining story about the commonplace, the heroic, and how sometimes those are the same.

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Netflix’s The Defenders

What started with the grounded world of Daredevil season one has become a breeding ground for comic book insanity.  Bottomless pits at construction sites.  Immortal villains.  Magic superhero monks.  All that and more is back to challenge our favorite street-level heroes in The Defenders.

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Books

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Star Wars: Thrawn Begins

Thrawn is back. His presence in the Star Wars: Rebels animated series has made quite a splash. It’s been fun seeing him on the the show and Rebels has done a great job with the character’s onscreen appearances, but now comes the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s time for the Grand Admiral to return to his roots: the literary wing of the Star Wars franchise. There is no one more qualified to usher him in than Timothy Zahn. Fortunately for us, that’s exactly who got the job. Thrawn, the most anticipated novel in the new Star Wars canon, is here.

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American Gods: An Atheist Theology

Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel has made some significant cultural waves in its more than ten years of publication, now resulting in a comic book series and an upcoming cable television series.  Unfortunately, that influence is patently negative, propagating a distinctly atheist approach to religion, theology, and culture.

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Tolkien’s LOTR: Reasons To Love It

For over ten years, I have been in love with Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary prowess is legendary, and each time I read his brilliant epic, I find myself loving it even more.

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Comics

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Attack on Titan: Vol. 6

The Attack on Titan series had, in its inception, a great deal of thematic depth.  The titans can be seen to represent sin, and particularly with Eren’s ability to become a titan, the idea of mankind as being the very monsters they fight has a lot to say about morality and humanity.  Unfortunately, by volume six, the series has started to rely on that initial setup as a crutch, and fails to add new intrigue to the story.

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Old Man Logan

Since its release, the film Logan has been widely considered among consideration for the best film in the X-Men franchise.  The Mark Millar comic that it was based on, Old Man Logan, deserves similar consideration.

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Attack on Titan: Vol. 5

As Attack on Titan‘s plot develops, the story becomes increasingly political, with social commentary galore.  Much of that is positive, but not all of it; especially when the series touches on religion.

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Video Games

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Skyrim: The Ethics of Player Choice in Open World RPG

From “Arrow in the Knee” memes to sidequest distractions, Skyrim has created a gaming subculture that is all its own.  For better or for worse, the game (and the Elder Scrolls series) has had an impact on the culture.  But which is it?

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News Roundup, 9/7

Take a look at news and developments from the past few weeks!

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Five Reasons Video Games are not the Devil

Media can be used for great good.  But, as we all know, it can do great harm as well.  That’s really in the message more than the medium, but there are certain forms of media that have gotten a really bad rap.  Video Games is one of them.  But, contrary to what many may think, video games are not inherently harmful.  Here are five reasons why.

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