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Annihilation: The Violence of Redemption

Let’s get this out of the way first: Alex Garland’s Annihilation is a weird movie.  Mainstream audiences were destined to hate it, especially after it was mismarketed as a horror film.  But if you have the patience to stick with it, the exploration of self-hate and self-destruction, as well as creation, strike some interesting theological notes.

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Incredibles 2: A Superhero Family Drama

Genre films sometimes produces mindless, trope-filled drivel, and other times use the genre template to engage with something meaningful.  Incredibles 2 is the latter.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

In a galactic world of thievery and double-crosses, Solo: A Star Wars Story searches for meaning, and is partially successful.
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Music

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Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

In space, no one can fix your problems.
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Underoath: Erase Me

Christian metalheads have an ax to grind, and its name is Underoath.

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BØRNS – Blue Madonna

Garrett Borns has been brought down to the blue blue earth.
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TV Shows

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Authority & Anarchy in ‘Luke Cage’ Season One

Luke Cage is angry with the system.  It unfairly sent him to prison, it subjected him to corruption while in prison, and it kept him from living free while out of prison.  In his new life outside of Seagate, Cage faces gang violence, murder, and wayward youth, in interactions that typify the spirit of anarchy.  At every turn, the series is relentlessly challenging authority.

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The Early Missteps of ‘Titans’

Life is growing difficult for defenders of the DC Extended Universe.  Since Justice League‘s lukewarm reception, the franchise has been looking for new ways to gain interest, including a Joaquin Phoenix Joker film, and the introduction of a DC streaming service.  But the most recent item getting buzz is a new trailer for the series Titans, one that’s gaining backlash from critics of all stripes.  Reasons for this are varied, and largely aesthetic, but there are thematic reasons to be concerned, as well.

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Cultural Atheism in ‘Britannia’

A partially successful meld of history and fantasy, Amazon’s Britannia seeks its audience through a “Game of Thrones lite” approach, with one eye on paganism and the other on Nietzsche.

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Books

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The Great Alone: Trauma & Community

In 1980, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTDS) was added to the Diagnostic Service Manual (DSM), the handbook for psychiatry professionals on mental disorders.  The move was controversial at the time, and untreated trauma victims created more social problems.  Just ask Leni.

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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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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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