Most Recent Archive

Hostilities in our hearts and lives

March 22, 2019 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Wider View

On Ash Wednesday, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) issued a Lenten reflection on gun violence prevention. The reflection calls for inward reflection as well as external action to address gun violence in our society. Policy changes alone will not end gun violence in the United States. But a review of 130 studies in 10 countries suggests that stricter gun policies lead to a reduction in gun deaths. Policy proposals in the U.S. context include expanded background checks, safe storage laws, mandatory reporting of lost or stolen weapons, and a ban on assault weapons. Proposals such as these would not infringe on […]

Captive State

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March 22, 2019 Carmen Andres Media Matters

As a film reviewer, occasionally my deadline coincides with a month when there aren’t any films I’m particularly interested in. So, I scroll a bit further down the list and usually end up seeing one I don’t know much about. Sometimes, it doesn’t take long to realize there was a good reason a particular film flew under my radar. But other times I discover a good one. Captive State is one of those. A science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of Planet of the Apes), Captive State is set in the near future after aliens have invaded the […]

Captain Marvel

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March 14, 2019 Vic Thiessen Media Matters

Let me start by noting that I am not a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and consider only three of its twenty previous films worth watching (Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther), though I admit that I have only watched about half of the MCU films. Most MCU films I have seen had far too much mindless and pointless violent action and I am a little surprised filmgoers haven’t gotten bored. Based on the box office figures for Captain Marvel this past weekend, not only have filmgoers not gotten bored they continue to run to the cinema the […]

Reducing electoral violence

March 8, 2019 Charles Kwuelum Wider View

Countries invest a lot of resources in national elections but sometimes the process is accompanied by violence, leading to the destruction of lives, property and livelihoods and perpetuating cycles of trauma. Nigeria’s recently concluded presidential elections were regarded as relatively peaceful, but incidents of localized violence and electoral misconduct affected the credibility of the elections. More than one million people were unable to cast their votes due to violence around polling centers and millions more were disenfranchised for other reasons. After the results were announced, celebrations sparked violence in some parts of the country. Violence around elections in countries such […]

Black Earth Rising

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March 7, 2019 Jerry L. Holsopple Media Matters

The opening music hooked me as Black Earth Rising, a mini-series on Netflix, came on with the titles featuring the fearful hope of the story, told with simple drawn lines rushing across the screen. I had to watch it again. It took me a few seconds to realize this was Leonard Cohen’s gravel-low voice chanting us into the darkness, surrounded by the voices of a choir and the cantor from a synagogue. The musical complexity is a fantastic opening to this multifaceted journey into the remains of the Rwandan genocide, and the tentacles that reach into the war next door […]

Oscar-nominated shorts and winners

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February 28, 2019 Matthew Kauffman Smith Media Matters

The beauty of short films is that filmmakers can focus on one narrow aspect of life. Shorts can also be as powerful and meaningful as a movie that is 10 times as long, and can give fledgling filmmakers an opportunity to hone their craft. Short films also have received a boost in popularity in recent years with an annual theatrical release of Oscar-nominated shorts in the animated, live action, and documentary categories. While the films are also available on streaming platforms, the theatrical release is a great way to see a great diversity of films in one sitting.  While I […]

Border walls: A simple fix?

February 22, 2019 Tammy Alexander Wider View

By Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office There is general agreement that monitoring the flow of people and goods across the U.S.-Mexico border is a necessary government function. This is especially true when it comes to efforts to restrict the flow of illicit drugs and human trafficking. However, there are disagreements among both policymakers and the public about how best to accomplish this, particularly when it comes to the construction of border walls and fences. Those disagreements are sometimes expressed with extreme language, when those who favor building walls are portrayed as racist and hating immigrants and those who […]

Lego Movie 2

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February 21, 2019 Carmen Andres Media Matters

When The Lego Movie came out in 2014, my son was 11. By that age, he and his friends were far more into computer games, Star Wars and superhero movies than their Legos, but they got a kick out of the movie–in no small part because of its ability to not only draw on a childhood love of Legos but also appeal across pop culture landscapes like Star Wars and the DC comic universe. And it had a really thoughtful and satisfying story to boot. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part definitely continues the pop culture landscapes and references–cranking them […]