Articles written by Willie Krischke


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  • Dark, Brooding, and Fantastic

    Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Oct 5, 2017

    The Wind River Reservation is in Wyoming, about halfway between Casper and Jackson. My parents live in Casper, though I didn't grow up there and don't know the area very well. My dad, however, works for USDA Wildlife services in Wyoming, and the main character in Wind River would also work for USDAWS, if the film had its facts straight (Director/Writer Taylor Sheridan has him working for Fish & Wildlife, but they don't shoot coyotes who kill sheep. That's my dad's job.) All...

  • A DC Comics movie that doesn't suck

    Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jul 15, 2017

    So here's the thing we've got to keep in mind: the bar for Wonder Woman is ridiculously low. After the total disaster that was Batman v. Superman, the exercise in tastelessness that was Suicide Squad, and the extremely questionable choices of Man of Steel, all we really want is a DC Comics movie that doesn't suck. Like a gambling addict on a losing streak, we keep ponying back up to the table, ever more desperately convinced that our luck will change eventually. In my...

  • Two films: One controversial but both powerful

    Film Reviews by Willie Krischke|Updated May 12, 2017

    The Shack Starring Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Graham Greene, Avraham Aviv Alush, Sumire Matsubara In The Shack, Sam Worthington plays a guy named Mack, who, after a family tragedy, is angry at God while also not sure if God exists. I think plenty of people can identify with that feeling. When things happen to us that are hard to bear or don't make sense, our first reaction is to blame God. And God rarely comes to His own defense. But this time God does show up. Mack...

  • FILM REVIEWS

    Film Reviews by Willie Krischke|Updated Mar 13, 2017

    La La Land Hidden Figures La La Land "La La Land" seems to barely exist as a movie. It is so light and breezy, so stocked with nostalgia and whimsy, dream sequences, and references to other movies; it feels like it might be that one movie everyone thinks they saw that never actually existed. Was that even real, or did I dream it? If it was real, it starred Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, two young hopefuls in the city of lights, waiting for their big break. Stone wants to be an...

  • Violent portrayal about how terrible violence is Hacksaw Ridge

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jan 9, 2017

    When he was a young man in West Virginia, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) made a vow to God that he would never touch a gun or intentionally hurt another human being. In "Hacksaw Ridge" there are two incidents that inspire that vow-one, when he is a young boy and hits his brother with a rock. For a few terrible moments, he thinks he's killed him. Then, when he is a teenager, he takes a gun away from his drunken, abusive, self-loathing father (Hugo Weaving) and almost uses it...

  • Would Jesus Eat Frybread?

    Willie Krischke|Updated Jan 9, 2017

    LAWRENCE, KS-The fourth annual "Would Jesus Eat Frybread?" conference was held at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, November 4-6, 2016. "Would Jesus Eat Frybread" (abbreviated WJEF) is a national Native American college student conference hosted by InterVarsity Native Ministries, Cru's Nations ministry, and funded in part by Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Mark Charles, Navajo, from Fort Defiance, Arizona, one of the conference's founders and planne...

  • Films offer insight into Navajo culture and oil industry

    Film Reviews by Willie Krischke|Updated Nov 14, 2016

    Drunktown's Finest Deepwater Horizon "Drunktown's Finest" is set in the fictional town of Dry Lake, New Mexico, which is pretty clearly a stand-in for Gallup, New Mexico. If you're familiar with Gallup, there'll be plenty of local landmarks you'll recognize. I saw a motel I stayed in once. Gallup/Dry Lake is right on the edge of the Navajo reservation and the movie is about three different Navajos who go back and forth between dominant culture in the city and Navajo culture...

  • Film Reviews

    Film Reviews by Willie Krischke|Updated Sep 9, 2016

    Kubo and the Two Strings "If you must blink,..." "If you must blink, do it now." That's the first line of "Kubo and the Two Strings, spoken over a dark screen, and it's good advice, because what follows is a visual feast that you won't want to take your eyes off for even a second. Director Travis Knight and the LAIKA animation team have seamlessly blended stop motion and digital animation to create a movie that doesn't look like any other. Young Kubo is a storyteller with the...

  • Only one-third is worth seeing

    Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jul 19, 2016

    "If you miss the first half of the movie, you're not really missing much...." If you go see "Free State of Jones," go ahead and take your time getting popcorn and soda pop. If you miss the first half of the movie, you're not really missing much. It's a pretty standard re-telling of the Robin Hood myth, set in Mississippi at the tail end of the Civil War. The beats were so predictable, it proceeded so methodically, that my eyelids grew heavy. Matthew McConaughey plays a...

  • Charlie's Country and another lesser quality movie

    Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated May 14, 2016

    David Gulpilil has been around Hollywood movies for a long time. He's the actor most often called when productions need an Australian aborigine (really, it's kind of depressing how often on his IMDB page he's just credited as "Aborigine"), and you've probably seen him in movies like "Crocodile Dundee," "Rabbit-Proof Fence," "Australia," or "Walkabout." He has one of those faces you'll recognize, even if you don't recognize his name. It's easy to see why he keeps getting cast;...

  • The Revenant

    Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Mar 24, 2016

    The Revenant" is set in what is now North Dakota/Montana in the 1820s. (The film fudges a little on its location as it was shot in British Columbia, which has the Rockies versus North Dakota's mountain-less terrain). It's a time period and location seldom explored in movies-a Western in some senses, and definitely not in others. A band of fur trappers, led by Domnhall Gleeson, find themselves in conflict with the Indigenous people of that land (called by their nickname the "Re...

  • Two films that insult our intelligence

    A Double-Feature Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jan 17, 2016

    As "Big Game" opens, a 13-year-old boy must go hunting on his own, armed with only a bow and arrow, as part of a coming-of-age ceremony. Whatever he brings back-rabbit, deer, bear-marks him for life: this is the kind of man he is. Now that's pressure. One of the fun things about "Big Game" is that it starts with this ceremony, somewhere in the ice and snow of Scandinavia. And while it clearly takes place in present day, I would guess that you could take the first twenty pages...

  • Sobering versus humanistic

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Nov 14, 2015

    Between "Everest," and the "The Martian," the movie-plex this fall seems to be full of films about places where the tiniest mistake can result in almost certain death. If Hollywood is trying to convince me to never leave my couch again, they're doing a pretty solid job. The two films also give us an opportunity to meditate on the human spirit, and our place in the vast universe where we live. "The Martian" is set in an apparently not-that-distant future, where everything is...

  • "Slapstick" violence versus "sledgehammer" message about race

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated May 12, 2015

    The good people who made Kingsman: The Secret Service feel, in no uncertain terms, that spy movies have gotten all-too-serious. You should know that going in; this movie is silly on purpose. Its object is to be outrageous, it's determined to be daffy, it resolves to be ridiculous. The violence is over the top and cartoonish, which is good, because there is more than enough of it. But cringing every time a character gets his arm broken in Kingsman is like crying every time...

  • Story of memory, identity, and trauma

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Mar 21, 2015

    Based on the 1974 novel by James Welch, "Winter in the Blood" is a dreamy, often brutally dark film about an alcoholic on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana. Chaske Spencer plays Virgil First Raise, who lives his life in an alternating state of drunken stupor and hung-over bleariness. There's not much that you could call a plot here. First Raise wakes up in a ditch as the film opens, discovers his wife has left him, heading into town with his rifle and his electric razor,...

  • "...here we are...still talking"

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jan 17, 2015

    "You don't always agree with me, and I don't always agree with you, and yet here we are... still talking." The little boy who plays God (or God's messenger) in Exodus: Gods and Kings says this to Moses near the end of the movie, as Moses carves out the Ten Commandments with hammer and chisel (no finger of God here). And that line may go the furthest to express Ridley Scott's approach to God and spirituality throughout the movie. This is a film filled with profound...

  • "Best job I ever had."

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Dec 4, 2014

    This is the toast members of a tank crew all offer to each other at the end of a particularly intense battle sequence in the new World War II drama Fury. They're being sarcastic and/or ironic-all of them would rather be somewhere, anywhere else-but you get the sense that, even in the midst of the joke, they're also speaking the truth. The adrenaline rush of a kill-or-be-killed situation is addictive, and there's nothing like putting everything on the line for a cause that you...

  • Pretty decent films with cautionary warning

    Willie Krischke|Updated Oct 12, 2014

    Two pretty decent films about Native Americans (and featuring Native American actors) have recently been released on DVD. "The Road to Paloma" stars Jason Momoa, who also directed the film. Momoa, who is of Hawaiian, Pawnee, German and Irish descent, is probably best known for playing the fierce Khal Drogo in HBO's series "Game of Thrones." He's also the star of SundanceTV's series "The Red Road," which is about Ramapouh Mountain Indians in New Jersey. In fact, according to...

  • Thank God for Community

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated May 25, 2014

    We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. –John 1:14 The last part of that verse both inspires and haunts me: full of grace and truth. So often I err on one side or the other, either extending grace but ignoring the truth, which makes me an enabler, both of my own sin and that of my friends. Or I am full of truth but lacking in grace, coming down hard like a hammer, squashing those I am trying to challenge a...

  • Twisting the knife for the sake of it

    Film Reviews by Willie Krischke|Updated Mar 15, 2014

    The cinematic offerings that highlight Native American or Indigenous issues or feature promising Native American or Indigenous actors have been pretty thin lately, but I thought I'd take this issue of Indian Life to let you know about two films I've seen recently that fall into those categories. The Activist is a film set on (or near) the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation during the Wounded Knee occupation in 1973. Cyril Moran, a Frenchman, directs it and the film has...

  • The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jan 19, 2014

    Now that we're two-thirds of the way through it, The Hobbit trilogy is forming up to be Middle Earth-lite. It's an entertaining series of movies for any and all who thought Lord of the Rings was far too serious and grim. Though it occasionally takes stabs at being "epic," these Hobbit movies are far more interested in just having fun in an imaginary world. With that in mind, I'm going to run through The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug with an eye for its goofiness and fun-loving...

  • Big Action Movie with Sledgehammer Revelation

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Nov 23, 2013

    Ender's Game is a movie about war and children. Set in the distant future, humanity has barely survived an attack by a vastly superior alien enemy, almost entirely due to luck and good timing. The aliens look and act like giant bugs, and their faces fill the nightmares of Earth's children every night. And maybe not just the children. The thought of a second bug invasion scares the pants off of Earth's leaders so they are doing everything imaginable to make sure that doesn't ha...

  • Relegating Native Americans to the past The Lone Ranger

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Sep 28, 2013

    It seems like all Native America wanted to talk about this summer was “The Lone Ranger” and whether it honored or offended Native Americans. I’ve read articles from Native people on both sides, so I’ll let my words be few on this topic. Frankly, I expected it to be worse. It makes some honest, if clumsy and possibly misguided, attempts to honor Native peoples. Its greatest sin is that it relegates Native Americans to the past. Tonto appears to be the last living Indian,...

  • Fun and fast-paced, it's a hoot!

    A Film Review by Willie Krischke|Updated Jul 27, 2013

    Star Trek: Into Darkness is a hoot. It’s fun and fast-paced, hurtling from one side of the galaxy to the other and then back again. It’s both accessible for newcomers to the “Star Trek” mythology and rewarding for fans who know all the in-jokes. It brings back the best villain of the old “Star Trek” series and movies (though I’m not supposed to tell you that). Director J.J. Abrams is perhaps the best handler of big, complicated set pieces this side of Christopher Nolan. “Into...

  • NAIITS hosts 10th Annual Symposium

    Willie Krischke|Updated Jul 27, 2013

    TORONTO, ON—About 150 people gathered between June 6-8, 2013 at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, Ontario for the 10th Annual Symposium on Indigenous Mission and Theology, hosted by NAIITS (North American Indigenous Institute for Theological Studies). This year’s topic was “Shaping Faith: How Language Informs the Journey” and featured a mix of academics presenting papers on issues of orality, literacy, translation and culture, as well as practit...

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