Telling tale

Review by Garth Jones

TV | The Handmaid’s Tale

Marketing material for SBS On Demand’s The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a young, disfigured woman sheathed in a demure scarlet cloak, her bonnet evoking 17th century Puritanism.

Paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 7:4, the poster starkly declares “your body is no longer your own”.

Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 ...

Familiar stories

Review by Charles Gibson

Book | Known to Social Services | Freya Barrington

This novel by Freya Barrington is not, in fact, written by Freya Barrington.

Barrington is the pen name used by a senior child protection social worker in a local authority in England. And while it is a work of fiction, Barrington clearly draws ...

Radical conservation


Book | The World-Ending Fire |  Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a novelist, poet and essayist, a self-described ‘crank’, a critic of technology and the idealism that comes with it, a Kentucky farmer who uses horses instead of a tractor, and a writer who uses a pencil rather than a computer.


Everyday faith

Review by Rohan Pryor

Book | Thinking the Faith, Living the Faith | Chris Walker

A ministry colleague and friend tells me that only theologians are interested in theology, and many of the introductory books are heavy in both weight and terminology. By contrast, this very readable book (subtitled An introduction to Christian Theology) is relatively ...

Fringe festival

Review by David Southwell


John Safran, who is perhaps best known as an idiosyncratic TV prankster and provocateur, is asked what he is doing at an anti-Muslim rally organised by the far-right United Patriots Front.

“I’m in charge of ...

Braking bad


As recent Hollywood legend goes, Baby Driver director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) dreamt up his film’s high concept as a student in the mid ‘90s. Moved by the garage rock bombast of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s (JSBX) 1994 single Bell Bottoms, Wright envisioned a muscular, Bullitt-style car-chase scene set to the track’s ...

Classy comeback for Spider-Man

After two film series – totalling five movies in fifteen years – and a celebrated Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) reintroduction in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming is aptly named.

Directed with ‘80s teen movie vigour by indie filmmaker Jon Watt (Cop Car), this Spider-reboot depicts Tom Holland’s 15-year-old polymath Peter Parker as he negotiates the pitfalls of juggling web-slinging ...

Not One for All

Review by David Southwell

Book | God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, And Why Their Differences Matter | Stephen Prothero

This 2011 book, written by Boston University religious studies Professor Stephen Prothero, promises to be a polemical broadside but mostly comprises a general introduction and overview of world religions.

Page turner

Review by Penny Mulvey

Book | Off the Page | Clare Boyd-Macrae

Clare Boyd-Macrae has a gift – to turn the mundane and the routine into something of beauty, of grace, of God.

Her latest book, Off the Page, faith reflections, is a collection of her writing published in The Age Faith column and The ...

Heart’s desire

Review by Craig Thompson

Book | Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation | James K.A. Smith

James K A Smith’s, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation is an accessible and valuable introduction to the nature and purpose of Christian worship. Drawing on contemporary understandings of the nature of the human being – ...

Mission and the art of powerful questions

In my sharing with gathered communities across our Church, I am convinced we are helped by those among us who can ask ‘powerful questions’.

Powerful questions is a term made popular by Canadian business strategist Eric Vogt who was convinced that:

  • questions are a prerequisite to learning;
  • questions are a window into ...

Wonder full

Review by Penny Mulvey

Movie | Wonder Woman | M

The basic premise of a superhero movie is that good triumphs over evil. The only grey to the story is that the personification of ‘evil’ has experienced something which tipped him (evil in the genre is normally male) into the world of darkness.