‘He Named Me Malala’ deserves an Oscar (see Stephen Colbert’s interview with Malala, too)

  There is a legend in Pakistan that goes something like this. During the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-80), a young woman named Malala (or Malalai) was tending to the injured when the Afghan army started to retreat. She called out to her husband to stand firm and, taking off her veil, she used it as a flag to rally the troops. They turned back and defeated the British that day, but the heroic Malala was killed.“He Named Me Malala” is Oscar-winning producer/director Dav … [Read More...]


‘Captive’ is a compelling, moving drama

 I've been traveling so I am just now able to post my review of CAPTIVE as it appears in the October 2015 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.But I want to add that this is an inspiring film. And it is gritty and does not hide the violence. It's a truthful film about something that really happened and the power of a book to make a huge difference in the choices the characters make. Inspiring films can be compelling - they do not have to be Sunday school lessons. The filmmakers did this … [Read More...]

’90 Minutes in Heaven’ cannot be saved

"90 Minutes in Heaven" is based on Dan Piper's 2004 New York Times best-selling real-life experience story.Director Michael Polish's new film, simply put, is no match for the book and is proof that some books should never, ever be made into films.Don Piper (Hayden Christensen) is on his way … [Read More...]

‘Black Mass’ ‘Everest’ and 33 Films at the Venice Film Festival

 VENICE, ITALY As most people know, Venice, Italy, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The very first world cinema festival was held there in 1932, with Moscow, Cannes, Locarno and others following. The Venice “Biennale” missed the war years, reconvening in 1947. At that time, the … [Read More...]

Venice International Film Festival 2015 (Biennale) Part One

It's been a busy time here on the Lido island of Venice, Italy! I am a member of the SIGNIS jury for the third time - an honor and a privilege. The first time was in 2000, then 2009 (we gave "The Hurt Locker" our award) and now this year. We have a few more films to see before voting on the film to … [Read More...]

“Ties that Bind” UP launches new cop & family drama

 The UP Network continues it's mission to "uplift" viewers with a new original dramatic series about cops and a family, "Ties that Bind."Kelli Williams ("The Practice") is Seattle detective Allison McLean who with her partner, Devin Stewart (Dion Johnstone), arrests her brother, played … [Read More...]

“The 33″ story of Chilean miners coming to theaters

I received the following press release a couple of days ago. I've seen the film and my review will follow nearer the film's release date. "You can never lose your faith. Faith is nourishment ... Faith is life." - Jorge Galleguillos, Survivor, Copiapo Mine Collapse In 2010, a mine in Chile … [Read More...]

Breaking News: “Vacation” receives DG (IWY) rating!

I was a little surprised to be invited to a press screening for "Vacation" - an downdating  or unbooting of the old Chevy Chase Griswold Family vacation comedies.From the opening lyrics of the soundtrack, laden with "f" bombs, well, it just got worse. If any family has a vacation like this, all … [Read More...]

‘Phoenix’ is a haunting post-Holocaust mystery

In the still-growing canon Holocaust cinema, its victims and survivors, it's impact on history and humanity, there are fact-based stories such as “Schindler’s List” and fictional stories such as “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” There are also searing documentaries such as “Memories of the Camps” fil … [Read More...]

‘Samba’ reminds viewers what it means to be human

While illegal immigration grabs political headlines in the United States, it is a major global human and social concern for those caught between borders while escaping war and poverty to seek a better life. The 2013 U.S. film "A Better Life" took a sensitive look at a Mexican father and son in Los … [Read More...]