Gabrielle_(2013_film)

‘Gabrielle’ a sweet story of a young woman struggling for acceptance

 Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) is a 22-year old woman who lives in a group home for cognitively disabled adults in Montreal. She has Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder whose symptoms include hyper-socialization, heightened musical skills,  and intellectual disability. Gabrielle is very close to her older sister, Sophie (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) who has her own apartment and longs to go to India to be with her fiancé but feels responsible for Gabrielle. Their mother, (Isabelle … [Read More...]

Eric Bana, center, and Joel McHale, left, in a scene from "Deliver Us From Evil" (CNS/Sony Picture/Andrew Schwartz)

‘Deliver Us From Evil’ is dark, violent, and an adventure in grace

Horror-meister Scott Derrickson's newest film, "Deliver Us From Evil," begins with three U.S. Marines in Iraq who come across some strange writing on a wall in an underground cave. What they don't realize is that the writing is from the devil and that when they return home, they bring darkness and evil with them.New York police sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is one tough cop with his own inner darkness. He is married to Jen (Olivia Munn) with one child, Christina (Lulu Wilson). He works … [Read More...]

What? No more princesses at Pixar/Disney?

The news that Pixar and Disney are creating a story with an average (white) girl really captured my attention. "Inside Out" is to be a story about an 11-year old girl named Riley who is becoming an adolescent. The film will deal with five key emotions, especially Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) that work … [Read More...]

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith

 Here is my interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith about her revealing and inspiring documentary about the Camino de Santiago de Campostela. Find out why six people (and  more really) from different parts of the world, and different ages, walk this ancient pilgrimage route and why and how … [Read More...]

“Alone Yet Not Alone” a one-sided telling of a true story

 "Alone, Yet Not Alone" is inspired a true story based on the 2012 fictional biography, "Alone Yet Not Alone: Their faith became their freedom" by Tracy Leininger Craven. The story is about two of Craven's ancestors Barbara and Regina Leininger who were captured by indigenous people in … [Read More...]

Anne Frank’s 85th birthday: the girl behind the diary

In October, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles launched "Anne: A Premier Experiential Exhibit" to commemorate the life of Anne Frank, who would have turned 85 on Thursday, for a 10-year stay. I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit Sunday as a kind of introduction to a performance of "About … [Read More...]

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a love story for our time

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is in her 17th year of life and fourth year of thyroid cancer. The chemo has severely damaged her lungs, so she needs constant oxygen. She doesn't go anywhere without the tank and plastic tether that keeps her going.Her mom, Frannie (Laura Dern), drops a … [Read More...]

“Korengal” Same valley, same soldiers, different story

 One of the loglines for Sebastian Junger’s latest documentary film “Korengal” is: “Same valley, same soldiers. Different journey” while another reads: “This is what war feels like.”In one way “Korengal” completes the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo” that Junger made with came … [Read More...]

The Truth-telling Power of Documentaries

From my article that appears in the June, 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic:In 2012 Sister Simone Campbell and the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK launched the   "Nuns on the Bus" tour to “live the biblical demand for social justice” and “to speak truth to power” in the name of the poor and margi … [Read More...]


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