Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg in ISMAEL’S GHOSTS. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Noted French director Arnaud Desplechin’s sometimes interesting, often confusing, random, occasionally frenetic narrative is about a filmmaker, Ismael  (Mathieu Amalric) whose wife Carlotta (Marion Cotillard), disappeared twenty-one years previously and has been declared dead. He is still friends with her father Henri (László Szabó) and is in a passionate relationship with an astrophysicist, Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Life is good as Ismael works on his new feature film at… Read more

  Here’s a link to a podcast where I am in conversation about the Oscars: In Conversation Listen to Sr. Rose Pacatte discuss the threads of Catholicism running through many of this year’s Oscar-nominated films and hear her predictions and hopes for the Academy Awards in the latest episode of NCR’s podcast.   My Oscar reflections, hopes and scolds 2018 I watched about 85 films in 2017. It was an exceptionally good year for cinema. History, humanity, humor, family, religion,… Read more

Here are my reviews at Reel Time at St. Anthony Messenger for March, 2018. Read more

One of the coolest parts about being a film critic is that I can choose the films I liked the most from last year and no one can complain. Well you can, but too bad. Actually, you can make your list, too, and I hope you will do so. 2017 was a brilliant year for cinema. Some people still complain that nothing good coms out of Hollywood. True, some years the pickings are slim, but the 2017 crop is exceptionally… Read more

The movie opens in the midst of Europe’s Industrial Revolution around 1840. The German and French underground intelligentsia writes and publishes furiously about social and governmental ills. Karl Marx (August Diehl) is a liberal who supports the working class and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske) is the son of a rich factory owner in Manchester, England. The film chronicles their first rather antagonistic meeting and their lifelong friendship, Marx’s marriage and family (his wife is played by Vicky Krieps who stars… Read more

Click here then scroll down to see my review at St. Anthony Messenger. Christian Bale is, as usual, very good. Wes Studi is always good as is Rosalind Pike. More than a revisionist Western this shows white people having remorse and angst (that’s the revisionist part) for the violent white westward expansion that decimated the Indian peoples – but Indians still do not have much of a voice here. At first I was surprised that Wes Studi took this role… Read more

  Please click here for my review of “Paddington 2” at St. Anthony Messenger. I just loved it (and I don’t gush over movies!) This IS a real family movie except for maybe the very, very young. You’ll also find a shorter review of “The Post” and “Hostiles”         Read more

After more than a century of fighting, the crusades reached their height in the year 1220 A.D. The crusaders were now trapped and dying on a field in Egypt and the Muslim army blocking their escape. In order for the crusaders to reach Jerusalem they would have to take the port city of Dalmietta located at the mouth of the Nile River. The conflict between European Christians and Muslims seemed to be unending. Was there any way to resolve the… Read more

Sister Jaguar’s Journey is both a film and a book about the life of Sr. Judy Bisognano. My review was published today over at the Global Sister’s Report Blog. It begins: Judy Bisignano grew up in an abusive home in Des Moines, Iowa. Her father was a good provider, but an alcoholic. Judy’s deepest secret was that her mother beat her, almost every day. When her mother hit her, she would strike back in some way. Her misery led her straight… Read more


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