“Ben Hur” a path of redemption

Today the fourth cinematic adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a reimagining for the 21st century opens in theaters. The first, in 1907, was a silent short film and made without permission from Wallace's family. The heirs took the filmmakers to court over copyright infringement and it ended with the Supreme Court setting a legal precedent for film and theatrical adaptations of literary works. Carol Wallace, Wallace's great-great-granddaughter, was at the … [Read More...]

‘Gleason’ and two other summer movies about fathers: Hunt for the Wilderpeople & Captain Fantastic

 Fathers are a theme that keeps emerging in this summer's movies. We always complain about how women are portrayed in films but how often do we consider the role of fathers? Here are three worthy films that probably deserve more analysis on how fatherhood is presented that I provide here, but if you like meaningful movies, these might be a good choice for you.'Gleason'Steve Gleason played defense for the New Orleans Saints for seven seasons and is famously remembered for a punt … [Read More...]

‘The Innocents’ tells a story of trauma, grace

At last, the long night of World War II is over in Europe, but for a Benedictine monastery of nuns in northern Poland, the nightmare continues. During vespers one evening, a white-veiled novice hears screaming. She puts on her coat against the cold and snow and, sneaking out a hidden door, runs … [Read More...]

‘Thelma & Louise’ 25 years later still poses a challenge to male entitlement

I first saw "Thelma and Louise" while studying for a master's in education in media studies in London in 1995. We gathered to watch the film and not one male student of the 12 or so in our class showed up for the screening. Not one. What were they afraid of? When we asked some of them, they just … [Read More...]

RISEN now available on DVD, Blu-Ray. digital

RISEN is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, digital, etc.Here's a link to the cast talking about meeting the Pope as well as my review of the film.  … [Read More...]

‘The Angry Birds Movie’ is a volatile pun fest

Flying off the gigantic success of its 2009 online video game "Angry Birds," Rovio Entertainment of Finland commissioned a script from animation film and television writer John Vitti ("The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," "Ice Age") for a feature film about the birds that fly via slingshot.Joined … [Read More...]

Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics

After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through sight and sound. Cinema, and increasingly episodic stories on television and the Internet, brings the human face of my brother or sister up close and personal so that … [Read More...]

Pope Francis invites us to reflect mercy in our speech and in Tweets for World Communications Day 2016

 One of the best-kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that we have a beautiful tradition of teaching about communication and media that goes back to the 1930s and continues through today. This teaching covers speaking with one another in the family, parish and community, to … [Read More...]

8 films and mini-series to see before you vote

My ears perked up back in March when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defended his wife, Heidi, after Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" about her. Cruz came back with a threat of his own that sounded like it was straight out of the 1995 film "The American President" when President Andrew Shepherd … [Read More...]

“Rabin in His Own Words” is a testament to peace

At the Venice Film Festival last September, the SIGNIS (Catholic) Jury placed filmmaker Amos Gitai’s “Rabin: The Last Day” on our short list for the SIGNIS Prize as soon as we saw it. The film is a captivating docudrama form of a political essay that explores the last day in the life of the famed pea … [Read More...]


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