‘The Giver’ what happens when we destroy what makes us human

Jeff Bridges, left, and Brenton Thwaites star in "The Giver" (©The Weinstein Company)

 The word "dystopian" has always intrigued me. The easy definition is that it means "anti-utopian," but it sets up too facile a dichotomy because life never reaches the utopian ideal except in dreams, books and movies. If anything, dystopian means post-apocalyptic, which most often brings us into the realm of science fiction. A once acceptable world, however imperfect, has self-destructed or suffered destruction from outside forces, or a combination of the two. Whatever is left is … [Read more...]

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

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 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...]

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

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

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?

Finally, a female Pixar hero who's not a princess. (c) Disney/Pixar

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 to keep Riley in balance. The "emotions" (according to a studio presentation) are not made out of "flesh and blood" but "energy".Please give this article a read.it's a wonderful idea but what … [Read more...]

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

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 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 Smith, a non-Catholic, made such a Catholic film.  Here's my online review of the film from "The INNdustry with Sister Rose":       … [Read more...]

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

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 "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 Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763).  The girls and their family had come to America from Germany. The Delaware Indians took the girls (and other captives) over 300 miles into O … [Read more...]

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

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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 Anne: A Diary in Dance" by the Helios Dance Theater company. A second performance will take place Thursday.I think most of us have read or know about The Diary of Anne Frank (or Anne Frank: The … [Read more...]

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

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley star in "The Fault in Our Stars." (CNS/Fox)

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 less-than-enthusiastic Hazel off at the local Episcopal church so she can join in a support group for teens coping with cancer. The group leader, Patrick (Mike Birbiglia), is a cancer survivor who … [Read more...]

“Korengal” Same valley, same soldiers, different story

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 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 cameraman, photojournalist Tim Hetherington who died in 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya. But as Junger expresses it, “’Restrepo’ was intended to be a way for civilians to experience what combat … [Read more...]


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