“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...]

The Truth-telling Power of Documentaries

Scene from the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary "The Act of Killing"

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 marginalized. Campbell and her fellow sisters traveled thousands of miles by bus to call attention to programs for the poor that were under attack from budget cuts. The bus has since made a second tour, wh … [Read more...]

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” has a story for everyone

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 When director Emilio Estevez’ feature narrative film “The Way” was released in 2011, audiences across the United States and many countries were introduced for the first time to the ancient pilgrimage route “El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.”I had the opportunity to interview Martin Sheen at that time for NCR and followed it up with anarticle about a screening in which Sheen, his son Emilio Estevez, and producer David Alexanian, spoke to the audience after. “The Way” is a fict … [Read more...]

“Son of God” on DVD tomorrow with features

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 With the release of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s  “Son of God” on DVD viewers  and catechists will be able to add a fresh version of the complete life of Christ to their movie collection.I interviewed the couple, who are married and are active Catholics, and reviewed the film on my online program “The INNdustry with Sister Rose” in the INNetwork when the film opened in February.And last week I had the chance to be present at the press day with Roma Downey in view of the releas … [Read more...]

“Maleficent” – I really liked this movie

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 In a time long ago, on the moors of a far away land, all  manner of fairies, pixies, and magical creatures lived happily together led by a young girl named Maleficent  (Isobel Malloy).  One day she meets a human coming through the hedges. It is Stefan (Jackson Bews). The two young people become friends. When they grow up Stefan assists the king beyond the moors and Maleficent leads her kingdom.The king tries to attack the fairy kingdom and fails. As he lays dying he promises his cr … [Read more...]

“Rio 2″

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 (This is coming a little late as it is from my column in St. Anthony Messenger, June 2012. Subscribers received the magazine about 10 days ago):Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway), rare blue macaws, have settled down in Rio de Janeiro with their three kids, Carla (Rachel Crow), Bia (Amandla Stenberg), and Tiago (Pierce Gagnon). They perch on the extended arms of the statue of Christ that overlooks the bay. Blu’s former owner, Linda (Leslie Mann), is now married to T … [Read more...]

“Amazing Spider-Man 2″

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(This is from my column at St. Anthony Messenger, June 2014 issue)It’s graduation day for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), but Peter is late because, as Spider-Man, he is saving the city from thieves who have stolen plutonium. Gwen is the high school valedictorian, and she speaks movingly about hope. Our hero arrives just in time to get his diploma after saving Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), who works for Oscorp Industries, where Peter’s dad, Richard (Campbell Scott), use … [Read more...]


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