‘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...]

“Million Dollar Arm” is a unique people-baseball movie

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J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is a Los Angeles-based sports agent who has branched out on his own with his business partner, Ash (Aasif Mandvi), but things have not been going well. When they fail to sign a big-name athlete, J.B. is inspired to go to India to look for the next baseball star. He convinces Chang (Tzi Ma) to finance a reality show in India where young men compete for the chance to come to the United States to try out for a contract in Major League Baseball.After a few months, J.B. … [Read more...]

Nuns and social media: link to Al Jazeera’s “The Stream”

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Here's the link to "Social Sisters" that aired on Al Jazeera's Online show "The Stream" yesterday   This is so last minute but you can join the conversation about nuns and social media on Al Jazeera's "The Stream"  at 3PM ET/12 noon PT. If they post the entire program after I will post the link here.On Thursday, May 29 at 19:30 GMT: Tweeting nuns. Pop singing nuns. Activist nuns. The Catholic Church is not what it used to be, … [Read more...]


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