‘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...]

‘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...]

“Son of God” to sweep theaters nationwide on February 28 – and my review

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As The Hollywood Reporter noted in an article on February 12, "Son of God: Church Leaders Buying Out Theaters for Screenings," thousands of people across the country will be seeing producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's new film that tells the life of Christ when it opens on February 28. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles and Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, DC have endorsed the film.Here's my review on "The INNdustry with Sister Rose" on the Jesuit run INNetwork  where I ask Roma and Mark how m … [Read more...]

16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year

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 Arielle Calderon over at BuzzFeed has posted a cool list of "books into movies" scheduled for release this year. I've read two of the books on her list: Unbroken, Gone Girl and I am reading The Monuments Men. Calderone has them listen in order of release date.1. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard What it’s about: Over the course of a Labor Day weekend in the late ’80s, 13-year-old Henry and his depressed mother Adele’s lives change when they harbor fugitive Frank Chambers at home. Frank … [Read more...]

“Captain Phillips” is Tom Hanks at his very best but the film raises questions

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There are just so many ways to go in writing a review of the true story of Merchant Marine Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama.  In 2008 his ship was boarded by four Somali pirates and the captain was taken hostage. The film is titled simply: "Captain Phillips."As a film, director Paul Greengrass’ work is unembellished, dramatic and moving.As for Tom Hanks’ performance, it is so understated that it makes him completely believable. He is the quintessential “everyman” here and … [Read more...]

You know that book I’ve been working on for 7 years? Lights, Camera, Faith: Beatitudes and Deadly Sins? It’s finished!

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  Yes, it is finished. The fifth volume in the series Lights, Camera Faith by my co-author Peter Malone, MSH and me. Click here to see the other volumes. And it's not like Peter didn't do his work: he was finished long ago. I was the one who got behind and involved in many other projects. And gave in to writer's block when all it took was a clean desk and the will to do it! So the manuscript is off to the editor. Sure there will be corrections and other steps but the … [Read more...]

“Standing Up” is a touching coming-of-age film based on teen novel

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D. J. Caruso’s coming-of-age film “Standing Up” opens this weekend. It’s the tasteful film version of Brock Cole’s 1990 young adult (= young adolescent) novel “The Goats” and it has a B.K. rating – bring Kleenex. It’s a movie that ought to be required viewing for parents, teachers, and camp counselors.11 year-old Howie (Chandler Canterbury) is with a group of boys at camp and enthusiastically agrees to collect wood for the fire on the island in the lake they have made off to after lights out. … [Read more...]


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