‘Family values’ entertainment needs to also tell great stories

rom left: David Alan Grier, Anika Noni Rose, Skai Jackson, Harrison Knight, Bryce Clyde Jenkins and Wood Harris star in Walden Family Theater’s film “The Watsons go to Birmingham,” scheduled to air on the Hallmark Channel in September. (©Crown Media United States, LLC)

There has been some interesting activity regarding faith-based entertainment this summer, including a summit between Hollywood and faith-based production companies, an analysis by the Vatican's newspaper of comic book superheroes, and the June 22 announcement by former U.S. senator and one-time GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum that he is now the CEO of EchoLight Studios, a Dallas company that will produce faith-based and family productions across all platforms. I was present at … [Read more...]

“Space Warriors” family film premieres Friday, May 31, Hallmark Channel 8/7

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Hallmark Channel Friday, May 31, 2013 8/7 Jimmy Hawkins (Thomas Horn) is the son of a retired NASA astronaut, Captain Andy Hawkins (Dermot Mulroney) who once worked on the International Space Station.  Jimmy lives with his mom, Sally (Mira Sorvino), who is divorced from Andy. Jimmy love astrophysics and has always dreamed of being an astronaut and against his parents’ wishes, secretly applies to attend a special summer camp session at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama. … [Read more...]

“Midnight’s Children” and the search for identity

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Indian/Canadian director Deepa Mehta's cinematic interpretation of Salmon Rushdie's 1981 Booker Prize-winning novel "Midnight's Children" is a vibrant epic that spans about 30 years and has a cast of thousands. It tells the story of two baby boys who were born precisely at midnight on Aug. 15, 1947, when India gained independence from Great Britain. The nurse, Mary Pereira (Seema Biswas), a Catholic, switched the boys soon after birth, meaning that the child of the poor father would grow up … [Read more...]

‘Starbuck’ the hilarious tale of moral dilemmas and unintended consequences

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  Hanoverhill Starbuck (1979-1998) was a Canadian bull that sired 200,000 daughters around the world -- just under 37,000 in Canada alone. He also sired 209 proven sons, all through artificial insemination. 685,000 doses of his semen was sold in 45 countries globally, earning almost $25 million. David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) is a 42-year old loveable ne'er do well whose code name was “Starbuck” at the Montreal fertility clinic where he was a habitual donor 20 years ago -- and … [Read more...]

Plato comes to life in DreamWorks “The Croods”

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  In "The Croods," the prehistoric caveman Grug (voice of Nicolas Cage) is the head of the Crood family. These beings believe they are the only creatures of their kind in existence. They live somewhere on the earth in a dark cave and only go out during the day if necessary. Grug tells the younger members of the family -- Eep (voice of Emma Stone), Thunk (voice of Clark Duke) and Sandy (Randy Thom) -- the same bedtime story every night: Obey the rules of the cave that are marked on … [Read more...]

“Francis and the Sultan” documentary released with great timing

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  When it was announced March 13 that the church had a new pope who had taken the name Francis, the first thing that popped into my head was, "St. Francis was the first one to reach out to Islam." This fact had just recently had been reinforced when I screened a new documentary from Franciscan Media, "In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan: a Model for Peacemaking." Talk about great timing for the release of this two-part DVD written and produced by Franciscan Sr. Kathleen A. … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: no words needed

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    What were you doing when the white smoke began to rise from the Sistine Chapel last Wednesday? Left to right, Ellen Russell, SSJ, Joanne Connolly, SSL, Regina McLaughlan, SSJ, M. Thecla Paolini, FSP – photo by Rose Pacatte, FSPOn that morning of Wednesday March 13, I was in our book center here in Culver City chatting with Sister Joanne Connolly, SSL, who had come in to do some shopping.  At about 10:45am our Sister Marie James called from the convent … [Read more...]

New pope? Be the first to find out

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I just signed up! Now praying that the smoke will turn white during the day. We have a relay set up between the mom of one of our sisters on the east coast. Since the first burning will be about 10:30am on Wednesday, March 13 ROME time, it will be 5:30am ET, and 2:30am PT. So mom will text - we know she'll be prompt! But this website might work, too. Come Holy Spirit... … [Read more...]

“Oz the Great and Wonderful” is about the wizard of ‘id’

Michelle Williams stars in a scene from the movie "Oz the Great and Powerful." (CNS/Disney)

  "Oz the Great and Powerful" opens with Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco), a self-centered small-time carnival magician and would-be ladies' man in Kansas more than a century ago. He tries to woo young women by including them in his shows, just as he tries to con the meager profits out of his assistant, Frank (Zach Braff). As the show is about to begin, Annie (Michelle Williams), perhaps the one woman Oscar truly loves, comes to tell him another man has asked her to marry him. She … [Read more...]

‘Beyond the Hills’ finds the devil in ignorance, fear

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In "Beyond the Hills," a young woman, Alina (Cristina Flutur), returns home to Romania after living and working in Germany for several years. She visits her childhood friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), who is a novice in a Greek Orthodox monastery in a remote area. Both women were raised in a state orphanage and seem to have had an intimate relationship in their teen years that Alina now wants to rekindle. Voichita, however, wants to be kind but is focused on dedicating her life to God and … [Read more...]


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