Four films worth seeing: Belle, Chef, Million Dollar Arm, Fed Up

Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal, Suraj Sharma and Pitobash in a scene from the movie "Million Dollar Arm" (CNS/Disney)

"Belle" -- This film is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a British sea captain (Matthew Goode) in the 18th century. Belle grows up with a cousin in the mansion of her uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), the chief justice of England, and his wife (Emily Watson). It is a story about the power of cultural mores and the law when England was beginning to challenge the legitimacy of the slave trade. Belle influences her uncle … [Read more...]

“The Way” with Martin Sheen Week 3 Lenten Film Series

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You can access the entire series directly at Lenten Film Series 2014. I hope you are enjoying the series!Be sure to check out the questions for reflection and conversation.Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela? If so, share some of your reflections here!Meanwhile "Buen Camino" for your Lenten journey wherever you are.   … [Read more...]

“The Redemption of the Prosecutor” first in Lenten Film Series

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 Today is Ash Wednesday and our Lenten Film Series from the INNetwork begins! I will post these every week. You can also visit the INNetwork (Ignatian News Network) each week as well. If you go to The INNetwork on your mobile device you can downtown the app and receive notifications each time a new Lenten film goes up.Bring your journal or a notebook to reflect on the questions that emerged from the Scriptures and the film/interview. This series if good for high … [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...]

“The Way, Way Back” is the summer movie to see

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In this summer's gentle and extremely funny and touching coming of age film, Steve Carrell plays Trent,who is a real jerk under the guise of being future husband and step-father material. And he gives up comedy and hands that crown to Sam Rockwell and team at the coastal splash park where 14 year-old Duncan (Liam Jones) gets a job to get out of the beach house where he, his mom (Toni Collette) and Trent's daughter are staying.The film opens with the two adults and teens driving in a vintage … [Read more...]

Catholic Christian criteria for awarding films

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 SIGNIS and INTERFILM Criteria for Juries I have had the privilege of serving on Catholic and Ecumenical Juries at Berlin (2004), Venice (2000, 2010), and Locarno (2006). Here are the criteria that SIGNIS, the World Catholic Organization for Communication, and INTERFILM (the International Interchurch Film Organization), have developed to inform and guide jury members as they discern winning films:The Ecumenical Jury makes awards to films and to filmmakers according to the c … [Read more...]

“Babette’s Feast” and the Goodness of God (celebrating 25 years)

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In 1995 I returned from two years of graduate study at the University of London's Institute of Education, MA in tow. I proposed that my community begin the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Boston with a good media library. At that time the budget was healthy and almost every Sunday after mass I went to the Barnes & Noble store at Chestnut Hill to savor a great cup of coffee as I browsed their excellent collection. On my second visit I met T.J., a student at Boston College who went on to … [Read more...]

Summer Film Retreat

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 Looking at movies and the stories they tell through the lens of faith and spirituality is one of my favorite ways to pray. If you cannot make it to a retreat house you might consider making a living room retreat in your own home. In the July issue of St. Anthony Messenger (I have been reviewing movies for the magazine since June, 2003) I offer a what, why, and how approach to making room for God during the "dog days of summer":Summer Film Retreat 2012For Lent this year, the … [Read more...]

Summer “cinema divina” retreat at home!

My column this month outlines how you can make a retreat from your seat if you are unable to a retreat house.For Lent this year, the Pauline Center for Media Studies hosted a six-part weekly program using The Way, starring Martin Sheen. In the film written and directed by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, Sheen plays Tom Avery, a widower who travels to France to bring home the body of his son who died in an accident. Tom discovers his son had just set out to make the 800-kilometer pilgrimage to the … [Read more...]

Jesus at the Movies

   Movies featuring the life of Jesus have been around almost since the beginning of cinema. The first narrative film about his life was a series of shorts edited by Lucien Nonguet. Historian Charles Keil described these early attempts as a “series of tableaux, autonomous units.” It was up to the viewer to knit the narrative together in his or her imagination.In his book Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ Figures in Film (1997), Lloyd Baugh makes a distinction between f … [Read more...]


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