Want to be a film critic?

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When I watch films for review I am attracted by two elements: relationships and mystery. Relationships between people, communities, or nations in this universe and beyond, or a mixture of any and all. The conflicts that provide the drama and drive the action can be resolved in so many ways but I am always looking at the human struggle and the human and Gospel values that underpin the resolution of the conflict or the denouement.I am always looking for grace – for the characters and for m … [Read more...]

‘Les Misérables’ a fusion of heaven and earth, sight and sound

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway star as Jean Valjean and Fantine, respectively, in "Les Miserables," the big-screen adaptation of the long-running stage show. (Universal Studios)

 Millions of people have seen the musical "Les Misérables" since the English version premiered in London in 1985 and New York in 1987. Countless others have read the original 1862 novel by Victor Hugo or seen the more than 70 film adaptations in 15 languages. (My personal favorites are the 1978 British telefilm starring Richard Jordan and the 1998 feature film with Liam Neeson, both playing Jean Valjean.)The tale of the suffering poor of France in the years following the French … [Read more...]

‘The Rise of the Guardians’ an inspiring fantasy mash-up

North (Alec Baldwin) welcomes Jack Frost (Chris Pine) in this scene from the animated movie "Rise of the Guardians." (CNS/DreamWorks Animation)

Although it took me some time to figure out what was going on and what Dreamworks' handsome, over-long film was trying to say, it became apparent about halfway through that I could easily make connections between the imaginative narrative and Christian beliefs. Seeing "Guardians" bears out the saying "You get out of a film what you bring to it" because you make meaning according to your own lens.The story opens with Jack Frost (the voice of Chris Pine) telling us how he came to be the spirit … [Read more...]

Susan Boyle’s best yet: “Standing Ovation: the greatest songs from the stage” CD

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  In 2009 I wrote a blog post "What should Susan Boyle sing next?" I said in part:Some may think a Disney soundtrack should be Susan's first release, but I think she could sing"Send in the Clowns" that so many famous artists have voiced before: Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey. "Send in the Clowns" was created for the British actress Glynis Johns (bn. 1923) who played Desiree in Sondheim's 1973 "A Little Night Music" based on Ingmar Bergman's 1955 film, … [Read more...]

Best Thanksgiving Movies (aka Sister Rose’s favorite Thanksgiving movies)

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 These are my all time favorite Thanksgiving movies. I will add comments as to why as soon as I can but I wanted to put up the list in case you were looking for a movie to see today or tomorrow. "Pieces of April", "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", and "What's Cooking" are for more mature viewers; "The New World" is more contemplative in scope and may require more attention that kids can give.Pieces of April - click on the title for my brief review; I love this movie where the … [Read more...]

Pianist brings mother’s Holocaust experiences to life

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Live theater is always fresh even when the story breaks your heart. The actors pour themselves into the feat of becoming another and convincing us that their pain, joy, dilemmas, tragedy and triumph are real.Through the kindness of friends, Daughter of St. Paul Sr. Marie Hunt and I were able to experience "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" at the Geffen Playhouse at UCLA.The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater within the playhouse is intimate at only 115 seats, or parlor armchairs, arranged on … [Read more...]

“Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine” theatrical screening 12/10/12 in Los Angeles

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You are welcome to come in to purchase tickets or to call 310-397-8676. Tickets must be pre-purchased. All sales are final. No tickets will be sold at the door.This is a benefit screening of the film; proceeds will go to the Building Fund of the Daughters of St. Paul here in Culver City, CA (for repairs, new roofs, remodeling, new  carpet, tuckpointing of chapel exterior wall  if the budget can manage it).Bless you!Although there is nothing objectionable in the film it may be over t … [Read more...]

Metaphors and Journeys of Faith in the Life of Pi & Big Fish

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 Tim Burton’s Big Fish (2003) and Ang Lee’s 3D Life of Pi (2012) have a lot in common, and it’s not just the fish or the almost overwhelming cinematography and artistic design that transcend the ordinary.Besides the fact that both films are based on novels, their common bond is the larger than life idea of fish and creation, imaginary worlds, and telling a fantastical story using metaphor, analogy and fable. Both stories share themes about life and death, about faith and miracles, ab … [Read more...]

Hildegard of Bingen: prayer, supper & movie with a saint

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Last night Sister Marie surprised us by making supper according to what St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089- 1179) might have served for her community of nuns back in the day – or a slight variation thereof.First Sister Marie told us about the one-day retreat she attended last weekend to prepare for this coming Sunday, October 7, when Pope Benedict VXI will name Hildegard a Doctor of the Church. She spoke about Hildegard’s “viriditas”   because Hildegard knew that if we care for the God’s earth it … [Read more...]

Les Miserables preview: live singing (I dare you not to cry)

This is my #1 anticipated film with The Hobbit a close second. Les Miz opens in December. … [Read more...]


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