“Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way” is in the house! Launch Feb 7th, 2015

Me opening the boxes that arrived yesterday!

 CLICK HERE for early editorial reviews. The back cover: Martin Sheen, best known for his role as a Catholic president in the prestigious television series The West Wing, returned to the practice of his Catholic faith at the age of forty after decades away. After years of battling alcohol addiction, a near-fatal heart attack, and a nervous breakdown, the stage, film, and television actor renewed his dedication to his family and activated his faith with energy, grace, and joy. Through … [Read more...]

‘Trailblazers in Habits’ documents extraordinary women doing extraordinary things

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 When I was growing up, I had a friend who went to Catholic school. For several years, I would spend the night at her house for New Year's Eve. We would try to stay up until midnight, but I never made it. What this public-school kid really liked about visiting her house, though, were the Catholic books and comic books she had. The most memorable of the comic books was, to me, the one about Bishop F.X. Ford of Maryknoll. My mom used to send $5 every Christmas to Maryknoll in memory of … [Read more...]

PBS Documentary marks 50th anniversary of the march on Washington

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 Almost every American above the age of 6 knows who Martin Luther King Jr. was because his name is attached to a federal holiday. No school and for some, no work. We learn, or we know, that because of what he and a group of courageous colleagues and collaborators organized in Washington, D.C., 50 years ago, the American South was legally desegregated in 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.In this new documentary on PBS, I learned a lot more about the … [Read more...]

“Kind Hearted Woman” story of a woman rising to new life PBS 4/1 Part One, 4/2 Part Two

KindHeartWoman

 April 1 Part One ET/PT 9-11PM  (check local listings)April 2 Part Two  ET/ 9PM-12AM (check local listings)Independent Lens/FrontlineRobin Charboneau is a young divorced single mother of two, an Oglala Sioux woman living on the Sprit Lake Reservation in North Dakota.  We first meet her as she walks home in subzero weather after twenty days in a rehab facility for alcohol abuse and its causes – extreme sexual abuse form a young age. Once home she invites a tribe elder to c … [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...]

Three-part PBS documentary shines spotlight on key abolitionists

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 "The Abolitionists" American Experience, PBS 10 p.m./9 p.m. Central, Jan. 8, Jan. 15 and Jan. 22Tonight, a three-part documentary premieres on PBS that tells the story of the abolitionists and the movement they created in the United States to end slavery. The series comes at the right moment by providing the historical context, biographies and background to the passage of the 13th Amendment as shown in the Steven Spielberg's film "Lincoln," now in theaters. Yet Abraham Lincoln's … [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...]

Children’s Holiday Collection: Ten animated classic stories

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 This wonderful collection of animated classic stories is a perfect stocking-stuffer for children of all ages. Created by Billy Budd Films in New York City, the films are child-friendly and most are done in wonderful claymation. The entire collection runs for 247 minutes allowing for variety and guaranteeing return visits by youngsters. Of all the films "Martin the Cobbler" by Leo Tolstoy is my favorite. Tolstoy's daughter Alexandria, is the narrator.   The Christmas stories on … [Read more...]

Seven Psychopaths – derivative retread hell

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 "Seven Psychopaths" is what a filmmaker makes when he thinks no one is looking.  Writer/director Michael McDonagh has hit the skids of derivative and retread hell – think “Pulp Fiction” only on a smaller budget, if that’s possible. He says his new film has a moral conundrum (NY Times Magazine October 14, 2012) but if it does he does not commit to it.McDonagh also says he finds Shakespeare boring. Fine, everyone has a right to their own opinion. But why did you choose to become b … [Read more...]


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