Breaking News: “Vacation” receives DG (IWY) rating!

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I was a little surprised to be invited to a press screening for "Vacation" - an downdating  or unbooting of the old Chevy Chase Griswold Family vacation comedies.From the opening lyrics of the soundtrack, laden with "f" bombs, well, it just got worse. If any family has a vacation like this, all I can say is: someone call the Department of Children Services. The film, too, is child abuse, adult abuse and elder abuse all in one. That song is not in my repertoire.If this is humor, why … [Read more...]

‘Samba’ reminds viewers what it means to be human

From left, actor Omar Sy and directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano discuss a scene on the set of "Samba." (Broad Green Pictures/David Koskas)

While illegal immigration grabs political headlines in the United States, it is a major global human and social concern for those caught between borders while escaping war and poverty to seek a better life. The 2013 U.S. film "A Better Life" took a sensitive look at a Mexican father and son in Los Angeles. Now, French filmmakers turn a light on their county's reality in the thoroughly engaging film "Samba."Samba (Omar Sy) is an undocumented immigrant from Senegal who lives with his uncle in … [Read more...]

‘Mad Max: Fury Road” & “Tomorrowland” both prophecy and fantasy

Britt Robertson stars in a scene from the movie "Tomorrowland." (CNS/Disney)

This summer’s “Tomorrowland” from Disney and director Brad Bird and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a “reboot” of the original Mad Max trilogy from the 1970s and ’80s from Australian director George Miller, go together better than you might think at first glance. Seeing them in tandem makes all the difference. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the typical post-apocalyptic dystopian flick with themes of hope and redemption and regeneration. The lead characters are courageous, violent fighters and hope is a mirage. I … [Read more...]

‘The Gallows’ is a snooze fest

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  Ok, props to the filmmakers Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff for getting the movie made and distributed. It's proficient. But it's "Blair With Project" hand-held camera style is as annoying as the guy whose hands hold the camera, Ryan Shoos as the bully classmate, well, Ryan Shoos. I only went to see it because my 14 year-old nephew, who is visiting, wanted to see it but I'm sorry we did. It was too graphic and I loathe bullying, especially when there's no redemption … [Read more...]

Found on the back paddock at Jurassic World

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  My cousin just posted this on Facebook noting that this generation and those to come will never know the thrill of renting a video at Blockbuster. Technology develops so fast.  Technology is so disposable but memories can last forever. Yet, if I go by what I learned in Pixar's "Inside Out," it's not worth making technology memories "core memories" - because they are here today, gone tomorrow. Pixar's next film should be called "Gone with the Wind Redux."This … [Read more...]

‘Batkid Begins’ – a wish with a life of its own

Eric Johnston as Batman and Miles Scott as Batkid in "Batkid Begins." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Co.)

As news of the terrible shootings at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., broke Wednesday, a couple hundred people were gathered at the Landmark Theater on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles for the premiere of the documentary film “Batkid Begins.” “Batkid Begins” is the epitome of what a great community that America can be and is, the antithesis of the havoc a lone mass shooter wreaked on a group of people studying the Bible in their church.“Batkid” is Miles Scott, a little boy from a small town in No … [Read more...]

‘Jurassic World’ – No dinosaurs with pink feathers, but questionable ethics

The Indominus rex readies her attack in “Jurassic World."

 Below is the feature article I wrote on the science and philosophy in "Jurassic World" but I want to add a couple of things. First, the engineering science of Dallas Bryce Howard's high heeled shoes ought to have been mentioned. She wore them throughout and I think she even walked backwards sometimes. This feat defied nature. I would have mentioned the dinosaur brain science but I was not able to hear everything that Professor Horner said about this at the press day event. But it was … [Read more...]

‘Flannery O’Connor: Faith Fired by Fiction’ my book review

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 “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith”By Angela Alaimo O’DonnellLiturgical Press, 2015Paperback, 138 pages$12.95 My copy of “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith” by Fordham University English professor Angela Alaimo O’Donnell arrived a few days ago and I just finished devouring it. It’s part of the “People of God” series published by Liturgical Press. After a read of the scholarly and analytical Introduction and Chapter One, the book takes flight … [Read more...]

‘The Messengers’ is like a Christian zombie movie for the small screen

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 The rapture is coming -- again. A new television series, "The Messengers," premieres at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central today, April 17, on The CW because "the wheels of Revelation have begun to turn." The end is near, and "angels" or Messengers, have appeared.The Messengers are five select people, men and women, unknown to the others, who are gifted with the ability to heal others. Then there is "The Man" (Diogo Morgado), who wields death and destruction even though he looks like a totally … [Read more...]

Neither faith nor magic saves ‘Little Boy’ from its muddled message

Jakob Salvati as the title character in "Little Boy" (©Metanoia Films)

I imagine that the writers of "Little Boy," Pepe Portillo and Alejandro Monteverde, who also directs, wanted to make a sweet film about faith and the love between a father and his son. They surely wanted audiences to see life through a Catholic lens when they crafted this highly structured, ambitious, well-cast, and beautiful-looking movie, which opens in theaters April 24. Unfortunately, while it may make you shed a tear at the end, it's for all the wrong reasons.As "Little Boy" opens, we … [Read more...]


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