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...]

“In a World …” a funny, pointed look at a mostly male industry

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 Because I did not want to wait an hour to see "Lee Daniels' The Butler," I saw "In a World...", writer/actor Lake Bell's directorial debut that premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. What a pleasant surprise.Carol (Lake Bell) is an employment-challenged voice coach and daughter of a famous movie trailer voice-over narrator, Sam (Fred Melamed). Up to this point, her voice-over work is limited to training actors to speak in foreign accents. Sam is ready to retire … [Read more...]

More than Honey: new doc seeks answer for why the honey bees keep dying

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 For the last 15 years the disappearance and mass deaths of honeybees has been diagnosed as “colony collapse disorder”.  In 2008 the CBS television show “60 Minutes”  explored the phenomenon and in 2010 the documentary “Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us” firmly placed the cause of colony collapse disorder at the feet of pesticides. In April 2013 CBS news ran a segment: "Deepening Honey Bee Crisis Creates Worry Over Food Supply". It's really worth a look because it focuse … [Read more...]

Loyola Marymount University named one of top 25 US film schools

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 The Hollywood Reporter just released its annual review, and Los Angeles' Loyola Marymount's School of Film and Television has been ranked No. 9 of the of the top 25 film schools in the U.S. shaping the future of cinema. (In 2012, the school was ranked No. 13 of U.S. film schools and No. 18 in the world.)According to The Hollywood Reporter: "LMU's School of Film and Television ... is all about the internships. One-third of its students regularly find them, and they've worked in 400 … [Read more...]

‘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 the wel … [Read more...]

“Nicky’s Family” tells of a man who saved 669 Jewish children in Prague

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This inspiring and well-made docu-drama tells the story of Nicholas Winton, a British citizen who has earned the title of Prague’s Schindler for saving 669 Czech and Slovak Jewish children as the Nazis began invading European countries in 1939.Nicky was single, in his 30s and worked in finance, the family business. His family had immigrated to the U.K. years before and converted from Judaism to Christianity He found himself in Prague on business when a Jewish mother approached him as a f … [Read more...]

“Fruitvale Station” witness to justice via social media

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 (I wrote this review for the National Catholic Reporter after seeing the film at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 where it took top honors)."Fruitvale" Feature directed by Ryan Coogler, starring Octavia Spencer, Michael B. Jordan, Chad Michael Murray 100 minutesJust after midnight on the morning of Jan. 1, 2009, a fight broke out on the BART subway system as it pulled into the Fruitvale stop in Oakland, Calif. When the transit police arrived, the fight subsided, but … [Read more...]

“Now You See Me” is a caper film about magic and justice

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“The first rule of magic is to always be the smartest guy in the room” is a mantra that four talented and ambitious magicians keep repeating in director Louis Leterrier’s new filmNow You See Me, cowritten by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt. Michael (Jesse Eisenberg) and Henley (Isla Fisher) used to work together before going their separate ways, but find work entertaining people with their magic. Jack (Dave Franco) and Merritt (Woody Harrelson) take a seedier approach to their prof … [Read more...]

“Blackfish” examines the tragedy of orcas in captivity

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Tilikum, a longtime star of SeaWorld, is an orca that was captured near Iceland in 1983 at about 3 years of age. During these 30 years in captivity, Tilikum has killed three people and seriously injured another. Blackfish is a documentary by director Gabriela Cowperthwaite that traces the origins and development of Tilikum’s aggressive behavior and asks probing questions about the morality of capturing and keeping wild animals for entertainment and profit. Through interviews with former Se … [Read more...]


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