‘Family values’ entertainment needs to also tell great stories

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

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

 (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

“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

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...]

“Hannah Arendt” and the banality of evil

Director Margarethe von Trotta, whose numinous 2009 film, "Vision," told the life story of St. Hildegard of Bingen, has taken on the story of another influential woman, the philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-75)."Hannah Arendt" opens in New York in 1960 where Arendt (Barbara Sukowa), a German émigré and secular Jew, writes and teaches at a university. When the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, captures the Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann and takes him clandestinely to J … [Read more...]


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