“Einstein” headlines new GENIUS series on NatGeo tonight

 “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.”The National Geographic Channel’s first scripted series “Genius,” on the life of Albert Einstein (1879 -1955) premieres this evening, April 25. Season one of “Genius” is a ten-part series filmed in Prague, Czech Republic, where Einstein lived and taught in the early days of his career. A second season of the series has just been announced; the subject will be announced on the final episode of season one.O … [Read more...]

‘The Great War’ is a master class on US involvement in World War I

Writer-director Stephen Ives' three-part, six-hour documentary on how President Woodrow Wilson got the United States into the war "for which he was born" is indeed a master class on World War I history and how it paved the way for America today.Narrated by Oliver Platt and other notable voices, including Campbell Scott and Blythe Danner, "The Great War" begins with America's pseudo neutrality that permitted U.S. corporations to provide food, supplies and munitions only to ally nations. It … [Read more...]

‘Newtown’ – a grief and despair so massive

From Margaret Lyons over at the NYTimes "Watching"‘Newtown’ When to watch: 9 p.m., on PBS (check local listings).Prepare to be emotionally ruined by this unfussy, devastating documentary about the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and 6 adults after also murdering his mother. The doc captures a grief and despair so massive that there’s no getting over it or getting through it; the parents and children and teachers and rescue workers will just be in it, … [Read more...]

‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ – a true story of compassion and courage

This latest film from director Niki Caro (Whalerider) is perhaps one of the most unknown historical dramas that took place during World War II and forms part of the canon of Holocaust films.The film opens not long before Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Antonina (Jessica Chastain) Żabiński and her husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) and live with their son Ryszard (Tim Radford & Val Maloku) in a villa at the Warsaw Zoo. Jan is the head of the zoo but Antonia is not afraid to get h … [Read more...]

Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ is his most Catholic film

(Andrew Garfield, left, plays Fr. Rodrigues, and Shinya Tsukamoto plays Mokichi in the film "Silence" by Paramount)Shûsaku Endô (1923-1996) was a Japanese Catholic novelist whose extensive writings probed the conflicts and paradoxes of faith. He was born in Tokyo, lived in Manchuria, then returned to Japan and was baptized at about the age of 11. After university, he married, had a son and lived in France. The novelist Graham Greene, with whom Endo has often been compared, said h … [Read more...]

‘Priceless’ reveals impact of human trafficking

(This film review is by guest blogger Sister Kathleen Bryant, RSC.)Priceless is a suspense driven film raising a critical issue facing the world today. An ordinary man going about his own human struggles to be a good person is confronted with a choice, which transforms his life at quite a cost. Early on in the film, James, (Joel Smallbone), would rather not ask questions or know what “cargo” he is delivering. The film raises an important question for most of us who would rather not know who … [Read more...]

‘Killing Reagan’ lacks surprises, if you remember March 30, 1981

It was October in Nashville during the run up to the 1980 U.S. presidential election between Republican candidate Ronald Reagan and Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. There is a stir in the crowd when a Secret Service agent spots a young man named John Hinckley Jr. (Kyle More) with a red backpack. He escapes but his suspicious behavior at the airport leads police to inspect his carry-on suitcase where they find two handguns. He is arrested and released after paying a fine of $62.50 for carrying … [Read more...]

Turner Classic Movies highlights trailblazing women in film for second year

In case you haven't noticed, classic films are "hot" right now, and not only with viewers who may have seen them in theaters 50 or 60 years ago. Turner Classic Movies is a broadcast and satellite channel that was launched on April 14, 1994, at 6 p.m., the 100th anniversary, to the minute, of the first public film showing in New York City (notwithstanding what the Lumière brothers might have to say about that). The first film broadcast on TCM was the 1939 classic "Gone with the Wind." American … [Read more...]