‘The Finest Hours’ shows off US Coast Guard’s most daring rescue in true form

Clip from trailer for "The Finest Hours." (Disney, via EPK.TV)

 On Feb. 18, 1952, a mighty nor'easter struck the New England coast. As distress signals went out from ships caught in the storm, almost all of the Coast Guard's resources were sent to save the crew on the tanker, the USS Mercer. When a weak signal was received by Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (played in "The Finest Hours" by Eric Bana) at the Coast Guard Lifeboat station in Chatham, Mass., five men, led by Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) set out on an … [Read more...]

Reflections for a Laudato Si’ Film Festival

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 "Have you ever wondered what would happen, if all the geniuses, the artists, the scientists, the smartest, most creative people in the world decided to actually change it?" —"Tomorrowland"In last summer's dystopian blockbuster "Mad Max: Fury Road" the character Nux exclaims, "We are not to blame!" to which The Splendid Angharad replies, "Then who killed the world?"Pope Francis' prophetic encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" is dated May 24, 2015, Pentecost S … [Read more...]

‘In the Heart of the Sea’ – epic story epic film

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In 1850 the writer Herman Melville (Ben Wishaw) visits Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) on Nantucket island off the coast of Massachusetts to discover the truth about The Essex, a whaling vessel that was reported shipwrecked thirty years before but rumors continue to circulate that this is not what happened; indeed, it’s destruction was beyond imagining. When Nickerson was young (Tom Holland) he had been a cabin boy on The Essex and he has never told anyone, not even his wife, the story that c … [Read more...]

‘Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way’ and People of God Series for stocking stuffers!

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As you may know my biography of Martin Sheen came out in February, 2015 (Liturgical Press). It's part of the wonderful People of God series of  compelling biographies about Catholics living and dead. The books are all about the same length (130 pages), the same size (about 5x8), the cost is the same $12.95 and the cover art is by the same artist. The series looks so good and the stories are well-written, interesting, and great for parish, high school, and college libraries.And if the … [Read more...]

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is a visual treat

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 So what if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely, and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Never fear, Disney/Pixar has an animated answer for you. Reaching back in history, just as humanoids were beginning to walk upright, dinosaurs, namely of the Apatosaurus species that roamed the North American northwest in the late Jurassic period, were talking, raising corn by creating furrows with their snozzles, chopping wood with their tails, storing … [Read more...]

The Cinema of Mercy: the Face of Mercy

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  The French Catholic film critic André Bazin’ once wrote: “The cinema has always been interested in God.” This contemplative observation—or conviction— by a layman who spent his few adult years immersed in film criticism is interesting at any time, but it invites a narrative reflection on the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy set to begin on December 8.What does Pope Francis mean by “mercy”? As we know, he announced the Holy Year on April 11, 2015, in the document Misericordi … [Read more...]

‘The Letters’ new biopic about Mother Teresa of Calcutta inspires

Juliette Stevens plays Mother Teresa in new film about her life, work, letters of spiritual darkness

A new film about Mother Teresa, "The Letters", will be released in theaters on December 4, 2015 and stars Juliette Stevenson, Max Von Sydow, and Lutger Hauer."The Letters" is a very close interpretation of the 2009 book "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light" edited by the postulator of her cause for canonization, Brian Kolodiejchuk. Though the film was written and directed by William Riead the film seems to track the book closely. Both are biographical and historical and detail M. Teresa's almost … [Read more...]

‘My All American’ celebrating the Freddie Steinmark story

 Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock; Unbroken; American Horror Story) is a scrappy, gritty, determined and successful high school football player in Colorado whose father Fred (Michael Reilly Burke) taught him the game and was present at all of Freddie’s. When Freddie is a junior, and training intensely, he meets Linda Wheeler (Sarah Bolger) and it’s love at first sight. Early on they start talking about how many kids they want to have when they get married.In 1968 Freddie applies … [Read more...]

‘Burnt’ is a better film than critics say (see my recipe for mashed potatoes, too!)

Bradley Cooper stars in a scene from the movie "Burnt." The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. (CNS photo/Weinstein)

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a washed up, two-star Michelin chef on a mission of self-redemption. After leaving the ruins of a self-destructed career, wrecked because of his womanizing, partying and drug and alcohol addiction in Paris, he goes to New Orleans with a self-imposed penance: to shuck a million oysters. If nothing else, Adam Jones is a man of great extremes. He keeps track of the number of oysters in a little notebook, and when he’s reached his goal, he walks away from his job and f … [Read more...]

“The 33″ story of Chilean miners coming to theaters

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I received the following press release a couple of days ago. I've seen the film and my review will follow nearer the film's release date. "You can never lose your faith. Faith is nourishment ... Faith is life." - Jorge Galleguillos, Survivor, Copiapo Mine Collapse In 2010, a mine in Chile collapsed trapping 33 miners 2,300 feet underground with no way to escape. You may recall the news headlines as the entire world watched and banded together to help with rescue efforts.The miners had food … [Read more...]


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