‘The Innocents’ tells a story of trauma, grace

At last, the long night of World War II is over in Europe, but for a Benedictine monastery of nuns in northern Poland, the nightmare continues. During vespers one evening, a white-veiled novice hears screaming. She puts on her coat against the cold and snow and, sneaking out a hidden door, runs across the fields to a nearby town. There, she asks a street urchin to take her to a doctor -- just not one who is Russian or Polish. The young boy leads her to the French Red Cross, where the staff is … [Read more...]

‘Thelma & Louise’ 25 years later still poses a challenge to male entitlement

I first saw "Thelma and Louise" while studying for a master's in education in media studies in London in 1995. We gathered to watch the film and not one male student of the 12 or so in our class showed up for the screening. Not one. What were they afraid of? When we asked some of them, they just shrugged. "Thelma and Louise" was hugely successful when it opened in 1991. It is critically acclaimed as a feminist, or neo-feminist film, or a road trip film for women.At least one convent critic … [Read more...]

RISEN now available on DVD, Blu-Ray. digital

RISEN is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, digital, etc.Here's a link to the cast talking about meeting the Pope as well as my review of the film.  … [Read more...]

‘The Angry Birds Movie’ is a volatile pun fest

Flying off the gigantic success of its 2009 online video game "Angry Birds," Rovio Entertainment of Finland commissioned a script from animation film and television writer John Vitti ("The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," "Ice Age") for a feature film about the birds that fly via slingshot.Joined by animators Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly in their directorial debut, "The Angry Birds" is an ornithological and porcine potpourri of every bird and pig pun you've ever seen or heard and voiced by … [Read more...]

Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics

After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through sight and sound. Cinema, and increasingly episodic stories on television and the Internet, brings the human face of my brother or sister up close and personal so that I experience the joy and pain of all human living and make a difference in the world.The fact is cinema has a sacramental quality, outward signs of inner realities, that Sr. Nancy Usselmann,* a … [Read more...]

Pope Francis invites us to reflect mercy in our speech and in Tweets for World Communications Day 2016

 One of the best-kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that we have a beautiful tradition of teaching about communication and media that goes back to the 1930s and continues through today. This teaching covers speaking with one another in the family, parish and community, to evangelization, to all the means of communication including radio, television, movies, social media and the culture they create.Back in 1963 one of the Second Vatican Council documents issued by Pope Paul … [Read more...]

8 films and mini-series to see before you vote

My ears perked up back in March when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defended his wife, Heidi, after Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" about her. Cruz came back with a threat of his own that sounded like it was straight out of the 1995 film "The American President" when President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) stood up for his girlfriend (Annette Bening) to his opponent Sen. Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss) who had defamed her: "You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause … [Read more...]

“Rabin in His Own Words” is a testament to peace

At the Venice Film Festival last September, the SIGNIS (Catholic) Jury placed filmmaker Amos Gitai’s “Rabin: The Last Day” on our short list for the SIGNIS Prize as soon as we saw it. The film is a captivating docudrama form of a political essay that explores the last day in the life of the famed peace-seeking Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1922 – 1995) who was assassinated during a peace rally on November 4, 1995. Integrating actual footage of the shooting by a 25-yea … [Read more...]

“The Story of God” concludes 5/8 with “The Power of Miracles”

This Sunday, May 8, 2016, the NatGeo Channel will conclude it’s beautiful inspiring and informative series on “The Story of God.” The final episode is “The Power of Miracles.”The series host, Morgan Freeman, begins this “journey to discover the power of miracles” by interviewing Alcides Moreno, a window washer in Manhattan who plunged 47 stories to the ground in 2007 and survived. Alcido’s younger brother, Edgar, perished. Freeman and Moreno speak about the miracle that saved him, as well as … [Read more...]

Cast of RISEN reacts to meeting Pope Francis ahead of May release of DVD

The DVD is now available!The film RISEN, that I reviewed in February as a "moving contribution to the canon of biblical movies" will be distributed on digital on May 10 and on  4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ & DVD May 24 with Bonus Materials that will include deleted scenes and three behind-the-scenes featurettes & commentary.And  today, for the first time, you can watch and listen to the moving responses of actors Joseph Fiennes and Maria Botto as well as the co-producers, Mickey Lid … [Read more...]


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