‘The Good Lie’ and the true story of the Lost Boys of Sudan

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 Catholic moral theology teaches that it is never acceptable to lie. It also teaches that there is no such thing as a “good lie,” so the title of the film is unfortunate. But it is in literary reference to Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, as the film demonstrates. During the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005), thousands of boys and girls were orphaned when their parents were killed. Some of them were recruited to be child soldiers; others marched hundreds of miles to a refugee camp in Ke … [Read more...]

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ explores complex themes (but bring ear plugs)

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 Of all the comic-book-turned-into-movie superheroes, Spider-Man has always been my favorite. Despite the launch of this new franchise in 2012 with director Marc Webb at the helm, my favorite film about the araneae homo is Sam Raimi's 2004 "Spider-Man 2." It's one of the best interpretations of creator Stan Lee's teenage hero as a young man of character and virtue.Ten years later, we have "The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro," and the title says almost everything about … [Read more...]

Cesar Chavez’ last fast frames new documentary

Ethel Kennedy gives Communion to Cesar Chavez as he ends the 36 day fast that frames the documentary "Cesar's Last Fast"

If you ask director and filmmaker Richard Ray Perez if the story of Cesar Chavez chose him or if he chose to tell Chavez's story, he would say both.Following the screening of his new film, "Cesar's Last Fast," at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress Film Showcase March 14, he told the audience that when he was 5 years old in the late 1960s, he first became aware of the table grape boycott while eating lunch at Head Start.Perez came from a family of migrant workers, but it was a … [Read more...]

“Heaven is for Real” is a compelling story, not a canned sermon

Connor Corum in "Heaven Is For Real" (CNS/Sony)

By now, most people know that I am not a fan of the "Christian" movie genre when these films are more about teaching than storytelling and making sure audiences get "the message" rather than trusting them to use their own moral and religious imagination to savor the story. These films might be movies, but they are certainly not art. In response to the film "God's Not Dead," I wrote an essay called "How movies can save people," and I make the distinction between "Christian" genre films that are … [Read more...]

“Joan of Arcadia” Lenten Film Series #6

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In today’s episode of The Lenten Film Series, Joan of Arcadia sits down with God in the form of a master chess player to play an unforgettable game of chess--rules and all. Don't miss this eye-opening scene! It's blended with my interview with series creator Barbara Hall who has just completed filming the pilot for her new television show "Madam Secretary". Click here for the link to the questions for reflection and conversation about this week's "Joan of Arcadia."Click here for … [Read more...]

“Desert Wedding” a bridezilla’s wedding day – Episode 4 Lenten Film Series

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 Watch what happens to this bride-to-be, Marissa, on her wedding day in the desert - it turns out to be a real desert experience. This is our fourth week!  Click here to see the entire Lenten Film Series … [Read more...]

“The Way” with Martin Sheen Week 3 Lenten Film Series

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You can access the entire series directly at Lenten Film Series 2014. I hope you are enjoying the series!Be sure to check out the questions for reflection and conversation.Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela? If so, share some of your reflections here!Meanwhile "Buen Camino" for your Lenten journey wherever you are.   … [Read more...]

A decade later “The Passion of the Christ” still raises questions of anti-semitism

Actor Jim Caviezel portrays Jesus on the cross in a scene from "The Passion of the Christ." (CNS/Icon)

 Feb. 25 will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Mel Gibson's hugely successful and controversial "The Passion of the Christ."Right after Christmas, I had the opportunity to sit down with two friends, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and Yvonne Gomez, a Christian research consultant, to watch "The Passion of the Christ."Back in 2004, I reviewed "The Passion of the Christ" as a horror film, and this … [Read more...]


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