Cinema’s independent summer road trip Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, The Intouchables, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) is 6 years old and the only child of Wink (Dwight Henry) in Beasts of the Southern Wild Fox Searchlight

  Along with a few million people, I watched as four richly textured films opened this summer and gently held their own against crowd-pleasing blockbusters. From the darkened theater we traveled near and far. The starting point for our journey was the United Kingdom, but we jetted swiftly to India in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." The film's title is the name of the retirement destination for "the elderly and beautiful" that seven disparate Brits read about in a brochure. … [Read more...]

Cinema of our Golden Years

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My "On Faith and Media" column in the September 2012 issue of St. Anthony Messenger Erma Bombeck (1927–1996), the popular Catholic humorist, captured a Christian attitude about the afterlife: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” Bombeck also had a keen sense of what often drives cinema’s storytelling about aging: “Seize the moment. Remember all those women … [Read more...]

Bows, arrows and a sword: Girls rock this year on film

Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, in Disney/Pixar's "Brave"  (Disney/Pixar)

2012 is turning out to be a banner year for films with significant female lead characters: warriors, weapons and all. With an estimated budget of $185 million, the new Pixar/Disney 3-D animated feature, "Brave," opened June 22 and grossed $66 million. Made on half that budget, "The Hunger Games" opened March 25 with a box office of $152.5 million and has brought $400 million in North America and nearly $650 million worldwide. (The DVD is due out Aug. 18.) "Snow White and the Huntsman," made … [Read more...]

Summer Film Retreat

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  Looking at movies and the stories they tell through the lens of faith and spirituality is one of my favorite ways to pray. If you cannot make it to a retreat house you might consider making a living room retreat in your own home. In the July issue of St. Anthony Messenger (I have been reviewing movies for the magazine since June, 2003) I offer a what, why, and how approach to making room for God during the "dog days of summer": Summer Film Retreat 2012 For Lent this year, the … [Read more...]

“The Dark Knight Rises” and the franchise fades

Warner Bros. 2012

  I had been looking forward to “The Dark Knight Rises” for months. Of all the comic-books-into-movies I like director/writer Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the DC comic character that first appeared in 1939. The second film of Nolan’s franchise, “The Dark Knight” (2007), is possibly the best sequel ever. It’s mature and deep. I was hoping for another film just as good. Then I woke yesterday morning to the news of the midnight shooting in a theater showing “The … [Read more...]

Catholic Comedy Night Update July 11

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Summer “cinema divina” retreat at home!

My column this month outlines how you can make a retreat from your seat if you are unable to a retreat house. For Lent this year, the Pauline Center for Media Studies hosted a six-part weekly program using The Way, starring Martin Sheen. In the film written and directed by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, Sheen plays Tom Avery, a widower who travels to France to bring home the body of his son who died in an accident. Tom discovers his son had just set out to make the 800-kilometer pilgrimage to … [Read more...]

“Stella Days” Irish film looks at a priest’s dark night of the soul, cinema, and faith

 http://youtu.be/judphZU5nfQ In a small town in rural Ireland in the 1950s, Fr. Barry (Martin Sheen) visits the sick, reads Latin prayers to them and promotes the installation of electricity in homes and businesses. Fr. Barry spent 20 years in America and many years in Rome in academic pursuits and research at the Vatican library. He was replaced, however, and sent back to Ireland, where he has been these last three years.  Click here to continue reading on my NCReporter blog. … [Read more...]

BRAVE and nine more reviews at “Sister Rose Goes to the Movies”

For reviews of BRAVE, Madagascar 3, MEN IN BLACK 3, The Avengers, CHIMPANZEE, Dark Shadows, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, Battleship, and THE LUCKY ONE click on Sister Rose Goes to the Movies. … [Read more...]

Jesus at the Movies

      Movies featuring the life of Jesus have been around almost since the beginning of cinema. The first narrative film about his life was a series of shorts edited by Lucien Nonguet. Historian Charles Keil described these early attempts as a “series of tableaux, autonomous units.” It was up to the viewer to knit the narrative together in his or her imagination. In his book Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ Figures in Film (1997), Lloyd Baugh makes a distinction … [Read more...]


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