“The Promise”- a too familiar world

In the early 1900s, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians lived within the borders of the dying Ottoman Empire, led by what is now modern Turkey. The Ottomans had annexed a large portion of Armenia as far back as 1555 but allowed the people to generally govern themselves, until political entanglements within the empire and European complexities and alliances of World War I led to untold tragedy.In 1915, when the Ottomans perceived that the ethnic Armenians within their borders supported the … [Read more...]

Grace and Mercy in “Silence”

"Silence" is a recent film adaptation by Martin Scorsese of Japanese author Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel. The film tells the story of two young Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in the 17th century to find their mentor, Fr. Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who is reported to have apostatized. It is a long journey from Portugal to Rome, Goa, Macau and finally Japan, where Christianity is outlawed.But this journey is nothing compared to the long spiritual journey of Fr. Rodrigues (Andrew … [Read more...]

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” and our call to provide sanctuary

 The following is a guest post asking us to reflect on the current refugee situation, indeed crisis, and our response as believers in view of the release of "The Zookeeper's Wife" film on March 31, 2017. Our Call to Provide SanctuaryCo-authored by:Lori Margaret, Christian Interfaith ActivistSue Obedi, Hollywood Bureau Director, Muslim Public Affairs CouncilRabbi Sarah Bassin, Reform Rabbi The Zookeeper's Wife tells the story of Antonina … [Read more...]

Hollywood 2016: Oscar review and my votes

2016 was a very good year for Hollywood. Disney made more than $1 billion — again — before the year was half over (the first studio ever to reach that amount in just over four months) and the hits just kept on coming: “Finding Dory,” “The Jungle Book,” etc.I only saw 56 films in 2016, far fewer that my usual 100. However, the quality of those that I did see was certainly worth the time and effort. Of the 47 feature-length films nominated by the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I … [Read more...]

‘Ransom’: the best TV show you aren’t watching

Due to the limited amount of television shows I can record, my DVR didn’t start recording “Ransom,” a new CBS drama, until the fourth episode, “Joe,” which aired Jan. 28. But I was traveling and when I got home I had three, then four episodes to watch. Wow. I’m impressed. The drama revolves around the character of a former FBI agent, Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts) who leads a team of crisis and hostage negotiators that private citizens and governments call in as a last resort.It sounds like a … [Read more...]

‘Years of Living Dangerously’ Season 2 premiere Oct 30 NatGeo

On Sunday night, October 30, "Years of Living Dangerously" begins its second season and it's message is loaded with doom, frustration and tinged with hope if only Big Corporations + government will get out of the way.David Letterman (and his beard) are in India, a country with almost 400 million people, the population of the USA, who live without electricity. All efforts to upgrade the decrepit grid or are coal based despite India having the most progressive solar energy plan in the world. … [Read more...]

“Brooklyn” – An immigrant’s journey

It is the early 1950s. Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is leaving her home in Ireland because her sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott), asks a priest to find Eilis work in New York. Rose knows that their widowed mother is manipulative and needy, and she wants more for her little sister than working at the local bakery. Eilis, scared but hopeful, makes the journey.Eilis rooms in a Brooklyn boardinghouse run by Madge (Julie Walters). Though extremely timid, Eilis becomes a sales assistant in a Manhattan … [Read more...]

‘The Assassin’ is a stunning martial arts with a female hero

“Wuxia” is the name of the Chinese dramatic martial arts genre and Taiwan’s legendary filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien’s latest film “The Assassin” is a stunningly beautiful example of the art form. The film won “Best Director” for Hou Hsiao-hsien at Cannes earlier this year and musician/composer Giong Lim’s soundtrack was also awarded at Cannes. “The Assassin” is Taiwan’s official entry for the 2016 Academy Awards.The film opens in ninth century China where treachery and corruption are rife. Nie Yi … [Read more...]

Cesar Chavez’ last fast frames new documentary

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...]

God is watching in “The Great Gatsby”

Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire), a budding financier, rents a flat next door to a mansion owned by the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo di Caprio) on Long Island during the Jazz Age, 1922 to be exact. Nick’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joe Edgerton), live in a mansion across the inlet where a green light flashes at the end of the dock - beckoning or warning?Gatsby throws extravagant parties that the rich and famous attend uninvited. The only invitation that Jay ever sends i … [Read more...]