“The Conjuring” – are horror films C(c)atholic?

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The first horror film I ever saw at age eight, indeed the first film I ever saw in a theater, was the 1959 House on Haunted Hill. It starred Vincent Price, and I now know it was directed by William Castle, called “the poor man’s Hitchcock,” who churned out many “B” thriller movies. Although Castle’s genre was the psychological thriller, his films are subgenres of horror. House on Haunted Hill was projected in “Emergo”, one of the gimmicks Castle was known for. In this case it … [Read more...]

“Blackfish” examines the tragedy of orcas in captivity

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Tilikum, a longtime star of SeaWorld, is an orca that was captured near Iceland in 1983 at about 3 years of age. During these 30 years in captivity, Tilikum has killed three people and seriously injured another. Blackfish is a documentary by director Gabriela Cowperthwaite that traces the origins and development of Tilikum’s aggressive behavior and asks probing questions about the morality of capturing and keeping wild animals for entertainment and profit. Through interviews with former … [Read more...]

“Hannah Arendt” and the banality of evil

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Director Margarethe von Trotta, whose numinous 2009 film, "Vision," told the life story of St. Hildegard of Bingen, has taken on the story of another influential woman, the philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-75). "Hannah Arendt" opens in New York in 1960 where Arendt (Barbara Sukowa), a German émigré and secular Jew, writes and teaches at a university. When the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, captures the Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann and takes him clandestinely … [Read more...]

“Rebel” tells of Cuban woman who fought in Civil War (PBS Friday May 24)

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REBEL: Story of Cuban woman who fought in the Civil War Voces series on PBS Friday, May 24, 2013 10PM ET (check local listings) Loreta Janeta Velasquez, born in Cuba in 1842, was one of an estimated 1000 women who disguised themselves as men to fight on both sides in the American Civil War.   The “politics of national memory” marginalized and challenged her story from the time she published her story in 1876, “A Woman in Battle.”  The book is still in print. This episode … [Read more...]

“No Place on Earth” is the incredible story of Ukraine’s holocaust survivors

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In 1993 Chris Nicola, a cave explorer from Queens, NY, was in western Ukraine to research his family tree. While there he decided to explore some the country’s famous Gypsum Giant caves that extend for about 77 miles underground. In fact, he was the first person to ever do so. Deep in one of the caves he came across some artifacts: a cup, a shoe, a comb, buttons, medicine bottles.  He realized that these items belonged to someone, were part of someone’s life and started to ask questions. … [Read more...]

Roger Ebert film critic dies

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Gene Siskel, left, and Roger Ebert are shown in a 1994 file photo.(Photo: Associated Press) Today American film critic, Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013), died at age 70 from the effects of salivary gland and thyroid cancer that he had been battling for eleven years.  He started reviewing films in 1967 for the Chicago Sun-Times and continued through several television shows (the most popular “Siskel & Ebert” was with fellow critic Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune who died in 1999) and his … [Read more...]

Hollywood studio secures film rights to Boston clergy abuse investigation

Writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor, WinWin) will co-write and direct the yet untitled film

The Hollywood Reporter announced Tuesday that Dreamworks and Participant Media have obtained the rights to the Boston Globe’s yearlong investigation of clergy sex abuse in Massachusetts. The investigation by the Globe’s “Spotlight Team” of reporters and editors led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston. The 2002 revelations have had worldwide repercussions for the Catholic church that continue today in terms of allegations, settlements and … [Read more...]

“Kind Hearted Woman” story of a woman rising to new life PBS 4/1 Part One, 4/2 Part Two

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  April 1 Part One ET/PT 9-11PM  (check local listings) April 2 Part Two  ET/ 9PM-12AM (check local listings) Independent Lens/Frontline Robin Charboneau is a young divorced single mother of two, an Oglala Sioux woman living on the Sprit Lake Reservation in North Dakota.  We first meet her as she walks home in subzero weather after twenty days in a rehab facility for alcohol abuse and its causes – extreme sexual abuse form a young age. Once home she invites a tribe … [Read more...]