‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ is haunting but ripe for discussion

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In the months after "winning" the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are back home, living with their families at the Victors' Village in District 12. Their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), has his own house there, too.Katniss and Peeta are preparing to embark on their Victory Tour. Katniss meets with Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), her soul mate who is now working in the mines and becoming more and more angry at what the … [Read more...]

Dialogue of Cultures International Film Festival (watch and vote for the audience award online)

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I received this information this morning from SIGNIS, the international Catholic association for communication.The press release from the organization follows; but you can go directly to the website with the films by clicking here.Participation in the festival is free, that is, you can see all of the films online and vote by clicking on "fan". MUBI also offers a new world film every day for a subscription fee - but the festival Nov 1-14 is gratis (only a few days … [Read more...]

“Captain Phillips” is Tom Hanks at his very best but the film raises questions

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There are just so many ways to go in writing a review of the true story of Merchant Marine Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama.  In 2008 his ship was boarded by four Somali pirates and the captain was taken hostage. The film is titled simply: "Captain Phillips."As a film, director Paul Greengrass’ work is unembellished, dramatic and moving.As for Tom Hanks’ performance, it is so understated that it makes him completely believable. He is the quintessential “everyman” here and … [Read more...]

PBS Documentary marks 50th anniversary of the march on Washington

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 Almost every American above the age of 6 knows who Martin Luther King Jr. was because his name is attached to a federal holiday. No school and for some, no work. We learn, or we know, that because of what he and a group of courageous colleagues and collaborators organized in Washington, D.C., 50 years ago, the American South was legally desegregated in 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.In this new documentary on PBS, I learned a lot more about the … [Read more...]

“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 meant that a large f … [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 Se … [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 to J … [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 WarVoces series on PBSFriday, May 24, 201310PM 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 of “Voces” a … [Read more...]


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