’1913: Seeds of Conflict’ seeks to explain source of Israeli-Palestinian tensions

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 This comprehensive and compact docudrama premiering tonight on PBS (10pm), “1913: Seeds of Conflict” reveals little known facts that conflated to become what writer/director Ben Loeterman proposes as the root causes for today’s ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Almost a half million Muslims, 60,000 Christians and 20,000 Sephardic (i.e. Mediterranean) Jews lived together peacefully enough in the years before World War I when Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire an … [Read more...]

‘Batkid Begins’ – a wish with a life of its own

Eric Johnston as Batman and Miles Scott as Batkid in "Batkid Begins." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Co.)

As news of the terrible shootings at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., broke Wednesday, a couple hundred people were gathered at the Landmark Theater on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles for the premiere of the documentary film “Batkid Begins.” “Batkid Begins” is the epitome of what a great community that America can be and is, the antithesis of the havoc a lone mass shooter wreaked on a group of people studying the Bible in their church.“Batkid” is Miles Scott, a little boy from a small town in No … [Read more...]

‘Jurassic World’ – No dinosaurs with pink feathers, but questionable ethics

The Indominus rex readies her attack in “Jurassic World."

 Below is the feature article I wrote on the science and philosophy in "Jurassic World" but I want to add a couple of things. First, the engineering science of Dallas Bryce Howard's high heeled shoes ought to have been mentioned. She wore them throughout and I think she even walked backwards sometimes. This feat defied nature. I would have mentioned the dinosaur brain science but I was not able to hear everything that Professor Horner said about this at the press day event. But it was … [Read more...]

‘Flannery O’Connor: Faith Fired by Fiction’ my book review

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 “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith”By Angela Alaimo O’DonnellLiturgical Press, 2015Paperback, 138 pages$12.95 My copy of “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith” by Fordham University English professor Angela Alaimo O’Donnell arrived a few days ago and I just finished devouring it. It’s part of the “People of God” series published by Liturgical Press. After a read of the scholarly and analytical Introduction and Chapter One, the book takes flight … [Read more...]

‘Forbidden Films’ the hidden legacy of Nazi films

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  This documentary from Germany explores the dilemma of censorship about a cache of about 40 Nazi feature films (out of 1200 made between 1933 and 1944) that are not available to the German public to see. It will be shown in Los Angeles June 1 and 2 at six Laemmle Theaters.The description from the Telluride Film Festival catalog says:"Twelve hundred feature films were made in Germany’s Third Reich. According to experts, some 100 of these were blatant Nazi p … [Read more...]

High-octane ‘San Andreas’ tells audiences to be prepared

Carla Gugino and Dwayne Johnson in "San Andreas" (Warner Bros. Pictures/Jasin Boland)

Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a Los Angeles firefighter who heads a team of helicopter rescuers. Not long after saving a girl whose car is resting on a canyon cliff, the world seems about to end: San Andreas, Calif.'s main north-south earthquake fault line is triggered by a series of quakes around Hoover Dam in Nevada.But Ray's world is already fragile because of a pending divorce from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), and the earlier death of one of his two daughters. Emma introduces him to her new … [Read more...]

‘Marie’s Story’ captures life’s sacramental dimensions

Ariana Rivoire as Marie Heurtin and Isabelle Carré as Sr. Marguerite in the film "Marie's Story" (Film Movement)

In 1899, when deaf and blind Marie Heurtin is 14 years old, her loving father brings her from the family farm to the Larnay Institute near Poitiers, France, run by the Daughters of Wisdom. The young girl, played by Ariana Rivoire in the film "Marie's Story," extends her face and hands to the warm sun as they ride in the wagon. Marie hugs her father. She is at peace.The sisters at the institute are either deaf or hearing, and the girls they teach are all deaf. When the mother superior … [Read more...]

‘The Messengers’ is like a Christian zombie movie for the small screen

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 The rapture is coming -- again. A new television series, "The Messengers," premieres at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central today, April 17, on The CW because "the wheels of Revelation have begun to turn." The end is near, and "angels" or Messengers, have appeared.The Messengers are five select people, men and women, unknown to the others, who are gifted with the ability to heal others. Then there is "The Man" (Diogo Morgado), who wields death and destruction even though he looks like a totally … [Read more...]

Neither faith nor magic saves ‘Little Boy’ from its muddled message

Jakob Salvati as the title character in "Little Boy" (©Metanoia Films)

I imagine that the writers of "Little Boy," Pepe Portillo and Alejandro Monteverde, who also directs, wanted to make a sweet film about faith and the love between a father and his son. They surely wanted audiences to see life through a Catholic lens when they crafted this highly structured, ambitious, well-cast, and beautiful-looking movie, which opens in theaters April 24. Unfortunately, while it may make you shed a tear at the end, it's for all the wrong reasons.As "Little Boy" opens, we … [Read more...]


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