March of the Penguins, The (Marche de l’empereur, La)

Luc Jacquet’ amazing and beautiful documentary about a year in the lives of Emperor penguins in Antarctica evokes wonder at the miracle of creation and nature, and left me in a contemplative mood.   Some friends who also saw the film said it spoke to them regarding the way nature teaches us about life, community, fidelity, care for our young, and sacrifice.   The narration, written by Jordan Roberts and read by actor Morgan Freeman, is informative without being academic, and r … [Read more...]

Wedding Crashers

Two almost-40 Washington lawyers, friends for years, crash weddings as a hobby in order to score.   Vince Vaughn as Jeremy and Owen Wilson as John are likeable characters but when their need to engage in such immature behavior year after year finally evokes an existential crisis from John, wedding crashing doesn’t look so appealing any more. Jeremy and John meet two sisters and while John falls for Claire (Rachel McAdams), his love is unrequited. John wants to marry Claire but she is e … [Read more...]

War of the Worlds

There are so many commentaries and reviews of this film already, that I am not sure what I can add. I did read the original H.G. Wells novel (1897) and the Orson Wells radio script (written by Harold Koch) from the 1938 broadcast that scared the dickens out of a listening nation. H.G. Wells story takes place in England and the radio play moves the action to New Jersey. After that, with a few exceptions, the novel and play are pretty different. Where they converge, of course, is how they tapped … [Read more...]

Batman Begins

I truly enjoyed director Christopher Nolan’s approach to the Batman franchise. The film is intelligent, well-crafted, and surprisingly well-acted.  Why surprisingly? I didn’t expect Christian Bale to do such a credible job as Bruce Wayne but he pulled it off and convinced me that his way to reform Gotham, that of good and not of Henri Ducard, played by Liam Neeson, was the only way.   The philosophical discourse between Bruce, Ducard, Alfred, played by Michael Caine and Jim Gordon, pla … [Read more...]

National Film Retreat and more

It has been some time since I posted a review. I have been traveling and last weekend I was at St. Francis Retreat House in Easton, PA (near Allentown and Bethlehem) for the National Film Retreat. Eighteen persons gathered for the retreat and we screened, conversed, reflected on and prayed about six films around the theme of The Seduction of Power in all levels of society and the choices we make. Romero: an example of a man of God who engages in theological reflection and … [Read more...]

Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor

After reading Mystery and Manners I went on to read the rather large colume of the letters or correspondence of Flannery O'Connor. The last letter was written a few days before her death at age 37 from lupus (her father died of the same disease.) When I read that last letter, I felt like I had lost a dear friend. Flannery's letters are funny, familiar, professional, and sometimes, very spirited - especially when the matter had to do with writing fiction and art. She writes from her country … [Read more...]

Mystery and Manners: Essays of Flannery O’Connor

It's been a long time since I have added to my booik journal, but I have been reading! When a friend started quoting Flannery O'Connor at the bottom of his emails, my interest in this novelist from the South (1925-1964) was rekindled. I had read only one of her short stories years before, but my friend was quoting from Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor's essays. Actually, these essays are mostly extractions or compilations of various talks that Flannery gave at universities, though the one … [Read more...]

Perfect Man, The

Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) is a 30-something single mom with two daughters: Holly (Hilary Duff) and Zoe (Aria Wallace). They live in Wichita, but when another of Jean’s prospects for a husband ditches her, she packs up the girls and they head for Brooklyn, New York. This is always Jean’s pattern for dealing with disappointment, and Holly is getting tired of it.   Once in Brooklyn, an old friend of Jean’s gives her a job in a bakery. Holly begins classes at the local high school, d … [Read more...]

Honeymooners, The

As the millennium approaches New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden (Cedric the Entertainer) stops at the end of his day to give a ride to a pretty young woman, Alice (Gabrielle Union). He flirts with her and along the shores of the East River shows her the Y2K kit he invented that is going to make him a millionaire.   Six years later, they are married and living in a walk-up apartment where an elevated train goes by every few minutes. Ralph is no longer the jolly bus driver; he is a … [Read more...]

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith are at their first marriage therapy session. After five or six years of marriage they realize they are having difficulty but are unable or unwilling to articulate their problems to the therapist. He asks them to describe how they first met and they revisit their chance meeting in a bar in Bogota’, Colombia after an important man had been assassinated. They are immediately attracted to one another and soon John proposes to Jane.   John and J … [Read more...]


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