Van Helsing

VAN HELSING is pure cinematic comic book horror and Hugh Jackman knows how to pull it off (X-Men franchise). It's over-the-top and funny, and uses the Catholic Church (to an absurd extreme) and Catholic imagery and theological tradition, much like Nosferatu (the Dracula story is the Christ story in reverse) and other Dracula stories. It's really a too-long hodge-podge of all the vampire/Frankenstein flicks that have come before - but it was fun. I think there's a commentary in there … [Read more...]

Troy

TROY is a sobering and haunting film about the absolute folly of war. Sure, the dialogue is elementary and not worthy of the epic nature of this film, and I am getting tired of computer-generated armies. The film is an adaptation of Homer's ILIAD - a history of ancient Greece. I have only read the parts of the ILIAD required by school and the ODYSSEY as interpreted by the Coen Brothers (O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?). However, I didn't get lost in the plot - which I found sufficiently complex to … [Read more...]

Twilight Samurai

The TWILIGHT SAMURAI was in the official competition of the Berlin Film Festival in 2003 and one of the films that the ecumenical jury (of which I was privileged to be a member) considered for a prize. Michael Winterbottom's IN THIS WORLD won out (a pseudo-documentary about a displaced Afghan living in a refugee camp in Pakistan who travels to the UK illegally and obtains residency until his 18th birthday) but this lovely Japanese hisorical romance was a contender. Not all the samurai were … [Read more...]

National Film Retreat

If you like this blog I am hoping you will consider the NATIONAL FILM RETREAT (July 23-25, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles) where movie lovers gather every year (this summer will be our 8th retreat in five years) to talk and reflect on film, spirituality and theology. Our theme this year is "Matters of Conscience." The deadline for registration in June 25th. The web site is located at http://www.nationalfilmretreat.org … [Read more...]

Against the Ropes

Still playing catch up on some recent releases. Saw AGAINST THE ROPES on the plane this past week. Some people say you cannot judge a film well if you see it on the plane because it's been edited for content, length - and to fit the screen. All valid points. Except when a film isn't very good. I thought AGAINST THE ROPES may have been written with the best of intentions, but I have two problems with it. First, if the story was compelling once, it got lost along the way. Second, boxing. It's one … [Read more...]

Raising Helen

RAISING HELEN, directed by Garry Marshall, is a delight. Helen, played to a "t" by Kate Hudson, is left three children to raise when her sister, their mom, as well as their dad, die in a car accident. Helen and her older sister Jenny both expect Jenny to be appointed the children's guardian, but instead, it is the carefree fashion agent Helen who is chosen. Jenny feels rejected (even though she is pregnant and has two other kids) and Helen overwhelmed, but because of the letter her dead sister … [Read more...]

Mona Lisa Smile

Mona Lisa Smile surprised me. I didn't go see it in the theaters because it sounded formulaic, and in many it ways it was. It's a "teacher" movie that deals with the "real" lives of young society women - fifty years ago. At first it doesn't seem to have anything new to say  about  the middle time of the coming of age of feminism in this country. At first it does not seem to compare and contrast with the nuveau classic "Dead Poets Society", but it actually does. Listen and … [Read more...]

Two Brothers

Two Brothers is coming out in June. It's gorgeous and good for the whole family - about a family of tigers in Southeast Asia around 1920 and the man-hunter and lonely boy who love them. More later. From the same studio that made Babe. … [Read more...]

Saved!

To be released Memorial Day Weekend, it's the story of these kids who go to American Eagle Christian Academy and go rah! rah! rah! for Jesus with every breath. Jena Malone plays Mary and thinks she can save her boyfriend from being gay if she sleeps with him and ends up very pregnant (her conclusions about what she is taught about Jesus are always very black and white and usually funny.)  Mandy Moore plays Hilary Faye (remeber Tammy Faye?) who is Jesus' biggest supporter and resident saint … [Read more...]

Hellboy

Hellboy is a fun movie... following right along with X-Men II and Daredevil. Much religious (Catholic) imagery. Ron Pearlman is so at home as H.B. or "Red" as they call him. It's pure comic book from start (when the Nazi's open a portal to the dark side) and President Roosevelt's head advisor (a professor) about the paranormal and US soldiers stop them. Kind of. A Resputin character goes over to the dark side and a little red creature with horns and a tail escapes into the real world - to be … [Read more...]


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