Jersey Girl

Well folks, writer/director of Dogma, Kevin Smith, has grown up. A lot.Jersey Girl is a classically constructed story of a high-power Manhattan publicist, Ollie (Ben Affleck) who gets married only to have his wife die in childbirth. He gets fired when he loses it at a press event for the Will Smith - and has to move back to Jersey to live with his dad.Lots of Catholic imagery and some Catholic culture references, (along with the typical bathroom, body parts and porn humor - after all, Kevin … [Read more...]


Twisted, a San Francisco cop-thriller, should have been toned down a little and been a made-for-TV movie. I figured out who done it very soon. There wasn't enough character development to make me care about the people... even though we can always have empathy for someone's despair. Wait for the video/DVD if you must. … [Read more...]

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is an embarrassing film when placed side by side with the original 1987 Dirty Dancing. For serious folk, the original had plenty of moral issues that were dealt with in very ambivalent ways, indeed objectively contrary to Catholic moral teaching. But you cannot fault the dancing!Havana Nights was a disappointment on every level. And the dancing wasn't good at all. They should have spent a little more money and blown us away with dancing that could delight audiences. … [Read more...]

Confessions of a Teen Age Drama Queen

Confessions is fun for young teens and there is a lesson to be learned about telling the truth. … [Read more...]

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ is Mel Gibson's long-awaited, highly-promoted film about the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus. It is without doubt a masterpiece, but it is violent, graphic, and in my opinion, it belongs in the horror genre. Why? Because it is about chaos in one's personal universe, the cosmos, and loss. Gibson uses all kinds of cinematic devises related to the genre as well. These are intense and at times shocking. The vicious violence of this film made it a very difficult watch for … [Read more...]

21 Grams

21 Grams is supposed to be how much weight a body loses when it dies. It's a great title and premise for a movie, but this complex, non-linear film isn't really about that. It's about death, dying, mistakes, despair, sorrow in a totally non-linear moral universe. The lives of three people converge in very harsh ways. One man kills another in a hit and run, the dead man's heart is transplanted into the third man's, and that man gets involved with the dead man's wife.Sean Penn is even more … [Read more...]

You Got Served

This is amateur writing and acting and fabulous hip hop. The dance "battles" are amazing. Wait for the last twenty minutes. Just when you are thinking what a non-story this is, the contest begins. I think it gave me a respect for hip hop as an urban art form - and the film's explicit message is: use dance not violence to solve differences. That's a good message. … [Read more...]


Monster is not named for the woman who became the first serial killer in America, but for the ferris wheel she wanted to ride as a child. Charlize Theron will win the Academy Award for best actress I think. This is a new Hilary Swank - and for a film that is similar in many respects to Boys Don't Cry.This is not a pretty story; read the reviews at because all I can tell you is that it's very hard to watch. But killers like this don't come along for no reason. Children are so often … [Read more...]


Osama ought to be a contender for the Academy Awards next year. This small movie about a young Afghan girl who is sent out by her mother and grandmother dressed as a boy so she can earn money and buy food, is hearbreaking, credible, well-constructed and raw. It happens during the time of the Taliban and its finale is desperately sad. I keep asking: how did the US ever support this regime? Middle-eastern filmmaking is brilliant.   … [Read more...]


Miracle is a satisfying sports movie but perhaps too locked into its historical period to have the emotional impact it might have had if it were produced before 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film tries to make up for this lacuna by creating some emotional conflict between Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) and his wife Patty (Patricia Clarkson) and between the goalie and his father. It works well enough. I don't even like hockey but the game between the USA and the Russians is … [Read more...]