Glory Road

Get ready for an amazing film about the 1960’s, when race and basketball kissed, and a new era in American athletics began.    Most of this review is based on the interviews at the press junket for the film last Sunday here in Los Angeles. First seeing this really good film and then attending an awesome afternoon of interviews really made for a memorable few days. The cast, filmmakers, and writers are serious about their work, their art – and about the stories they choose to be par … [Read more...]

Last Holiday

Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) lives, works, and worships in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). Her job at a large department store in the cookware department gives her a bird’s eye view to the floor below where Sean Matthews (LL Cool J) sells things like barbeque units and backyard furniture. She’s sweet on him but doesn’t tell a soul. At home she watches cooking shows, eats like a bird, and keeps a scrap book of all the places she wants to visit to try the local cuisine. Her young neighbor sneaks a peak … [Read more...]

What I’m Watching on TV

January, 2006   As you know, I am a media literacy education specialist and the film/TV columnist for St. Anthony Messenger (   To me it is very important to be tuned in to the shows a significant number of people are watching. Sometimes I review shows because they are new; at other times, because they are significant; and at other times because I just like them.   My favorite ads right now: California Cows are happy so they make good cheese (well, you … [Read more...]

Book of Daniel (TV)

Friday's, NBC, 9/8pm   Aidan Quinn plays Father Daniel Webster, an Episcopalian priest, pastor of a New England parish who is partial to Vicodin, husband to Judith (Susannah Thompson) who is rather unhinged, father to Peter (Christian Campbell) who is gay and out of the closet but who does not want to lead the parade, Adam (Ivan Owen), of Chinese ancestry that the Webster’s adopted and who is very horny, and Grace (Alison Pill; wonderful in Pieces of April) who was just busted and bailed o … [Read more...]

My Favorite Films of 2005

Not counting all the films I saw at the Locarno Film Festival, I saw 80 new releases this year – out of the top 250 films that will gross a million or more domestically. If you check the weekly VARIETY for the third week of January, you can see the entire list of highest grossing films.   Here’s my "Sweet Sixteen" list of favorites in alphabetical order; they are all reviewed in this blog:   Batman Begins Capote Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Constant Garde … [Read more...]

The Family Stone

It’s Christmas and Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) goes home with her boyfriend Everett (Dermot Mulroney) for the holidays to meet his family, the Stones.   Meredith seems as tightly wound, like her knob of hair at the back of her head. She looks cold, and younger sister Amy (Rachel McAdams) baits her continually, trying to make the ice queen crack. Even Everett seems to have taken on some of Meredith’s temperament. His brother Ben (Luke Wilson) arrives  and is polar opposites of his b … [Read more...]

Rumor Has It

(Semi-spoiler but if you go see the movie and don’t read this first, you’ll have only yourself to blame.)   Sarah (Jennifer Anniston) is on her way to Pasadena with boyfriend Jeff ( Mark Ruffalo) for her sister Annie’s (Mena Suvari) wedding. Sarah and Jeff are engaged but Sarah tells Jeff she isn’t wearing her ring because she wants to wait to announce their wedding.   Dad Earl (Richard Jenkins) meets them at the airport and proceeds to Pasaden-ize Jeff. Sarah is kind of identity neuro … [Read more...]


It’s been a week since I saw Munich and I am still in mourning.   I have tried not to give away too much here, but it is not possible to only outline a film like this. It made my list of top films for 2005.    Munich is the story of the systematic revenge killings for the 1972 assassinations of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, Germany. The Israeli government commissioned the secret killings of eleven of the Palestinians who planned the assassinations. The Israeli’s rat … [Read more...]

The New World

Opening on December 25th in Los Angeles and New York; wide release on January 13th.     Terrence Malick’s ambitious and idyllic cinematic imagining of the story of Pocahontas and Captain Smith opens in wide release on January 13th.  It will appeal to the romantics among us as well as Malick’s fans (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line), though historians may tag it as revisionist.    In 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims would land at Plymouth Rock, thr … [Read more...]

Brokeback Mountain

In the summer of 1963 a lone cowboy, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) walks into a tiny Wyoming town looking for ranch work. As he waits to be hired, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives in his old pickup truck. Both are hired to tend sheep at Brokeback Mountain by Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid). One is stay at the main camp, and the other is to stay with the sheep – against National Park Service rules - though they are to take meals together.   Ennis is strong, silent and seems very l … [Read more...]