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 … [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...]


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 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...]

Walking Tall

What a disaster of a movie. I had wanted to like it (based on a true story; The Rock was looking good), but it’s no more than a vigilante film.   I have not wanted to bolt from a movie theater in a long time, but the violence was so over the top and senseless, I could hardly stay to the end (so I could inform you that you don’t need to even wait for the video on this.)   Chris (The Rock) returns home after eight years in Special Forces. The mill is closed and a casino is open – which i … [Read more...]

The Ladykillers

The Coen Brothers ... Fargo meets O Brother Where Art Thou? - kind of. I laughed when others didn't... they laughed when I didn't... The funniest line is when Tom Hanks introduces himself to the landlady as a PhD, and she says, O like Elmer Fudd? The road to hell is paved with really stupid people (whose language reflects their unimaginative and barren souls.) Remember that theme? How good is the movie? Depends on your funny bone!! … [Read more...]

Laws of Attraction

Laws of Attraction, with Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore and Frances Fisher (the uptight mom in Titanic) is a comedy about the attraction of opposities and the worth of working hard to maintain a marriage. Opens April 30th. It's not a theological treatise on matrimony but has more of a Tracy-Hepburn thing going with some contemporary accouterments (it is implied that they do sleep together once before their "marriage") - yet these things offer mature folk issues to talk about with … [Read more...]