Author Archive for Sr. Helena Burns, fsp

Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, an international congregation founded to communicate God's Word through the media. She is finishing her M.A. in Media Literacy Education; has a B.A. in theology and philosophy from St. John's University, NYC; studied screenwriting at UCLA and Act One, Hollywood; and holds a Certificate in Pastoral Youth Ministry. She is the movie reviewer for “The Catholic New World,” Chicago’s Archdiocesan newspaper. She is currently writing and producing a documentary on the life of Blessed James Alberione: www.MediaApostle.com. Sr. Helena has been giving Media Literacy and Theology of the Body workshops to youth and adults all over the U.S. and Canada since the 90’s, and believes that media can be a primary tool for sharing God's love and salvation. Sr. Helena Burns, fsp Pauline Books & Media 172 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601 hburns@paulinemedia.com www.hellburns.blogspot.com www.pauline.org facebook: Helena Burns twitter: @SrHelenaBurns

Movie Review <em>Don't Breathe</em>
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Movie Review Don’t Breathe

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DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER! GIVES TOO MUCH AWAY! Don’t Breathe is a much ballyhooed suspense-thriller from 38-year-old Uruguayan horror-meister, Fede Alvarez, that I was very eager to see. I don’t do straight-up horror/slasher films, but I could tell that Don’t Breathe had more of the air of a thriller, and I wasn’t wrong. It’s […]

Movie Review: <em>Hacksaw Ridge</em>
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Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge

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Mel Gibson has done it again. Hacksaw Ridge is the cinematic event of 2016-2017. Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Private Desmond Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist from Virginia who enlists in World War II, but — as a conscientious objector — staunchly refuses to bear arms. Literally. He won’t even touch a gun, let […]

Movie Review: <em>Denial</em>
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Movie Review: Denial

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A new film aptly entitled Denial — about a famous Holocaust-denial court case–is a jewel. I hope it will be used in classrooms. I will be doing some SPOILERS in this review in order to pick apart the storyline, as well as the reality of dealing with Holocaust deniers. Rachel Weisz plays professor, historian and […]

Movie Review: <em>Ben-Hur</em>
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Movie Review: Ben-Hur

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The latest big screen Ben-Hur is a fresh take on the beloved 1880 historical fiction novel: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace that deftly and intricately weaves the story of Judah Ben-Hur into the Gospel account of Jesus. However, it sadly limps in the faith department, which, of course, is the punchline […]

Movie Review: <em>The Little Prince</em>
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Movie Review: The Little Prince

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The beloved classic, The Little Prince, was released simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, and will not disappoint fans of the fable. Jeff Bridges’ rich, warm, craggy American voice brings to life Saint-Exupéry, the author and aviator. Three different kinds of storytelling visuals are utilized: the now-familiar computer animation, sporting oversized heads and large, expressive […]

Movie Review: <em>Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism</em>
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Movie Review: Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism

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I’m going to call the latest documentary on John Paul II an “almost perfect documentary.” The title is: Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism. Why is it almost perfect? Because it’s Rolls Royce super-classy in every way. The production values are off the chain, the august interviewees always on point, […]

Movie Review: <em>The Secret Life of Pets</em>
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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets

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With a juicy, promising title and a screen populated with adorable, fuzzy furballs of varied shapes and sizes, the animated smash hit: The Secret Life of Pets is a fun Summer escapade for all ages. The different personalities of species and dog breeds are, well, typecast. The goofy guinea pig, the self-involved cat, the excitable […]

Movie Review: <em>Me Before You</em>
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Movie Review: Me Before You

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WARNING: I TELL YOU THE END OF THE FILM IN THE NEXT SENTENCE. Due to the serious subject matter of the film Me Before You (euthanasia), and the fact that most people already know how the movie ends (euthanasia), combined with the fact that the film is based on a novel by the same name […]

Review: <em>The Original Image of Divine Mercy: The Untold Story of An Unknown Masterpiece</em>
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Review: The Original Image of Divine Mercy: The Untold Story of An Unknown Masterpiece

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A new full-length documentary film on the Divine Mercy is now available for large or small screenings during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It has the long and intriguing title of: The Original Image of Divine Mercy: The Untold Story of An Unknown Masterpiece. Also for Divine Mercy Non-Fans Now, if you, like me, are […]

Movie Review: <em>Miracles from Heaven</em>
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Movie Review: Miracles from Heaven

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Miracles from Heaven is a disruptive new God film from the folks who brought us Heaven Is For Real. There are many similarities to the two films. Each film is about a miracle experienced by a child. Each child has an out-of-body encounter with heaven and God, and comes from an already-believing family. Each film […]

Movie Review: <em>The Revenant</em>
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Movie Review: The Revenant

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The 2016 Golden Globe Award for Best Picture was The Revenant — from a novel based on a true incident — starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a hunter-trapper who, mauled by a bear, is left to die by his companions. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the basic premise. I can’t really […]

Movie Review: <em>Full of Grace</em>
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Movie Review: Full of Grace

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Full of Grace is an art-house, indie film about the last days of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Bahia Haifi) on earth. The story is interwoven with the plight of Peter (Noam Jenkins) who–although the Church is growing–is faced with heresy upon heresy, distortions of the Faith in thought and practice (“they are picking apart the […]

Movie Review: <em>The Letters</em>
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Movie Review: The Letters

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The Letters is another film about the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (acted with aplomb by Juliet Stevenson) — specifically that part of her life where, posthumously, personal letters that revealed her prolonged dark night of the soul surfaced. The stunning revelation is chronicled in the book Come Be My Light–The Private Writings of […]

Movie Review -- <em>The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2</em>
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Movie Review — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

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If you already know how the Hunger Games saga ends, you may want to skip this third installment — unless you are fond of tedium. The beginning gets off the ground well enough with lots of dialogue and ominous music that is just setting the stage for future action scenes. However, said action scenes drag […]

Movie Review: <em>Spotlight</em>
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Movie Review: Spotlight

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Spotlight is the recounting of the Spotlight team of intrepid investigative reporters at the Boston Globe who broke the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse story in January 2002–mainly concerning the Archdiocese of Boston. For starters, this is not a Church-bashing film, even though it easily and rightfully could have been. It’s an accurate, stark, almost […]

Movie Review: <em>Jem and the Holograms</em>
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Movie Review: Jem and the Holograms

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Jem and the Holograms is a live-action tween movie based on the animated TV series of the same name that aired from 1985-1988. Although I have been informed by some fans of the TV series that the film is not cleaving exactly to the TV version, it is nonetheless a delightful, “family-oriented” film that is […]

Movie Review: <em>Hyena Road</em>
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Movie Review: Hyena Road

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Hyena Road is the latest film about the war-with-no-end-in-sight: Afghanistan. Canadian writer-director-actor, Paul Gross, delivers what is now a standard, sand-infiltrated, camo-dappled screen adventure in the nouveau tradition of Jarhead, Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Hyena Road looks and feels pretty much the same as these movies, except that this tale is exclusively about Canadian […]

Movie Review: <em>Pawn Sacrifice</em>
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Movie Review: Pawn Sacrifice

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I’m declaring the riveting and flawless Pawn Sacrifice (the story of chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, played with acting genius by Tobey Maguire) the best film of 2015. This film has it all: high drama, low drama, human drama, international intrigue, unbeatable odds, fierce competition, poignancy, USA vs. Russia, an alternately elegant and rockin’ soundtrack, issues […]

Movie Review: <em>War Room</em>
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Movie Review: War Room

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The War Room is a winning film about prayer. A film about prayer? How do you make such a thing? Why would you make such a thing? Who would make such a thing? Obviously, the Kendrick Brothers are at it again (Facing Giants, Fireproof, Courageous). War Room is their best yet. It’s definitely a film […]

Movie Review: <em>90 Minutes in Heaven</em>
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Movie Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven

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90 Minutes in Heaven is the screen version of a book by the same name that came out several years ago. It is a memoir, a firsthand account of a Christian pastor’s near-death experience. The book is excellent. The film? Far from it. In fact, it fails pretty miserably as a film, and also in […]

Movie Review: <em>The Gift</em>
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Movie Review: The Gift

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Looking for a tight suspense thriller? Look no further than The Gift, the weak-titled, but strongly-executed directorial debut of the ever-fascinating Joel Edgerton (who also wrote and stars ). The trailer is not a trailer, but a spoiler, so don’t even watch it. You’ll know far too much at the outset. The one thing I […]

Movie Review <em>I Am Potential</em>
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Movie Review I Am Potential

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The new movie, I Am Potential, is based on the true story of the Hughes Family whose son was born without eyes and unable to walk. I almost didn’t want to even tell you that, because I had the experience of coming at the story cold, and was hit by the element of surprise at […]

Movie Review: <em>Self/less</em>
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Movie Review: Self/less

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The idea and ideology of “transhumanism”: that human beings are basically just brains in containers, and that if we could just find a way to upload our brains into computers or robots or such–we could live on forever–is the subject of the new film Self/less. It was also the subject of the recent film Transcendence. […]

Movie Review: <em>Inside Out</em>
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Movie Review: Inside Out

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Inside Out, the new Pixar movie about Riley, an eleven-year-old girl whose world is turned upside down when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, is good, but not great. It’s very much a kid’s movie (with knowing asides to parents, as these films always have). When I first saw the trailer for the […]

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