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>Jurassic World</em>
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Movie Review: Jurassic World

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The fourth of the Jurassic movies, Jurassic World, is brilliant, in keeping with the tone of the franchise, and great entertainment. The over-the-top trailer should never have shown us the escaped pterodactyls swooping down on everyone. That was a total spoiler and made the film look overblown, which it is not. Jurassic World retains all […]

Movie Review -- <em>Mad Max: Fury Road</em>
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Movie Review — Mad Max: Fury Road

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Oftentimes I am sure I’m going to like a movie and am very disappointed. Rarely am I sure I will detest a movie and turn out liking it. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of those latter films. Although named for Mad Max, this is not his movie. It’s really Imperator Furiosa’s (Charlize Theron) story. […]

Movie Review: <em>Far From the Madding Crowd</em>
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Movie Review: Far From the Madding Crowd

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Fans of “Pride and Prejudice” will love the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. It’s a romance of class divisions as well as gender divisions (in the sense that a fiercely independent and independently wealthy female sees no “need” for a husband). Miss Bathsheba Everdene* (the astute and expressive […]

Movie Review: <em>Ex Machina</em>
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Movie Review: Ex Machina

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Ex Machina, an updated story on Artificial Intelligence, is a new science fiction classic, with all the bells and whistles of today’s filmmaking, but without a terribly new conclusion about the human or moral ramifications of A.I. A megalomaniac computer scientist (Nathan) has created a top-secret female robot (Ava) and invited a computer coder (Caleb) […]

Movie Review: <em>American Sniper</em>
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Movie Review: American Sniper

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Does American Sniper glorify war? Does the film pretend to take very seriously the colossal cost of war, the human toll on both sides, the fact that “war is an adventure from which there is no return” (John Paul II)–but actually delights in it? Kinda, sorta. Even though Clint Eastwood insists he’s more of a […]

Movie Review: <em>Selma</em>
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Movie Review: Selma

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Selma, the story of a pivotal point in the civil rights work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a well-cast, well-acted re-telling. At times it lacks a bit of a spark, especially as David Oyelowo delivers MLK’s rousing, eloquent and inspired speeches in an almost too polished fashion. But this is one of the […]

TV Review: <em>The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns</em>
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TV Review: The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns

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Reality TV about five young women discerning their vocation at three different convents? How could this be the proper vehicle? Won’t the cameras interfere with or even hamstring this very personal and intimate process? Will it “work”? When I heard that such an animal was coming down the pike, I had great apprehension, even when […]

Movie Review: <em>Exodus: Gods and Kings</em>
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Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

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Exodus–the story of Moses–proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that atheists make the best Bible movies (see my review of Noah). I don’t know that atheists necessarily make the best contemporary movies about faith or people of faith, but they certainly do the oldies well. Perhaps this is in part because they mine an […]

Movie Review: <em>The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part I</em>
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Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part I

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The third installment of The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part I does not disappoint. Director, Francis Lawrence, who also directed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire keeps the momentum going in a sleek, seamless film. As we all know, sequels are hardly ever as good as the original, but in serial films it seems, as […]

Movie Review: <em>Gone Girl</em>
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Movie Review: Gone Girl

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I don’t know why this simple premise intrigued me when the best-selling book and now movie, Gone Girl first came out, but it did: A young married couple. The wife suddenly disappears. Was it murder? Did her husband do it? But alas, the film, for all its accolades, is a massive disappointment, and really, a […]

Movie Review: <em>Men, Women and Children</em>
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Movie Review: Men, Women and Children

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Do not see Men, Women and Children unless you are inured to today’s porn and sex and sex and porn everywhere. The language and visuals are graphic and explicit and involve teens (and remember, today’s sex is degraded), but after a few seconds of getting into it each time, the camera mercifully cuts away. But […]

Movie Review: <em>The Good Lie</em>
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Movie Review: The Good Lie

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I did not want to see The Good Lie. It was assigned to me by my boss at LifeTeen, Christina Mead (benign dictator). I thought: I already know all about the “Lost Boys of Sudan” (young men who were forced to be child soldiers when their parents were murdered during the civil war). Many sad, […]

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

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The Song is a new Christian film inspired by “The Songs of Songs” (aka “The Song of Solomon”) in the Bible. It is one of those distinctly southern/country culture films, with the two main characters being Christians themselves. It’s a story of adultery. A story of career vs. vocation, and spouses who are physically separated […]

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

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The Giver is yet another young adult dystopian novel turned into a movie, but it actually preceded many of the others. This engaging, perfect-for-our-times narrative by Lois Lowry was published in 1993, and is required reading in many schools. There is controversy surrounding the content, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out […]

Movie Review: <em>Calvary</em>
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Movie Review: Calvary

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The new Irish film, Calvary, is a fierce expedition into the repercussions and present climate of post-clergy-sex-abuse-scandal Ireland. It’s an unblinking, fictitious story that’s an apt vehicle not so much to wonder “how?” and “what went so terribly wrong?” as it is to gauge people’s reactions. Calvary sports the simplest, boldest, shortest Act One I […]

Movie Review: <em>Boyhood</em>
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Movie Review: Boyhood

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Boyhood, the new movie written and directed by Richard Linklater (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, The Before… Trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) is a one-of-a-kind, “big idea” film. The lives of screen Mom, Dad, son and daughter are followed for twelve years. Literally twelve years, having been filmed for about a week each […]

Movie Review: <em>The Jewish Cardinal</em>
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Movie Review: The Jewish Cardinal

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The 2013 film (now on DVD and Netflix) The Jewish Cardinal is the life of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger who died in 2007. May I say that this is the most tastefully, smartly irreverent life of a prelate ever on film? Jewish filmmaker, Ilan Duran Cohen, gets both Judaism and Catholicism […]

Movie Review: <em>Maleficent</em>
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Movie Review: Maleficent

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WARNING: LOADED WITH SPOILERS! Well, is Maleficent magnificent? Angelina Jolie is (of course), but the story? I don’t know. What?! I don’t have an opinionated opinion for once? No. It’s complicated. I am viewing “Maleficent” on its own, but also in the context of the more recent Disney princess stories. The times they are a-changin’. […]

Movie Review: <em>Locke</em>
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Movie Review: Locke

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Locke, starring Tom Hardy–and only Tom Hardy–is being dubbed “Hamlet of the Highway,” and it’s exactly that. The premise of this one-actor film is simple and brilliant. The execution is also brilliant. A husband/father/expert construction foreman strayed once and only once in his marriage and got a middle-aged woman pregnant in a drunken one-night stand […]

Movie Review: <em>Mom's Night Out</em>
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Movie Review: Mom’s Night Out

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Just in time for Mother’s Day comes a genuinely fun and funny film about the crazy adventure that is parenting, specifically motherhood (with a serving of fatherhood on the side). If you’ve seen the snappy trailer, the movie does deliver on its promise, and there’s lots more LOLs where that came from. But…. Dear Southern […]

Movie Review: <em>Heaven is for Real</em>
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Movie Review: Heaven is for Real

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The movie Heaven Is for Real, based on the book by the same name, is the true story of four-year-old Colton Burpo who claims to have seen heaven. First off: Do not watch the trailer if you haven’t already! It’s a great trailer, but it gives away a bit too much. Second off: do see […]

Movie Review: <em>God's Not Dead</em>
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Movie Review: God’s Not Dead

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DISCLAIMER: Some Christians believe that any Christian film that is trying to do good and tell the truth should be praised and promoted, whether or not it displays excellence in filmmaking and theology/philosophy. I am not one of those Christians. You have been warned. Proceed with this knowledge. The new Christian film: God’s Not Dead […]

Movie Review: <em>Noah</em>
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Movie Review: Noah

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Months ago, when I first heard that Noah was coming out, I, like the biblical Sarah, laughed to myself. “It’ll be this big, ugly, off-the-mark extravaganza, just trying to make money off believers, and it’ll flop.” Like Sarah, I had to eat crow. Not literally! (Noah is a vegetarian in the film.) Noah, written and directed […]

Movie Review: <em>Muppets Most Wanted</em>
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Movie Review: Muppets Most Wanted

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The Muppets are at it again. The clever new caper takes us to a gulag in Siberia, Russia and several other international cities, as The Muppet Show reunites for a world tour. But all is not as it seems. All is not well. Constantine–the World’s Most Dangerous Frog–who looks exactly like Kermit, but with a […]

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