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

Saving Mr. Who?
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Saving Mr. Who?

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Are we all agreed that Saving Mr. Banks is the Worst. Movie. Title. Ever? Good. First: Who is Mr. Banks? He’s the father of the little family in Mary Poppins, and the filmmakers must have assumed that we all had massive group recollection on that one. Second: “Banks” rhymes with “Hanks” who plays Walt Disney. […]

Movie Review: <em>Her</em>
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Movie Review: Her

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From writer/director Spike Jonez’, Her is a rather extraordinary film. It’s really a science fiction/love story about A.I. (artificial intelligence). Set in what looks like the near future, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix doing his best work to date and visually carrying the entire film) works for a company called “Beautiful Handwritten Letters” that composes letters for people. Not business letters or […]

Movie Review: <em>Nebraska</em>
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Movie Review: Nebraska

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Nebraska–the latest offering from director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants)–is more of Payne’s unblinking look at the difficulty of human relationships and relatedness. Reminiscent of David Fincher’s The Straight Story, Nebraska is in the road trip film genre, a physical journey of an old man (an unbelievable performance by Bruce Dern) trying to set things […]

Movie Review: <em>The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug</em>
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Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is, of course, Part Two in a three-part cinematic extravaganza of Tolkien’s beloved book: The Hobbit. How did Peter Jackson and Co. get three movies out of it? By drawing on The Silmarillion and other background information. Perhaps some Tolkien purists are not happy with this amalgam, but for the […]

Movie Review: <em>Gravity</em>
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Movie Review: Gravity

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“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in space…,” a terrifying movie like “Gravity” hits you in the face. “Gravity” is one of those films that’s truly an experience that one undergoes: one of the tensest time periods ever spent in a cinema. This is an extremely uncomfortable film. Space is the […]

About <i>Don Jon</i>
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About Don Jon

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When I first heard about the subject matter of Don Jon, a new film written by, directed by, and starring child-star-turned-very-successful-adult-star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I was thrilled. Gordon-Levitt was taking on porn addiction! Astoundingly, the very existence of porn addiction is often considered  “controversial,” and is questioned as a true malady. Then I saw that Don […]

Movie Review: <i>Light of Love</i>
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Movie Review: Light of Love

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Light of Love is a new 60-minute documentary by Imagine Sisters. What, you ask, is “Imagine Sisters”? And whatever “Imagine Sisters” is, isn’t it bad syntax? “Imagine Sisters” is a movement (begun by Chicago seminarians—out of the goodness of their hearts and under the patronage of St. Therese) to encourage women’s religious vocations. “Imagine Sisters” […]

Movie Review: <i>Despicable Me 2</i>
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Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

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Gru and his yellow, gobbledygook-spewing, Contac-capsule-shaped minions are baaaack! Despicable Me 2 picks up where Despicable Me left off, but if you didn’t see the first installment, no worries, “2” is a hoot without it. All you need to know is that Gru (Steve Carell) is a former dastardly doer of evil deeds on a […]

<em>Les Mis</em>: Movie Review
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Les Mis: Movie Review

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The musical Les Miserables begins and ends with the sung words “Look down!” That is, look down at the suffering, the poor, those who are told to look down, those who don’t dare lift their eyes to dream. There is a feeling of the socially-conscious Dickens’ work to Les Mis. The nemeses are introduced early: […]

Movie Review: <em>Elf</em>
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Movie Review: Elf

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Are you among the very, very few who have not seen one of the most recent Christmas classic movies, Elf (2003)? If not, and you have been nice and not naughty this year, then you need to go ahead and treat yourself! Even if you don’t like actor/comedian Will Ferrell who plays the Elf in […]

Movie Review: <em>Flight</em>
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Movie Review: Flight

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Drama is not dead! The new Denzel Washington movie Flight—about the aftermath of a plane crash—is living proof. Although the excellent and enticing trailer portrays the film accurately, the film itself is not a “perfect” film. It’s very good, but too long and lacking in consistency. After an incredibly filmed, tense-to-beat-the-band action sequence, and a […]

Movie Review: <em>Here Comes the Boom</em>
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Movie Review: Here Comes the Boom

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Here Comes the Boom is a very worthwhile film. It could even be seen as a definitive “teachers rock,” “save the school kids” film. Interestingly enough, another teacher/school film was just in theaters, Won’t Back Down, that beats the audience over the head with self-righteous, overbearing clichés (the trailer is just one cliché stitched to […]

Movie Review: <em>Cosmic Origins</em>
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Movie Review: Cosmic Origins

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Got atheists friends or family? The stellar new DVD Cosmic Origins might help. In this film, some of today’s top scientists (many award-winning) weigh in on the mysterious origins of our universe. Old and new cosmological theories are presented, leading up to the possibility of an “intelligent Designer.” But the film, being mostly a scientific […]

Movie Review: <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>
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Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

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Moonrise Kingdom is a tasty escape into an ordinary-magical world of a quirky bunch of pre-teens and their families in 1965. The film is highly-stylized, deeply amusing, and incredibly well-cast. The always unexpected writer-director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox) gives us a more-deadpan-than-“Napoleon Dynamite” romantic comedy. Involving twelve year olds. Set […]

Movie Review: <i>Magic Mike</i>
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Movie Review: Magic Mike

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Magic Mike will be the first time I am reviewing a movie that I have not seen. I am reviewing the concept of the film (male strippers), I have seen the trailer, and have read several reviews and “making of” articles. I read in Entertainment Weekly that when Channing Tatum (who plays “Magic Mike”) was […]

Movie Review: <i>Brave</i>
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Movie Review: Brave

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WARNING! This is more of an analysis than a review, so there are LOTS of SPOILERS! I find Brave to be a subversive and kind of shocking movie. First, what I LIKE about the film: the artistry/special effects are, of course, amazing. I laughed my head off at ALL the Scotsmen fighting scenes (with mandatory […]

Movie Review: <i>Snow White and the Huntsman</i>
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Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

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Snow White and the Huntsman is a delicious, delightful, old-timey, coat-of-mail-clanking, halberd-swinging, plucky princess story that we’re already familiar with! The 21st century special effects make the film all the more nifty. Dark-haired Kristen Stewart (“Bella” in the Twilight series) plays Snow White with her trademark Kristen Stewart stillness and seriousness. Blonde-haired, Oscar-winning Charlize Theron […]

 Movie Review: <i>Men in Black 3 (MIB3)</i>
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Movie Review: Men in Black 3 (MIB3)

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Sequels are hard.  “Men in Black 3” is no exception. After an attention-grabbing, keeping-in-the-MIB-mode (and a once-only-ultra-risqué scene) opening, “MIB3” strives in a ho-hum way to maintain the MIB quirky vibe and “odd couple” relationship between Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (a wan-looking Tommy Lee Jones). Each actor does their best with mediocre, […]

Movie Review: <em>The Hunger Games</em>
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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games is set in a way beyond dystopia future in which the rulers living in the Third-Reich-like “Capitol” keep the peons in the “Districts” in fear and subjugation by holding gladiatorial games each year. The combatants are children and teenagers, picked at random to fight to the death, each representing their District. And […]

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

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Why is The Artist being showered with so many international awards (and most likely a few Oscars)? It’s all about bringing back the movie magic, which The Artist does. This black-and-white film focuses on visual storytelling, which is precisely what film is supposed to be. Anyone who has gone to film school will appreciate the […]

Movie Review: <em>Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close</em>
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Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the story of a boy who loses his father in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) seems to have Asperger’s syndrome, and his dad (Tom Hanks) was the only one who really understood his brainy but socially awkward and phobia-ridden son. Oskar’s relationship with his mother […]

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

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I came to bury Caesar, not to praise him, and wound up praising him. I had my skewers ready and planned to make shish-kabob out of this film. But I cannot. Why was I all set to hate on this film? I thought it was “Just Another Sad Tale of a Dysfunctional Family Where Dad […]

Movie Review: <em>Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol</em>
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Movie Review: Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol

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Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol is a perfect action-thriller flick. It’s slaying at the box office, too, which shows that audiences are paying attention. Tom Cruise is back, he’s still got it (in spades), and really pulls and keeps the whole project together. He doesn’t swagger, but he leads his MI team with “hunches,” bravery and physical […]

Movie Review: <em>Rise of the Planet of the Apes</em>
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Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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For those of us decrepit enough to remember the original* made-for-TV Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston (human) and Roddy McDowell** (ape), Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a high-tech, far cry from the DISCOUNT HALLOWEEN COSTUME STORE RUBBER-MASKED primate sci-fi drama. Rise is about Big Pharma and Big Research and Big […]

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