Category: On Movies

LUCY and the Longing of the Heart for More
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LUCY and the Longing of the Heart for More

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I was a young boy in the 1970’s and 80’s, coming of age in the early days of the movie magic of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. of galaxies far, far away, of Close Encounters, and hidden mysteries, of Lost Arks and great adventures. I can honestly say my formation and invitation into wonder and transcendence was assisted, however […]

Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis
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Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis

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“I am not suffering; I am struggling.” These words are part of a beautiful speech delivered by Julianne Moore in her Oscar-nominated performance as Dr. Alice Howland in the film Still Alice. The film is a powerful testimony of how a woman who has made her career out of words loses her words because of […]

Why Settle for Shades of Grey?
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Why Settle for Shades of Grey?

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Remember the scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ when the androgynous, almost-beautiful-but-not-quite Satan character is carrying a baby, and when the face of the baby is revealed, it turns out to be old, ugly, and creepy rather than a sweet baby face? This was confusing for a lot of viewers, and when […]

Movie Review: American Sniper
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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: Selma
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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 […]

Wedding Rings and Christmas Tree Ornament
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When Hollywood Celebrated Christmas and Marriage

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I don’t see a happy ending to this story.

Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary
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Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary

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Twelve years ago, a brief article in the Marian Helper magazine caught my attention. “My mother never gave up on me,” I read. “Even though I dropped out of high school, she never gave up on me, and now I’m becoming a priest.” That simple little story spoke volumes. I was on the lookout for inspirational […]

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings
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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: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part I
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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: Gone Girl
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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: Men, Women and Children
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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: The Good Lie
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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: The Song
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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 […]

Separated At Birth: The Identical Explores Identity, Conflict, Mission
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Separated At Birth: The Identical Explores Identity, Conflict, Mission

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First, there’s the great music: The Identical, which has been showing in theaters across America, is replete with rock-and-roll music that is eerily reminiscent of the great Elvis Presley.  In fact, the legendary rock star Drexel Helmsley, one of the twin protagonists played by Blake Rayne, is a dead ringer for the ’50s icon; and if you’re […]

Christian Filmmaking: Let's Be Honest
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Christian Filmmaking: Let’s Be Honest

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Several noteworthy commentaries on the lack of quality Christian filmmaking in recent years are beginning to pose an awkward question for those of us who are both trying to be faithful Catholics and film aficionados. With a few bright spots since Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ like The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe […]

Dolphin Tale 2, A Heartwarming Tale
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Dolphin Tale 2, A Heartwarming Tale

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As theaters are drowning in action movies and superheroes, a different kind of hero has made a second cinematic splash. Dolphin Tale 2 is a heart-warming, family friendly, and entertaining flick, featuring the unlikely protagonist, Winter; a dolphin without her tail. In case you missed the first Dolphin Tale, this based-on-a-true story movie focused on […]

Inside the Dolphin Tale’s Second Splash
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Inside the Dolphin Tale’s Second Splash

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What does a dolphin without a tale, acclaimed writer/director/actor Charles Martin Smith, and a group of renowned stars like Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman mean for Hollywood? In the first Dolphin Tale movie, it meant a major $100 million, motion picture hit worldwide and now, it means a sequel Dolphin Tale 2. But more […]

Movie Review: The Giver
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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 […]

When the Game Stands Tall
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When the Game Stands Tall

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It’s not about winning or losing but about how you play the game. Those words are usually reserved for losing teams, but legendary football coach, Bob Ladouceur, who shattered the record for all American sports, taught his team to live them; win or lose. He took the Spartans of De La Salle High School in […]

Standing Tall
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Standing Tall

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Sports movies have a built-in source of drama. In every contest there are winners and losers, hard work and teamwork, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Yet such movies also can lapse into melodrama and cliché: slow-motion metaphors that elevate sports above other challenges of life. Yet the best sports movies fit […]

Movie Review: Calvary
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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: Boyhood
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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 […]

Divergent Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination
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Divergent Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination

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Warning! Spoilers Ahead!! Divergent is the latest of the teen dystopian future trilogies to hit the big screen. I have read all three books, Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Is it not my favorite trilogy in this growing genre, but I know that teens everywhere love it. I do appreciate that Veronica Roth has tackled some […]

Movie Review: The Jewish Cardinal
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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 […]

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