Film

Hurricanes, Climate Change, Pope Francis, and the Poor

Never letting a serious crisis go to waste, climate change advocates seized upon hurricanes Harvey and Irma as evidence that climate change is real and happening, its effects devastating, and without drastic remedial measures global cataclysm is inevitable. Joining in was Pope Francis. While Irma was hammering the Florida coast, El Papa warned against inaction, [...]

Beauty and the Beast’s Obeisance to the Big Gay Machine

My son and I saw the new Beauty and the Beast. It was lovely, magical, following the 1991 cartoon, almost scene for scene, song for song. This is the story everyone wants to hear: darkness and evil and selfishness transformed by love into light and good and self-surrender. Life and love conquer death and fear. [...]

The Shack’s Preachiness leads to Cinematic Boredom

Toward the end of his life, according to legend, the fourth century Church father Saint Augustine stated: “I spent some 30 years in writing fifteen books concerning the Trinity, which is God.” Yet this theological genius was confronted by the inability of the human mind to probe this mystery as this story relates: He was walking by [...]

Of Friendship, Faith, and Death: A Film Series for the Ages

Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant (Sirach). I heard last month about the Academy Awards and the Big Flub. I suppose it would’ve been fun to witness it live instead of on YouTube, but not fun enough to regret skipping the broadcast altogether. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about [...]

Scorsese’s Silence: Many Martyrs—Little Redemption

The official trailer for the newly released Martin Scorsese film Silence gives the impression this movie is about missionaries in Japan and how Catholics bravely endured persecution for the sake of the Faith. That however is not the real focus of this very disturbing movie and movie-goers should not be lured into believing they are [...]

The Euthanasia Deception: A New Film, An Old Lie

A middle-aged man wheels his disabled daughter through a public park. They have enjoyed their visit there. The young woman likes to look at the flowers. For a moment, their shared pleasure of the beauty all around unites them. This is especially precious given her limited ability to communicate. In recent years, however, the visits [...]

Voiceless Takes Christian Filmmaking Where It Needs to Go

First there was Bella, then there was October Baby, followed by Gimme Shelter—three films with unabashedly pro-life messages—and not surprisingly all three produced by Christian film-makers in what has become known as the faith-based film genre. This reviewer has been quite open about her opinion of nearly all films created by dedicated Christians—with a few [...]

The New Ben Hur Falls Short of the Original Classic

The story of Judah Ben Hur a wealthy, influential Jewish prince betrayed by his friend Massala as he seeks to climb the ranks of Roman power, first appeared as a best-selling novel in 1880 penned by an unlikely writer, retired Civil War general Lew Wallace and was subtitled “A Tale of the Christ.” And the [...]

Me Before You: On Disability, Suicide, and Guts

They all think any minute I'm going to commit suicide. What a joke. The truth of course is the exact opposite: suicide is the only thing that keeps me alive.  ~ Walker Percy Ordinarily I’d avoid commenting much on a movie I hadn’t seen. However, I’m willing to make an exception in the case of “Me [...]

Risen Rises Above Most Faith-Based Films

I have to admit that when I know a movie was produced by bible-believing Christians I don’t expect much. Such was the case with films like October Baby, Gimme Shelter, Son of God and Old Fashioned. I am not saying that these are horrible films—they are just not very good films—and certainly nowhere near great [...]

The Holy Fool on Screen

Saint or psycho? The Holy Fool is a man or woman perceived as foolish in the eyes of the world but who is, nevertheless, an unnerving presence. Both in the Christian East and West, there is a long tradition of such individuals who witness to a spiritual reality beyond this world. Periodically, they appear on [...]

The James Bond Cult

A British newspaper recently ran an article asking if the cult of James Bond is a new religion. It came to the conclusion that it is. I wasn’t surprised at the question posed. In fact, I was relieved that, at last, it was being asked. Only this year, that cult has grown still greater with [...]

Priest Scandal Movie: Painful, Disturbing, and Surprisingly Fair

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” This dialogue sums up the primary lesson of the film Spotlight, currently playing in a major nationwide release. The movie, “based on actual events” and starring Michael Keaton, chronicles a Boston Globe four-person investigative team's discovery of Cardinal Bernard [...]

Parental Guidance and Offensive Movie Favorites

“I shall not today attempt further to define [hard-core pornography], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”  ~ Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “How about we go see the new Mad Max movie,” I suggested to my almost-twenty son, Ben. It hit a nerve. “I haven’t even [...]

Documentaries to Get You Thinking

Think again about documentaries. Once, the older, plainer sister to the more glamorous younger feature film, the genre has been quietly developing into something compellingly attractive. Only recently, films such as The Act of Killing, Finding Vivian Maier and The Drop Box have revealed yet again the depth and breadth of the best of such [...]

Believe in the Latest Faith-Based Film

Do You Believe? is now in movie theaters across America. Released on March 20, it has done well at the box office—debuting on the weekend chart at number six. So what? Well, it is also a film about Christians, made by Christians and being watched by Christians in droves. But do we believe it’s any [...]

A Korean Pastor Inspires Us to Love Without Limits

The Drop Box is a heart wrenching, yet, inspirational documentary about a selflessly heroic South Korean pastor, Lee Jong-rak, who is consumed by a compelling desire to love unconditionally abandoned and helpless newborn babies. The film opened at a limited number of Canadian theaters in early March. Yet, due to its popularity, movie goers in the United [...]

Old Fashioned—A Flawed Alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey

While the Christian world and its religious allies cry in the wilderness that sex is sacred; the rest of the world is rushing to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Over Saint Valentine’s Day weekend, the bacchanal film set a box-office record for an R-rated movie opening in the month of February—and thus the record set [...]

A Film Worth Viewing About Clergy Sexual Abuse

Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson and directed by John Michael McDonagh is a movie serious Catholics must see. Largely overlooked when it was released in North America in August 2014, moviegoers who missed it in the theater now have a chance to see it on DVD. The confessional is the tomb, and the confessed sinner, pushing [...]

Unbroken: Gold Medal or Also-Ran?

It was always going to be hard. The New York Times bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption touched millions with a tale that would be unbelievable if it weren’t true. Yes, it was going to be a tough call for any filmmaker. So when a relatively inexperienced director comes [...]

Exodus Movie: Promised Land or Golden Bull?

Hollywood, still wet from the soaking it took from Noah, has headed for the desert with Moses in the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Surely this time we have a foolproof crowd pleaser filled only with milk and honey? Or, instead, is it going to be a lot of grumbling at bitter herbs? The [...]

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