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Bella: Metanoia Films’ award-winning first film about wounded hearts, family and a crisis pregnancy celebrates love, life and understanding

2007-10-26 02:35:54 For Verástegui — a former boy-band and telenovela heartthrob known to Latino fans as “the Mexican Brad Pitt” — the mission is simple. “Hollywood doesn’t belong to the studios,” he recently told Decent Films. “Hollywood belongs to God. And we need to take it back. And that’s what I’m trying to do, by example first, trying my best every day to be involved in projects that will inspire people to use their talents to do something positive for the world.” Read More >

Into Great Silence: Director Philip Gröning discusses life at the Grande Chartreuse monastery, the presence of God in the world, and his award-winning film

2007-03-31 09:21:03 In 1984, filmmaker Philip Gröning had an idea for a film. He took his proposal to the prior of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, the head monastery of the Carthusian order, high in the French Alps between Grenoble and Chambéry. Gröning wanted to shoot a documentary inside the Grande Chartreuse — not an ordinary documentary, concerned with the transmission of information, but a spiritual voyage into the inner meaning and experience of monastic life. Read More >

The Passion of the Christ: A Note on the DVD “Definitive Edition”

2007-01-29 11:13:35 The original DVD edition of The Passion of the Christ was a “bare bones” edition featuring only the film itself. This week’s two-disc “Definitive Edition” is packed with extras, from The Passion Recut (which trims about six minutes of some of the most intense violence) to four separate commentaries. Read More >

Becket Back on the Big Screen

2007-01-26 06:22:58 It’s a classic. It’s beloved, if for decades only on VHS. It’s got big stars, terrific performances, witty dialogue. Its blend of sex, spectacle and spirituality surpasses anything Cecil B. DeMille ever attempted. So why has Becket never been restored and brought to DVD in the style it richly deserves? Read More >

Must-see DVDs of 2006

2007-01-26 04:48:06 When you walk into an average DVD store, “New Releases” dominate the displays. “New Releases,” of course, are generally the movies that played in theaters in the last six to twenty-four months or so. Yet in fact every year many of the most exciting new DVD releases are movies that haven’t played in theaters in years, decades — or even longer. Read More >

2006: The Year in Reviews

2007-01-19 06:04:11 It was a grim year at the movies — literally. War, death, dystopia, and other dark and downbeat subjects filled theater screens in 2006. Jeffrey Overstreet (Looking Closer) called it “the year of the nightmare.” Read More >

Father Brown: The ATV Series Now on DVD

2007-01-16 08:40:06 Thirteen classic Father Brown stories — adapted with gratifying fidelity in the 1974 television series starring Kenneth More — are now available on DVD in a pair of two-disc box sets. Read More >

The Nativity Story and Catholic Teaching

2007-01-13 17:43:33 In blogs, discussion boards, and other fora, a range of criticisms and objections concerning The Nativity Story have been raised by concerned Catholics. Some of these critiques are thoughtful and worthy of consideration, and raise issues regarding the film that have merit, or are at least defensible. Other complaints are more problematic, resting on misrepresentations of the film or even of Catholic teaching. Read More >

Christmas Story: Catherine Hardwicke and Mike Rich Discuss Bringing The Nativity Story to the Screen

2006-11-30 05:55:04 Perhaps The Nativity Story will take its place as the missing Christmas film — the one that actually is about the real “real meaning of Christmas.” Read More >

The Nativity Story: St. Joseph Gets His Due

2006-11-25 06:51:12 Although The Nativity Story doesn’t portray Joseph as a widower, it also doesn’t depict Joseph and Mary’s relationship as a typical first-century Jewish courtship. While the film doesn’t take a stance one way or the other on the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, it finds drama in the obstacles between Joseph and Mary, rather than turning their story, as some retellings have done, into a Hollywood romance. Read More >

2005: The Year in Reviews

2006-01-23 11:18:06 Like a lot of moviegoers, I spent a fair bit of time this year wringing my hands over the quality of the movies. Looking back, though, it seems to me that the family-film pattern mirrors the overall year: a dearth of A-level films, perhaps, but a bumper crop of B-pluses. Read More >

Stories of Karol: Telling the Life of a Man who Became Pope

2005-12-04 19:25:07 Karol: A Man Who Became Pope isn’t the first TV movie on the life of Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II — but among the new crop of Pope movies coming in the wake of the Holy Father’s death, it’s not only the first, but also the only one seen and praised both by Benedict XVI and John Paul II himself. Read More >

Narnia Filmmakers Hype the Fantasy, Hedge the Faith

2005-12-01 06:06:26 A lot of thought and effort went into getting the feel, the look, the period and the characters of C. S. Lewis’s beloved fairy tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe right for the screen… At the same time, judging from the unanimous testimony of the filmmakers, one crucial element of the book was not a consideration one way or the other in adapting the story: its religious significance. Read More >

Into the Wardrobe: Bringing Narnia to Life

2005-12-01 05:59:40 Before there are centaurs, fauns, or even a lamp-post incongruously burning in the middle of nowhere to establish that the forest beyond the wardrobe door is no ordinary wood, Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe creates the magic of the wood and the wardrobe with the enchantment on the face of young Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy Pevensie, as she gets her first glimpse of the Narnian wood. Read More >

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection: Silent Comedy’s “Third Genius” Finally Gets His Due

2005-11-16 06:08:10 For fans of silent comedy, it’s the DVD event of the decade: Harold Lloyd, the “Third Genius” of silent comedy (Chaplin and Keaton being the other two), until now almost totally unavailable on DVD, at last enters the modern home-video age in grand style with the The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection. Read More >

The Greatest Game Ever Played: Mark Frost, Bill Paxton, Shia LaBeouf and Josh Flitter

2005-09-27 05:45:21 The Greatest Game Ever Played, starring Shia LaBeouf (Holes, Constantine) and directed by Bill Paxton from a screenplay by Mark Frost adapting his own best-selling book, isn’t just the true story of a dramatic championship playoff. It’s also the story of a revolution in popular culture, of how a poor, unassuming youth helped democratize the most aristocratic of games, transforming golf from the exclusive domain of private clubs and wealthy elites to a popular middle-class pastime played on public courses. Read More >

The Exorcism of Emily Rose: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Laura Linney, Jennifer Carpenter

2005-09-16 01:00:33 There are no scenes of spinning heads, projectile pea-soup vomiting, or levitating beds in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (opening September 9), starring Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, and Campbell Scott. Read More >

The Ninth Day: Interview with Director Volker Schlondorff

2005-06-01 04:50:01 For German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, the appeal of making The Ninth Day, a fact-inspired film about a priest in a Nazi concentration camp who is briefly released, goes back over five decades to Schlöndorff’s film-club days at a Jesuit boarding school, where he first encountered Carl Dreyer’s silent masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Read More >

Star Wars: An American Mythology

2005-05-23 03:28:48 Star Wars is pop mythology — a "McMyth," as a recent critical article put it — but in our McCulture even a McMyth can be vastly preferable to no myth at all, and certainly to other, less wholesome mythologies (e.g., the Matrix trilogy). Even for those who generally prefer more traditional fare, there is still much to enjoy and appreciate in these half-baked, stunningly mounted fantasies of good and evil in a galaxy far, far away. Read More >

The Vatican Film List

2005-04-22 01:44:29 The pope’s remarks were both forward looking, speaking to the potential of cinema to become “a more and more positive factor in the development of individuals and a stimulus for the conscience of society as a whole,” and also historically minded, speaking positively of the praiseworthy contributions of “many worthwhile productions during the first hundred years of [the cinema’s] existence.” Read More >

2004: The Year in Reviews

2005-04-15 04:25:40 Did anything worth caring about come to cineplex screens? Anything anyone will be talking about or revisiting five or ten years from now? Read More >

Fox Family Films

2005-03-11 02:41:25 Typically, the spring movie season has at most one decent film for family audiences. Last year it was Two Brothers; offerings from previous years included Holes (2003), Ice Age (2002), Spy Kids (2001), and The Emperor’s New Groove (2000). Read More >

2003: The Year in Reviews

2005-02-21 04:14:11 It was a rough year at the movies for the Catholic Church. Read More >

Constantine and Because of Winn-Dixie: Faith and Film in the Post-Passion Era

2005-02-18 05:10:52 Constantine might sound like the latest entry in Hollywood’s string of violent costume dramas (Alexander, Troy, King Arthur), but it’s not actually about the Roman emperor who was the subject of such religious films as Constantine and the Cross. In this film, instead of a sign in the sky, the cross is a weapon in the ero’s hands. Starring Keanu Reeves, Constantine is a sort of a cross between Hellboy and The Exorcist with some Matrix attitude thrown in, a violent R-rated action-thriller of the supernatural based on the DC/Vertigo comic book Hellblazer, about a cynical demon-hunter antihero who’s literally been to hell and back. Though he knows that what God expects is belief, self-sacrifice, and repentance, he is futilely trying to earn his way into God’s good graces. Read More >

Coach Carter and Million Dollar Baby: Sports and Coaching, Life and Death

2005-01-28 11:44:24 Coach Carter is based on the real-life story of Ken Carter, an uncompromising high-school basketball coach at a tough urban school who requires more from his players than great basketball. He insists that they sign contracts requiring them to attend classes, sit in the front row, and maintain a C-plus grade point average or better — and is willing to lock the gym and forfeits games if they fall behind in their classes. Read More >

Kinsey: The Controversy

2005-01-22 08:47:13 The life and work of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, the Indiana University entomologist turned pioneering sexologist, has provoked accounts and interpretations as divergent, and as bitterly contested, as John Kerry’s Vietnam service in the last election. And, while it’s true that Kinsey’s work warrants such scrutiny, it’s also true that this only makes the task of weeding through the arguments more daunting. Read More >

In Good Company: Paul Weitz and Topher Grace

2005-01-14 00:53:43 It’s not just a buzzword, either. There’s a special hand gesture that goes along with it. First you hold your hands up, palms outward, fingers spread apart. This where we are: no synergy. Then you clasp your hands into fists with the tips of the fingers of each hand inside the fist of the other hand, so that your hands make a sort of "S" shape. This is where we need to get to: synergy. Get it? (If you think this kind of thing doesn’t really pass for deep thought in corporate convention halls and conference rooms, you don’t know corporate America.) Read More >

A Christmas Carol: The Attack on — and Defense of — of Christmas

2004-12-24 09:13:25 Scrooge’s conversion, like many conversions, is just such a dramatic revelation out of crisis, "as sudden as the conversion of a man at a Salvation Army meeting," says Chesterton, adding slyly, "It is true that the man at the Salvation Army meeting would probably be converted from the punch bowl; whereas Scrooge was converted to it. That only means that Scrooge and Dickens represented a higher and more historic Christianity" ("Christmas Books"). Read More >

I Am David: Interview with Paul Feig

2004-12-11 14:43:40 It isn’t only Jim Caviezel, the Christ of The Passion, here another nobly self-sacrificial prisoner who freely allows himself to be wrongly condemned in order to save another. It’s also the actor who plays the complex, conflicted official who suspects his prisoner is innocent but must pass judgment anyway — Pontius Pilate in The Passion, "The Man" in I Am David. In both films, the role went to Bulgarian actor Hristo Shopov. Read More >

Jackie Chan: An Appreciation

2004-12-06 07:52:11 The fact is, Jackie’s appeal is hard to sum up in a single sentence. Ask five different Jackie Chan fans what they like about him, and you may get five different answers. Read More >

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