Movie Reviews

August 24, 2009

Ushpizin

By Hilary Rowe

Released in the United States the fall of 2005, this simple and charming comedy-drama is now available on DVD.  An unassuming and unexpected film from Israeli director Giddi Dar, Ushpizin follows the story of a pious rabbi and his wife on the Succoth holiday in Jerusalem.  This movie should draw the attention of Christians and Jews alike for its humble but convincing portrayal of a couple's faith in God.  The rabbi, Moshe, has recently undergone a major conversion from a life of crime, and...

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August 20, 2009

Vatican paper delves into new Twilight movie

By CNA Staff

In an article entitled, “The Secret of Twilight,” the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reviewed the first of the Twilight movies. The film tells the story of a lonely teen who doesn’t fit in and a young vegetarian vampire who has decided to abstain from human blood. Reporter Silvia Guidi begins by questioning the reason for the success of the movie, which “fascinates millions of people (not only teens, as there is also a Twilight fan club of moms).”  “Bella—together...

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June 10, 2009

Truth, Drama and a Film That Really Matters

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

Many Catholics will remember Steve McEveety for his work as producer on The Passion of the Christ. Married, the father of four and serious about his Catholic faith, McEveety has a 30 year film career that began as a child actor and matured to include Payback, Immortal Beloved and Braveheart as executive producer, and We Were Soldiers and other major Hollywood titles as producer. He also co-founded Mpower Pictures, which in 2007 released the extraordinary portrait of a young man’s...

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May 14, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

By Hilary Rowe

Let me begin by saying that I have never seen an episode of any Star Trek television series.  Nor had I seen a Star Trek movie until J.J. Abrams’s recent update of the cult classic.  No longer held prisoner by obsessive fans and Trekkie conventions, Star Trek proves itself to be a stylish and intelligent story, palatable to wide audiences. The biggest reason I wanted to see Star Trek was that its director, J.J. Abrams, is the creator and director of Lost, the world’s most brilliant...

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May 08, 2009

The Soloist

By Hilary Rowe

Joe Wright is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. I fell in love with his 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, and, although I have yet to see his Oscar-nominated 2007 film Atonement, I think he has another winner this spring with The Soloist. The story depicts real human misery and authentic compassion, packaged together in a refreshingly unique style of filmmaking. The Soloist is based on a nonfiction book by Steve Lopez, columnist for the L.A. Times. In 2005, Lopez met a...

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Sometimes the best messages can come from the most unlikely sources.   A good example is “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”   The weekly television series, which ended its second season on Good Friday amid rumors of possible cancellation, has proven to be a surprising show.   Based on the three “Terminator” films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the series has been enriched by its allusions to the Judeo-Christian tradition, its reflections on faith and doubt, and its...

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March 30, 2009

I Love You, Man

By Hilary Rowe

I don’t get to the movies very often these days. So, it is especially disappointing to waste my time on an artistically and morally bankrupt film that lacks even vague entertainment value. The one thing that redeems my experience of I Love You, Man is that by writing this review, I may be able to spare others the agony. I Love You, Man begins with a simple premise that has a lot of potential. Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaven, who proposes to his girlfriend and, in the process of choosing...

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February 09, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

By Hilary Rowe

A rare word-of-mouth phenomenon, Slumdog Millionaire has captured the nation’s attention in the last few months. To me, the most impressive feat of this movie has been its ability to attract everyday Hollywood moviegoers to arthouse theaters to watch a foreign film. I am still a little mystified by the question: What about this movie has made it so universally appealing? The plot of the film is a typical Hollywood story: a poor young man battles his destitute circumstances, seeks to...

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February 09, 2009

Doubt

By Hilary Rowe

Based on the trailer for writer/director John Patrick Shanley’s recent film, I expected Doubt to be a predictable cheap shot at the Catholic priesthood. Since the sexual abuse scandals of recent memory, it has been far too easy for filmmakers and media outlets to demonize the clergy. Because Doubt deals directly with the topic of clerical sexual abuse, I pegged this movie as more of the same. I was surprised and relieved to find that Shanley presents a fair and nuanced portrait of the...

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January 12, 2009

Gran Torino

By Joan Frawley Desmond

During the post-Vatican II push for more "relevant" religion classes, students in my high school "Theology of the Film" course trooped off to see Dirty Harry -- the 1971 drama starring Clint Eastwood as the police lieutenant who violates the law, including the torture of suspects, to protect San Franciscans from a wily serial killer. Afterward, we held the requisite classroom debate on whether Harry was justified in taking the law into his own hands. Most of us teenagers didn't quite...

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