Sunday, April 27, 2008

August Rush: A Review

Warning: Contains Spoilers

August Rush is a movie for people who love music. Rumor has it that my children’s choir director enjoyed the movie so much that she went out and bought it! (It's not a rumor, actually. It was her copy that I watched on Friday.)

I agree that the soundtrack is extraordinary and I am clearly not alone in thinking so. When I went to request it at our library, I saw that I was number 17 in the queue. I am itching to give it a listen, though, and for that reason may have to purchase my own copy before then—of the soundtrack, though, not the movie. The music is just that good.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I enjoyed this movie as much as I should have—not the first time that I watched it, anyway. A little boy gets separated from his mother at birth and spends the rest of the movie looking for her. I assumed that things would go well for him and yet…I didn’t know! I didn’t relax until the credits rolled, which is often the case for a heart-on-her-sleeve sort of gal like myself.

Keri Russell is as beautiful as always and Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays one of those Irish cuties that seem all the cinematic rage these days. (Though frankly I have yet to meet an Irishman who uses “me” as an adjective the way that he does. But that's just me.)

Robin Williams costars in one of his most unnerving roles to date—a “tricky person” of epic proportions. He seems to have channeled both Bono and a Terri Shields-type stage mom to get into this character, and I spent the entire movie being thoroughly creeped out by the incredible creepiness of his role.

For that reason, and a couple of others, I would have to watch this movie a second time to truly enjoy it. It is to the credit of its direction that you don’t know if things will go well for the leading character—a little boy (Freddie Highmore) whose dimples alone are worth your time, Yet, because you don’t know you wind up…waiting. The ending, though cheesy, does not disappoint.

August Rush is a modern day fairy tale. Once you accept that—and hand over your cynicism at the door—you are in for a very good movie.

Another Warning: This movie is not for children under 13. There is too much that you’d have to explain to anyone much younger—homelessness, street violence, and one-night-stands being at the top of the list.

You decide for yourself.

Meanwhile, here is a clip of some of that amazing music that started out my discussion of this movie:

Cum gaudio et pace,

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Expelled review

Read the review here, as posted in the LifeSite news website.

Update April 27: I went to watch it last night. It was funny! The whole theater laughed together many times. And then we also balked together at some of the incredible assertions made by some of the atheists interviewed. One thing both my friend Mary and I were astounded to find in the film was the crystal clear connection he makes between Nazism, Eugenics and ... Planned Parenthood. Loud and clear. Amazing. The film may truly open so many people's eyes! And then there is the creative camera angle on the statue of Charles Darwin... and the reading aloud of some of his lines, verbatim. Very cleverly inserted: how many of us have always known of Darwin but never actually did read what he wrote?

The five minutes in the final segment/interview with Richard Dawkins is worth the price of the ticket, I told Mary and her husband Mike as we discussed it over a cup of coffee afterwards. His admitting that there may have been an alien, more advanced civilization who implanted the signature found in early life form... let's say it raises questions to say the least. The first would be the obvious question: if another civilization started life on earth, then there is still the question of who created that other one. Good grief. And the second question would naturally follow: isn't believing in God more sensible than this nonsense?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Catholic Priests and the Holocaust: A Book and A Movie

9th day
If you were fortunate to watch Fr. Mitch Pacwa last week, you saw his interview with his guest, William Doino, Jr. His guest spoke with enthusiasm about the book Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau | Fr. Jean Bernard. It was a book written by Fr. Jean Bernard and fairly recently translated into English.

In May 1941, Father Jean Bernard was arrested for denouncing the Nazis and deported from his native Luxembourg to Dachau's "Priest Block," a barracks that housed more than 3,000 clergymen of various denominations (the vast majority Roman Catholic priests).

Priestblock 25487 tells the gripping true story of his survival amid inhuman brutality, degradation, and torture.
This important book, originally published in Germany in 1963, was adapted by director Volker Schlöndorff into the film The Ninth Day in 2004.
Introduction by Robert Royal. Preface by Archbishop Seán Cardinal O Malley, Archbishop of Boston.
The above description from Ave Maria Radio where you can also purchase the book.

To read the first chapter of this book, check out Ignatius Scoop

Fr. Bernard's book was adapted into a film entitled The Ninth Day. To watch the trailer and learn more about this movie, be sure to click on the title above.
Abbé Kremer is released from a living hell in the Dachau concentration camp and sent home to Luxembourg. Upon his arrival, he soon learns that this is not a reprieve or a pardon of his crime – voicing opposition to the Nazis’ racial laws – but that he has nine days to convince the bishop of Luxembourg to work with the Nazi occupiers. Gestapo Untersturmführer Gebhardt is under pressure from his superior to have the Abbé succeed in creating a rift between the Luxembourg church and the Vatican – or be transferred to duty in the death camps in the East. Gebhardt, a former Catholic seminarian, uses theological arguments to bring the Abbé around but when they don’t work he resorts to more draconian measures. The Abbé is torn between his conscience and his horror of returning to Dachau...

I regret that I didn't know about this film when it was first released. I hope to find it on DVD somewhere. I hope you do too.

Note: This movie is not for younger viewers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Enchanted April"

"The Enchanted April" book from 1922 was made into a wonderful film back in 1992. Some libraries and rental stores should still have it. Best watched during your own rainy season – such as this 4th week of April! You cannot help but feel warmed by the Italian sun. The story revolves around four British women who leave damp and rainy London to go on a holiday at a secluded coastal villa in Italy (Portofino). Two housewives, each in her own way suffering through an empty marriage, are joined by a beautiful young socialite and an elderly dowager. Two are selfish and two are unselfish, but all four find hope again through the beauty of their surroundings and a good bit of reflection and humor along the way. The book "The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim is available to read online at: and would be a perfect supplement to any British Literature unit (grades 7 and up).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Women of Hollywood

Interesting way to look at the history of Hollywood.

The Women of Hollywood

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Charlton Heston, Rest in Peace

I just heard that Charlton Heston passed away at the age of 84. May he rest in peace.

We love the old epics that he helped bring to life. Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments will always be favorites in our home.