Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One movie, two titles

We have watched both the new Indiana Jones film and the latest sequel of National Treasure within a few days of each other, and we realized it's the same movie! Both deal with finding the pre-Columbian lost City of Gold, both deal with older males re-encountering their old true love. Neither is excellent, and the Indiana Jones', albeit all of Harrison's Ford's continuing charm, is pretty violent. But depending on your kids/ages, both may provide fun family time. Never mind that one version of the City of Gold ends up being in Black Hills and the other in Iguassu Falls, which they want us to believe is a series of waterfalls in the Amazon somewhere. They cannot fool this Brazilian. This has been tried before--in James Bond's Moonraker--which I watched as a teen in Brazil. I joined in the general laughter in the theater as James Bond entered the Sugar Loaf cable car, ran behind that mountain (in Rio) to find himself in the Amazon River (5000km or so away, mind you) and then falls off the Iguassu Falls, 7000 km away? I don't think so.

Educational aspects? The Resolute story--and the two desks made from it, one in the White House, one in Buckingham Palace. The nuclear mushroom cloud/testing done is NV is pretty well done. Any others anyone can think of?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Review of The Nun's Story

I'm glad that I previewed the Audrey Hepburn movie "The Nun's Story" from 1958. Although unrated, it was classified as "PG" by our library. I would probably let my high school aged children view this one -- because there is no bad language and only mild violence. In the end, however, **spoiler ** = she leaves the convent! I would want to know this beforehand, and so would other Catholic mothers.

The movie is based on Kathryn C. Hulme's book about the experiences of her friend, who was a nurse and an ex-nun in Belgium. "Sister Luke" is portrayed quite respectfully during her novitiate and up to making her final vows with the Carmelites. For its day, this was probably an intimate view of the clergy and convent that many had never seen before. Sister Luke finds her faith tested and struggles with obedience in quite normal ways. She is very smart and full of good intentions. The elder nuns are very supportive and gently loving towards her. But working in the Congo hospital with Dr. Fortunati, she wrestles with her growing esteem for the good doctor. Their interactions are portrayed more like a secular flirtation/attraction, although the author claims this was a fictatious addition by the Hollywood writers. There are also personal conflicts for Sister Luke because of World War II and her Belgian patriotism. In the end, she chooses to leave the convent. Unfortunately, the movie does not address her difficulties after she is free of the convent. The Catholic Bishops web site is kind to this movie, but I doubt it serves much usefulness amongst those discerning a vocation.

Note: Audrey Hepburn actually met Marie-Louise Habets (the former nun) while preparing for the role, and Habets later helped nurse Hepburn back to health following her near-fatal horse-riding accident on the set of the 1960 film "The Unforgiven." Hepburn earned her third Academy Award nomination for "The Nun's Story."

Review of Prince Caspian

MacBeth's opinion has a very good review of the new Narnia film here...

I was impressed by her balanced enumerating of the well done Vs. badly done points.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Persuasion" on PBS

I was persuaded to like the new PBS version of "Persuasion" upon my second viewing tonight with the local Jane Austen Book Club. The hero and heroine are sublime, and the first three-quarters of the movie are excellent! (Could have been a better casting of Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith, but sister Mary is QUITE hilarious.) There's an excess of running -- without bonnets, my dears -- in the final three scenes! Overall, Anne is a dutiful girl, who keeps her sense of humor and perspective through many trials. Another fine message that modern daughters would do well to imitate! Available at many libraries (the book is even better) or online.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A new review of Juno

Elena at Tea at Trianon has an interesting take at the much spoken about film...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Catholic Website - SoulFoodCinema

An email was sent to me regarding this new site and it looks quite promising. Be sure to check it out.
Catholic-Christian insights into cinema’s finest character studies and family films

A new Catholic website (SouldFoodCinema) launches today with the aim of educating and evangelising through the medium of the movies.

SouldFoodCinema differs from other faith and film websites, in that the focus is on providing education and insights for those that are curious after having watched a film, rather than providing extensive ratings and reviews for those that are curious before watching a film.

Managing Editor Mark Banks is keen to remind people that the worldwide film industry now produces hundreds of films each year that can primarily be described as ‘character studies’, and says that these films, whether we are aware of it or not, are all communicating a message to us, either implicitly or explicitly, on how to lead our lives. In such a world Mark believes it important that Catholics filled with the Holy Spirit and a love for Jesus Christ, use their wisdom, knowledge and discernment to understand these messages and to communicate them to as wide an audience as possible; especially amongst young people. For this reason SouldFoodCinema enables readers to contribute essays on one of over 700 films already viewed by the Managing Editor, which can then be published on the internet.

SouldFoodCinema also features weekly updates of links to news stories in the field of faith and film, as well as a community chat room dedicated to discussing all aspects of the movies from a Catholic-Christian point of view.

Through his letter to the Romans Saint Paul reminds us "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will" (12:2). Mark asks that Catholics pray SouldFoodCinema will assist the Church in doing just that.


Interview with Prince Caspian's director

Read it here!

H/T: Ignatius Insight blog

"Bella" now available from Ignatius Press

"Bella" now available from Ignatius Press

The well-received, award-winning movie can be ordered online from Ignatius Press. Or place your order toll-free at 1-800-651-1531.

And if you missed it last summer, here is Steven Greydanus's article, "Bella," about the making of the movie, written for the August/September 2007 edition Catholic World Report.

H/T: Ignatius Insight blog

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New version of Brideshead Revisited

I found a new blog, Andrew Cusak, thanks to Tea at Trianon.

He alerts us to a new film version of Waugh's masterpiece coming this summer. Here is the trailer.

Some say that the BBC version is the best literary work ever brought to screen. The dialogs are are all there, and most of the descriptions. Cordelia’s entire and crucially Catholic conversation. In any event I never did like Jeremy Irons–I like the looks of this Ryder better. But if the film doesn’t show the bedside repentance/conversion scene, or worse yet, the final redemption of Sebastian– what a nasty betrayal towards Waugh.