Saturday, February 23, 2008


Watch the preview of this fascinating documentary about to hit the theaters!

Beliefnet Film Awards 2008

H/T to Daughters of St. Paul Sr. Rose Pacatte


Since I haven't seen any of the movies nominated I strongly suggest you use your discretion when and if deciding to watch it with your family. e.g. Atonement for adult content.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Movie Producer - Steve McEveety

Steve McEveety
Steve McEveety is the one on the right
Picture source: HERE

Last evening on Life on the Rock it was a movie discussion night. First it was an interview with the World Over's Raymond Arroyo who discussed the upcoming Academy Awards. Mr. Arroyo strongly suggested that if we, Catholic families want more wholesome movies with a message made available to us, then we had better start supporting them by going out and seeing them in the theaters. Two movies that he mentioned were Bella and Juno. BTW, Mr. Arroyo's guest tonight on the World Over is movie critic Michael Medved. Be sure to watch what I'm sure will be an interesting show.

The next guest was Steve McEveety. His name may not ring a bell. However, he was the executive producer of the Passion of the Christ the controversial movie that realistically brought our Lord's sufferings and ultimate sacrifice to the big screen.

Mr. McEveety was also the producer of the aforementioned Bella.

Since his conversion back to the faith (although he never fully left it) following the making of the Passion of the Christ, Mr. McEveety's new vocation is to make movies with a good message, although not necessarily religious movies.

One movie he strongly recommended we see with a powerful Easter message is The Star of Bethlehem The following is from the movie's official site:
From Producer Stephen McEveety (The Passion of the Christ) comes an amazing documentary on the Star of Bethlehem. This presentation has been viewed by tens of thousands in the U.S. and in Europe and this new DVD reveals the evidence for God's existence as seen in the stars above. Presenter Rick Larson walks you through biblical and historical clues revealing the eternal significance of this celestial event as well as the vastness of God's creativity. Discover the secret of the Star...a secret of magnificent beauty.
I was happy to hear that now in the works for Mr. McEveety is a movie based on Immaculee Ilibagiza's autobiography Left to Tell.

If you didn't have a chance to watch the Life of the Rock interview last night, I hope you watch it or listen to the entire show through the EWTN's Life on the Rock Feb. 21st archives

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chariots of Fire

I finally saw Chariots of Fire for the first time since I was a kid (sometime around when it first came out in 1981 - I was 11 then!).

This highly-acclaimed and Academy Award winning film tells the story of athletes from Great Britain who ran in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

Eric Liddell is a Scottish missionary who has a great talent for running and wants to give God glory in his competitions.

Harold Abrahams is a sophisticated and sometimes tempermental student at Cambridge with a drive to win.

The story is a great historical slice of life as well as a triumph of faith as Liddell refuses to go against his conscience by running an Olympic preliminary race on a Sunday - despite huge pressure from the Prince of Wales.

The musical undertones make the story particularly memorable.

The story is generally appropriate for all ages, but will probably be more appreciated by the 10 or 12 and up crowd.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moloka'i - The Story of Father Damien

Father Damien Movie

Nine years ago, the people in Hawaii were looking forward to the new move based on our beloved Kamiano. The movie that premiered after a lot of hoopla and excitement was just what we had been hoping for, a movie that truly depicted the Man of Moloka'i , the one who gave his life for a friend.

This 1999 movie introduced a young Australian actor David Wenham who went on to fame as Faromir of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In the movie, he really gives a striking performance as Father Damien de Veuster (formerly Joseph de Veuster) the young Belgian priest who volunteered to go to the remote place of Kalawao...the infamous leper colony on the island of Moloka'i. The area is still so isolated that in order to reach it, one must go down by mule.

The movie for a Catholic living in Hawaii, was interesting because we got to see scenes we are familiar with such as the ordination of Father Damien in the Cathedral. This is the Cathedral that we visit on a regular basis and yet a saint was ordained a priest there!! There is a plaque on the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace that states the date that Fr. Damien was ordained a priest.

In the movie, it is also very interesting to see two future saints together. One is Blessed Damien of course, and the other is Blessed Marianne Cope, here played by that talented actor Alice Kriege. Both are close to canonization and then there will be two saints from Hawaii.

The movie is at some times not easy to see. There are scenes that will break your heart for the heartless ways the victims of Hanson's Disease were treated. Another scene that is unforgettable is the way Fr. Damien is humiliated when he has to humbly make his confession by having to shout to the Bishop on the ship.

It is a movie that will stay with you a long time.

I encourage you to read a wonderful article about David Wenham and the part he played as Fr. Damien Fr Damien role is ‘uplifting’ – actor from Catholic Weekly.
David Wenham will never forget the leper colony of Molokai in Hawaii.

“Seeing people with no hands, no skin and no thumbs … it was a life changing experience,” says the award-winning Sydney actor.
You can watch the trailer here

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Ikiru is a powerful, but understated classic by the acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

This is an old black-and-white movie filmed in Japanese (available from the Criterion Collection - you can find it on Netflix - with English subtitles). If that makes you think of Godzilla, you're definitely on the wrong track.

A man who has mindlessly slaved away in a government office for thirty years discovers that he has stomach cancer and perhaps six months to live. It's a grim wake-up call, but the subject matter is handled in a surprisingly gentle way and the story is uplifting and thought-provoking without being morose (and refreshingly non-sappy).

I don't want to share more of the plot than that, but wanted to mention that the faces, the expressions, the calm urgency of the main character, the camera angles and even the simplicity of the story are beautifully artistic - in a kind of primitive (as far as movies go) way. A really wonderful movie and very fitting to watch during Lent. Most appropriate for teens and adults.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Pirate Movie Kids Can See

This weekend we finally were able to see The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything Movie. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday together, but certainly not the best Veggie Tales to date. Honestly, it was only okay, not bad, not great, but okay. Sure, it had all the usual Veggie Tale characters, and the wholesomeness of Veggie Tales, but something lacked. It lacked God.

We live very near to where the Big Idea Studios used to be, we knew people who worked there, and we witnessed the legal battles that caused them to lose everything, so we understand how hard it’s been. We know that changing Veggie Tales for TV, omitting God, was not their idea. This movie was a big production from a major film studio, I’m sure there were many negotiations involving how to make the message more mainstream. It was the old message that made us love Bob and Larry, even before we had kids.

The movie starts out in modern times, and through the magic of a “help ball” Larry, Pa Grape and Mr. Lunt are thrown back into the 1700’s. They are given a quest, that at the beginning they do not feel they are up to. As the film progresses, they realize they do have the courage and strength to be heroes, despite what their lives in modern times might indicate. That is pretty much it, not too complex, but sweet.

There were so many times I wished for them to say “God is the source of our Strength” or even the cliché “God made you and he loves you very much” as they say at the end of all the DVD’s, but it never happened. There was nothing wrong with the message, but it lacked clarity for the kiddies.

In our family, the under 7 population loved it, the over 7 population was bored. I think it is still worth seeing, but wait till the DVD comes out or see it at a second run theatre. It is still nice to see films that the whole family can go to, they get rarer and rarer. It was a nice escape for us from the ever falling snow.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Arcadia Films - Parable

The guest on tonight's Life on the Rock were the young cast members and Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
The highly acclaimed thirty half-hour weekly prime time series for youth, produced in docudrama format for broadcast by EWTN, the Catholic Global Network (120 million homes worldwide). Twenty young people go on retreat with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at their Blessed Sacrament Monastery, an oasis of peace, solitude and prayer, set within a bombed out ghetto of Newark, New Jersey. There they dialogue on the parables of Jesus in light of their own experience. Into the retreat come twenty-four saints of history including Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Clairvaux, Catherine of Siena (played masterfully by professional stage and screen actors from New York and Hollywood). In the saints’ own words, they dramatically reflect on the meaning of Christ’s own words for our moral and spiritual life. Into the retreat also come four contemporary spiritual masters, priests who share their own contemplative insights into parables such as the Sower, Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan, Treasure and Pearl, Wicked Husbandman etc. The series is designed to bring its youthful viewers into a personal encounter with Jesus in and through his inspired word.
Arcadia Films

After the LOTR show, EWTN showed Parable. It was a wonderful 1/2 hour show geared toward the young people. There were lively discussions and sharing of their personal lives. You also see the saints come alive as they talk about certain topics such as humility.