Sister Act – Remember?

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Reprising song from “Sister Act,” singing nuns from the Daughters of St. Paul serenade Whoopi Goldberg during the Women of Achievement Luncheon.

Some of the Sisters of our Daughters of St. Paul Choir in New York sang for Whoppi Coldberg at the Women of Achievement Event. Here is a link to two of the articles:

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/whoopie_goldberg_speaks_at_wom.html

http://www.silive.com/living/advance/religion/index.ssf?/base/living/122733811671250.xml&coll=1

 

But even better is the brief video!

 

http://videos.silive.com/staten-island-advance/2008/11/2008_women_of_achievement_lunc.html

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 Whoppi Golderg as Sr. Mary Clarence in “Sister Act”

Becoming Screen Literate: The Screens Issue

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“Becoming Screen Literate” (New York Times magazine “The Screens Issue” Novermber 23, 2008), is perhaps too long but an important article (though WIRED has visited this territory before in many ways or … another.)

Media prophets have been yelling that the sky is falling for decades … or is it that the consumer audience is accomodating a new visual reality with multiple screens. Does it matter?

Check it out:

 MAGAZINE   | November 23, 2008
Idea Lab:  Becoming Screen Literate
By KEVIN KELLY
How the moving image is upending the printed word.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-future-t.html

(If the links do not work, go to www.NYTimes.com and search.)

November Movie Reviews

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Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in September, 2009, and opens in theaters in December.

As you may be aware, I have been reviewing films and television for St. Anthony Messenger, a national Catholic magazine, since 2003. My column is called “Eye on Entertainment”. (I also review some films and TV shows for The Tidings, the print and online newspaper for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, www.the-tidings.com). I see six films per month for St. Anthony Messenger and review them: three longer reviews and three capsules (sometimes more depending on how many films I am  able to see.) The magazine just posted the December 2008 issue online (not the complete issue; if you would like to subscribe visit www.americancatholic.org and follow the directions). This issue reviews films that were in theaters in October or November.

The December issue leads off with “The Secret Life of Bees” still in theaters. The January 2009 issue will feature “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Doubt”, and other films.

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Queen Latifa and Dakota Fanning in the lovely film “The Secret Life of Bees”.

Click here for reviews of the following films:

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
CHANGELING
PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL
INSIDE DARKNESS
ADOPTION
RUBY
FILM CAPSULES
CATHOLIC CLASSIFICATIONS

 http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Dec2008/Eye_On_Entertainment.asp

Twilight the Movie

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Audience Impressions

Amid a gaggle of giggling teens I went to see Twilightyesterday. Every time Edward (Robert Pattinson) came on screen the giggling and sighs increased. But there were also younger kids and moms present to round out the audience. The were all giggling when they came in the theater and squealing when they left. The moms were smiling…. I think they liked it.

Book vs. Movie

Walking out of the theater I chatted with three teen girls and asked if they had read the book and if the film lived up to the book, in their opinion. Two of the girls said “yes” and one girl, aged 15, said, “No way, but the movie was good.” The other two girls looked at her and said, “Really?” as if they didn’t agree. But the one girl seemed to be their leader and they squealed and ran off.

Then in the elevator to the parking lot I asked this young boy and his dad if they had just seen Twilight. He broke into a big grin and said, “Yes. But the book was better,” “Really? How old are you?” “I’m 10 and I have read all the books. The movie was good but the book was better. The books are always better.”

OK, I read the book by Stephenie Meyer, and I liked it but 2/3 of the way through I got bored. I liked the movie way more than the book because it never lagged.

Film Review

I am happy to say that director Catherine Hardwicke has created a fascinating universe for this Gothic romance about a teen, Bella, who falls in love with Edward, a 100+ year old vampire. Bella is 17 and new to the school, having moved to Forks, WA from Phoenix to live with her dad when her mom remarries. She notices the ethereal looking Edward and his siblings the first day of school; they don’t blend with the others, but neither does Bella, the new girl.

Bella and Edward are immediately attracted to one another. Over a few days, Bella finds out about an Indian legend that points to the fact that Edward and his (foster) family are vampires.

The film tells a story of unrequited love between Bella and Edward but it is much more than this. It is about choices, free will, and unconditional love. In last year’s TV series Moonlight (that I really liked and was very sorry when CBS cancelled it) we met a vampire who had chosen to be good, and to do good. Here, Edward’s family members have chosen to be “vegetarian”, that is, they would live on animal blood rather than human blood. Some of them struggle more than others, but they want to be good as well. When Bella is threatened by bloodthirsty vampires, they try to protect her… and this is all I can say without giving away the plot.

This is director Catherine Hardwicke’s fourth movie about adolescent girls (see www.imdb.com to see the others, including The Nativity Story). Here she deals with adolescent issues such as not belonging, being on the outside looking in, children of divorce and how a kid can manage, sacrificial love between parents and children, and unconditional love. The film goes further by dealing with free will, choices and considering the consequences before acting – but the film doesn’t preach. It stays true to its art: it tells a story through sight and sound. It is up to us to figure out what the movie means to us.

The film is populated by characters of diverse ethnic backgrounds and they get along. There are bullies among them though, psychological predators, vampires in their own right. Twilight invites viewers to enter with their moral imaginations and think about life.

What I really liked about the film was the staging, the cinematography, the visual Gothic atmosphere and universe that the filmmakers created, the music. I love Hardwicke’s imagination. I must admit, though, that Dr. Cullen looked like he had on too much makeup. When all the books came out, I didn’t really care for the still photos. The film, of course, brings the characters to life; I’ll take the film over the photos.

There is much benevolence in this film, benevolence for young people, and this makes me think, that like Harry Potter, Twilight is the first in a line of sequels.

Slumdog Millionaire

 

 

 

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Hollywood meets Bollywood in a wonderful, tough film about two orphan brothers who grow up in extreme poverty in contemporary India; it is Oliver Twist Redux with a Quiz Show twist.

One of the brothers, Jamal, goes his own way and gets a job serving tea to workers at a TV studio. He applies to be a contestant in the Hindi version of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”. As the questions progress, the film takes us back to how Jamal learned the answers.

So far, this is with my top ten films of the year. Danny Boyle (Trainspotting; Millions) shows us how we can be human in a globalizing political-social economy that places so little value on humanity.

The actors project a special authenticity that engages the viewer. The scenarios are intense. The film is artistic even at its darkest moments.

Quantum of Solace the Movie

Quantum of Solace

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This is not a review per se, but here are some comments I jotted in my notebook during the film:

A portion of comfort?

A measure of mercy?

Where? For whom? By whom?

“Revenge is a dish best served cold” may apply here: measured but alas, cold and empty. I don’t believe in revenge and Bond tells M he doesn’t either. The trouble is, I would need to see this film too many times to figure out motivations. The film goes so fast that perhaps it doesn’t matter.

 

Planes, trains, automobiles

And automobiles, stairways, and balconies; enough action and violence to go around.

Lady dipped in crude oil rather than gold….

The dissonance and harmony scenes were the best and the moments when the film evoked the deep satisfaction one gets from experiencing an intelligent film.

Parallel structure in dialogue and visuals;

Tuxedos and vestments… the opera scene is fascinating high art, a Godfather thing going on …

The rest of the film is uneven. Does the fault lie with the director, Marc Forster or the three writers: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, John Wade – the same team from Casino Royale – though this time Haggis’ name leads.

For example, there is a fleeting shot of burn scars on Camille’s back (Olga Kurylenko) but if you blinked you would have missed it. The reference at the end, and her fear of fire… well, if you missed that brief shot, the connection is lost. Too elliptical here – or poor continuity checking or heaven help us, editing.

Was this Bond consistent with Bond in CR? I actually think he was. Maybe the next Bond film will give us further insight into the real Bond, James Bond.

City of Angels Film Festival Dates Announced

 

 

www.cityofangelsfilmfest.org 

 

 

 

CITY OF ANGELS

 

F I L M F E S T I V A L

 

 

 

FEBUARY 27, 28 & MARCH 1 2009 |

THE DIRECTORS GUILD |

7920 SUNSET BLVD | LOS ANGELES, CA