REVIEWS

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The Flood, Arks, and Happy Monks

benedict option

  Fr. Scott Murray A review of The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post Christian Nation By Rod Dreher Penguin Group USA, 269 pages, $34 After moving to Rome for my seminary studies, one of the first trips I made was to the town of Norcia. I hardly knew anything about the place, except that it is the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. Two of my classmates were planning a weekend camping trip in the mountains around Norcia, and they invited ... (Continue reading)

Pilgrim Eagle: A Review of Charles A. Coulombe’s History Text Puritan’s Empire

puritan's empire

  “This above all: To thine own self be true.”   -William Shakespeare       Puritan’s Empire by Charles A. Coulombe is a unique tour-de-force of American history from a Catholic high traditionalist perspective. Spanning the colonial period to the modern day, the narrative is tightly-woven and comprehensively arranged. The sheer length and breadth of the volume is a testament to a lifetime’s worth of research. Although some sections are dry, the colorful anecdotes and personal analyses interspersed within the book keep the reader engaged, regardless of ... (Continue reading)

Glorying in Glass: A Movie Review of “Snow White and the Huntsman”

snow white and the huntsman

Year:  2012  Filming:  Color  Length:  127 minutes  Genre:  Drama/Adventure/Fantasy  Maturity:  PG-13 (for intense themes, scary images, and fantasy violence) Cast:  Kristen Stewart (Snow White), Chris Hemsworth (the Huntsman), Charlize Theron (Ravenna), Sam Claflin (Prince William), Sam Spruell (Finn), Ian McShane (Beith), Bob Hoskins (Muir), Ray Winstone (Gort), Nick Frost (Nion), Eddie Marsan (Duir), Toby Jones (Coll), Johnny Harris (Quert), Brian Gleeson (Gus) Director:  Rupert Sanders Personal Rating:  2 Stars   Fantasy films are admittedly hard to produce. The real challenge is making them different yet the same as our own world, employing both originality and realism to ... (Continue reading)

Bound by a Seal: A Movie Review of “I Confess”

i confess

Year: 1953 Filming: Black & White Length: 95 minutes Genre: Drama/Inspirational/Religious/Suspense Maturity: PG (for intense thematic elements) Cast: Montgomery Clift (Fr. Michael Logan), Anne Baxter (Ruth Grandfort), O.E. Hass (Otto Keller), Dolly Haas (Alma Keller), Roger Dann (Pierre Grandfort), Karl Malden (Inspector Larrue), Ovila Legare (Monsieur Villette), Brian Aherne (Willy Robertson) Director: Alfred Hitchcock Personal Rating: 5 Stars   *** “Technically one of Hitchcock’s best”, I Confess is not your run-of-the-mill murder mystery. Instead, it reveals a little-known aspect of The Master of Suspense: his lingering fascination with and devotion to the ... (Continue reading)

So Let it Be Written: A Movie Review of the Ten Commandments

ten commandments

(A recent review of an older film, the Ten Commandments hearkens back to a more golden, and more innocent, era of Hollywood.  Much better than the recent remake with Christian Bale as a confused, slightly insane Moses, with his 'God' as an annoying boy speaking in hallucinatory images.  Give me Charlton Heston and the burning bush anyday.  Editor). Year:  1956  Filming:  Color  Length:  220 minutes Genre: Biblical/Drama/Epic/Inspirational/Religious  Maturity: PG (for intense thematic elements) Cast:  Charlton Heston (Moses), Yul Brynner (Pharaoh Ramses), Anne Baxter (Nefretiri), Yvonne De Carlo (Sephora), John ... (Continue reading)

Ant-Man vs. Daredevil

ant man vs dardevil

(As a bit of light-hearted reading before the issuance of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter later today, here are some thoughts on two superheroes, such as they are.  Editor). Yes, I must admit, I did watch Ant-Man, in two instalments, for a I had to sort of motivate myself to finish it.  The campy film was better than it might have been, but worse also.  Carried along by the charisma of its male lead, the movie has a child-likeness about it, ... (Continue reading)

On the Lord’s Appearing: A Review

on the Lord's appearing

(From the archives, but always new, here is a review of an excellent book by Father Jonathan Robinson, provost of the Toronto Oratory.  A highly recommended reading choice for this mid-Lenten time.  Editor) Father Robinson has written two essays, not one as his title indicates. That on tradition is prolegomenon to an extended treatment of prayer, a prolegomenon that one at first might think could well have been omitted without weakening the altogether satisfactory second part of the book. In order ... (Continue reading)

Mission Impossible: To Make a Real Movie

I finally got around recently to watching the fifth instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise.  As expected, it was slick and high-budget, with impressive real-life stunts.  Besides hanging on to moving planes and swerving motorcycles, Tom Cruise is showing his age a little, a rigid expression setting into his normally expressive face, a rictus grin replacing the toothy bluster of his youth, reminding me a bit of old Stoneface himself, the silent movie star Buster Keaton, who also, ironically, did ... (Continue reading)

Why Are Catholics Not Holier Than They Are? Father Paul Quay’s ‘The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God’

(I thought this memorial of the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was a fitting day to post this adaptation of an address I offered last week on a book by another great Jesuit, Father Paul Quay).   On his recent visit to our college this summer, the Jesuit scholar Father Koterski mentioned a book that he described as the 'most influential he has ever read', his fellow Jesuit's Father Paul Quay's "The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God".  Upon his effusive recommendation, ... (Continue reading)

Captain Philips

captain philips

I just took in the new American-everyman Tom Hank's movie, Captain Philips which, surprisingly from its limited quality, has made over $218 million so far, and won six Academy awards.  Directed in shaky-realistic-video by Paul Greengrass, who also oversaw two of the Bourne movies, the film has a stark realism.  The problem, I think, is that it is too realistic.  No one in this movie is portrayed as a 'hero', although they sort of try to make Captain Philips/Tom Hanks ... (Continue reading)

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