Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easter Giveaway of Charlton Heston DVD/Blu Ray Box sets

I have two deluxe 6 DVD boxed sets of Charlton Heston's classic masterpiece,  "The Ten Commandments" which has been digitally restored to its original brilliance,  an all new 75 minute documentary telling of how the film was made, 1923 Black and White silent film version of "The 10 Commandments"( for the first time on Blu-ray) Commemorative Photo Book and replica of 1958 Souvenir Program, Collectible Costume sketches and archival reproductions. This would make a wonderful gift for your pastor or favorite Ten Commandments fan.
Leave me a comment on why this beautiful boxed set will enhance your observance of Holy Week, and you will be entered to win one of the sets.
 Drawing is on April 16, which is Palm Sunday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Movie Review: Limitless - PG13

Eddie Morra is a writer suffering from writer's block. That changes when  his former brother-in-law introduces him to NZT, a new untested, unapproved drug that allows him to utilize all the capabilities of his brain.  He remembers anything he's ever read, he can learn a new language or a musical instrument in a day, and he begins to make a lot of money investing.  Unfortunately this attracts the attention of some unsavory people who would like to take advantage of NZT.  

While trying to evade his pursuers, Eddie must also deal with the dangerous side effects of NZT.

Bradley Cooper was very good as Eddie, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by Robert DeNiro as Van Loon.  I am used to DeNiro playing a stronger character.

There is plenty of action, and this is the type of story most people will easily relate to.  It is very entertaining.
Content warnings include language, one bed scene (no nudity), and one bloody scene toward the end.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: "Tick Tock" by James Patterson

Michael Bennett is a NYPD Detective.   He is called in off his vacation when someone starts re-creating the crimes of Son of Sam, the Brooklyn Vampire, and other serial killers. 

Michael is a widower with ten children, all adopted.  When he is called in on this case, he recruits FBI Agent Emily Parker to help.  Together, they try to stop the killers before they continue their spree... and it becomes more personal than Michal expected.

A very engaging, well-told story.  Again, I like the way Mr. Patterson integrates his characters with the story.  I related to Michael's character, probably because he is Irish Catholic.  His father, also a widower, is a priest..But I must admit that in this novel. I found the villains most intriguing. 

Content warnings include language and a few  violent crimes.

Book Review: "Pathway to our Hearts"

Pathway to Our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina With the Sermon on the Mount
by Archbishop Thomas Collins
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2011

Archbishop Thomas Collins states "Lectio divina is a prayerful encounter with the word of God. By the 'word of God,' I do not mean simply the text of the Bible; I also mean Christ our Lord." "Pathway to our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina with the Sermon on the Mount" grew out of Collins' experience of lectio divina sessions he held at the Cathedral in Edmonton, Canada. He emphasizes that lectio divina is not the study of Scripture, although such study can be good preparation for it. Rather, lectio divina is an "intimate encounter with the Lord God through the medium of his inspired word in the context of prayer."

Each chapter in "Pathway to our Hearts" is designed as a full lectio divina session, focusing on a section of the Sermon on the Mount. Archbishop Collins begins each session with the simple prayer "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" and then an initial reading of the Scripture passage. He then goes on to offer his reflections on the individual verses. These reflections are truly powerful and insightful. Archbishop Collins invites reader to contemplate the deep meaning of these passages which have become heard so often they are sometimes glossed over.

The Sermon on the Mount offers a blueprint for Christian living. It is the heart and soul of Jesus' teaching. The Archbishop delves into what it means to be pure of heart and to root out the evil desires that live within each of us. He offers a discussion of The Lord's Prayer and what it means to truly pray. He talks about the role of anxiety and judgment in our lives and what we should do about them. He encourages us to ask for God's help every day, to remember that "God is God and I am not . . . we acknowledge our reliance on God and on his power to save us." Lastly, we must always choose life. It is the narrow road; it is hard; but it is the choice Christians must make every day.

The value of "Pathway to our Hearts" far exceeds its stated purpose. It is much more than a primer on lectio divina - it is an instruction manual for the Christian life.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: "Cross Fire" by James Patterson

Alex Cross is a former FBI agent, now a D.C. detective.  As Alex is trying to find and stop a pair of snipers on a killing spree,  he doesn't know that he will soon be facing his nemesis Kyle Craig, who seeks revenge against Alex and is much closer than Alex realizes.  One phrase that repeats throughout the story is "foxes in the hen house".

Alex also contends with some personal issues, such as planning to marry Bree, his current love, and the reappearance of his ex-wife.

Although Alex is a good detective, it is clear how much he cares about his family.

I like the way that  Mr. Patterson integrates character development with his story.   I also enjoy his writing style, and the pace at which he moves the story. This was the first novel by Mr. Patterson that I've read.  It was so good that  I've already started reading "Tick Tock".

Content warnings include language, and some violence. 

R-Rated Movies in the Catholic High School

Mary Kochan raises an excellent point when she describes the immorality in the films and plays which Catholic schools show.
And the sad fact that truly Catholic films which will never be seen by the teens because they are never shown in school.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A new film maker is born

My teen daughter Gabriela's first documentary is about her sister with Down syndrome, Christina, age 9. She calls her "The Extra Special Missionary" because of her extra chromosome. Take a look here, and if you like, vote for it in the Goodness Reigns People's Choice Awards.

Movie Review: The Lincoln Lawyer - R

Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), is a Los Angeles defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln.  His newest client is Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), accused of rape and attempted murder.   As Mickey looks into the case, he discovers some disturbing facts, and a connection to one of his older cases.  This turns out to be a more dangerous case than Mickey anticipated.

Despite his unorthodox working style, Mickey maintains a relationship with his ex-wife and daughter.

An entertaining story told in an attention-grabbing style with lots of intrigue.

There was not a lot of character development, but there didn't need to be, because the characters were entertaining as portrayed.

KUDO's to Matthew McConaughey; he played the role perfectly.  William H. Macy was also very good as Frank, Mickey's investigator.

I really enjoyed The Lincoln Lawyer and would recommend it.for adults only.

Content warnings include violence,  language and a brief bed scene (no nudity).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet: A Movie Review

Who could forget the story of Romeo and Juliet? Anyone who had this story overanalyzed in their high school literature class will remember the tragic events leading to the deaths of both young lovers. Here we have a retelling with a happy ending. The other major difference is that the characters are played by garden gnomes.

With very little prologue, the audience is taken to the front yards of the Capulets and Montagues. The owners of the houses hurl insults at each other as they leave for work. Once they are gone, the garden gnomes come to life, revealing the materialistic and antagonistic tendencies they have inherited from their owners. The Blues (Montague) and the Reds (Capulet) are obsessed with outdoing the other’s gardens.

While on a mission to obtain a beautiful flower from the top of a greenhouse for her family’s garden, Juliet Capulet meets with Gnomeo Montague. He is on a revenge mission and they are both in disguise. It is love at first sight, and they play-fight over the flower until their disguises are removed and they discover they each come from opposing families.

With the help of a frog gnome, who plays the nanny to Juliet, and a pink flamingo, who serves as a sort of chaperone during their trysts, Gnomeo and Juliet meet several times. In the meantime, the war between their families continues. Ben Montague loses his tall blue hat in a fight with Tybalt Capulet. Gnomeo attempts revenge through a mower race with Tybalt. Tybalt loses, crashing his mower into a fence and getting smashed. An angry crowd chases Gnomeo into the street.

It appears that Gnomeo has gotten crushed in the street, but actually what they see is a broken teacup that has fallen out of a truck. With Gnomeo missing and taken for dead, the war between the houses escalates, with the purchase of an upscale tractor mower. Juliet’s father glues her to a pedestal at the top of a fountain so she can stay “safe” at home.

I love the part where Gnomeo converses with a statue of William Shakespeare, asking him how his story ends. Shakespeare found it both suitable and satisfactory that they both die in the end. Gnomeo is determined on a better fate. He returns just in time and, although both gardens are ruined by the upscale tractor mower that has gone into “destruction” mode, the two families decide to end their feud and forgive one another.

The movie ends with a wedding. The flamingo finds his long-lost love. Tybalt even gets glued together and is seen dancing at the wedding.

A few parts that parents may find objectionable include a garden gnome in a revealing bathing suit that shows his entire backside, a joke about a squirrel losing his “nuts”, and a flashback scene in which the flamingo is showing how he lost his true love due to the separation of the couple who owned their house. In my opinion these are trivial issues that don’t take away from the overall charm of the movie. Parents may want to discuss the fact that Gnomeo and Juliet sneak out to court without the permission of their parents.

The message of the movie is a Christian one of love and forgiveness. Courtship and matrimony are also shown in a positive light.

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau - PG13

Fate or free will? 

That is the question to be answered when U.S. Senate candidate David Norris meets Elise Sellas and falls in love with her.  A group called The Adjustment Bureau tries to keep them apart at any cost, because it doesn't fit in with 'the plan' for him,  it was a mistake.  They are a secret team that performs 'adjustments' to keep people 'on plan'.  But the problem is that David keeps seeking out Elise.  The question is will the Bureau be able to keep them apart?  Will David and Elise have to sacrifice everything to keep to 'the plan'?  And what will the Bureau Chairman decide?

"The Adjustment Bureau" has it all:  a very unique story, good character development,  action, cool special effects, and it is continually entertaining and, at times, touching. Matt Damon is at his best. I think we see more of the real Matt in this role than others.  He seems very much himself.

The content warnings are some language and one bed scene (no nudity).

An excellent movie!