Posted by: sisterhosea | November 25, 2012

New Blog Address

My blog has moved to a new address

http://catholicmediamusings.blogspot.com

Visit me there!

Posted by: sisterhosea | March 15, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

This film follows senate-hopeful, David Norris (Matt Damon), as he tries to outsmart those who seem to keep him from doing and being who he wants to be.

By chance, David meets Elise (Emily Blunt) and is utterly fascinated with her. When he unwittingly meets the members of the Adjustment Bureau, who look like a classier version of the Men In Black. He finds that his future has been planned down to the minutest of details by the Chairman of the Bureau. The plan says he is never supposed to develop a relationship with Elise. Three years after he first meets her, he runs across her again, this time, getting to know her and eventually falling in love.

But the Bureau folks are after him, trying to get his life back to the original plan. David finally asks them, “What about free will?”

The film is an action/thriller with surprisingly little violence. The question of free will, fate, and a predetermined path brought up by the film are worthy of reflection and conversation. Another question could be asked: Who is the Chairman? How would you respond if you were David and Elise?

Happy Viewing!

Posted by: sisterhosea | March 1, 2011

Movie Day With Kids

Hey, parents! Ever think of having a film day with your children? It doesn’t have to be the latest film in the theater but can even be one they have seen before. I’m talking about “Meeting Jesus at the Movies.” Each month at the Pauline Center for Media Studies, we host this event. It’s not just having fun watching a movie but watching it and then talking about it in light of our faith. For this month, March 2011, we are using Cars, the 2006 film released by Disney Pixar. See the full schedule on the page at the head of this page.

First, we read a bit of Scripture that fits the theme of the movie. For Cars I choose Romans 12: 2-3. It’s all about not thinking more highly of yourself than you should because arrogance is what the main character in the film is dealing with.

Next, we watch the film and then talk about it. Here are some questions to think about and discuss:

Why do you think Lightning McQueen liked to work alone? How did he treat others at the beginning of the movie? Do you sometimes feel like you’re better than someone else?

Why do you think about the cars in Radiator Springs? Do they have any hope for the future when Lightning comes?

Even though he was famous, Lightning McQueen had to face the consequences of his action when he ruined the road. Do you sometimes do things without thinking about the consequences? What did you have to do to fix the situation?

When Lightning and Sally go for a drive, he asks her what a car like her is doing in a dump like Radiator Springs. Was Lightning impressed with her answer? How?

What happened to the cars in Radiator Springs when Lightning started fixing the road?

What does this movie say about community and helping each other?

Prayer: Jesus, help us to be always humble and put the needs and cares of others ahead of oursevles like you did. Amen.

Posted by: sisterhosea | February 28, 2011

Catching Up

It’s been too long since I’ve posted any movie reviews here. Sorry to keep you waiting so long. I haven’t had a chance to see that many new films, but here are three that are worthy of your viewing. I’m sure they will be on DVD sometime soon.

The King’s Speech just won the Academy Award for Best Picture at last night’s Oscars. And it is worthy of the kudos bestowed by the Academy.

This film tells the story of the present Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI (Colin Firth). He wasn’t expecting to be king, but when his older brother abdicated in order to marry, Bertie found himself in an unwanted position. One big problem: he stuttered. At the time when radio was in regular use, the king was often called upon to give speeches. Not good news for Bertie. So his lovely wife (Helena Bonham-Carter) gets him to see an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who works with him to overcome this defect. An awe-inspiring story.

However, one of my favorite movies of the moment is The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins.

This film follows seminarian, Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donohue), as he prepares to become an exorcist, something he has been asked to do. While going through a period of doubting his faith, Michael journeys to Rome to participate in the exorcism course. His questions lead the priest in charge to introduce him to Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins), a rather unconventional exorcist. At the side of Fr. Lucas, Kovak experiences things he has never imagined. How does he regain his faith?

Although The Rite is tagged as a horror film, I disagree. This is a film about one man’s journey of faith, set within the confines of the exorcism genre. While there are some horror elements, the poignancy and depth of the story is well worth the view. When I first saw this film, I had never seen the classic The Exorcist or other films like The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Since then, I have seen both and The Rite is definitely in a category of it’s own. Based on real life exorcist, Father Gary Thomas, of the Dioces of San Jose, CA, the movie has become one of my new favorites. The book by Matt Baglio on which the film is based is also great reading for anyone interested in this topic.

Lastly, I’ll mention the next film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

This is the best of the three movies in this series so far. I saw it in 3D which wasn’t too bad (I had a bad experience with Avatar. I actually got a headache from the 3D). The story is the most overtly Christian of all the films, focusing on temptation, fear, loyalty, and redemption. The introduction of Cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) to the Narnia film audience is delightful. Bratty Eustace learns what loyalty is. Aslan makes his appearance, too.  Fabulous addition to the Narnia series.

Posted by: sisterhosea | October 15, 2010

The Social Network

Believe it or not, not everyone who spends a lot of their time on a computer spends time on Facebook. I found out early on that I can get addicted to the news feed from all those “friends,” many of whom I hardly know. So I decided on limited Facebook time. Now, I so rarely go on that I kick myself because my siblings almost exclusively use it to communicate and I get left out in the cold.

 The Social Network, about the origins of Facebook, is getting so much buzz and topping the box office two weeks in a row that I decided to go see it, thus ending my theater drought, the last movie I saw being Inception while I was on vacation in July.

 The Social Network tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and how Facebook came to be. While attending Harvard, the computer whiz kid started linking Harvard’s many houses internal communication sites together, just as a joke. But when three friends at the elite Phoenix Club enlist Zuckerberg to help implement their idea, he hangs them out to dry.

Like the tagline of the movie says, “You don’t get to 5 million friends without making a few enemies,” Zuckerberg deserves the enemies he has through his own selfishness and pride. He’s brilliant, yes, but his treatment of his real life friends leaves something to be desired.

 The performances of The Social Network are okay, especially Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, founder of Napster. He manages to charm his way into Zuckerberg’s good graces with suave insincerity.

 It’s fascinating to me to discover how some of the tools we use to communicate with one another came about. It’s just too bad that the story of Facebook is full of people out to make themselves number one. Zuckerman sure has, being one of the youngest billionaires in history. The hopeful part of me hopes that Zuckerberg isn’t as self-absorbed as the movie makes him out to be. I will probably never know. I just know that no one person needs that much money to live when there are so many in the world in need. What might you do if you had that much money? It’s worth a thought.

Posted by: sisterhosea | October 15, 2010

Waiting for Superman-Public Education At Risk

I’m not a teacher but as a media literacy specialist, I speak to teachers introducing them to the world of media literacy, especially in connection with values and Catholic living. Most of the teachers I have spoken with are dedicated, hard working individuals with their student’s best interest at heart. Most are catechists or teachers in a Catholic school. There is a deeper reason for their commitment to teaching than just a job. They want to help their students become the best disciples of Jesus Christ that they can be.

 The public school system is different. As I sat in the theater watching Waiting for Superman, I found myself thanking God that the public schools I attended as a child gave me a great education. I attended schools in the suburbs of Seattle. But lots and lots of inner city kids are not getting the education they need and deserve. It is these children who are the subject of this moving film.

 We meet Anthony from Washington, D.C. He’s being raised by his Grandma because his Dad died of a drug overdose. He’s bright but his elementary school doesn’t have much to offer.  The same goes for Daisy who lives in the Bronx. At age 11, she has already written to the college she wants to attend when she graduates.  But with the school she attends, she won’t be prepared for college when the time comes. The other kids featured in Waiting for Superman are in similar situations.

 Then I learned something about the public school system, how elementary teachers can be tenured after only two years of teaching. That means they can’t be fired if they are not doing their job. To some it just means they have a job for life, so they don’t put any effort into being a good teacher. One teacher mentions, “I get paid whether you learn or not.” Definitely not an attitude I would want the teachers of my kids to have.

 The movie does a good job of showcasing some charter schools that have popped up all over the country trying to give more options to parents who want good schools for their kids but can’t afford to send them to a private school. But what happens is that there are many more kids wanting to get into these schools than places available. It tore out my heart to watch kids waiting as the lottery for available spots at the charter schools took place.  In this country of ours, still very much a superpower in the world, the future of some kids is decided by the luck of the draw. If your number is called, you get to have an education, but if it isn’t, too bad.

 We’ve been shown what works. Now the policies need to change to allow the reform to happen. If you have school age children, this movie is a must-see.

Posted by: sisterhosea | October 15, 2010

Inception–Wow!

 

My mind is still spinning from my experience of Inception, a film by The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan. I love it when films challenge me by bending the rules of normalcy and reality to truly make me think. It may not be your typical blockbuster fare, even though the visual effects are fantastic, but it deserves a place with other mind-benders like The Matrix trilogy.

 Leonardo DiCaprio is Tom Cobb, an expert extractor, one who shares another’s dreams to obtain information from the subconscious.  He’s also a father and widower, accused of killing his wife, and unable to return to the United States and his children.

 Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires Tom to do the opposite of extraction. The payment: a complication-free ticket home to his kids. But inception, the planting of an idea in a person’s subconscious, is considered impossible by his dream-sharing friends. He claims it’s possible. He’s even done it before.

 Psychologists, psychiatrists and anyone else who studies or works with people’s psyches, will be fascinated by this film. In order to do his job, Tom first has to get to know his subject, Robert Fisher (Cillian Murphy). He needs to understand why Robert thinks the way he does. If Tom is to plant an idea that Robert will act on, Robert has to believe it is his own. To achieve inception, Tom needs to delve deep into Robert’s subconscious dreams, three levels down, a dream within a dream, within a dream. Problem is Tom’s own subconscious keeps getting in the way.

 Leonardo DiCaprio, as Tom, delivers yet another gritty performance mixed with ethos, his only wish to be united to his children. Academy Award winner, Marion Cotillard and Academy Award nominee, Ellen Page are gripping as Tom’s wife and Ariadne, the architect of the dream.

 The business ethics of the film beg to be talked about. Saito wanted Robert to make a business decision that would benefit Saito’s energy company. Basic manipulation for profit. But what I was most intrigued with was how the dream-sharers chose what idea to plant. After bouncing some ideas around, Tom speaks up to say, “the positive idea overtakes the negative one every time.” The power of positive thinking may sound cliché but just think for a moment. If our choices came out of positive emotions and ideas rather than negative ones would it make a difference in our relationships, our endeavors, and our society?

Posted by: sisterhosea | July 26, 2010

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Remaking old stories is nothing new in the entertainment world. The legends of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table have been the subject of big and small screen fare for many years. For the past two years in North American, the BBC import TV show, Merlin, starring Colin Morgan, has been airing on the SyFy channel. The new film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, once again taps the Merlin legend and brings it to the 21st century.

Nicolas Cage is Balthasar Blake, one of three apprentices to the sorcerer, Merlin, in 780 Britain. Together with Veronica (Monica Bellucci) and Horvath (Alfred Molina), they fought against Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige), whose only ambition was world domination—until one of them, hungry for power, joined Morgana.

With Merlin’s death, Balthasar traps Morgana and Horvath in a nesting doll called the Grimold, until the Prime Merlinian, the only sorcerer who will be able to defeat Morgana, is found. Balthasar looks for centuries, for the one Merlin’s ring will identify as this savior.

David (Jay Baruchel), a 21t century kid like any other, happens into Balthasar’s shop. The ring recognizes him as the Prime Merlinian. David becomes apprentice to Balthasar.

Although it doesn’t quite catch the brilliance of the two National Treasure films (the last Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicolas Cage collaboration), it is still a great watch, a treat of eye-popping action, Cage’s dry humor, magic, and a classic hero vs. villain story. Those like myself who think of Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice, with dancing buckets and mops will not be disappointed.

The idea of apprenticeship is virtually unknown in North American society. The closest thing we have is on-the-job training. This fails to capture the relationship between master and apprentice of days gone by. The struggle to allow oneself to be led by another, to learn from another is the work of humility, not a virtue that is highly valued in our society. But in the midst of that struggle, if the master is a good one, is the ability to learn to trust oneself as well.

If we look at this from a Christian perspective, we can see the Master/disciple relationship between Jesus and we, his followers. Am I a good apprentice to Jesus?

Posted by: sisterhosea | July 7, 2010

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Posted by: sisterhosea | July 1, 2010

Eclipse — The Twilight Saga Continues

Bella is depressed. That’s how I summed up New Moon when I saw it last year. And the whole movie felt depressed. Thankfully, Eclipse was a breath of fresh air into the Twilight Saga. My summary for this film: Bella discovers the truth about herself. Even though Bella (Kristen Stewart) is the cause of what happens in this story, it is the interplay between Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) that makes this movie, no matter whose team you’re on.

 Jacob comes to grips with his feelings for Bella and he’s sure that she has feeling for him, too. But she’s with Edward. One of the few funny scenes in the film is a confrontation between Edward and Jacob after Jacob has kissed Bella. Even she can’t break it up and it takes Charlie (Billy Burke) stepping in. The best in funny goes to Lautner’s delivery of the line “Well, I am hotter than you,” when he’s speaking to Edward.

 Too soon, however, Edward and Jacob need each other—to protect Bella. Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is still on the loose seeking revenge for the killing of James. Knowing that Bella is too well protected to get to her alone, she starts to build an army of “newborns,” people who have only been made vampires recently.  When a vampire is newborn it is at its strongest and most vicious. With this army on the way to Forks, the Cullen’s realize they cannot protect Bella by themselves. The wolves of Jacob’s pack offer their help and an uneasy truce between vampire and wolf results.

 The Volturi are in town, too, aware of the new vampires. The deal struck with them by Edward in Italy to transform Bella into a vampire, is yet to be honored. He doesn’t want this for Bella even though she tells him over and over that she does. The scenes when Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) tell Bella their stories are some of the most moving of the film. It explains why more than Edward are trying to talk Bella out of choosing immortality.

 As the Twilight Saga films progress through the story, their intensity heightens. One thing Eclipse loses from the book is the banter of the wolf pack, being able to hear each other’s thoughts and communicate without speaking. Overall, Eclipse is the best of the three so far. This film offers quite a bit of fodder for good conversation about all kinds of topics: marriage, relationships, enemies, making difficult choices, sacrifice, revenge, and mercy being just a few.

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