July 29, 2014

THE NUNS NEED YOUR HELP!


YOU DID IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
THE RELEASE DATE OF

"MEDIA APOSTLE:
THE FATHER JAMES ALBERIONE STORY"

IS JANUARY 25, 2015!
DVD WILL BE AVAILABLE & IT WILL BE ON BROADCAST STATIONS!


We Daughters of St. Paul only need $4,400 to complete
the Blessed Father James Alberione film
we've been working on for 7 years!

We now have a 50 minute version and a 90 minute version. 

The film will be broadcast on all kinds of Catholic and other media all around the world to share the media vision,
strategy and spirituality of Fr. Alberione!
(Fr. Alberione's Pauline Family is in 60 countries.)


John Paul II called him:
 "the first apostle of the New Evangelization."

Can you help us?

Watch the trailer and donate safely online at www.MediaApostle.com

Please note: you will NOT get a credit in the film.
It's way more finalized than that. Sorry.

God bless you!

Sr. Helena Raphael Burns, fsp & Sisters
Daughters of St. Paul

Check the progress of your donations here:

GOAL: $4,400
RAISED: $4,400 (as of August 20)!




July 28, 2014

TERRI & TAYLOR




I KNOW Taylor. Do NOT mess with the spunk OR the "ATV."




July 26, 2014

MOVIES: "BOYHOOD"




"Boyhood," the new movie written and directed by Richard Linklater ("Waking Life," "A Scanner Darkly," The "Before..." Trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) is a one-of-a-kind, "big idea" film. The lives of screen Mom, Dad, son and daughter are followed for twelve years. Literally twelve years, having been filmed for about a week each year. We watch the actors seamlessly grow and age on screen. Mom is Patricia Arquette (who played such a believable Mom in the TV series "Medium"), Dad is Ethan Hawke, the son and main focus is Ellar Coltrane (a Texas native, where the film is set), and the daughter is Linklater's own daughter, Lorelei. The cast, including the minor roles, are superb.

This film is worth seeing for its "handle with care" approach rather than "brutal honesty" voyeurism as we peer into a family's intimate inner workings. If you like very "human" filmmaking, "take your time" drama that believes life and people are made up of a myriad of minute moments, this film is for you.

One of my favorite things about this movie is that we see how Mason, the "boy" in question, doesn't really change a whole lot from who he was as a kid. He just grows more into himself, fleshing out his ideas about how life should/could be. There is a lovely acceptance (albeit bumbling) by all the characters of what they can't control and what they can.

The words "responsible" and "responsibility" are used at least 75 times. It becomes almost a joke that it's impossible the writer-director is unaware of. Mason's mom uses the terms over and over with reference to herself; and all kinds of adults and mentors advise Mason that this is exactly what he is lacking despite his other good qualities. Mason get LOTS of pep talks. (I have always felt that consistently "taking responsibility" is about the ONLY thing that sets adults apart from kids. Motivated by love, of course.)

Linklater's films can be very "talkative," and "Boyhood" is no exception. His actors are seekers of the meaning of life, and so--it would seem--is Linklater. His characters talk things out and ask soul-searching questions of each other, but if the film is philosophical, the philosophy is found in the small and ordinary. "Boyhood" hums along so unpretentiously, so ordinarily that I was waiting for the "first" shoe to fall, let alone the second. There is one disturbing, violent family rupture a little ways into the 165 minute film, but that's about it. It's actually quite a calm film--something we're just not used to in any era of filmmaking. No high drama, no dark overtones.

The film doesn't skirt taking actual stabs at resolving the ultimate meaning of life, but the answer is tucked in everywhere in the film itself: love, "attachment." We see exposed (as in our own lives) the motley web of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who have our back and bless us on our way or catch us when we fall. But it is obviously the family where this all starts, with parents and their babies who grow up so darn fast. Although our protagonist is a boy, the parents are the real heroes--parents who actually parent:  setting boundaries, disciplining, giving example, going the extra mile, encouraging, affirming and fighting for and with their kids, and each other.

For the most part, the parents actually give their kids great advice, except for the not one but two "Have Fun Kids, But Use a Condom!" speeches. This film--although it's very pertinent to the years it is covering--has some heavy-handed anti-Bush, pro-Obama, anti-Iraq War messages, even going so far as to "cover up" the propaganda by poking fun at a kooky, Obama-Messiah worshipping woman. The only way this film gets a pass on the blatancy is that the film is a kind of time capsule, marking such pop culture phenoms as the Harry Potter, Twilight and Lady Gaga juggernauts as well. Sadly, casual teenage sex (even besides the condom speeches) and drug use is no big deal in "Boyhood." It's just normal, part of growing up, fun. It's certainly reality, but "Boyhood" gives it a smiling, benign stamp of approval.

Aside from these serious mars, "Boyhood" is fairly non-judgmental, standing to the side, calling 'em as it sees 'em.

Linklater is an unabashed music aficionado, and one gets the feeling that he's promoting his favorite bands. The soundtrack is pointed, studied and obvious, the song lyrics repeating the exact emotion of the characters, verbatim.

The title "Boyhood" is a bit misleading if you are expecting a wild, breakaway, endearing "The Kings of Summer" type "boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails" story. This is a boy squarely lodged in his environment of inescapable big sisters, moves, chores, school and everybody telling you what to do.

"Boyhood" is definitely the story of blended families. It made me think of the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family and World Meeting of Families, and how Pope Francis is urging the Church to be cognizant and solicitous of the ways today's families are broken, but also how they glue themselves back together and find new configurations.

The end of the "snails and puppy dog tails" poem aptly describes "Boyhood's" worldview:

What are all folks made of, made of? 
          What are all folks made of? 
             Fighting a spot and loving a lot, 
          That's what all folks are made of.


                                              --Robert Southey, 1820

OTHER STUFF:

--There is a real balance of male/female. When either tries to stray too far away from the other, the gelatinous yin-yang web snaps a bit to readjust the mix. #TheologyOfTheBody

--Linklater is from Texas. I knew it. He is also very familiar with the Bible because, whether he knows it or not, Scripture peppers his character's speech. He has sympathetic Christian characters in the film as well.

--There are a few unanswered/uncorrected gay jokes and slurs which may simply be meant to reflect macho Texas culture?

--I really like Linklater's "Waking Life" (pure philosophy!) and "A Scanner Darkly."

--I've always loved Patricia Arquette's acting. So natural and realistic.

--A wonderful summation of the film is a scene of a college psych course describing "attachment theory." Our human future depends on attachment, on Mom falling in love with baby, on human beings falling in love with each other, and so taking care of each other. Normally, this scene would be in Act One as "the karmic question." But this is an indie film. :)

--"Boyhood" illustrates that "it takes a village," and "we're all in this together."

--The familial love in "Boyhood" is low-key and sincere, unlike the flippant "love" of so many sitcom and cartoon families as the stock excuse for all the other heterodoxy and nastiness that goes on: "But they love each other."

--The many older Canadians in my theater were hooting and hollering over all the Texas gun stuff. (Canadians find Americans' fascination with guns fascinating.)

--Great article about the film: http://imagazine.cineplex.com/issues/july-2014#32

--You know you want to see this review with awesome LifeTeen graphics: 

July 10, 2014

DVD: "THE JEWISH CARDINAL"




The 2013 film (now on DVD and Netflix) "The Jewish Cardinal" is the life of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger who died in 2007. May I say that this is the most tastefully, smartly irreverent life of a prelate ever on film? Jewish filmmaker, Ilan Duran Cohen, gets both Judaism and Catholicism (not an easy feat) and presents them with depth and sans one-dimensional cheesiness.

I was well aware of Lustiger while he was alive (and even have one of his books unread on my bookshelves), but didn't really know much about his story. It has been a pleasure getting to know this brilliant, hot-headed, chain-smoking (hey, he's French) cleric whom John Paul II chose to be Paris' Archbishop and then Cardinal, specifically because he wasn't "a doormat." When Lustiger wanted to know whether he was chosen simply because he was a "prized" convert, the pope makes it clear that he is expecting Lustiger to restore Jesus to his rightful place in a France that has lost its faith.

Whoa. I remember so distinctly John Paul II visiting France early on in his papacy and berating the French rather forcefully: "France, eldest daughter of the Church! What have you done with your baptism?!" Papa could really lay it down when he had to. Lustiger and Wojtyla's destinies are so intertwined in this film--as in life--and the actor who plays John Paul II really mastered the man, especially his mischievousness. Lots of chuckles.

"The Jewish Cardinal" is a bit of a recent history primer of sorts as well: the polarized Church in France, Poland and the Holocaust, Communism in Eastern Europe. I brushed up on my own knowledge of these areas, sharpened my understanding and learned many interesting facts: Kaddish was said for Lustiger on the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral before his funeral! The film slowly reveals to us (good storytelling) why Lustiger converted. We also learn that his mother was murdered at Auschwitz. One of his many dilemmas in life is being Jewish AND Christian, with neither "side" seeming to fully accept him or his preferred dual-identity.

This life of Lustiger is good filmmaking in general, and in particular, showcases how you make a film about an interesting Church figure with realism, honesty, passion and transparency, and without boring deference, doctrinairiness, plasticity and sanctimony. The dialogue is on fire (as was Lustiger, it seems)! The story moves along and proffers as much action as it possibly can in a story like this.

The film "gets" so many things, including male friendships, European male friendships, religious European male friendships, religious European male friendships based on high ideals and nobly working for the good of millions of people. Wojtyla and Lustiger thoroughly needed, relied and leaned on one another.

The film never portrays Lustiger or Wojtyla as idealogues, but as flawed-yet-virtuous, dynamic-yet-conflicted, larger-than-life yet always the flesh-and-blood men of God they were. And the world is better off because of them. And the world is better off with this triumph of a film! WATCH IT.

OTHER STUFF:

--Female screenwriter! Female screenwriter! 

--The sweet name of JESUS is used more in this film than in many Catholic films, documentaries, and talking head teaching videos.

--Yes, there are English subtitles, but in the FILM (not trailer you see above) they are done so incredibly well, not hanging down the bottom of the screen but a little higher. They are in yellow Courier font with a kind of translucent black background, and well, I just hope this is the new trend in subtitles.

--There's a HILARIOUS conversation between Wojtyla and Lustiger about European intellectuals at Castel Gandolfo. Hilarious.

--Our "cousin" congregation, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (liturgical apostolate Sisters founded by Fr. Alberione) have a cameo at 22:52! Lustiger buys something in their Rome shop.

--I will ALWAYS envy Jewish converts as having "the best of both worlds." (Even though I know it is very, very difficult for them.)

--The filmmakers did their homework. Profound homework.

--Fascinating piece on JP2 helping Lustiger grasp the importance of using THE MEDIA.

--This film truly crawls inside the mind of John Paul II. Boom. Bingo. Bullseye.
W: "The Church is neither left nor right. It is about the Gospel. The Gospel must unite us."
L: "But you have made your papacy about human rights!"
W: "The Gospel is about human rights. We need to get back to basics and things will change, you'll see. We live in an age of communications. We must use the power of the TV, the news media!"

--Search for Lustiger's books on Amazon!








TECHNOLOGY WILL NEVER REPLACE LOVE


...or touch. #TheologyOfTheBody







July 5, 2014

"DUET"--IT ALL STARTS WITH A SINGLE CELL



Hand-drawn by former Disney Master Animator, Glen Keane

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY