August 29, 2011


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Christmas in August! Totally fake! Even the audience faked it with us! Air conditioner in the Motherhouse chapel in Boston was on 50F! The swinging jib camera arm thingy knocked over the decorative burning candle on the altar rail, and clocked the same lady in the head twice. Otherwise--no casualties.

The music doesn't match what we're singing because we could only use the Christmas music we already have on iTunes right now for this YouTube.

The REAL video that will be created from this filming session will air on Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn's NET TV channel this Christmas and DVD will be available!

Daughters of St. Paul Christmas Concert Tour locations to be announced. Will include: Boston, NYC, Virginia and Cleveland....

August 17, 2011


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For those of us decrepit enough to remember the original 1968* movie “Planet of the Apes” with Charlton Heston (human) and Roddy McDowell** (ape), (or the 1974 TV series with McDowell but not Heston), “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a high-tech, far cry from the DISCOUNT HALLOWEEN COSTUME STORE RUBBER-MASKED primate sci-fi drama. It’s about Big Pharma and Big Research and Big Greed and Tortured Lab Animals and Wouldn’t It Be Nice If We Would Just Hand Earth Over to the Animals Because They’re Generally Better People Than We Are.

Will Rodman (a mediocre James Franco—sorry!) is a scientist who dreams of curing Alzheimer’s. It’s also personal because his Dad (John Lithgow) suffers from the disease. Will works for a lab that dreams of making lots of money off Will’s experiments on apes. There is great promise in a serum injected in the animals, but things go off track and the whole experiment is shut down and the apes put down. Will adopts the infant (whom his Dad names “Caesar”—played by Andy Serkis) of one of the euthanized chimps and raises him at home. It turns out Caesar was positively enhanced by the serum injected in his mother, so Will injects it into his Dad. When Caesar attacks someone in the neighborhood (defending Will’s Dad) he is court-ordered to a primate refuge, much to the chagrin of Will and Caesar.

Caroline (Freida Pinto, “Slumdog Millionaire,” good actress!) is a veterinarian who becomes Will’s love interest, but doesn’t influence the story much at all.

The end of “Rise” is a long chase/escape/battle of the apes breaking free from imprisonment and humans trying to stop them.

“Rise” is a bit cloying in its use of the ape’s facial expressions and human-like qualities. But, of course, we have to be invested in Caesar who is a non-human main character. However, even though these are fictional, enhanced, higher-intelligence apes, people today are a bit confused about the actual place in Creation of animals in relationship to humans. There are statements in the film like: “They’re not people, you know,” and you get the feeling that we, the audience, are supposed to be saying under our breath: “Oh, yes they are!”

There is not much of a take-away here. No memorable dialogue or lessons to be learned. Sheer entertainment.

I think the impulse and insight (of the nature/animal lover) that nature/animals are good and innocent should be affirmed. But too often, humans are seen as bad and corrupt, and therefore nature/animals are necessarily better/higher. (When you think about it, this is a Protestant view of humans!) I totally get this because that’s where I was at before I met God.

Those who LOVE nature/animals inordinately (or over-against humans) and those who ABUSE nature/animals are actually cut from the same cloth. NEITHER see humans as PART of nature, but standing outside it. For the nature/animal lovers, humans are aliens who do not belong here and have no right to the Earth which belongs rightly to nature/animals. For the nature/animals abusers, they see humans as above nature/animals which are simply things to be utilized with impunity.

Only God gives the proper context for and perspective on nature/animals. All Creation, including humans, belong to God. Humans/nature/animals are all God’s. God has entrusted humans to care for HIS Creation—the way that He Himself would/does. We should do so with love and gratitude and humility and reverence and awe and mercy and justice and kindness.

*OK—I just want to make it clear that I saw RERUNS of the 1968 movie on television in the 70’s. Hopefully this lessens my decrepitude quotient.

**We DID love Roddy, didn’t we? His warmth came right through his mask. There’s even a nod to him in “Rise.” We see the NICE ape cage attendant, “Rodney,” watching Roddy on TV.


--I wonder if “Rise” means sequels. The parting shot of the film is open to that….

--Some physics-defying CGI movement in the beginning when Caesar is little and swinging around Will’s house.

--A lot of movies today about wonder drugs. Drugs that make you really smart.

--The tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden was really about deciding for OURSELVES what is good and evil, right and wrong.

--It’s amazing what we can’t see when we can’t see.

--Can monkeys really use sign language to communicate with each other?

--Without God, we become control freaks. Of necessity. It's hard enough not to be one WITH God.

--Without a God-context, there’s really nothing to stop us from doing whatever we want for whatever personal reasons we want. We could choose to follow nature’s good plans, or we could choose reasonableness because we have good will and we’re nice people, but good may appear to us as evil and evil as good, and…I hate to say this but, without God, we can all be our own little Nazis (whether we realize it or not).

--Andy Serkis also played Gollum in LOTR!

--Brian Cox is a great actor. Would love to see more of him.

--Quite a few story unbelievability “REALLY??” moments.

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August 12, 2011


"Out of the Darkness" is a new DVD on porn featuring an ex-porn actress and now Christian who helps others out of the porn industry: Shelley Lubben; the founder of : Mark Houck; an Alfred Kinsey expert: Dr. Judith Reisman; and a psychiatrist: Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons.

Filmed in an up-to-the-minute documentary style (heavy on interviews), "Out of the Darkness" is neither visually graphic nor verbally explicit. It's pretty much a must-see. Shelley's entire life story is very enlightening. Mark Houck, addicted to porn as a young man, sought help and founded an organization to help others of of porn, and to fight porn. Dr. Judith has spent her life trying to publicize a very important piece of the history of the sexual revolution in the USA (namely the architect of it all: Alfred Kinsey--who was undeniably a pedophile and sexual pervert). Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons diagnoses some of the ills of the generations growing up with "porn as normal," and speaks about the antitode to porn: Theology of the Body.

There is frequent use of "old time" stock film footage and home movies* (sometimes repeated) and a little bit of a re-enactment (also repeated). The repetition gets old fast. There's a large black border around some of the old footage, but I'm assuming that's more because of the quality/dimensions of the footage than a stylistic choice. It doesn't bother me, and is almost a welcome change up.

A pleasing, but sometimes uneven technique is to have the camera angled in several different ways to really capture the emotions, moods (mostly reflective, but sometimes smiling) and facial expressions of the four interviewees (these four were a great choice). The camera catches what the words WEREN'T saying or COULDN'T say.

I would have prefered everyone to have the same color background rather than at least three different colors. Dr. Judith's black is super dramatic, Shelley's bright orange matches her sunny personality, Dr. Fitzgibbons' white is kind of neutral-feeling, and I don't remember what Mark's was. It jarred me a bit going from one to the other. I wouldn't have minded the technique of the interviewee's voice over their video when they weren't actually speaking used more or as a lead-in to the interviews.

The message of "Out of the Darkness" is dire and urgent, but it's also very much "all hope is not lost." "There's ALWAYS a way out."

Winner for Best Director, John Paul II Film Festival, Miami, 2011

Order from: , 80 min.

*perhaps royalty free?

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August 1, 2011


St. Michael's Church in Old Town

AUGUST 5 -- Actress (Mother) Dolores Hart in person!

AUGUST 8 --(Monday) Play: "Sister Calling My Name" at St. John Cantius Church




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