Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Reviews New Zealand Catholic

Crusader puts children first

by NEVIL GIBSON Like many small countries, Ireland has a thriving film industry. In recent months it has also displayed global ambitions, most noticeably with One Thousand Times Goodnight (reviewed Jan....

An intimate look at Churchill

The rewriting of history by filmmakers is an occupational hazard for audiences. Most aren’t as egregious as some of Hollywood’s biggest distortions, such as Mel Gibson’s William Wallace in...

The complex truth about Hitchens’ faith explored

by NANCY ROBERTS When Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer at the age of 62 in 2011, he was famous as a left-wing polemicist who argued passionately for atheism. Author...

Codebreakers raise topical issues

by NEVIL GIBSON Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the gathering of military intelligence has moved from being the difference in victory or defeat to one...

Drone drama flies on moral dilemmas

War films typically come in two kinds: straightforward action shows that depict heroism or have a satisfactory outcome, and those where conflicting motives produce uncertain outcomes.  History also judges specific wars  into those that had...

Festivals lighten winter gloom

Quality films dry up in the northern hemisphere summer so the mid-winter film festivals here are a welcome alternative.The task of choosing from up to 155 features is daunting and it’s hit or miss...

Civil rights drama delivers plenty

by NEVIL GIBSON Religious belief seldom gains the recognition it deserves in major mainstream movies. Among this year’s Oscar contenders, the life of Olympic athlete and war hero Louis Zamperini is...

Worship: A wonderful testament to our nation’s faith

WORSHIP — A History of New Zealand Church Design by Bill McKay (photography by Jane Ussher) (Penguin, Random House, 2015); $85. Reviewed by TERESA WACKROW. In September this year...

Conversation gives a fuller picture of who the Pope is

Faith, Hope and the Church in a Time of Change with Antonio Spadaro (Bloomsbury Acad & Prof 2013 (Allen & Unwin Auckland (09) 377 3800)); $36.99. Reviewed by PETER...

Plot that could have stopped WWII

by NEVIL GIBSON Seven decades on, World War II continues to throw up historical footnotes that provide interesting material for film-makers. Last year, the search for stolen artworks produced The Monuments...

View of Catholicism locked in pre-conciliar past

THE INVISIBLE BESTSELLER: Searching for the Bible in America by Kenneth A. Briggs. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2016). 239 pp., US$25. Reviewed by EUGENE J. FISHER...

Fuelled by the good music we love

“This music makes me sad: can you put something else on?” asked the sous chef.  Funny how the same piece of music can produce different responses in different people. I was head waiter in...

France’s first black clown

A few years ago, the lack of non-white faces in the Hollywood Oscar nominations was a matter of major controversy. This year, a film with only black faces, Moonlight, was the winner.African-American themes also featured...

A crowd-pleaser despite its flaws

by NEVIL GIBSON Only a handful of sports-themed Hollywood productions break through the barrier that Americans’ favourite codes do not have universal appeal. Baseball, gridiron football and basketball are minority sports...

Convent drama tests beliefs

Poland, nuns and winter are a surefire mix of ingredients for an excellent film, if recent experience is any guide. A couple of years ago, Ida proved a big hit...

Special effects elevate Ape sequel

by JOHN MULDERIG, CNS Those super-sentient simians are back in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Fox). Though it’s not a film for kids, this latest addition to a franchise...

Lovely guide to early NZ churches

HISTORIC CHURCHES — A Guide to Over 60 Early New Zealand Churches by Linda Burgess, photography by Robert Burgess (Penguin Random House New Zealand, to be published September 1);...

Tweeting with God – unpacking tradition in a modern way

TWEETING WITH GOD by Fr Michel Remery. (Freedom Publishing Books, Melbourne, 2017). 432pp $39.00AUD (Manual $19.95AUD 56pp) Reviewed by Sr SIAN OWEN, RSJ Most people have at least a limited...

A worthy gift from father to child

“Six top pop-rock songs for a top son": that was the working title for this piece (my wife detested it). It’s been kicking around in my head since my boy was born several weeks...

This lady’s no plain Jane

The works of Jane Austen have created about 60 screen adaptations from just six novels. That doesn’t include her first short work of fiction, written in the epistolary form around 1794 when she was 18. It was never...

Hostage standoff unfolds in 6 Days

It is taken for granted that virtually all major news events will be seen instantly around the world through 24-hour live coverage. Natural disasters such as the devastating hurricanes in...

Memory loss creates memorable role

by NEVIL GIBSON Eight films have been nominated for the best film in the 2015 Academy Awards. Only two, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood, were released for New Zealand audiences...

A fascinating read of the early Church

STORIES OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY — Creative Retellings of Faith and History by van Thanh Nguyen, SVD (Liguori Publications, 2013, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $25.50. Reviewed by ANNA-MARIE BARRETT. Stories of...

Holocaust denial case revisited

Courtroom dramas demand a full quota of theatrics and two compelling sides of an argument. The defamation case brought in 1996 by British author David Irving against an American academic,...

A realistic look at family life

by NEVIL GIBSON Life in the movies can’t be much more realistic than using the same cast over a dozen years playing their characters as they age. Documentary makers have used...

Beatty wants to be a billionaire

It’s hard to believe Warren Beatty has been one of Hollywood’s fixtures for nearly six decades since he first appeared opposite Natalie Wood in Splendour in the Grass (1961). Just...

For those with a desire to be affected by music:...

One place I go looking for ideas for this column is the several boxes of CDs which have survived recent downsizing efforts in our house and are now residing...

History creates Oscar bait

Movies “based on actual events” are often sure bets in the annual Hollywood awards season. Dunkirk set the pace with a midyear release, while many think leaving that as late as possible creates a fresher...

An enlightening and inspiring focus on prayer

by Delia Ruane I found this book by Richard Leonard, a Jesuit priest, the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office, consultant to the Australian Bishop’s Media Committee, film critic and international...

Alpine setting lifts backstage drama

by NEVIL GIBSON Quality screenplays written with particular actors in mind are relatively rare. Yet that appears to be the case with Clouds of Sils Maria (Pinnacle Films), which is...

Featured News

Many cultures celebrated by parish

Every fifth Sunday of the month, Our Lady of Assumption parish in Onehunga, Auckland celebrates diversity by having a multicultural Mass.  Parish priest Fr Andrew Atonio, MF (Missionaries of Faith) started this tradition around...