Friday, February 28, 2020

Reviews New Zealand Catholic

Songs that are measured, honest and true

“This collection of songs came out of a hard time, including loss and relocation,” singersongwriter Grant-Lee Phillips told music site Noisetrade, talking about his latest album The Narrows. That “hard time” has produced a...

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...

Dozen of the best at yearly festival

by NEVIL GIBSON Whittling down this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival into a dozen picks, sight unseen, may seem foolhardy, given there’s a choice of more than 140 different offerings. Even the...

Teens’ performances ring true

by NEVIL GIBSON The Harry Potter series was credited with turning on a new generation of readers. But other “young adult” books may have a bigger impact on raising real-life...

Faith in letters and memories

VALLEY OF FAITH — Sisters of Mercy in Pawarenga 1927–1990 (Available at St Mary’s Convent, New Street, Auckland, ph. 360 8009); $25. Reviewed by BEATE MATTHIES. The cover picture Tangiwai...

Reflection and prayers from Auckland church ‘legend’

by Pat Lythe On the Saturday of Labour weekend, an assembly of people, mainly Catholics, gathered at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Herne Bay, Auckland, to witness the launch of Jocelyn Franklin’s...

Italian films reflect social crisis

by NEVIL GIBSON The former glories of Italian cinema were on grand display in La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) earlier this year. Other glimpses are among the 18 features in this...

Ireland’s unlikely peace trip

Sectarian politics in Northern Ireland were so extreme that when travelling overseas it was customary for politicians from opposing factions to accompany each other to ensure their mutual safety. That...

Sink or swim in the murky waters of politics

by MICHAEL MORRISSEY Although America may be the world’s most powerful enforcer of “democracy”, both world policeman and world bully, it is the internal power institutions such as the FBI and the...

Cult, family clash in science fiction thriller

The use of parallel universes, sometimes known as alternative reality, is a common feature in science fiction and its movie spinoffs. A couple of good recent examples were Another Earth and Source Code, both released in 2011. The latest, Midnight Special...

Time to act on the words of this wonderful encyclical

LAUDATO SI’ — An Encyclical Letter on Ecology and Climate by Pope Francis (St Paul’s Publications, Australia, 2015); $14.99. Reviewed by SUSAN SMITH. Recently I was talking with a parishioner...

Monk’s mission at summit

The global political agenda each year is studded with summits of world leaders. Some are more interesting than others, depending on which issues are topical at the time. The meetings...

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...

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...

Much more than an important pastoral handbook

CANON LAW IN ACTION by Brendan Daly (St Paul’s Publications, 2015); $36 (incl. postage). Reviewed by PATRICIA HANNAN. Msgr Brendan Daly is the principal of Good Shepherd College and a...

Conscripts show army’s underside

by NEVIL GIBSON Like the best wines, many filmmakers improve with age. But it can also have side effects, such as awareness that perfection can never be achieved. In an interview...

Bill Murray dishes up seasonal cheer

by NEVIL GIBSON The absence of feel good films for Christmas has been previously noted in this column. It seems Hollywood now has to treat anything to do with religion...

Damon’s rogue agent returns

The North American summer blockbuster season is running out and looks like being the most disappointing ever, in commercial terms. The reason is not hard to find –  too many sequels and not...

Late priest has written well about 20 great mystics

AN INNER MUSIC — Living a life in God by Craig Larkin, SM (Fitzbeck Publishing, 2016; available from good bookshops, or the Society of Mary); $35. Reviewed by LYNDSAY FREER.  In this most...

Mother’s loss turns to discovery

Most film productions have their share of drama behind the scenes. Often these are bigger than what finally appears on the screen. For obvious reasons, the big studios go out of their way...

A work of extraordinary tenderness

THE GIFT OF GRIEF — One son’s story following the death of his father by Andrew Stringfellow (Redemptorist Publications, 2015, Supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $25.00; reviewed by DELIA...

Ethics crash as camera hits gutter

by NEVIL GIBSON The salacious side of the news media has long been fodder for the film industry. Since the 1930s, with the emergence of radio broadcasting and, later, television,...

Diversity dominates year’s best films

The response to calls for more diversity and racial balance in casts dominates this year’s best film lists. The comic-based blockbusters have started running out of steam and are also...

Business trip leads three astray

by NEVIL GIBSON A top 10 list of the best films about business is unlikely to have any from the past year or so. In fact, such a list 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,...

Valuable resources to help us grow in personal prayer

PRAYING ON EMPTY: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Prayerful Self by Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND. TwentyThird Publications (New London, Connecticut, 2017). 104 pp., US$12.95. THE TRANSFORMED HEART: Spirituality, Religion...

There’s nothing like a live concert

The first live band my oldest child experienced was Avalanche City at Parachute Festival some years ago. She was fresh into the world and we stood in the back...

Jobs: too much of a good thing

by NEVIL GIBSON Two films in the past few years about a legendary American businessman Steve Jobs would normally be considered excessive. But Apple Computer cofounder is no ordinary man. He...

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...

Remember the needy and vulnerable

“Christmas . . . all the treasure and the trash,” sings Australian musical icon Paul Kelly in his song How to Make Gravy. Go and look it up online now,...

Featured News

A reflection on Querida Amazonia – Bishop Stephen Lowe

Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si’, on care for our common home, the earth, continued the tradition of the prophets and of popes before him who have spoken...