Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Reviews New Zealand Catholic

Ukulele, one of music’s humblest but happiest sounds

by SAM HARRIS So, it’s Easter! I hope your heart is joyful and that you are “mak this day a living hymn of praise” as the Divine Office’s intercessions for...

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...

Cameo confl ict sends big message

by NEVIL GIBSON The world’s troublespots have always been a lucrative source for screen drama and, occasionally, sharp comedies. The Balkans and the Middle East are familiar ground to filmgoers in...

25 years as a Catholic apologist sees empathy grow

Apologetics is that branch of theology that defends the faith with reasoned arguments. St Stephen was doing apologetics before Christians were even called Christians and St Paul seems to savour his intellectual jousts with...

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...

Twenty One Pilots open hearts and minds

Last issue I discussed Twenty One Pilots’ excellent recent show in Auckland: easily as good as anything I’ve seen in 25 years of live concerts.  Their latest record is something of a concept album that...

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);...

Prayer book useful for leaders and young people

ENGLISH YOUTH PRAYER BOOK, ed. Fr Georg von Lengerke and Dorte Schromges, translated by (Ignatius Press, 2011, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $34.99. Reviewed by TERESA McNAMARA. As a youth...

Poetry and beauty in both lyric and music

“Man, you’re like a Dave Dobbyn evangelist,” said a friend to me some years ago as I raved to him about Dobbyn’s just-released album Available Light. Well, I’ve loved...

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...

A journey through the theological life of the retired pope

Reviewed by BRIAN WELTER (CNS)  Peter Seewald’s interview of Pope Benedict, which follows from previous interviews and works including Salt of the Earth, offers readers a journey through the theological life of the retired pope. This...

Unearthing the secret weapon of the Somme

by MICHAEL MORRISSEY If the atomic bomb was the most terrible weapon of World War II, then probably heavy artillery or the machine gun were the worst weapons of World...

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...

Race drama BlacKkKlansman packs punch

Far from ignoring American race relations, Hollywood  filmmakers have been in the thick of it for decades. The rise of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, most recently depicted in LBJ,...

Aliens dialogue with linguist

The more challenging end of the science fiction spectrum should offer as much reward for the mind as for the senses.  In the past few years, some of the most creative work...

Gang drama scores cheque mate

by NEVIL GIBSON It is customary to describe a group of films that have common characteristics as a “genre”, and it can now be fairly claimed that this country has...

Kiwi band gets on with stuff

“Seems to me that the musicians  responsible for the soundtrack to filmmaker Taika Waititi’s recent triumph Hunt for the Wilderpeople played no small part in its success. The band goes by the name...

Final of NZ show proves to be an anticlimax

by SUSAN FOGARTY If you’re uncertain about when the word “anticlimax” should be used, just watch the final episode of The Great Food Race (TV3). The final, which screened on April 27...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

Spiritual answers that lead to beneficial reflection

ANSWERS — Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions by Fr John Bartunek (Servant Books, 2014, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $29.99. Reviewed by PETER GRACE. After getting his degree in history,...

Women’s lives before feminism

It’s difficult to turn great works of literature into great films. But that doesn’t stop many from trying, particularly when themes still resonate in modern times. One is the subordination...

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...

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...

Moving book that emphasises God’s loving mercy

THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY by Pope Francis (McMillan Publishers NZ Ltd, 2016); $37.99. Reviewed by PAT LYTHE. This book is the result of a conversation Pope Francis had...

Hope and love in Avalanche City

Dave Baxter used to be in a metal band. He wanted a change, “wanted to write music that you can walk along the street humming to”, so he taught himself to sing, started...

Helping youth to go even deeper into their faith

YOUCAT STUDY GUIDE by Jack Kersting, Paul George, Mark Brumley, Vivian W. Dudro (Ignatius Press 2013, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $19.99. Reviewed by TERESA McNAMARA. Pilgrims who came home after...

Annual box office reviews: Quirky humour, wars, spies excel in 2015

by NEVIL GIBSON The annual box office reviews show young adult fantasy and comic-book heroes are still the most popular fare at the cinema. Fast-paced action and real-life dramas are...