Oscar buzz: Catholic movie reviews

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Article Reviews

Hollywood celebrates the best in film from the past year with the Academy Awards show this weekend. What were your favorite movies of the year?

Share your picks, read our reviews, and even submit your own reviews of movies we haven’t written about yet. You can also review books, music, and other media.

U.S. Catholic reviews of the best picture Oscar nominees:


Cutthroat choreography: A review of Black Swan

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What do gangsters and ballerinas have in common? A deadly drive, according to the latest dance thriller Black Swan.

Black Swan is a movie about the ballet in the same way The Godfather is a film about the family business. Like Francis Ford Coppola’s tragic tale of Michael Corleone’s descent into slaughter, Darren Aronofsky’s seemingly arthouse film about ballet is a movie about what drives the American family business—ambition—and about the biblical costs we pay in pursuit of dreams of success.


The Fighter

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Article Reviews
The Fighter
Directed by David O. Russell (Paramount, 2010)

 

Boxing films are invariably tales of lion-hearted toughs from the wrong side of the tracks overcoming insuperable odds. But great fight movies are more than David-slays-Goliath epics. Alongside the slugfest in the ring, these films track another, more personal, battle.


City of refuge

By Danny Duncan Collum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Reviews
City of Refuge
Abigail Washburn (Rounder Records, 2011)

The banjo is the most American of instruments, arriving with the slaves from West Africa but quickly adopted by their poor white neighbors. By the mid-20th century, it had become a totem of rural American culture and an engine of the Nashville sound. But on Abigail Washburn’s City of Refuge, her banjo, played in the pre-Nashville clawhammer style, plucks and clucks along in company with the guzheng (a Chinese zither) and some old-time Mongolian throat-singing.


The Sacraments We Celebrate

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The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of Faith by Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi (Ave Maria Press, 2010)

How the West wasn’t: A review of True Grit

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It may take true grit to avenge a murder, but the gritty truth is that revenge only works in the movies.

I grew up watching Westerns like other boomers, so when critics praised Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of True Grit as a splendid classic Western à la John Ford, I decided to treat myself to the guilty pleasure of an old-fashioned sagebrush saga.


I Know I've Been Changed

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I Know I've Been Changed
By Aaron Neville (EMI Gospel, 2010)

 


The Greatest Prayer

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The Greatest Prayer
By John Dominic Crossan (HarperOne, 2010)

John Dominic Crossan, the eminent if controversial scholar of the Bible, is most well known through his work to uncover the historical core of the gospels. With this book, subtitled Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer, however, he may become known as a spiritual writer as well.


The King's Speech

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Article Reviews
The King’s Speech directed by Tom Hooper (Weinstein, 2010)

In a season of gunslingers (True Grit) and brawlers (The Fighter), Tom Hooper has made a touching film about courage in which no one draws a gun or throws a punch.  The fear of public speaking is our most common terror, and it's much worse when you are not a commoner but the Duke of York and the future King of the British Empire. Every time you step up to a radio microphone, a quarter of the world is listening.


A Time to Plant

By Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt by Kyle Kramer (Ave Maria, 2010)

 

I admit it. When I received a review copy of A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt, I cringed. A book about back-to-basics living? 

No, thank you.

I live in a city. If my family was dependent on my gardening abilities for survival, we would have died a long time ago. Being forced to go camping is my idea of a nightmare. Yet, even with all that working against it, A Time to Plant was still well-worth reading.


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