Is It a Sin to Watch Oppenheimer?

The inclusion of a sex scene with nudity in the movie “Oppenheimer” recently generated huge controversy in the Catholic world. What are the moral implications of watching such scenes and supporting such movies?

On the Death and Resurrection of Hollywood

It came as a shock to Hollywood’s liberal establishment: the casting couch is still extant. The outrage at the alleged behaviors of an errant film producer is of course, justified. Nevertheless, the shock expressed by some over Harvey Weinstein’s alleged actions is the real surprise. Others who are closer to the source of the recent … Read more

The Shack’s Preachiness leads to Cinematic Boredom

Toward the end of his life, according to legend, the fourth century Church father Saint Augustine stated: “I spent some 30 years in writing fifteen books concerning the Trinity, which is God.” Yet this theological genius was confronted by the inability of the human mind to probe this mystery as this story relates: He was walking by … Read more

Parental Guidance and Offensive Movie Favorites

“I shall not today attempt further to define [hard-core pornography], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”  ~ Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “How about we go see the new Mad Max movie,” I suggested to my almost-twenty son, Ben. It hit a nerve. “I haven’t even … Read more

Morally Offensive Favorites

Wood chipper. If you’re like me, those two words are inextricably linked to the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film Fargo. Despite the violence and gore, it’s one of my favorite movies, for it contrasts good and evil in an intensely memorable and surprisingly nuanced way. Plus, it’s a substantial “grown-ups” movie that I can recommend in … Read more

Two Cheers for Hollywood

When it comes to corporate social responsibility Hollywood occasionally gives us cause to cheer. For example, the 2006 film Blood Diamond successfully drew attention to modern day slavery and exploitation in Africa, which is usually funded by blood diamonds – diamonds mined in conflict countries and often used to finance brutal wars and dictatorships. Or … Read more

Of Love, Hollywood Heroes & Harlequin Romances

My friend Carol is a writer of medical romantic fiction. This does not mean that she writes warm hearted prose about anatomical procedures; she does not pen sugary sagas about surgery or candlelight accounts of cardiac attacks. No, she writes ‘female fiction’–known in the trade as Harlequin romance. She writes about nurses who are in … Read more

Thirteen Worthwhile New Movies

You can never get complete agreement on lists of movies. In this annual feature, the editors of try to select films which are worthwhile, entertaining and reasonably family-friendly.  If you would like to nominate others, please make a comment. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn     Directed by Steven Spielberg … Read more

Movies: The Horror

As Halloween approaches, our thoughts turn to horror movies — at least mine do, since I am a Halloween baby and have a disordered soul. I have followed this genre avidly and find that it contains some interesting and unexpected messages beyond Boo! While working for the Reagan administration, I was once dispatched on a … Read more

Roger Maris and the Summer of 1961

Five years ago, I made the argument for Hoosiers as the greatest sports movie ever and lamented the absence of great baseball films. Hoosiers is still the gold standard, but a confession is in order: There is a great baseball movie; it ranks right up there in the cinematic sports pantheon; and on this golden … Read more

Feeling your age

The UK’s Daily Mail reports on a recent study that shows that women consider themselves old at 29, whereas men don’t consider themselves old until about 58. Apparently, women’s perceptions of their own age relate to their appearance, but for men it’s about sexual performance.  It is thought that this gulf between the sexes is … Read more

Friday Free-for-All: February 25

Time for some Friday morning links: Catholic bishops back Wisconsin protestors? Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, CA, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on domestic justice, said: “The debates over worker representation and collective bargaining are not simply matters of ideology or power but involve principles of justice, participation and how workers can have a … Read more

Satan: A Tapeworm

There’s plenty of buzz about the upcoming Anthony Hopkins film The Rite, which tells me that, somewhere, some publicist is going to keep his job. In my long years as an obscure Catholic journalist (is there any other kind?), I’ve gotten regular invites from PR companies that specialize in the “Christian market” to preview movies … Read more

IBM’s Technology Predictions for 2015

According to IBM, these technologies will be available in 2015: Batteries could recharge with air contact, leapfrogging lithium-ion for heavy metals.  Other batteries, such as those in laptops, could be recharged via kinetic energy. Holographic video chat would be available on cell phones. Personalized “adaptive traffic systems” would lay out routes that avoid traffic in … Read more

Friday Free-for-All: December 17

Morning! Time for your Friday link round-up: Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” has been announced: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. One of the runners up: Julian Assange. (How do the winners of these things always end up being people that I would never want to meet in real life?) Pope Benedict is named a “person … Read more

Friday Free for All: October 22

Time for some Friday morning links: In the wake of Juan Williams’s firing from NPR, many are again calling for an end to public funding for the news organization. Bill O’Reilly announced that Jim DeMint will introduce legislation to do just that later today, calling NPR a “totalitarian outfit functioning as an arm of the … Read more

When I Wasn’t Watching Movies, I WAS Reading

When I posted "Our Summer of Silents" a few days ago, I began wondering if I had spent too many of the 90+ scorching days afforded to Northern Virginia watching movies. So I started poking around in the various stacks of books cluttering our home to reassure myself I had spent some time in that … Read more

Our Summer of Silents

Silent movies were never silent; they were always accompanied by some manner of music, sometimes a full symphony orchestra led by white-tied and usually white-haired conductors, but more often the celebrated theater organist. For Chippy and me, this has been the summer of silents – excuse me – “pre-dialogue movies” more accurately describes the genre.  … Read more

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