Category Archives: Religion

Cold case

We have had more than enough reasons of late to question our leaders and institutions. So, perhaps you’re not ready for yet another in your entertainment viewing.

netflix-the-keepersBut I still must recommend The Keepers on Netflix.

This seven-part documentary series examines the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who was abducted and killed in Baltimore in 1969 at age 26.

The circumstances surrounding her death are just one element of the story. The apparent cover-up by the church and police is even bigger and more disturbing.

And the entire investigation of this ‘cold case’ was led by Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, retirees and former students of Sister Cathy at Archbishop Keough High School.

The information they bring to light is shocking and sad — even more so because it took this long.

Sister Cathy Cesnik — and all the students at Archbishop Keough — deserve justice.

 

Preach

Paula

National Gun Violence Awareness Day

#WearOrange

Disbelief

Did you know Christian Mingle, the dating website for believers, has produced a made-for-TV movie?

Believe it.

christian-mingle-2500.jpg

It’s playing on UP Network as I write this.

And I cannot look away.

Talk about product placement (which I have been of late) — this one takes the cake.

Whackadoo.

Crowning achievement

The cover of People?

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Wow, the Pope must be so excited.

This probably ranks right up there with his election by the college of cardinals in Rome.

I wonder what color smoke came out of the chimneys?

Impossible not to

spy posterAre you excited about Melissa McCarthy’s new action comedy Spy?

I am. The critics are. (It’s received a crazy fresh score — for a comedy, no less — on RottenTomatoes.com.)

I’ll bet you are, too.

But I feel we have to give some credit to Tom Cruise, who has starred in some of the big action films that McCarthy and director Paul Feig are lampooning. You may hate his personal life and his religion, but who cares? His films are epic.

Have you seen the trailer for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation?

I’m going.

That thing you do

Today the very funny folks at College Humor posed the question —

What if things we did religiously had their own religion?

They developed religions for things like…

  • The weekly TV dramas and sitcoms that we can’t miss
  • Our morning Starbucks run
  • The smartphone permanently attached to our hip
  • Workouts
  • Takeout

You get the drift.

I could add even more activities like making my bed (a holdover from my childhood), walking the dog and playing Candy Crush before bed.

And while I am definitely a member of the TV viewership religion, I participate in a more radical faction —

daily tv show fellowship

 

(The DVR made me do it.)

Schooled

kidnapped for christIf you subscribe to Showtime, I encourage you to watch the documentary Kidnapped for Christ, currently available OnDemand.

The film centers on a Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic that advertised itself as a rehab center for troubled US teens.  The filmmaker, an evangelical school student, was allowed complete access to the teens there and, during production, uncovers disturbing information about the school’s “behavior modification program.” She also learns that some students had been kidnapped from their homes with their parents’ full knowledge and permission.

Her commitment to the project eventually morphs into a determination to help these abused teenagers — one in particular who wants to leave the school where he is essentially being held prisoner.

This story is heartbreaking and, I learned, just one case among thousands around the world.

It is a must-see.

 

Do what you love

Casting directors and agents in New York City often advise wannabe actors to create their own projects.

That way, they can do the kind of work that they want to be doing.

fading gigoloJust ask John Turturro.

He wrote, directed and stars in Fading Gigolo, the story of a guy with money problems who, with the encouragement and salesmanship of a good friend — portrayed by Woody Allen — finds himself the hired lover of a group of lonely middle-aged women.

It’s a great cast:  Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber, and in a star-making turn, Vanessa Paradis (better known as Johnny Depp’s long-time-but-not-so-much-anymore girlfriend).

The movie was very funny at times, and at other times, very serious and soulful.  The changes in pacing and tone were unexpected and unexplained.  I felt like I was watching two movies that didn’t quite gel, and there were jokes that flew over my goyish head that cracked up the rest of the art house crowd.

That being said, I enjoyed the individual performances and getting glimpses of my Upper West Side businesses and doorways in this very New York City film.

Silent no more

Like everyone, I was surprised by the news of the Pope’s resignation.

But how did I miss the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God?

mea-maxima-culpa-silence-in-the-house-of-god-470-75It was released in November of last year. But yesterday’s headlines from Rome brought director Alex Gibney’s film back to the forefront. It’s available on HBO OnDemand, so I’ve already watched it.

What a revelation.

Gibney examines pedophilia in the Catholic Church, beginning with the first known clerical sexual abuse at a deaf school in Milwaukee in the late 1950’s, and traces it all the way to the Vatican.

Of particular interest, the documentary documents the role Benedict played in the sex-abuse scandals — both as a bishop in Germany and as Cardinal Ratzinger, where he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles such cases.

Under his leadership, the church shielded priests accused of child molestation and hid their behavior from the authorities, obstructing criminal prosecution.

It’s not an easy film to watch, but the bravery of these deaf students — now grown men — is inspiring.

Their voices have finally been heard.

Still-er funny

It’s Tuesday — time to tout one of my favorite flicks!

AMC agrees.

Keeping_the_Faith_HR622752

The 2000 comedy, Keeping the Faith, was featured on AMC this very afternoon while I was working from home.

(Really.  I was.)

Ben Stiller and Edward Norton star as a rabbi and a priest.  Jenna Elfman is the woman they both fall in love with.

The city of New York provides the backdrop for both their childhood story — the three were good friends — and their reunion as adults (where all hell breaks loose).

I love seeing Edward Norton in a lighter role like this, and Ben Stiller in a comedy that isn’t quite so over the top.

It’s the perfect feel-good film for the holidays.  Trust me —

I feel better already.