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Renard’s Top 10 Films of 2017

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Potential spoilers below Another year in cinema, another belated top ten films list. Again, my apologies to all those who prefer top ten lists published within a week or two on either side of New Year’s Day. Cinema in 2017, in response to the chaos of the year before, seemed exhausted and bleak. The ideological …

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Up-and-Coming Catholic Production Company Produces ‘The Hidden Rebellion’

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–By Sam Hendrian– On the rise in the entertainment industry is an up-and-coming Catholic production company called For You, Joan, LLC. Founded by Daniel Rabourdin, a French immigrant and former host/producer of Theology of the Table at EWTN, its goal is to produce universally-appealing movies that powerfully yet subtly transmit important messages about our modern times. Its first production as …

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Seven Valentine’s Movies for the Seven Heavenly Virtues

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–By Sam Hendrian– Valentine’s Day (and Lent) is here, and chocolate (and people giving up chocolate) abounds. While the word “love” has been grossly commercialized and abused throughout history, it is important to remember its true meaning and purpose: the selfless giving of one’s self. As my favorite high school teacher once challenged us, “sacrificial love” is redundant. Immersing ourselves …

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‘Mary & the Witch’s Flower’: Studio Ponoc’s Safe But Assured Feature Debut

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(2017—Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “What’s done is done until it’s undone.” — The Incantation for “the Spell to Undo All Magic” Potential spoilers below It saddened the animation world in 2014 when Japan’s famous Studio Ghibli announced that it will go on an indefinite hiatus. This followed the announced retirement …

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Stitching Together a Perilous Romance in ‘Phantom Thread’

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(2017—Director: Paul Thomas Anderson) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.” — Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) to Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps) Potential spoilers below When news broke that writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson was going to make a period romantic drama starring Sir Daniel Day-Lewis in what may end …

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Reflections on JPCatholic’s Production of ‘Our Town’

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– By Sam Hendrian – This past November, eleven JPCatholic acting students brought to life Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town under the direction of adjunct acting professor Angie Bitsko. Set in a small New Hampshire town at the beginning of the twentieth century, it tells the simple but poignant story of the daily routines and ruminations of everyday folk. …

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25 Films with Hidden Christian Themes

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– By Sam Hendrian – While Hollywood has produced a good share of well-made movies that are clearly Christian through-and-through (A Man For All Seasons, The Passion of the Christ), it has also produced countless other gems that are deeply Christian at their core despite not looking so on the surface. Here are 25 excellent films that convey various Christian themes …

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‘The Last Jedi’: A Dense, Subversive, and Gripping Middle Act to the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

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(2017—Director: Rian Johnson) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “What do you know about the Force?” … “It’s a power that Jedi have that allows them to control people…and make things float.” … “Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.” — Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) Potential spoilers below What …