FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Big hits, little-seen gems

Ten films that were among best of 2019 offer options for home viewing until theaters re-open
May 15, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Big hits, little-seen gems

NEW YORK. The year 2019 saw the release of quality films across a wide range of genres, from a comic book-based extravaganza and a family drama about a Chinese American clan to a crackerjack murder mystery.

Below — in alphabetical order — are the Media Review Office of Catholic News Service’s picks for last year’s Top 10 movies overall.


 
May 1, 2020  |  By SOPHIA MARTINSON, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Pandemic prompts makers of ‘Fatima’ film to delay its release to theaters

NEW YORK. Moviegoers anticipating the feature film about the story of the children of Fatima will have to wait a few more months to see the famous miracle story on the big screen.

The historical drama, with a screenplay written by Barbara Nicolosi, is directed by Marco Pontecorvo, produced by Origin Entertainment and distributed by Picturehouse. Origin Entertaiment’s CEO is Dick Lyles, brother-in- law of Father Jim Williams of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.


 
April 17, 2020  |  By SISTER HOSEA RUPPRECHT, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: The Way Back

NEW YORK. Whose life doesn’t involve a crazy mixture of heartbreak and joy, despair and hope, death and life, weakness and redemption? Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck), the protagonist of the sports drama “The Way Back” (R, Warner Bros.), can surely relate to all those shared highs and lows.


 
April 3, 2020  |  By SISTER HOSEA RUPPRECHT, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: I Am Patrick

NEW YORK. The reasons the church continues to honor the Apostle of Ireland more than 1,500 years after his death shine forth in the film “I Am Patrick” (Unrated, CBN), a docudrama that will be screened in theaters on dates to be announced.

Written and directed by Jarrod Anderson, the profile — subtitled “The Patron Saint of Ireland” — seeks to debunk many of the myths and legends that have grown up around its subject over the centuries. The goal is to capture who Patrick really was as a man and a follower of Christ.


 
March 20, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Emma

NEW YORK. “Emma” (PG, Focus) is a delightful screen version of Jane Austen’s classic novel, lovely to look at and abounding in gentle humor.

Only the momentary introduction of a bit of visual earthiness, presumably meant to balance off the overall painterly elegance of the picture, hinders endorsement for younger viewers. That’s a shame because this is otherwise a perfect entree into Austen’s delicate world.


 
March 6, 2020  |  By JOSEPH McALEER
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: The Call of the Wild

NEW YORK. “Never was there such a dog,” says grizzled Yukon explorer John Thornton (Harrison Ford), admiring the antics of Buck, the canine star of “The Call of the Wild” (PG, Twentieth Century).

Indeed not. For the Buck in this, the seventh film adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel, is a computer-generated marvel, a big sloppy St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix as lifelike and convincing as the creatures in recent CGI films like “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.”


 
February 21, 2020  |  By SISTER HOSEA RUPPRECHT
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Harriet

NEW YORK. “Harriet” (PG-13, Focus) is a long overdue drama chronicling the exploits of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, Maryland-born Harriet Tubman (c.1822-1913).

The film’s greatest asset comes in the form of Cynthia Erivo, a veteran of the London stage who breathes spirit and pathos into the titular character.


 
February 7, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Dolittle

NEW YORK. Exactly a century ago, British author Hugh Lofting published “The Story of Doctor Dolittle,” the first in a long series of books for children that have won lasting popularity for their protagonist, a physician-turned-veterinarian who has, need it be said, the unique ability to communicate with the critters he treats.


 
January 17, 2020  |  By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: A Hidden Life

NEW YORK. In 2007, Franz Jagerstatter (1907-1943), a devoutly Catholic Austrian farmer martyred by the Nazis for his stance as a conscientious objector, was declared blessed. In the luminous, though deliberately paced, drama “A Hidden Life” (PG-13, Fox Searchlight), writer-director Terrence Malick paints a striking and memorable portrait of Jagerstatter, one that will be especially prized by believing viewers.


 
December 20, 2019  |  By DENIS GRASSKA
FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Buttons: A Christmas Tale

SAN DIEGO. When it debuted in late 2018, “Buttons: A Christmas Tale” boasted an impressive number of famous names and familiar faces, and it was shown in select theaters only Dec. 8, 2018.

Fortunately for the many who missed their one chance to see it last year, the film is being released on DVD Dec. 3, just in time for the holidays. It was released on digital platforms Nov. 19.


 
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