And the Nominees Are . . . 1917

Posted by Stephen Barany on Feb 6, 2020 3:32:00 PM

1917 is a movie about two young British soldiers in World War I, Lance Corporals Blake (played by Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay), who accept orders to cross nine miles of dangerous territory and deliver a message that will save the lives of 1,600 men, including the life of Blake’s older brother. As far as plots go, the setup of 1917 could hardly be simpler—take this envelope and give it to Colonel MacKenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) by morning. Yet, the uncomplicated clarity of the journey-style plot permits the viewer to set aside the usual intricacies of war stories and descend into the trenches alongside two untested heroes.

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Topics: Academy Awards, Best Picture nominees, Oscars, 1917, World War I

And the Nominees Are . . . Little Women

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Feb 6, 2020 7:32:00 AM

When I heard that there was to be yet another film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women, I cringed. Don’t get me wrong, I love the March sisters. But the film industry has subjected viewers to scores of reboots these past few years—the endless array of Spider-Man movies and the live action Disney updates are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. While some remakes have been critical and popular successes (see 2018’s Best Picture nominee A Star is Born, for example), many of these cinematic reboots are a far cry from the original material that inspired them (see 2016’s Ben-Hur; or better yet, don’t see 2016’s Ben-Hur; stick to the 1959 classic). Hence my reaction to yet another film version of Little Women, which, over the last 100 years—in other words, since the dawn of the motion picture—has been made and remade for film and television more than a dozen times. I was worried that this latest version of Little Women, when compared to Gillian Armstrong’s beloved 1994 adaptation, was going to be a profound disappointment.

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Topics: Academy Awards, Best Picture nominees, family life, Oscars, Greta Gerwig, Little Women

And the Nominees Are . . . Ford v Ferrari

Posted by Anna Bradley on Feb 5, 2020 3:46:42 PM

Editorial Note: This review contains spoilers.

Never having been one to buy into the hype of successful car-racing movies like The Fast and Furious franchise, I had serious doubts about Ford v Ferrari. If this movie was anything like others in the genre, with gratuitous fiery explosions and endless action scenes to compensate for a lackluster plot-line, my $13 would be better spent seeing Little Women for the third time.

Ford v Ferrari does include several fiery explosions. And much of the action-packed movie takes place at the Le Mans race track. But director James Mangold’s captivating retelling of this particular historical event held me in rapt attention for the full 2 hours and 32 minutes.

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Topics: Academy Awards, Best Picture nominees, Oscars, vocation, Ford v Ferrari

And the Nominees Are . . . The Irishman

Posted by Bill Schmitt on Feb 5, 2020 8:31:48 AM

Boomer film buffs might see Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as a kind of summative look back at the mafia culture depicted by Hollywood over the last few decades. But this film’s conclusion, in which an aged hitman attempts to make a genuine confession and find forgiveness with the aid of a priest, makes it a cautionary tale for our times.

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Topics: Academy Awards, Best Picture nominees, Oscars, The Irishman, Martin Scorsese, good and evil

And the Nominees Are . . . Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Posted by David Griffith on Feb 4, 2020 8:36:00 PM

Editorial Note: The following is an excerpt from an essay entitled Once Upon a Time of Violence, originally published at Church Life Journal on September 9, 2019.

Given the large number of mass shootings over the past 20 years, and increase in the amount of extremist ideology advocating for violence being spewed online, a new [Quentin] Tarantino film, especially one about one of the most famous and grisly murders in American history [the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate, perpetrated by followers of Charles Manson], seems a good occasion for reviewing our moral and theological attitudes toward media violence.

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Topics: Academy Awards, Best Picture nominees, Oscars, Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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The McGrath Institute Blog helps Catholics live and hand on their faith in Jesus Christ, especially in the family, home and parish, and cultivates and inspires everyday leaders to live out the fullness and richness of their faith in the simple, little ways that make up Church life.

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