November 4, 2014 |
I T TOOK a few years of running a financial ministry at my church before I realized that the program needed to be revamped. Initially, I would have participants start with creating a budget. But by the time we got midway through the 10-month schedule, far too many people hadn't done theirs. So I spent one session probing why folks couldn't finish - or even start - their budgets. For the most part, it all came down to fear. One 50-year-old woman clarified it for me. "I'm ashamed," she said, shaking and choking back tears.
October 10, 2014 |
MUHAMMAD ALI has a big heart, a kind heart, a generous heart. Loves kids, especially his own, which number seven or nine, or more, depending on who is doing the counting. Heavyweight champion in a brutal sport, loves his kids, nice story line, but you can't stretch that into a 2-hour documentary, no matter how many cute-as-a-cupcake phone conversations you include. They try in "I Am Ali," which opens in theaters today. It is no more a complete and honest depiction of Ali than any of the books, magazine articles, films and documentaries that preceded it. Maybe next year.
October 3, 2014 |
IT'S NOT FUNNY and it won't amuse you. There's no clowning around in ESPN's latest Emmy-winning "30 for 30" documentary. The series, in its fifth season, kicks off with "Playing for the Mob," which chronicles the point-shaving scandal Boston College's men's basketball team was involved in during the 1978-79 season. Fans of the film "Goodfellas" will be familiar with some of those involved as Jimmy "The Gent" Burke and Henry Hill were among the mob associates who convinced four BC players to help fix games.
September 25, 2014
A story Monday on a new Philadelphia documentary by Sam Katz wrongly gave the name of Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, archbishop of Philadelphia from 1918 to 1951.
September 19, 2014 |
DEAR STUPID, young, just-being-yourselves pop stars, Here's a tip. We know it's impossible for you to control your coolness, outrageousness and sex drive, but everything in the world is not a prop in your stage show. TMZ.com reports that Miley Cyrus , the type of concert star who might perform in Iraq and wonder what the fuss was when she twerked with a guy in a black ski mask, could go to jail for getting her prosthetic behind spanked on stage . . . with a Mexican flag.
August 15, 2014 |
CREATIVE spirits often teeter on the brink between genius and madness. So we witness again in "Finding Fela," Alex Gibney's engaging documentary dig into the life and times of Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti - not only the guiding light of Afro-beat music but also one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in modern African history. Using music as his pulpit to condemn (often comically) the corruption and repressiveness of Nigeria's military rulers, Fela regularly put career and even his life on the line - reasons that the artist-activist is often mentioned (and idolized)
May 9, 2014 |
"FED UP" argues that sugar is the new tobacco, and cites hard evidence to back its claim, but evidence takes you only so far where food is concerned. We're a people who'd rather die eating Pop Tarts than live eating broccoli. Thus far, even feeble attempts to limit our increasingly toxic load of sugar and corn syrup (nearly 20 times what it was a century ago) have met with angry denunciations of an encroaching "nanny state. " In this view, our appetite is a Cliven Bundy steer that must be free to graze the open range of Oreos and Bugles and Krimpets without government intervention - separation of Church's and state.
May 3, 2014 |
Ten Villanova University students, their bags packed with cameras and video equipment, traveled across the world to a village in rural India last fall. They spent two weeks meeting the people of Prashanthagiri and following program managers for Profugo, an Ardmore-based nonprofit that works to support residents in the village. The result: A documentary film called Before We Sleep. "It's based on a small community in India, and we're shedding light on the social injustices of poverty, alcoholism, abuse, traditional gender roles there," said Danielle Cordisco, a senior at Villanova and a student in the social justice documentary class.
April 16, 2014 |
Like most Americans born since the video revolution, Sasha Joseph Neulinger's childhood was lived on camera. But unlike other families, the home movies his parents took at their Rosemont home showed a family in crisis. A family beset by secrets. At age 7, Neulinger told his parents (Henry Nevison and Jacqui Neulinger) that for the previous four years he had been sexually abused by his paternal uncles Howard and Lawrence Nevison and Lawrence's son, Stewart - the same men captured on video so warmly embracing Neulinger's parents, sharing jokes at birthday parties, or passing the salt across the dinner table.
April 12, 2014 |
Ben Kalina had to get through. Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy destroyed large swaths of the Jersey Shore on Oct. 29, 2012, the Philadelphia filmmaker was in his car, trying to talk his way past emergency roadblocks on Long Beach Island. He needed to shoot the aftermath. Officials finally were allowing residents back in - but to assess damage, collect belongings, and get out again. It took three attempts before Kalina and his cameraman made it in and started capturing the devastation in Holgate, on the barrier island's southern, and hardest-hit, end. "That was one of my prouder moments in filmmaking," Kalina says with a smile.