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Non-Review Review: The Nun

Nobody really talks about how strange The Conjuring is.

James Wan has effectively managed to fashion Hollywood’s second most successful shared universe from a variety of old-fashioned horror tropes stitched together with a more modern blockbuster aesthetic. The films in franchise – which include The Conjuring 2, Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation – are remarkable because they seem like such a strange basis for a twenty-first century blockbuster franchise. They are all period piece jump-scare driven retro jorror movies that are produced with a very slick and modern sensibility.

Bad habits.

The Nun is another worthy (and interesting) addition to that canon. As with the other films in the series, its basic structure wields more modern storytelling and filmmaking techniques to a more classic horror tone. As with the other films, the production team also understand the appeal of a certain level of variety within that familiar template. The Conjuring was a throwback to beloved seventies haunted house films, Annabelle set its horror against the backdrop of the sixties, The Conjuring 2 moved to England and Annabelle: Creation unfolded against the backdrop of rural America.

The Nun evokes gothic horror. Set in a creepy abbey in Romania during the fifties, following an investigator dispatched from the Vatican to investigate the suicide of a young nun, The Nun thrives in this environment with this iconography. The Nun falters a little bit in its storytelling, especially its exposition, and it stumbles a little bit when it comes to building a climax that works as both an action film and as a horror. However, the film is canny enough in its choice of setting and imagery that it never completely comes apart.

Who goes stair?

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Non-Review Review: Mea Maxima Culpa – Silence in the House of God

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

It’s very hard to know how to react to the seemingly bottomless pit of sex abuse allocations that have surfaced against the Catholic Church over the past couple of decades. Mea Maxima Culpa reveals that not only does the institutional abuse reach far into the past of the religious organisation, but that the Vatican was aware of these betrayals and violations of trusts for forty years. Mea Maxima Culpa is brutally candid in the way that it exposes the steps that the Catholic Church took to insulate and protect itself from these allegations and insinuations, even pointing out that most modern concessions and apologies are more concerned about the violation of the sanctity of the priesthood than with the damage done to the victims.

Mea Maxima Culpa is rough and overwhelming at times, but it’s hard to fault the documentary for this candid approach to the most uncomfortable subject matter. It’s well-constructed, thoughtful and also quite affecting – a powerful piece of documentary cinema that really exposes the true extent of a problem that has only been acknowledged in the past decade or so.

meamaximaculpa6

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The Vatican and Cinema…

A whole host of on-line news sources have jumped upon the review of Avatar which appeared in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official daily paper – though it’s been somewhat distorted as it filters through the the huge game of Chinese whispers that is the internet. The paper wasn’t exactly thrilled with the movie’s political undertones, but it acknowledged, as we all must, that it was incredibly beautiful. It’s just interesting how the Vatican’s opinions on popular culture – such as the reversal of their position on the paganism of the Harry Potter series, for example – have become an interesting point of discussion and on-line debate over the last year or so.

Look, kids! Priests can be hip, like... Ewan McGregor, right? The kids still like Ewan McGregor, don't they?

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Making Faith Cool Again, One Franchise at a Time…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has dominated the news this week. Maybe that’s why I haven’t got anything majorly interesting to write on. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the franchise. It’s perfectly unobjectionable entertainment. It’s just nothing too exciting or interesting to me. Anyway, one piece of Potter news that has grabbed my attention is an endorsement from a most unlikely source. Yes, the Catholic Church is trying to be cool again and they like Harry Potter.

Buddy Christ

Buddy Christ

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