How Will “Spotlight” Impact the Current Public Image of the Catholic Church?

(Re-posted from

by Daniel Quitério

How does one of the world’s most dominant religions attempt to reconcile its longstanding troubles when a new film continues to shed light on them? It’s no secret that the Catholic Church has had more than its share of criticisms, from its controversial stances on homosexuality and divorce to its treatment of women. Arguably, the Church’s most pressing concern continues to be its response to the highly publicized sex abuse scandal, initially brought to light by The Boston Globe in January 2002. This journalistic investigation is the subject of Spotlight (2015), the new film from Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) about the Pulitzer Prize-winning team of journalists that exposed the scandal and the Church’s controversial response. So how will the film impact public perceptions of the Church? In short, it probably won’t.

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What’s the First Movie You Saw in a Theatre?

Macaulay Culkin in HOME ALONE

IMDb recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and it asked various celebrities the burning question we’ve all been dying to know the answer to: What’s your first movie in a movie theatre? Mine was Home Alone (1990), which I watched at the Grand single-screen movie theatre in Springfield, MA (it’s now a church). I was 9 (no wonder it’s my favorite number) and my life was forever changed. I’ve been tracking every movie I’ve seen in a theatre ever since. Twenty-five years later, I’m up to 772 films.

See what celebrities like Chris Pratt, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley, Christopher Nolan, Ryan Gosling, Matthew McConaughey, Amy Poehler, Jake Gyllenhaal, and others had to say here.

Watch Elizabeth Banks describe her first movie-going experience below.

New York Film Festival Recap

As the 53rd New York Film Festival wrapped with Closing Night selection Miles Ahead, a bio-drama on “social music” (don’t call it jazz) legend Miles Davis, starring and helmed by Don Cheadle in his directorial debut, it’s time to look back on some of the Festival’s best offerings.


In Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era drama, Tom Hanks plays a Brooklyn insurance lawyer who must broker a sensitive prisoner exchange with the USSR. Once again, Spielberg proves he’s at the top of his craft. Hanks turns in a solid performance, but it’s supporting player Mark Rylance who steals his scenes as a Soviet spy with his too-cool-it’s-unnerving performance.

In Theaters: October 16

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The Hamptons Goes Cinematic

The 23rd edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival launched its five-day run last Thursday with Opening Night selection Truth, the true newsroom drama starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. With a healthy selection of world premieres and Oscar hopefuls (including nine foreign language submissions), the festival is primed to bring some of the world’s best cinema to Long Island. Here’s a small sampling of what’s on the slate.

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Review: Bridge of Spies

James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance)

The Cold War sets the stage for Steven Spielberg’s 29th feature, Bridge of Spies, which had its world premiere Sunday night at the 53rd New York Film Festival. Based on a true story, Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, a Brooklyn insurance lawyer asked to defend Rudolf Abel (played eerily cool by Broadway veteran Mark Rylance), a Soviet spy in a trial that’s more for show than jurisprudence. Hesitantly taking on this role, the one-time criminal attorney Donovan is an Atticus Finch-like model for law as a guiding principle, despite the urgings from his colleagues—including the judge—to not put in full effort in his defense. Abel is a Soviet spy after all. His guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion, but it’s important that the US demonstrate a “fair” trial. Donovan will have none of it. He’s a good lawyer, and he will conduct himself as such, despite the threats set against him and his family.

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Spotlight on New York’s Film Festivals

It’s a good time to be a movie fan in New York. Two of the country’s preeminent film festivals—New York Film Festival and Hamptons International Film Festival—are upon us. The 53rd edition of the New York Film Festival (NYFF) kicks off tonight, September 25, and runs through October 11 at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center. The 23rd edition of Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) is next in line with a program running from October 8–12 in Long Island. (I’ve proudly served on the screening committee of HIFF for the past five years.) Given their fall festival dates, both have historically made good on delivering some of that year’s top Oscar contenders, and this year will likely be no different. Here are each festival’s Opening Night, Centerpiece, and Closing Night films. Check out each festival’s website for its full slate of programming. (All film synopses below are courtesy of their respective festivals’ websites.)

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Church at the Movies: Going My Way

Bing Crosby (center) as Father Chuck O’Malley in GOING MY WAY 

In honor of Pope Francis’s visit to New York City, check out Going My Way, the 1944 Leo McCarey-directed classic about another religious figure in New York who decides to do things, well, a little differently. The trailer below was released following the film’s seven Oscar wins (not sure why the trailer says eight), including Best Picture, Best Actor (Bing Crosby), Best Director, and Best Writing (Original Story and Screenplay). The film spawned a sequel, 1945’s The Bells of St. Mary’s (nominated for eight Oscars in its own right, with one win for Sound Recording), starring Ingrid Bergman and Crosby reprising his role as Father Chuck O’Malley.

a film blog by Daniel Quitério


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