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Maurice Timothy Reidy :
9 article(s)

Maurice Timothy Reidy is an associate editor at Commonweal magazine.
December 31st, 2005
With Devils & Dust Bruce Springsteen rediscovers his Catholic roots

Is Bruce Springsteen a Catholic songwriter?
There’s a strong argument to be made that he is. Catholic images can be found on many of his albums, especially his early ones, and at times he seems obsessed with the search for redemption, a favorite theme for Catholic artists from Caravaggio to Graham Greene. But Springsteen’s albums have rarely been explicitly religious, and he has admitted in interviews that he has tried to keep his childhood faith at a distance.
That is until Devils & Dust. Devils is Springsteen’s most religious album to date. It reflects the concerns and anxieties of a man who, as he has grown older, has started asking the big questions that faith promises answers to. What’s…

February 4th, 2005
Indie troubadour du jour, Conor Oberst, is not the next Dylan...yet

Conor Oberst, the lead singer and creative force behind the band Bright Eyes, is one of those ridiculously accomplished young people who make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. The 24-year-old Oberst started performing when he was 13, and since then he has written nearly 100 songs, most of which have been released on a record label he started himself. When Bright Eyes released two albums on the same day in late January?I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn?the precocious Nebraskan received the kind of attention usually reserved for musicians many years his senior.
The pale-faced, stringy-haired Oberst is now the bright young thing in indie music. In the…

February 2nd, 2005
A review of HBO's Empire Falls

Good novels rarely make good movies, but author Richard Russo has somehow defied the odds. The film based on Nobody’s Fool captured the tenderness and humor of Russo’s novel, thanks in large part to Paul Newman’s spot-on performance as a sixty-year-old bachelor named Sully. Empire Falls, based on Russo’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel (which will be shown in two parts on Saturday and Sunday nights on HBO), is also an unexpected success, and again Newman, who plays the lovably disheveled Max Roby, deserves much of the credit.
At first glance, Russo’s novels would seem particularly difficult to adapt to the screen. His books are chock-full of idiosyncratic characters that need…

January 4th, 2005
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Toward the end of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Jacques Cousteau-esque oceanographer (played Bill Murray) and his crew finally finds the shark that they have pursued with Ahab-like recklessness for most of the film. The crew is still traumatized by a tragedy that occurred earlier in the film, and as they stare at the animal, they are deathly silent. Finally, Jane (Cate Blanchett), a very pregnant journalist who has accompanied the crew on their journey, tells the aging seaman that in 12 years her child will be 11-and-a-half years old. “That was my favorite age,” Zissou replies wistfully.
That bit of dialogue explains a lot about Anderson, the precocious writer-director…

November 14th, 2004
Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby doesn't go the distance

In one sense, Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby–which was nominated for seven Oscars earlier this week–will be familiar to anyone who has seen Rocky or The Great White Hope or any number of boxing movies. There’s the ornery old trainer, this time played by Clint Eastwood; the run-down gym full of has-beens; and the perfectly toned fighter who jumps rope faster than is humanly possible. But as recognizable as all of this is, the movie is not simply rehashing a tired clich?. That may be because the contender in this film is a woman. Or it may be because, in the end, Million Dollar Baby is not a boxing movie at all.
Let me explain: Million Dollar Baby has been touted as one of the best films of…

September 18th, 2004
Rory O'Shea Was Here

There’s an easy way to judge a film about someone with a disability. If the protagonist is portrayed as saint, then it’s probably not worth watching. If he’s depicted as an SOB, then there might be something to it.
Most films about disability, unfortunately, fall into the former category. In movies like I Am Sam, the handicapped are presented as saints-in-the making who miraculously overcome the various obstacles they face. Squarely in the latter category is Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Irish writer Christy Brown in My Left Foot, which brilliantly captured the bitterness that can develop when a person is forced to depend on others to perform even the simplest of tasks
Of course, there…

August 9th, 2004
Drug Cartel preys on innocent teens in "Maria Full of Grace"

“Maria Full of Grace” is a work of fiction, but one can be forgiven for mistaking it for a documentary. The film, about a teenage girl from Colombia who becomes a “mule,” or courier, for a drug cartel, is so thick with detail that I kept thinking it must have been written by someone intimately familiar with the drug trade. A former drug smuggler? A crusading Latin American journalist? Turns out I was wrong. “Maria” was written and directed by Joshua Marston, a 35-year-old ex-news photographer from Williamsburg, N.Y.
Before penning the script, Marston interviewed a number of Colombian immigrants living in Queens. His film is the result of old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting?an…

May 17th, 2004
Spinal Tap, National Lampoon and SPY Magazine Alumnus, Tony Hendra, Gets Serious About His Faith

Don Imus’ plugs
I first spotted Father Joe, Tony Hendra’s new spiritual autobiography, on a bookshelf in our office. At Commonweal magazine we receive dozens of books a month from various religious publishers. Most of it, I have to admit, is not my particular cup of tea. Books with titles like At Sea With God and Finding God in the Questions. When I first came upon it, I figured Father Joe?with the not-so-subtle subtitle The Man Who Saved My Soul?was the same sort of thing.
I decided to read Hendra’s book after hearing Don Imus plug it on his show. It was only then that I made the connection between Tony Hendra and Ian Faith, the rock manager in This is Spinal Tap , a movie that my college roommate saw,…

April 9th, 2004
Wilco vs. Marah

Few debates can rage louder and longer than those among music fans regarding the merits of their favorite artists or songs . Anyone who has ever witnessed people arguing over who was the TRUE genius behind the Beatles, John or Paul, or what is the greatest song EVER will understand what I mean. Two albums released in late June raise a similar question for music lovers to ponder: what exactly is rock ?n roll? Is it the loud, no-holds-barred celebration of life and youth you discovered at the age of 15? Or can it be more than that? Can rock music be dense, enigmatic, and occasionally hard to listen to? Can it be like a Russian novel?hard to get into at first, but difficult to put down once you give it a chance?
20,000 Streets Under…

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