Home Video Picks & Passes 05.27.18

Marvel is No. 1

(photo: Disney/Marvel)

Black Panther (2018) — PICK

Graduation (2017) — PICK

Still the No. 1 film of 2018, Black Panther (new on Blu-ray) is the best comic-book movie in over a year and perhaps the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film with a definite context of larger moral and social issues.

Co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther makes the MCU a bigger, more interesting, more engaging place: one where, for the first time, women and people of color aren’t limited to token supporting roles.

The fictional African techno-state of Wakanda, where T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) will soon be crowned king, offers a Star Trek Federation-like futuristic aspirational ideal, an alternate cultural identity of the imagination.

Also new on Blu-ray is my top film of 2017, Graduation, from Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu. The best of last year’s broken-family dramas, Graduation surgically probes the invasive lure of cheating and corruption — and the cost of integrity — in a crooked culture.

The protagonist is a doctor whose hollow marriage and personal life are secondary to his hopes for his talented daughter’s future. His compromises seem like victimless crimes, but nothing is as simple as it seems.


Caveat Spectator: Black Panther: Much intense action violence; mystical sequences involving apparent encounters with spirits of the departed; a rude gesture. Teens and up. Graduation: Explicit references to an off-screen sexual assault; an extramarital bedroom scene (nothing explicit); some language. Adults.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.