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Second movie of Hobbit trilogy picks up speed

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Catholic News Service

It seems unlikely that Pope Francis will decide to shatter yet another papal precedent by visiting a multiplex anytime soon. Should he do so, however, he’d probably approve of the underlying themes in director Peter Jackson’s lively sequel “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

Just as the pontiff himself has done, Jackson’s second installment in a trilogy of films based on Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel warns against the corrupting influence of wealth and power. Read more »

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Two holiday movies: One a Christmas story, the other a fairy tale

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Catholic News Service

• ‘Black Nativity’ is a rousing holiday musical drama 

If you’re tempted to bewail the absence of Christ from Christmas these days, you’ll find the Lord right where he belongs, front and center, receiving praise and worship, in the rousing musical drama “Black Nativity.”

In fact, redemption-centered Christian faith pervades the picture to a degree rarely seen in a mainstream movie.

That’s just as well, since the urban setting of this adaptation and updating of poet Langston Hughes’ 1961 song-play surrounds its characters with a host of ills from which to be saved. A case in point: the poverty besetting Baltimore single mother Naima Cobb (Jennifer Hudson). Read more »

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‘12 Years a Slave’ a history depicted with brutal honesty

November 25th, 2013 Posted in Entertainment, Movies Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

If you thought Alex Haley’s “Roots” was the definitive take on antebellum slavery in the United States, prepare for a harsh wake-up call with “12 Years a Slave.”

Unlike Haley’s 1976 book, which became a landmark TV miniseries, this film focuses on man’s inhumanity to man, portraying it with brutal honesty and a degree of violence that is almost intolerable. Read more »

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‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ among mature adolescents

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Catholic News Service

The time has come, it seems, to return to Panem, the dystopian North American nation that provides the setting for the satisfying action sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” just as it did for the 2012 first installment in the series.

Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence star in the movie “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults.

Should they decide to make the return trip, moviegoers will find that, in adapting the second volume in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of novels, director Francis Lawrence has decreased the intensity of the violence on screen. And his film’s moral center is solid. Read more »

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