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‘American Reunion’ another slimy experience

April 6th, 2012 Posted in Movies

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Catholic News Service

It’s interesting to speculate whether Steve Stifler, the character Seann William Scott has played throughout the much-too-long life of the “American Pie” franchise, constitutes the single most degraded specimen of humanity ever to occupy a movie screen. If so, at least the gutter-crawling comedy series has achieved one superlative.

The latest dip in the slime comes titled “American Reunion” and finds Stifler, Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) and the other members of their apparently perennial band of boors gathering for their high school reunion and continuing to obsess about sex.

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Is it already time to go back to ‘Titanic’?

April 5th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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This review originally ran Dec. 11, 1997.

Making a spectacle of the greatest sea disaster of the century is the special effects blockbuster, “Titanic” (Paramount), now rereleased in 3-D.

Those interested in the big finish, however, will have to sit through an improbable love story long after its soggy proceedings have exhausted one’s patience.

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‘Mirror Mirror’ features hoodlum dwarfs, wisecracking queen

March 30th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

“Who’s the fairest one of all?” The answer may surprise you in “Mirror Mirror,” a fresh live-action take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

This go-round, the handsome prince is the center of attention, as the wicked queen and her lovely stepdaughter stage a battle royal for his hand, and the fate of a kingdom hangs in the balance.

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Boulders fly, monsters die in ‘Wrath of the Titans’

March 30th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Nothing less than the fate of the universe, so we’re assured, is at stake in the mythological sequel “Wrath of the Titans.” Who would have guessed that an Olympian-scale near-apocalypse could prove such a bore?

Director Jonathan Liebesman’s stilted 3-D follow-up to 2010’s “Clash of the Titans,” a remake of the 1981 cult hit of the same title, centers, like its predecessor, on the conflicted demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Retired from the Kraken-killing biz and recently widowed, Perseus asks nothing more than to be allowed to ignore his semi-divinity and instead pursue a quiet life among mortals as a hardworking fisherman and devoted dad to his son Helius (John Bell).

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‘The Hunger Games’ rated for adults, possibly OK for mature teens

March 23rd, 2012 Posted in Featured, Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Though presumably targeted at teens, the dystopian adventure “The Hunger Games” involves enough problematic content to give parents pause. Responsible oldsters will want to weigh the matter carefully before giving permission for clamoring kids to attend.

At first glance, the depressing futuristic premise of the piece, inherited from Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of novels, on the first volume of which the film is based, makes it seem unlikely fare for a youthful audience.

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Surprise, ‘John Carter’ is a Confederate officer on Mars

March 9th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , , , ,

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Catholic News Service

Thanks in no small measure to the magic of movies, Tarzan is the character most closely associated with author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Yet it’s one of Burroughs’ lesser-known heroes, introduced in his first novel, serially published in 1912, that a group of 21st-century filmmakers have chosen to bring to the screen in a mega-budgeted, sci-fi epic.

A risky and on the whole successful venture, “John Carter” was adapted from “A Princess of Mars,” the first of 11 books Burroughs centered on an ex-Confederate captain who is propelled to the Red Planet where he becomes embroiled in a war between two city states and falls in love with a comely royal.

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Trashy ‘Project X’ features perverted values

March 5th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

Put religion in retreat, erode ethics and let materialism run rampant, and what kind of entertainment will you get? The short answer is “Project X” (Warner Bros.).

More troubling than mere trash, and pornographic in a way that goes well beyond its frequent displays of flesh, this profoundly irresponsible undertaking — a would-be comedy —- concerns three Los Angeles teens: meek, easily misled Thomas (Thomas Mann), overweight nebbish JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and pleased-with-himself provocateur Costa (Oliver Cooper).

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‘Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds’ a romance, of sorts

February 24th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

Less heavy-handed than the eponymous writer and director’s other morality plays, but considerably slower in pace, “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds” focuses on a single relationship, and carries a steady reminder that the wealthy and powerful have to work much harder than the less privileged to approach the kingdom of Heaven.

Perry plays Wesley Deeds, a San Francisco tycoon who runs the computer software corporation founded by his father. He’s saddled with an alcoholic, promiscuous brother (Brian White) who’s as impulsive as Wesley is controlled, a glamorous fiancee (Gabrielle Union) who often takes advantage of Wesley’s predictability to enjoy nights on the town by herself, and a domineering mother (Phylicia Rashad).

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‘Coriolanus’ is Shakespeare but not for the faint of heart

February 17th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , , , ,

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Catholic News Service

When your lead character proclaims, “The blood I drip is more medicinal than painful for me,” you know someone’s gonna get hurt. Or maybe hundreds.

Welcome to the big-screen treatment of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Coriolanus,” a consistently brutal and violent film which, when not shedding blood, offers a searing commentary on power, betrayal and revenge.

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Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance

February 17th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Not content with merely using a flaming motorcycle to fight Satan, “Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance,” (the sequel to the 2007 comic book-based cult hit “Ghost Rider,” also piles on loopy Catholic imagery in the form of a monk who promises to lift a demonic curse.

It’s an excuse for a noisier, 3-D version of the earlier film, likely to appeal only to the devoted fans of sardonic anti-hero Johnny Blaze, portrayed once again by Nicolas Cage. Hey, it’s what Johnny does, you know.

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