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‘The Five-Year Engagement’ a distasteful wedding cake

April 27th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

An impoverished presentation of marriage is not the only problematic aspect of director and co-writer Nicholas Stoller’s “The Five-Year Engagement.” His romantic comedy tracks San Francisco sous chef Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) and his English fiancee Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) as they struggle to get themselves down the aisle.

After a bumpy proposal, the happy couple announces their engagement, only for Violet to be offered her dream job: a postdoctoral position in social psychology at the University of Michigan. Her caring hubby-to-be realizes that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. So the already cohabiting couple delays the nuptials and makes for Ann Arbor.

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‘Think Like a Man’ looking for ‘true’ love

April 26th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Four couples learn lessons about maturity and mutual respect in “Think Like A Man,” a sprawling romantic comedy based on comic Steve Harvey’s best-selling book of relationship advice.

As directed by Tim Story and adapted by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman from Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” the proceedings veer into something resembling an infomercial at times, as Harvey himself pops up to address the audience. But the script quickly regains its bearings.

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‘Chimpanzee’ an enjoyable experience for all ages

April 26th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

Despite some flaws, the endearing wildlife documentary “Chimpanzee” offers an enjoyable expedition for moviegoers of just about every age.

Parents of the tiniest tots take note, however: Though morally suitable for all, the picture does involve a significant survival-of-the-fittest plot development that may prove too emotionally taxing for the most sensitive youngsters.

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Stooges movie pokes women religious in the eyes

April 13th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

A lot of shtick, a little dance, a big live lobster down someone’s pants. That’s about what you’d expect from an updated version of “The Three Stooges.”

Far less predictable, and most unwelcome, is the assault on the dignity of those in religious life that also characterizes this highly uneven comedy.

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“Bully” a heartrending look at seventh-grader’s life

April 13th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

With the poignant documentary “Bully,” filmmaker Lee Hirsch sheds light on a widespread and tenacious social problem and provides a valuable, though not unproblematic, starting point for important family discussions.

Hirsch reveals the victimization of a trio of teens from different parts of the country who have endured verbal and physical abuse from their peers at school. He also recounts, primarily through interviews with their grieving parents, the stories of two other students whose sufferings apparently led them to commit suicide.

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‘We Have a Pope’ is harmlessly humorous

April 6th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

What Catholic viewers make of the gently satiric seriocomedy “We Have a Pope” (“Habemus Papam”) (Sundance Selects) will largely depend on their reaction to the sight of teams of cardinals from the world’s various continents competing against each other in a volleyball tournament.

In addition to typifying the pitch of humor in this Italian import, the series of scenes devoted to that elaborate visual gag also are indicative of the film’s overall strengths and flaws: Harmlessly humorous — if undeniably silly — to start off with, they carry on far too long, signaling the artistic exhaustion which eventually causes the proceedings as a whole to sputter and stall.

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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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