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“The Woman in Black” fatal to children

February 3rd, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Reputed to be one of the most frightening ghost stories ever written, Susan Hill’s 1983 novel “The Woman in Black” must certainly count as one of the sturdiest: It has been adapted both for British radio and U.K. television, while the 22-year-long run of its London stage version makes that property one of the longest-lived nonmusicals in West End history.

As penned for the big screen by Jane Goldman, directed by James Watkins and with Daniel Radcliffe headlining as barrister Arthur Kipps, the latest iteration of “The Woman in Black” aims for a classic horror feel.

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‘One for the Money’ a slack adaptation from mystery series

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

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Catholic News Service

The title of the forgettable fish-out-of-water comedy “One for the Money” recalls Carl Perkins’ seminal hit, “Blue Suede Shoes,” a song covered most famously, of course, by Elvis Presley. While this lukewarm cinematic offering won’t knock you down or step in your face, its surfeit of profane dialogue does slander God’s name all over the place.

So our advice: Go, cat, go — away from any theater showing it.

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‘The Grey’ features wolves at the door of lost souls

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

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Catholic News Service

“The Grey” respectfully obeys the immutable law of all story lines in which an aircraft crashes in the Arctic: Some folks are bound to get eaten.

This film, however, with its slight spiritual bent, ducks the cannibalism cliché and makes wolves the hungry ones. The animals are doing what they’re supposed to do by nature, stalking the survivors to thin out the human herd — the better, in the end, to kill them all.

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‘The Iron Lady’ is a poignant, evenhanded biopic

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Catholic News Service

The British market a brand of yeast spread called Marmite. Due to its overwhelmingly strong taste, its label carries the slogan “Love it or Hate it.”

As a result of the visceral reactions, both pro and con, stirred by her controversial 1979-1990 tenure in office, former U.K. leader Margaret Thatcher, now Baroness Thatcher, has been described as the Marmite of prime ministers.

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‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ but emotionally trying

January 25th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Few events in recent history have exerted as deeply personal an impact on the lives of millions of Americans, and of people across the globe, as the attacks of 9/11.

So it’s odd and a little baffling that a film based on our national tragedy of a decade ago should register for most of its two-hour-plus running time, at least, as uninvolving. Read more »

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‘Red Tails’ homage to Tuskegee Airmen heroes

January 20th, 2012 Posted in Movies, Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

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Catholic News Service

The last time audiences watched flag-waving hokum on the order of “Red Tails” (Fox), the show may have included a cartoon and a newsreel, and war bonds may have been for sale in the lobby. Patriotic corn, it seems, is not a staple that ages especially well.

During World War II, combat-themed films were relentlessly upbeat because the federal government, as well as the Production Code Administration, decreed such optimism to be in the interest of home-front morale.

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‘Haywire’ is suspenseful but brutal

January 20th, 2012 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

 

With the fairly suspenseful but frequently brutal thriller “Haywire” (Relativity), filmmaker Steven Soderbergh tries his hand at action-oriented espionage. Stylish and spare, the result plays like the work of a talented yet restless director ticking another genre off his list.

 

What moviegoers may appreciate most about “Haywire” is that it clocks in at a swift 93 minutes. What they’ll likely find most disconcerting is its casual approach to violence, even after allowing for the life-and-death nature of international spying and covert military operations.

 

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‘The Artist’ is a silent charmer for adults

January 13th, 2012 Posted in Featured, Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

At a time when Hollywood movies tend to get louder and more offensive, “The Artist” is a breath of fresh air, without uttering a word. Who knew a modern-made silent movie could be so charming and entertaining?

French director Michel Hazanavicius displays a flair for re-creating the techniques of old Hollywood, from the lively musical score and use of intertitles to the dramatic lighting and good use of the studio back lot. He also draws from his actors the pure emotions that can be evoked with a simple expression or a single tear.

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Crime, vulgarity pay in ‘Contraband’

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

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Catholic News Service

Movies set in criminal milieus are often less than life-affirming because of the nature of the felonious activity being depicted. Yet there’s something especially dispiriting about a crime thriller that only succeeds in being gritty on the surface because it doesn’t follow through on its own logic.

In the case of “Contraband,” a movie that promptly bogs down in a sea of expletives, the protagonist is an ex-smuggler who not only thwarts the bad guys while miraculously avoiding harm, but has no compunction about enjoying ill-gotten plunder. This revelation doesn’t qualify as a plot spoiler since the story follows a very predictable trajectory.

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“Joyful Noise” celebrates traditional values

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Catholic News Service

Divas duel and a red-state Romeo and Juliet fall for each other in “Joyful Noise.”

Though it gives a pass to an incidental out-of-wedlock fling, and showcases some humor and vocabulary that make it unsuitable for youngsters, writer-director Todd Graff’s otherwise uplifting celebration of traditional values emphasizes trust in God and illustrates the positive effects of compassionate and forgiving behavior.

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