New Christmas/Advent movie arrives in time for the holidays

A new non-biblical Christmas film that does not have Santa Claus, elves, or cartoon characters is coming soon. The focus of “The Christmas Candle” is not on the “holiday season” but on Christmas, and most especially the Advent season. It opens Nov. 22, distributed by a firm led by former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Movie review: Ender’s Game

NEW YORK (CNS) -- On its surface, "Ender's Game" (Summit) appears to be another futuristic science-fiction movie in which the fate of humanity hinges on the outcome of an epic battle waged in space. Countless aircraft will be obliterated and the hero will overcome significant adversity in order to vanquish a pernicious alien enemy.

Movie review: Last Vegas

NEW YORK (CNS) -- What happens in Vegas goes oh-so-slowly and sedately in "Last Vegas" (CBS).

Movie review: About Time

NEW YORK (CNS) -- If you could play God, would you -- or should you? That big question is at the heart of the romantic comedy "About Time" (Universal).

Two books offer Catholic framework for immigration debate

In 2003 the U.S. and Mexican bishops issued a forward-looking joint pastoral letter asking for sweeping changes in immigration policies on both sides of the border. Ten years later the document is even more forward-looking. Rather than major reforms being enacted, the situation has deteriorated in both countries.

Too much of anything can be bad, including screen time

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Parents, you wouldn't let your kids gorge every meal at an all-you-can buffet, would you? Grandparents have the reputation of spoiling their grandchildren, but they wouldn't let the grandkids spend all day, every day at the beach while letting their skin burn to a crisp, would they?

A mystery novel of love, isolation and belief gone wrong

"What Happened to Sophie Wilder," the first novel by Christopher R. Beha, deserves to be placed in the company of great Catholic fiction by Walker Percy, Graham Greene, Heinrich Boll, Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus. This surprising, complex, short novel is about love and isolation, community and loneliness, success and failure, passing youth, facing death, faith and belief gone very wrong.

Advice for ‘The Counselor’: Avert your eyes

NEW YORK (CNS) — A peepshow of human degradation, the ensemble drama “The Counselor” (Fox) alternates between glamorizing evil and parading its most torturous results — both physical and emotional — for shock value. Working from the debut script of novelist-turned-screenwriter Cormac McCarthy, director Ridley Scott adds disdain for the Catholic Church and a debased […]

Movie Review: Escape Plan

NEW YORK (CNS) — While it may be more intelligent than many of its genre peers, the actioner “Escape Plan” (Summit), which pairs Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is also too harsh for all but the hardiest viewers. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, an expert on prison security who poses as an inmate to test each […]

‘Carrie’ brings revenge, more than enough blood, to new audiences

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Since high school bullying can now bring felony charges, the telekinetic revenge of "Carrie" (Screen Gems) seems almost quaint. Someone decided that a reboot of the 1976 horror film based on Stephen King's 1974 novel was a good idea, though. Blood, and lots of it, is the leitmotif in director Kimberly Peirce's crack at the story. There's so much gore, in fact, that it quickly loses all shock value. What's left is a pretty tame gross-out attempt.