How Aristotle would look at today’s parenting challenges

“If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents” by Conor Gallagher. St. Benedict Press (Charlotte, N.C., 2012). 376 pp., $26.95.  Conor Gallagher has a gift. He can make the complex seem simple — even enjoyable. He takes the serious writings of Aristotle and other philosophers and applies them to the art of […]

Books tell little-known stories of quiet heroism during World War II

“When Hitler Took Austria: A Memoir of Heroic Faith by the Chancellor’s Son” by Kurt Von Schuschnigg with Janet Von Schuschnigg. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2012). 306 pp., $24.95. “Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation” by Aili and Andres McConnon. Crown […]

Clint Eastwood still on his game in ‘Trouble With the Curve’

NEW YORK (CNS) — With a few exceptions, every character Clint Eastwood has portrayed during his long career has had an ornery streak, regardless of their capacity for righteous or noble acts. In the 2008 hit “Gran Torino,” which he also directed, Eastwood starred as a curmudgeonly Detroit widower who surprises even himself by coming […]

Movie review: ‘Last Ounce of Courage’

NEW YORK (CNS) — A story with a Christian message is a rare and compelling gem for Catholic viewers in today’s Hollywood culture. At the same time, a film that leads first with a positive message, and merely tacks the story on as an afterthought, is one set to leave even the most devoted Christians […]

‘The Master’: An unsuitable descent into the mind of a cultist and his follower

NEW YORK (CNS) — “The Master” (Weinstein) is a literate but sterile drama, a wearing cinematic experience further burdened by a degraded view of human sexuality and excessive explicitness in its portrayal. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s period piece, mostly set in the aftermath of World War II, follows the fortunes of beleaguered, alcoholic Navy veteran […]

‘Screwtape Letters’ coming to stage in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is in for a rare but brief treat Oct. 19-20 -- a nationally acclaimed stage presentation of C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” at the Merriam Theater, Kimmel Center. Presented by the Fellowship of the Performing Arts, it stars Max McLean (who is also co-adapter and co-director) in the title role of Screwtape, an arch demon from hell whose expertise is tempting human beings, to their ultimate damnation.

‘The Words’: A talky film for literature lovers

NEW YORK (CNS) — Right up to its ending, “The Words” (CBS) is a pleasing rumination on moral choices. Then, after a full 93 minutes of illustrating and explaining ethical ambiguity, the filmmakers let their star-laden fable lurch to close with a finish likely to please no one. Mary McCarthy once said of her novels […]

Three views of a Good Book: new books unpack richness of the Bible

Three books offer three views and uses of the Bible for Catholics, showing the rich and diverse nature of our faith. In “A Year with the Bible,” prolific Catholic writer Patrick Madrid presents readings from every part of Scripture to address the ups and downs of Christian life. Madrid demonstrates the Bible’s path to a […]

Movie review: ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’

NEW YORK (CNS) — The first thing to understand about “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” (Disney) is that, despite its genuinely wholesome approach, its themes of infertility and death make it unsuitable for younger children. The film strains not to offend. But even older children may find parts of this fable — in which […]

‘The Campaign’ takes politics down an even lower road

NEW YORK (CNS) — After helming two much-lauded HBO political dramas — 2008’s “Recount” and 2012’s “Game Change” — director Jay Roach (“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and sequels) tries a more humorous approach to the same subject with “The Campaign” (Warner Bros.). Roach’s potentially salient big-screen critique of the nation’s electoral process, however, […]