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‘Nightcrawler’ is more dark and seamy than it sounds

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in a scene from the movie "Nightcrawler." (CNS photo/Chuck Zlotnick, Open Road Films) Posted on October 31st, 2014

Viewers need to discern the amorality tale of the new film that satirizes both yellow journalism and the public hunger for images that fuels its excesses. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal provides the creepy character of the morally tone deaf TV news reporter.


Movie review: Before I Go to Sleep

Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth star in a scene from the movie "Before I Go To Sleep." (CNS photo/Laurie Sparham, Clarius Entertainment) Posted on October 31st, 2014

The cherished amnesia plot gets dusted off for the thriller “Before I Go to Sleep” (Clarius). Writer-director Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of S.J. Watson’s novel adeptly executes a few turns. But it offers only one big twist.


Bestiary provides opportunity for parent-child sharing, learning

Posted on October 31st, 2014

This is a book for parents to read to and with their children. A bestiary, the author explains in his introduction, was a medieval, illuminated manuscript about animals mentioned in the Bible, and some not mentioned, but creatures of fantasy.


Experts, historians explore Shakespeare’s Catholic sympathies

Visitors look at historic costumes worn by actors of several theater companies to represent some of the plays by British playwright William Shakespeare during July's Almagro's Classical Theatre Festival in Almagro, Spain. New historical research suggests that Shakespeare was a secret Catholic at a time when the faith faced persecution in England. (CNS photo/Mariano Cieza Moreno, EPA) Posted on October 29th, 2014

When the latest production of William Shakespeare’s beloved play opened recently, set in an English mansion before World War I, it attempted to draw new meaning from the Bard’s eternal lines.


Fleeting fame is topic of ‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’

Michael Keaton stars in a scene from the movie "Birdman." (CNS photo/Atsushi Nishijima, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox) Posted on October 28th, 2014

Talky, pretentious and filled with existential angst when the characters aren’t preoccupied with spitting curses, the new black comedy with the odd title is visually dazzling. Morally, though, it’s dead weight as it reflects on the corrupting nature of fame.


Violent ‘John Wick’ offers an antihero who’s hard to like

Keanu Reeves stars in a scene from the movie "John Wick." (CNS photo/Lionsgate) Posted on October 24th, 2014

True to form, Keanu Reeves plays a man of few monotone words who leaves a high body count in his wake, in the new action thriller. In so many words, it’s unconvincing, unglamorous, offensive — and avoidable.


Book explores complex balance between charitable acts, religious values

Posted on October 24th, 2014

The work of religious philanthropic organizations came into clear view during the summer of 2014 when two Christian mission groups serving people in need around the world arranged to fly two of their medical missionaries suffering from the Ebola virus out of Liberia to a hospital in Atlanta, where they were treated successfully.


As a game or movie, ‘Ouija’ isn’t fun or fitting

From left, Douglas Smith, Olivia Cooke and Ana Coto star in a scene from the movie "Ouija." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Universal) Posted on October 24th, 2014

Part half-baked cautionary tale, part dangerous pastime, “Ouija” lurches from one horror genre standby to the next. Its ultimate impact on moviegoers is to offer an alternate spelling of “board.”


Steal this book? No, ‘Shoplifter’ is worth paying for

Posted on October 23rd, 2014

Sometimes we commit a sin because we feel unable to control our situation. If we’re lucky, we encounter someone who shows us mercy and convinces us to take a different path. That’s the story arc of a new graphic novel.


Movie review: Fury

Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Brad Pitt, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal star in a scene from the movie "Fury." (CNS photo/Columbia Pictures) Posted on October 22nd, 2014

Brutal realism in the depiction of combat and scripturally inspired spirituality hardly make an obvious pairing.


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