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NEW YORK (CNS) — The often bleak, sometimes touching drama “Out of the Furnace” (Relativity) is a grim film journey into a hardscrabble, rust-belt Pennsylvania mill town. Religion in general, and Catholicism in particular, are shown to offer a ray of hope to the good characters who must live within this impoverished landscape.
NEW YORK (CNS) — Those who subscribe to the “great man” theory of history — the idea that the optimum way to understand the past is to study the lives of key individuals — won’t find a better example than South African dissident-turned-president Nelson Mandela.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CNS) — Preparing for the title role in “Mary of Nazareth” helped German actress Alissa Jung to realize that Mary was not only the mother of God but a real person.
The 3-D animated musical is good-natured, overwhelmingly wholesome fare with something for everyone: Broadway-style show tunes, thrilling adventure, gorgeous visuals, cute-as-a-button characters, and a nice message about the enduring bonds of family.
NEW YORK (CNS) — If you’re tempted to bewail the absence of Christ from Christmas these days, you’ll find the Lord right where he belongs — front and center, receiving praise and worship — in the rousing musical drama “Black Nativity” (Fox Searchlight).
In fact, redemption-centered Christian faith pervades the picture to a degree rarely seen in a mainstream movie.
Director Francis Lawrence has decreased the intensity of the violence on screen in the sequel to “the Hunger Games” but added at least one sexual flourish not found in the original story. “Catching Fire” resurrects the question why young people would want to flock to such a spectacle of youngsters battling to the death, even in fictional form.
Author Jeff Greenfield probes what might have been if on that rainy day in Dallas the sun had not come out and the plastic “bubble” on the presidential car had not been removed. If it had stayed on, Greenfield plausibly posits, the shots that hit the president might have been serious, but not fatal.
NEW YORK (CNS) — If you thought Alex Haley’s “Roots” was the definitive take on antebellum slavery in the United States, prepare for a harsh wake-up call with “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight).
The attainment of holiness may be every human being’s vocation, but sanctity can be a difficult quality to capture in the dramatic arts.
As the church’s observance of the Year of Faith draws to a close, here in alphabetical order are capsule reviews of 10 movies that have successfully risen to the challenge of depicting personal holiness in a way that’s both credible and engaging.
NEW YORK (CNS) — Piety and raucousness vie for screen time — and make for an uneasy mix — in the freewheeling sequel “The Best Man Holiday” (Universal).
Predictably, perhaps, it’s the less edifying elements that win out in this blend of comedy and drama: Talk of things spiritual yields center stage to bedroom shenanigans, locker room-level dialogue and even a catfight. Still, religion plays an unusually prominent role.