Culture

Creepy thriller ‘Split’ shows Shyamalan back in form

The latest psychological thriller from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, set in the Philadelphia region, delves into the frightening split personalities of the main character. Special effects take a back seat to tense storytelling.

Highly readable history of American Catholics brings key figures to life

Author Russell Shaw presents the stories of 15 famous Catholics, from the first American bishop to writer Flannery O'Connor in the Vatican II period. The book can help all Catholics today understand their church in a land of promise.

‘The Young Pope’ is, frankly, a jerk

Saddled with a cartoonish view of the church and driven by the urge to be edgy, the new HBO series repels more than it engages, in its best moments. At other times, it's pointlessly offensive.

Movie review: 20th Century Women

The moral compass in "20th Century Women" (A24), writer-director Mike Mills' rambling, unfiltered drama -- loosely based on his adolescence in 1970s Santa Barbara, California -- is not one of the characters. Rather, it's President Jimmy Carter.

If they say ‘The Bye Bye Man’ one more time, you’ll scream

A monster who causes hallucinations that set each of three college friends against the others ought to be terrifying, but it's just tiresome. That may be viewers' reaction to the ad nauseum repetitions of the title name.

You won’t nap in the noisy, vulgar and violent ‘Sleepless’

A script awash in blood (and silliness) tries to keep viewers guessing until the very end as loyalties shift and true identities are revealed. The last-minute message that crime doesn't pay barely salvages this film.

‘Patriots Day’: opposing evil of terrorism with love, decency

The carnage shown in this dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its violent aftermath is not gratuitous, while the film's courageous message is powerfully delivered by Mark Wahlberg's Everyman character.

With book on sex abuse, author hopes to help himself, others heal

Through 236 pages divided into two parts and 32 chapters, "Shrinking the Monster" is one more effort by author and poet Norbert Krapf to contribute his "small part in the larger collective effort to prevent child abuse."

Actor did St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises to prepare for priest role

Andrew Garfield, whose ancestry is Jewish but who was raised in a nonreligious household, did the 30-day retreat as part of his preparation for playing a Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese's new film, "Silence."

‘Monster Trucks’ takes kids on a raucous ride

The action sequences of this comedy contain an environmental message but little logic. But trucks are merrily racing around, so the target viewers who still pronounce the vehicles "twuks" are unlikely to mind.