Culture

Exploring the power of words as catalyst for controversy

“The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide and Define a Nation” by Stephen Prothero. HarperCollins (San Francisco, 2012). 531 pp., $29.99.    Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, has compiled diverse texts and genres — song lyrics, letters, legal documents, essays, proverbs and fiction — into an American bible, a canon […]

Stamp for Christmas season features Holy Family fleeing to Egypt

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Postal Service Oct. 10 released a Christmas stamp featuring an image of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. A ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue of the stamp took place at the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The portrayal of the Holy Family is a change […]

‘Here Comes the Boom’ wrestles with Christian virtues in winning film

NEW YORK (CNS) — Perseverance pays off big time in “Here Comes the Boom” (Columbia), the unlikely yet inspiring tale of an ordinary man who goes to extraordinary lengths to help others. Directed by Frank Coraci and starring Catholic actor Kevin James — who also co-wrote the screenplay with Allan Loeb — “Here Comes the […]

Comic actor Kevin James wants to ‘glorify God in every way’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — He doesn’t exactly advertise it, but the “king of Queens” is a Catholic family man. Kevin James, who played Doug Heffernan for nine seasons on the CBS sitcom and has since branched out into movies, has no problem talking about his values and how it affects his career. “I am involved in […]

‘Looper’ shows violent future; logic is a casualty, too

NEW YORK (CNS) — In the dystopian distant future — and in science fiction, and especially “Looper” (FilmDistrict), dystopian is all there is — there will be time travel, but it will be illegal, so only criminals will utilize it. Dang. In the near future, though, all cars will be electric, we'll have cool flying […]

Even daddy vampires love their daughters

NEW YORK (CNS) — We are used to fables of humans fleeing from spooky ghouls and ghosts, but what if they were as scared of us as we are of them? That is the premise of animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania” (Columbia) — an enjoyable, if slightly rude, pro-family romp in which the infamous Count Dracula […]

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 […]