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Movie Reviews
May 19, 2011
Priest
By Conor Gilliland

“The Book of Eli,” “Firefly” (a TV series), and 2011's “Priest” all have something in common. They all portray a religious man who is an undercover ninja. However, only the latter fails to deliver an interesting or fair plot in a genre that practically writes itself. 

Paul Bettany's second Christianity-meets-apocalypse movie in as many years, following “Legion” (2010), enters into a war-torn world between humans and vampires. Bettany's character, known only as Priest, was a...

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May 12, 2011
Thor
By Conor Gilliland

Kenneth Branagh has struck super-hero gold with his latest directing achievement – “Thor” – as he brings a touch of virtue and humor to the most entertaining comic-book-on-the-big-screen since “Iron Man.”

The movie begins with the coronation of the new All-king of Asgard, the young and rebellious Thor (Chris Hemsworth). However, the pomp is interrupted when frost giants break into Asgard to reclaim what Thor's elderly father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), took from them – a frosty...

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May 04, 2011
Super
By Conor Gilliland

What would really happen if someone tried to be a super-hero? James Gunn asks the question with his recent IFC release “Super” in a naïve, if not sickening, attempt at humor and novelty. 

In the movie Frank D'Arbo's wife (Liv Tyler) leaves Frank (Rainn Wilson) for another man, a drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). After a failed attempt to get her back, Frank goes to the police only to find out that Jacques cannot be arrested for stealing her affections.

While flipping channels,...

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Somewhere between the parking lot and the beginning of this film, I was gently escorted from the world of speeding-tickets and insurance policies to a world where simplicity has the power to sustain a life of joy. Set in the Algerian Atlas Mountains in 1995, the film depicts eight Trappist monks living lives of prayer, service and peace. One is almost satisfied to settle into the substantive liturgical (even musical) lives of the monks for two hours when the threat of increasing violence...

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January 11, 2011
Spiritual themes to be found in Disney’s ‘Tangled’
By Marianne Paluso

With the release of “Tangled,” its 50th animated feature, Walt Disney Pictures offers a beautifully dazzling, charming and heartfelt re-telling of a beloved fairy tale. The film is the story of Rapunzel, a young girl kidnapped as a baby by a greedy woman named Mother Gothel. Gothel, who desires the magically healing powers of the girl’s golden hair, hides Rapunzel away in an isolated tower in the forest. For 18 years, there Rapunzel remains, believing her “mother,” who tells her...

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October 08, 2010
The Karate Kid
By Katherine Haas

Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith hit the screen in this hard-hitting contemporary take on the old story of the impatient student and the wise old martial arts teacher. The scene is modern day Beijing where Dre Parker and his mother have just moved from Detroit.

The usual atmosphere of culture shock is only augmented by the fact that every kid on the playground seems to know kung fu and enough English to throw a few taunts.

Dre’s saving grace comes in the form of the maintenance man, who not...

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August 02, 2010
'Despicable Me' anything but despicable
By Katherine Haas

No movie this year had funnier previews than “Despicable Me”. I’ll admit I have a penchant for animated movies, but from the moment the first preview hit the screen, “Despicable Me” topped the list of movies I really wanted to see. As the weeks wore on, every new preview only looked more appealing.

While the film is undoubtedly one of the most original animated films of the year -if not of the decade- and it indubitably one of the most comical and cute films, it is hamstringed by...

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Before actually seeing “Inception,” it was a sincere challenge not to be swept into the major buildup behind the film, which is famed director Christopher Nolan's first since his ominous 2008 blockbuster, The Dark Knight.

Enigmatic trailers for “Inception” coupled with media whispers on its “epic” proportions added to a sort of infectious, humming excitement over the movie, and had critics mouthing the words “Academy Award” within minutes of its release.

The appeal of the...

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July 19, 2010
The Last Airbender
By CNA Staff

Critics have hailed “The Last Airbender” as a disaster and as an end of the career of director M. Night. Shyamalan. And while the movie does boast of terrible acting and very poor scripting especially when it comes to dialogue, it also features a tranquility and an originality that puts this film in the realm of something worth seeing.

Based on an animated TV series, “The Last Airbender” takes viewers to a mythical place, not unlike earth, where some people are born with the...

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Few Catholics today truly understand the significance of the role that Pope John Paul II played in the fall of the Soviet Communist regime. Even Catholics who grew up with his Pontificate did not understand the value of his actions until later on. Newt and Callista Gingrich’s new documentary offers the contemporary Catholic a chance to see much of that first-hand.

“Nine Days that Changed the World” is a documentary about Pope John Paul II’s trip to his homeland, Poland, in 1979....

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