Movie Reviews 03/21/14

An uncommonly erudite beagle and his young charge are back in “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” — Credit: FOX

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Fox)

Baby boomers may remember the titular characters of "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" — a hyper-intellectual dog whose many accomplishments include his invention of a time-traveling device called the WABAC machine, and the perky human son Mr. Peabody adopted as an infant, after finding him abandoned in an alley. Craig Wright's screenplay adds a tiresome amount of potty humor to the elaborate, sometimes groan-inducing puns characteristic of the original material. And a lone adult-themed play on words, though it will certainly fly over youngsters' heads, still seems jarringly out of place. But basic history lessons for the youngest moviegoers, together with a worthy message about respecting people of different backgrounds — even if they do happen to be canines — endow this more than usually literate children's adventure with some countervailing virtues. Scenes of mild peril, several scatological jokes and sight gags and a single double entendre. (A-I, PG)


Non-Stop (Universal)

Airport pat-downs are nothing compared to the severe smackdowns administered by troubled air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) as he slams his way through this popcorn thriller. Though Marks' rough ways — together with a bit of risque humor — set this turbulent trip off limits for kids, most grownups will likely handle the bumps along the way without much difficulty. The rapid pace and frequent plot twists of director Jaume Collet-Serra's thriller divert attention from its improbabilities. As with Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," genuine suspense pervades the proceedings because every single person onboard is a potential suspect. The solution to it all can be said to involve a surprisingly laudable goal pursued in a deeply immoral — and thoroughly crackpot — manner. So to the degree that this jump across the puddle carries any ethical cargo, it's the familiar maxim that good ends do not justify sinful (much less homicidal) means. Considerable harsh but mostly bloodless violence, brief nongraphic sexual activity between incidental characters, some adult references, numerous uses of profanity, at least one instance of the F-word as well as several crude and crass terms. (A-III, PG-13).


300: Rise of an Empire (Warner Bros)

Blood and guts sloshing across the big screen in slow motion 3-D must be someone's idea of a cinematic treat; otherwise, we'd have been spared "300: Rise of an Empire," both a prequel and a sequel to 2007's "300." It serves up a second helping of the choreographed violence and warrior beefcake that characterized its predecessor, with ancient Greeks and Persians once again battling for supremacy of the Aegean peninsula. Don't even try to keep a count of the stabbings, beheadings, maimings and immolations on display. All are intended to demonstrate the triumph of good over evil, and reinforce such militaristic platitudes as, "There is no nobler cause than to fight beside the man who would lay down his life to save you." Relentless gory and sometimes gruesome fighting, a graphic nonmarital sex scene, nudity, skimpy costumes and some rough language. (L, R)

—Catholic News Service


CNS classifications: A-I --- general patronage; A-II --- adults and adolescents; A-III --- adults; L --- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; O --- morally offensive. Full-length reviews:


Things beyond our imagination

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Recently, at an academic dinner, I was sitting across the table from a nuclear scientist. At one point, I asked him this question: Do you believe that there’s human life on other planets? His answer surprised me: “As a scientist, no, I don’t believe there’s human life on another planet.


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October 4, 2015

  • Sunday, October 4

    Gerard Thomas Straub Book Signing, 9 a.m.- 1p.m., Holy Family Bookstore, 1519 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Straub will discuss his newly re-released book, “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi.” (626) 403-6133.

    St. Kateri Mass, 11 a.m., St. Marcellinus Church, 2349 Strong Ave., Commerce. Everyone is welcome to honor and follow in the footsteps of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Potluck and raffle immediately following – bring a favorite dish to share!

    Faith Support on Our Cancer Journey, 2-4 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. This afternoon of reflection will explore ways for those struggling with cancer can nurture their spirits and seek divine guidance and support. $25 ($20 if paid in full by September 25). (310) 377-4867.

    “Come and See” Vocation Event, 2-7 p.m., Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, 2927 S Greenville St., Santa Ana. Single women of high school and college age are invited by Sacred Heart Sisters to learn more about religious life. Dinner will be provided. RSVP by Oct. 3 at (714) 557-4583 or 

    Once Upon a Time: Stories to Awaken the Mysteries of the Heart, 3-5 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. $25. (310) 377-4867.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965.

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