Movie reviews: ‘If I Stay,’ ‘Sin City’

If I Stay (Warner Bros.)

If I Stay (Warner Bros.)

A tearjerker for teens, "If I Stay" glamorizes the physical relationship between its two leads, making it totally unsuitable for its target audience. And it's doubtful that many adult moviegoers, for whom it may be acceptable, will want to sit through this contrived weepy, adapted by director R.J. Cutler from Gayle Forman's best-selling novel.

One of the picture’s few assets is Chloe Grace Moretz's game performance as Mia Hall, the "I" of the title. An aspiring Oregon cellist with a shot at attending Julliard, Mia is busy worrying about how her possible departure for the East Coast has strained her bond with her rocker boyfriend Adam when her life takes a sudden, horrific turn.

A family outing ends in tragedy when a car accident claims the lives of Mia's groovy ex-punk parents, gravely injures her little brother, and leaves Mia herself comatose.

Needless to say, an unconscious heroine simply will not do — on screen or on the printed page. So Mia has a convenient out-of-body experience, and takes us along for the ride, trying to decide whether to fight for life to be reunited with Adam or follow her folks into eternity.

While the script implicitly affirms the existence of an afterlife — a bright light seemingly beckons to Mia every so often — some of her memories reveal attitudes at odds with Scripture-based values. Thus Mia is delighted to learn that the backup singer in Adam's band — a girl she sees as a potential rival for his affections — is a lesbian. And not a shy one, either.

More prominently, Mia initiates an encounter with Adam that, although discreetly shown, is presented as a wonderfully romantic experience. A later scene finds them together in Mia's bed at home, a scene with which reflective viewers will not be so comfortable, given that Mia, a senior in high school, may or may not be 18.

Although Mia's real-life contemporaries may balk at being kept away from "If I Stay," their guardians will at least have spared them such cringe-worthy moments as Adam's impromptu ICU serenade to his still-sleeping beauty.

The film contains a benign view of teen sexuality and homosexual acts, nongraphic premarital (and possibly underage) sexual activity, a same-sex kiss, at least one use of profanity and considerable crude language. (A-III, PG-13)

 

 

Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (Weinstein)

The hard-boiled, excessively violent milieu of this sequel to 2005's "Sin City" is so overdone it plays like a satire. Graphic novels sometimes can become compelling dramas, but this film amounts to little more than a smutty comic-book adaptation using competent actors as bait.

Frank Miller, who wrote the script and co-directed with Robert Rodriguez, emphasizes lurid bloodletting amid the retro black-and-white setting. All women are objects of desire; the men exist only to have their eyes gouged out and fingers maimed while they absorb fists and bullets; and if anybody comes away from these sordid proceedings a winner, it's certainly not the audience.

The film contains pervasive violence, frequent upper female nudity, much sexual banter and fleeting crass language. (O, R)

—CNS/USCCB

 

CNS classifications: A-I — general patronage. A-II — adults and adolescents. A-III — adults. A-IV — adults, with reservations. L — limited adult audiences, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. O — morally offensive.


Voices

Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.

Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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