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  • The Glass Castle
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Anyone who's endured the ignominy of grinding poverty with an alcoholic, out-of- work parent understands that there's nothing ennobling about the experience. It's something to endure, to escape if one can, and it leaves deep psychic scars for which later wealth is weak compensation. It's not an experience to be sentimentalized.
  • Annabelle: Creation
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Most of the mayhem wreaked by the figurine-haunting demon at the center of the horror prequel "Annabelle: Creation" (Warner Bros.) is restrained. Yet, as the film progresses, director David F. Sandberg and his collaborators allow their imagery to become briefly but disturbingly graphic.
  • 'Faith County' set for Aug. 17-18
    Play, at Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale, explores small town life.
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Much of the action in the animated children's comedy "The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature" (Open Road) unfolds at a frenzied pace. Yet, for all the sound and fury, this is in the end a bland film, unlikely to please any but the least discerning viewers.

    Perhaps that's because the folks behind this sequel (the original launched in 2014) were too focused on 3-D special effects to waste time giving their characters much personality. Ironically, those effects turn out to raise the main objection to the picture from a parent's perspective since — together with the many menacing situations to which the plot gives rise — they may be too scary for little kids.
  • Detroit

    NEW YORK (CNS) — A dark chapter of the Motor City's history is revisited in "Detroit" (Annapurna), a searing period drama.

    The setting is the summer of 1967, when race riots broke out in several cities across the country. In Detroit, simmering discontent over systemic discrimination and growing unemployment erupted in African-American neighborhoods. As protesters clashed with police, businesses were set afire and looting was widespread.

  • Kidnap

    NEW YORK (CNS) — The compact thriller "Kidnap" (Aviron) has Halle Berry's expressive face going for it, but not a whole lot else. The film is less a story about a mother's enduring love and sacrifice for her young son than it is a long drive in an amazingly durable minivan.

  • Compelling study brings archaeology to life for academics, nonexperts
    Some 3.6 million years ago in what is now Laetoli, Tanzania, three "hominins" (ancestral humans) walked across fresh ash from a volcano, leaving footprints that the archaeologist Mary Leakey discovered in 1978-79. She and her team identified about 70 such footprints, extending for nearly 90 feet.
  • The Dark Tower
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Awash in high-flown metaphysical hooey, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel's dull sci-fi fantasy "The Dark Tower" (Columbia) is inappropriate for the impressionable.
  • The Emoji Movie

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Tech savvy viewers will especially enjoy the wacky proceedings of "The Emoji Movie" (Columbia). But patrons of all stripes will appreciate the film's themes of loyal friendship and faithful romance.

  • 'Chesapeake Shores,' Aug. 6, Hallmark Channel

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Considered the most successful series in the Hallmark Channel's history, the appealing multigenerational family drama ''Chesapeake Shores" will likely build on its popularity when it embarks on its second season Sunday, Aug. 6, 9-10 p.m.

  • A Ghost Story
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "A Ghost Story" (A24) could be the best film about purgatory you'll see this year.

    That depends, of course, on whether you think that purgatory is the state in which Casey Affleck's recently departed character exists. Writer-director David Lowery hasn't attempted a story about religion specifically or spirituality generally, but rather has made a reflection on loss.

  • FCC approves merger of Relevant Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio

    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Federal Communications Commission has approved the merger of Relevant Radio and Immaculate Heart Radio.

    Both are nonprofit, listener-supported radio chains. Relevant's stations are principally in the Midwest and East, while Immaculate Heart's are in the West and the Plains states.

  • The Tribunal
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The annulment process provides the unusual courtroom setting for the romantic drama "The Tribunal" (Freestyle). While the movie's Catholic values are strong, they come filtered through some faulty filmmaking.
  • Atomic Blonde
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Aspiring to be edgy and stylish, the espionage thriller "Atomic Blonde" (Focus), matches sometimes sadistic brawling with exploitative scenes of aberrant sex. The result is not only degraded but tedious as well.
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Despite its ponderous title, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (STX) turns out to be a flashy but lightweight sci-fi adventure likely to divert those grown viewers content to munch their popcorn and enjoy a break from the heat of summer.
  • The Last Tycoon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A few significantly objectionable moments, reflecting the worst excesses of contemporary TV and film production, mar the otherwise appealingly old–fashioned storytelling of "The Last Tycoon."

    Presented in nine one–hour episodes, this latest adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's posthumous, unfinished novel will stream on Amazon Prime beginning July 28.

  • Dunkirk
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Wars are not won by evacuations," British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously observed. As writer-director Christopher Nolan's compelling historical drama "Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) demonstrates, however, fine films can be made about them.
  • Girls Trip
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Buried underneath several layers of crass gags, "Girls Trip" (Universal) has a substantial story about loyalty and moral decisions. But libidinous raunch is the evident lure.

    The intended audience for this film is women in groups, eager to vicariously enjoy some road-trip misbehavior that comes with a considerable helping of melodrama. It's meant to be a bonding experience.

  • The Exception
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Historical kitsch applied to World War II espionage doesn't get more gloriously over the top than in "The Exception" (A24).

    Based on Alan Judd's 2003 novel "The Kaiser's Last Kiss," it has, as billed, Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer) living out the last year of his exile in the Netherlands before his 1941 death.

  • Descendants 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The soundtrack of Disney's new television movie "Descendants 2" features overproduced and elaborately choreographed pop/hip-hop dance numbers and oversung, power pop-country anthems.
  • Wish Upon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The low-budget Faustian fable that is "Wish Upon" (Broad Green) has a bullied teen girl fulfilling her earthly desires for vengeance, money, popularity and a surprisingly chaste romance in exchange for maybe her mortal soul.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Monkey business turns deadly serious in "War for the Planet of the Apes" (Fox), the climactic installment of the rebooted film franchise based on the work of French science-fiction author Pierre Boulle (1912-1994).
  • Waiting for gold
    BEAVERTON — For a musician, receiving a gold record for a single or album is not only a career highlight — it’s the moment of a lifetime. For Dan Schauffler, Valley Catholic band director, that moment was more than 30 years in the making. On April 4, students, faculty and staff celebrated the golden achievement.
  • Cambridge choir to perform at Portland church
    On Sunday July 16, St. Peter Church in Southeast Portland welcomes the choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge, England, to perform at 6 p.m., Sunday, July 16, at the church.
  • Books on saints uplifting but one has grave errors on Scripture
    These two short books about saints are devotional, suitable for spiritual reading and quiet meditation. Wright's book narrates the lives and accomplishments of two scions of noble families in what are today Switzerland and France in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the time of the Catholic Reformation.
  • Authors help couples provide credible, effective witness to marriage
    Throughout this book the authors write from both personal and professional experience. They write affectionately about how their marriage into each other's family has been a life-changing, yet at times challenging, experience. They write about how they have been aided in their marriage journey by a loving and supportive faith community, both within the Catholic Church itself, and within the church's marriage ministry community.
  • Valley Catholic senior makes Carnegie Hall debut

    BEAVERTON — It was a cold night in New York. But Hope Huang, a Valley Catholic senior and musician, didn’t mind the chill as she experienced a musician’s dream, performing at Carnegie Hall.

    It was Huang’s first time in the Big Apple, and she was there to take part in a string orchestra at the Young Adult Honors Performance Series at one of the most famous venues in the world.

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's much to like about the vibrant comic-book adaptation "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (Columbia). Besides an unslacking pace and a clever central plot twist, there's the fact that the mayhem on display is kept virtually bloodless.

    And the film showcases both loyal friendship and restrained romance.

  • Reprint of 19th-century book worthwhile
    The 19th-century British catacombs expert, Father James Spencer Northcote, brings the history of the early Christians in Rome to life in his book “The Roman Catacombs.” He covers not only how the early Christians hid from Roman soldiers and buried their dead in the dark and hidden tunnels underneath the environs of the ancient city, but also the history of the catacombs once Rome became Christian, and their loss and recovery.
  • For this book, you win with 'Draw'
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "The Draw of Sport" (Fantagraphics) is a delightful and historically valuable book. The retrospective is written and drawn by Murray Olderman, a pioneer and central figure in the golden age of sports cartoonists.
  • Summer arts and recreation

    A “fundamental truth of Catholic Christianity is that creation is good, so that love of created things is also good,” writes Jeffrey Mirus, a co-founder of Christendom College and Trinity Communications. It’s important, though, to make sure that one is not replacing God with nature. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that God is not an item in the world, but is being itself.

  • Beauty, poetry of classic hymns comes through in book, audio CD
    Anthony Esolen, an accomplished literary scholar who is a faithful Catholic, turns his attention to the poetry of our beloved classic hymns in "Real Music." The book and accompanying audio CD captivate at every turn.
  • The House
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Had "The House" (Warner Bros.) been made as a taut, dark comedy about the price of greed, it might have some merit. Instead, director Andrew Jay Cohen, who co-wrote the screenplay with Brendan O'Brien, has produced a sloppy, illogical, cringe-inducing time-waster.
  • Baby Driver

    NEW YORK (CNS) — Stylish and energetic, the high-octane crime drama "Baby Driver" (TriStar) blends pop music, dizzying car chases and some dark humor to impressive effect.

    While the film's basic values are sound, however, late plot developments involve a quantity of bloodletting that will seem excessive to many moviegoers.

  • Despicable Me 3
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Director Pierre Coffin's animated comedy "Despicable Me 3" (Universal) — the second direct follow-up to the 2010 original — turns out to be something of a disappointment, falling short when compared to its predecessors.
  • Author confronts secular challenges but raises questions for Catholics
    In "The Benedict Option," online journalist and social commentator Rod Dreher presents a salient question that resonates with many in Christian social-conservative circles: How should Christians assess and respond to the challenges of a post-Christian, secular culture?
  • This summer explore nature, poetry, saints with new children's books
    "How to be a Hero: Train with the Saints," by Julia Harrell and illustrated by Chad Thompson, is one of several books recommended for summer reading.
  • The Lovers
    NEW YORK (CNS) — To the extent that a thoughtful drama about marital infidelity can be considered lyrical, "The Lovers" (A24) achieves that. Writer-director Azazel Jacobs carefully structures his plot to minimize any gaping holes in logic. But he also downplays the extensive collateral damage adultery inflicts.
  • Priest-author's letters a collection to be treasured
    Even for those of generations in which "letters" mean messages sent in an electronic medium, often quickly read and deleted, it can be endearing to pull from an envelope a piece of copy handwritten or typed decades ago and to feel what the recipient may have felt in reading the sender's words.
  • Movies with Catholic themes to hit cinemas, video
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — New movies are in the works with distinctively Catholic themes.

    A documentary featuring the pope, "Pope Francis — A Man of His Word," was bought by Focus Features for later theatrical release. And a dramatization of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, starring American actor Harvey Keitel was announced May 18 by Arclight Pictures, at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

  • Transformers: The Last Knight
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Grown-ups who yearn to connect with their inner 11-year-old boy are given a two-and-a-half-hour window of opportunity to do so in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (Paramount). As for the literal preteens who might somehow enjoy this long, loud and dumb production, however, a steady stream of swearing and some muddled supernatural motifs make it inappropriate for them.
  • 'Prime Suspect: Tennison'
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Venerable British actress Helen Mirren garnered broad acclaim from an American audience for the first time thanks to her riveting portrayal of London policewoman Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in "Prime Suspect," which first appeared on PBS in 1991.
  • Cars 3
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Fasten your seatbelts and start your engines for a wild (and often ear-splitting) ride in "Cars 3" (Disney), the latest installment of the family-friendly animated franchise.
  • 47 Meters Down
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Way back in 1975, Steven Spielberg taught the world just how scary sharks can be with his classic "Jaws." Apparently the two main characters in the thriller "47 Meters Down" (Entertainment Studios) failed to get the message.
  • Iconographers convene to celebrate new curriculum
    MOUNT ANGEL — Students of iconography will gather here June 23 - July 1 to pray, study and practice the sacred art form. This year, as the Iconographic Arts Institute marks three decades since its founding, it also will celebrate a new certificate in iconographic studies based on the 12-level curriculum the Institute uses.
  • UP helping uncover ancient mysteries
    Why did a Roman city on an isle off Spain burn in the third century? Why are both Christian and Muslim ancient burials located there? Why did archeologists on the island find a large pool for baptism replaced by a smaller one, even as Christianity was flourishing?
  • All Eyez on Me
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Radical politics and the wayward values of hip-hop culture take "All Eyez on Me" (Summit), a sometimes intense but overlong and rarely insightful biography of rapper Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), off course.
  • Highly readable history looks at New York's Irish Catholic archbishops
    This highly readable book, as the subtitle indicates, narrates the stories of the 10 archbishops of New York, all Irish, from John Hughes (1850-1864) to Timothy Dolan (2009 to the present), and including John McCloskey, Michael Corrigan, John Farley, Patrick Hayes, Francis Spellman, Terence Cooke, John O'Connor and Edward Egan. The volume has a picture of each, extensive footnotes and a helpful index.
  • Wonder Woman rebooted in new DC Comics series
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Iconic DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman is having a good year as she celebrates her 75th birthday. Along with a wide-release movie featuring the character, the comic itself has been rebooted with a new writer and artist — Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott.
  • Rough Night
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Weekend at Bernie's" meets "Bridesmaids" in the raunchy comedy "Rough Night" (Columbia). The result is pure dreck. Political candidate and bride-to-be Jess Thayer (Scarlett Johansson) joins her four best friends — Aussie ditz Pippa (Kate McKinnon), overeager misfit Alice (Jillian Bell), social justice warrior Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and self-satisfied rich lady Blair (Zoe Kravitz) — for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami.
  • Book will feed family's soul with dinnertime prayers, reflections

    The meaningful dinner conversations sparked by "Feeding Your Family's Soul" will make this book a daily dinnertime treat.

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, an award-winning author and an Eternal Word Television Network host, has captured something so critical to a family's spiritual survival: praying and eating together.
  • Mario's still super with a new game on a new Nintendo console

    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's good news for Nintendo fans. The gaming giant has just announced plans to release a new handheld console, the 2DS XL, in July.

    At $149.99, the 2DS XL will be half the cost of the Nintendo Switch, the much-hyped system that has been so popular it's still not available in many stores.

  • Imagination helps readers better understand roots of Eucharist
    "Around the Table" is what one might call a devotional book that gives you more than prayers and discussion questions.

    Each of the 14 chapters focuses on a scriptural personage, some of whom the reader may not expect — including Mary, the mother of Jesus; St. Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus; St. Cleopas from the road to Emmaus narrative in Luke's Gospel; St. Peter; St. Mary Magdalene; and St. Longinus, whom legend — Hurd says "tradition" — identifies as the Roman soldier who thrust a spear into Jesus' side as he hung on the cross.
  • It Comes at Night
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Morality is put to the test and fails in the bleak thriller "It Comes at Night" (A24). Well executed, yet painful to watch, writer-director Trey Edward Shults' drama plays skillfully on the psychology of fear, working more through subtlety and suggestion than depiction.
  • Megan Leavey
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Man's best friend is also a lifesaver in "Megan Leavey" (Bleeker Street), the inspiring true story of a female Marine corporal and the bomb-sniffing dog she bonded with during the Iraq War. Leavey (born in 1983) and Rex, her trusty German shepherd, together completed more than 100 combat missions in Fallujah and Ramadi, uncovering roadside bombs and caches of weapons, before an explosion sidelined both in 2006.
  • The Mummy
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The clumsily fashioned horror flick "The Mummy" (Universal) turns out to be anything but tightly wound.

    Predictable pagan mumbo-jumbo aside, there's not much to bother grown viewers in the film. But its globetrotting — from Ancient Egypt to modern-day Iraq and London — eventually feels like a vain search for a better, or at least more focused, story to tell.

  • Vintage Mickey Mouse: funny but racially problematic
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Strange as it seems, part of the output of an ongoing project to reissue old Mickey Mouse comics warrants a content warning. Not for violence or sexual elements, of course, but for a level of racial insensitivity that was taken for granted in many quarters in the mid-20th century but that now affronts.