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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Alien: Covenant
NEW YORK (CNS) — Once you've seen one vicious extraterrestrial gnaw its way out of a human body from the inside, you've seen 'em all. Or so at least the jaded — or squeamish — moviegoer might be tempted to think.

And yet, the success of the durable "Alien" franchise, which dates all the way back to 1979, and was last added to by the 2012 reboot "Prometheus," would seem to argue otherwise.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
'Blackwood Crossing' a top choice for a spiritually rich video game

NEW YORK (CNS) — When you hear that a video game is about death, certain awful images quickly come to mind: stolen "Grand Theft Auto" cars being wrecked; a first-person shooter dispatching the enemy; ultraviolent war-themed titles. "Blackwood Crossing" (PaperSeven) is about mortality, but it has none of the usual crunching tropes that subject matter might at first suggest. Rather, this immersive, strange yet beautiful game is about how two young orphans deal with the demise of their parents.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Examination of Mencken's writings on religion has lessons for today
Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken was a popular American writer and critic during the first half of the 20th century. Born and raised in Baltimore in a prosperous German family, Mencken began his career as a journalist in the Baltimore newspaper but gained national prominence as an author, book reviewer, magazine editor, and as a critic of American life and democracy, amazingly so because he was largely self-educated.
Monday, May 22, 2017
'American Epic' chronicles American roots in music
NEW YORK (CNS) — Robert Redford narrates director Bernard MacMahon's exceptional documentary "American Epic," a chronicle of the lasting impact of American roots-music recordings made in the 1920s.

The series, which premiered on PBS stations Tuesday, May 16, continues Tuesday, May 23, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. PDT and concludes Tuesday, May 30, 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m. PDT.

Sunday, May 21, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — There's a kernel of goodness at the heart of the mother-daughter comedy "Snatched" (Fox). But the minority of grown viewers for whom the film is acceptable will have to wade through a veritable cesspool of bad taste to approach it.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
NEW YORK (CNS) — Early on in "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (Warner Bros.), the audience is treated to the sight of magically generated giant elephants swinging boulder-size wrecking balls at the ramparts of Camelot. It's an apt visual considering how ponderous this action fantasy turns out to be.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Phoenix Forgotten
NEW YORK (CNS) — The sci-fi-themed horror tale "Phoenix Forgotten" (Cinelou) includes little objectionable material, other than some salty language in the dialogue. Yet the lack of any positive seasoning makes this reasonably wholesome dish (for grown-ups, at least) dull to the taste.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Film students travel to 'Endor' to shoot 'Star Wars' fan film
SAN DIEGO (CNS) — During the first day of production on his most recent film, Preston Yarger was concerned for the well-being of his cast and crew. "It was 40 degrees and raining all day long, and everyone was soaked to the bone and just completely shivering," the 21-year-old recalled.

But as it turned out, he needn't have worried. "As I looked around," he said, "everyone just had the biggest smiles on their faces and they were all so excited."

Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Circle
NEW YORK (CNS) — Big Brother is watching you, and he has nothing to do with the government. Such, at least in part, is the message of the confused cautionary tale "The Circle" (STX). While perfectly acceptable for a wide swath of grown-ups, director James Ponsoldt's adaptation of his co-writer Dave Eggers' novel includes a crucial scene that probably puts it over the line for all but the most mature teens.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
New York center reaches people 'about the genius of Catholicism'
NEW YORK (CNS) — Theater is the lingua franca of New York City and the Catholic Church has used art in myriad forms through the centuries to spread the message of the Gospels.

But it was not until 2015 that the Archdiocese of New York jumped with both feet into a bold effort to evangelize through the theatrical medium. It repurposed one of its many decommissioned schools as the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
In new book, archbishop describes how he believes America lost its way

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — "We are passing through a revolution of sorts in America," says Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

Following such upheavals in the nation's moral life as the "normalization of pornography, premarital sex, divorce (and) transgenderism," the 2015 Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage was "a symbolic overthrow of traditional Catholic sexual morality," he says.

Monday, May 15, 2017
How to Be a Latin Lover
NEW YORK (CNS) — There are so many plot threads going in "How to Be a Latin Lover" (Pantelion), they never quite come together. Rather, the film becomes a scattershot comedy wavering uncertainly between warm family fare and a sex farce. The uneven tone, together with long stretches of exposition that wind up being deadly dull for the audience, make the movie a difficult slog, even though it's weighted toward a moral lesson about the value of work for its protagonist.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
The Dinner
NEW YORK (CNS) — "The Dinner" (The Orchard), a trenchant morality tale about the nature of evil and mankind's savage underpinnings, turns out to be as infuriatingly dense and labyrinthine as Dutch author Herman Koch's 2009 novel.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
NEW YORK (CNS) — Sound fundamental values underlie the spirited sci-fi follow-up "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (Disney). But thematic elements demanding discernment, together with some less than family-friendly dialogue, make this return to the stars best for grown-ups.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Born in China
NEW YORK (CNS) — Forget worrisome headlines about our trade deficit with China. Instead, relax and drown your concerns in the veritable tsunami of cuteness that flows from "Born in China" (Disney), a warm and fuzzy animal documentary, narrated by John Krasinski.
Friday, May 12, 2017
The Promise
NEW YORK (CNS) — The relatively little-known genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turks 100 years ago is brought into sharp focus by "The Promise" (Open Road). Taking his cue from epics like "Doctor Zhivago," director Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda"), who co-wrote the screenplay with Robin Swicord, melds an important history lesson with a tender love story. Viewers will emerge with newfound knowledge of the enormity of the holocaust (1.5 million people killed between 1915 and 1922) while appreciating its profound impact on individuals and families.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Marylhurst free talk focus on refugees
Marylhurst University’s series of free talks on issues of social justice finishes Thursday, May 18, with The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon presented by Manuel Padilla, who leads workshops for Jesuit Refugee Service, works with youth through restorative justice frameworks, and volunteers with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Circles of Support and Accountability program.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Portland Columbia Symphony presents West Coast premieres
On Friday, May 12 at 7:30pm, Portland Columbia Symphony presents the West Coast premiere of a new co-commissioned piano concerto by P.D.Q. Bach, aka Peter Schickele, the “21st of J.S. Bach’s 20 Children.” “Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra” will be performed by pianist Jeffrey Biegel.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Misunderstanding of Catholic scholarship mars book on Bible's influence
Kenneth Briggs has been a religion reporter for Newsday, The New York Times and National Catholic Reporter. His Methodist background deeply influences his story of mainline Protestant and evangelical readers of the Bible in "The Invisible Bestseller."

Catholic understanding, interpretation and veneration of the Bible is referred to rarely and usually negatively.  Briggs argues, contrary to reality, that the Catholic Church discourages its members from reading the Bible and allows only the clergy to interpret it. This has not been true since the Second Vatican Council.

Monday, May 8, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Endearing and well-acted, director Marc Webb's drama "Gifted" (Fox Searchlight) might have been a family-friendly movie.

Elements in screenwriter Tom Flynn's script, however, make this thoughtful film -- which examines the proper balance between cultivating youthful talent and the need for even extraordinary kids to lead a normal life -- exclusively suitable for grown-ups and perhaps older teens.

Friday, May 5, 2017

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