Movie: ‘Hail, Caesar!’

NEW YORK (CNS) — The February release date of writers and directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s comedy “Hail, Caesar!” (Universal) could hardly be more appropriate. That’s because this loving sendup of golden-age Hollywood represents nothing short of a supersized valentine presented by the sibling collaborators to the Tinseltown of bygone days, specifically the early 1950s. […]

Movie: ‘The Choice’

NEW YORK (CNS) — Ever since “The Notebook” in 2004, film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’ novels have descended into benign, prepackaged comfort food. So it is with “The Choice” (Lionsgate). In keeping with the Catholic writer’s work overall, the movie tells an agreeably picturesque love story, with likable characters who briefly consider the morality of […]

Movie: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

NEW YORK (CNS) — Though it boosts family values and the importance of teamwork, the animated adventure “Kung Fu Panda 3” (Fox) also incorporates non-scriptural philosophical ideas that might confuse the impressionable youngsters at whom it’s primarily aimed. At least some of these concepts could have been spotted lurking in the background of the movie’s […]

Movie: ‘Fifty Shades of Black’

NEW YORK (CNS) — Witless and aggressively foulmouthed, the supposedly comic “Fifty Shades of Black” (Open Road) ultimately registers as torturous. Though obviously intended as a rollicking spoof of its “Grey” counterpart, which sought to take sadomasochism mainstream, the movie develops instead into an infernal endurance test of tedium, a device as mortifying as any […]

Movie: ‘Pair who were in Benghazi say they felt God’s protection in firefight’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Not only are there no atheists in foxholes, but some of the denominational differences seem to disappear, too, once you’re under heavy fire. That was the situation that Mark Geist and Kris Paronto found themselves in working as military contractors in Benghazi, Libya. It was their book, co-written with other members of […]

Movie: ‘Room’

NEW YORK (CNS) — “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” These words from poet John Milton’s 17th-century epic “Paradise Lost” capture at least one theme of the poignant, multifaceted drama “Room” (A24). As a tale of confinement and isolation with far-reaching and universal […]

Movie: ‘The 5th Wave’

NEW YORK (CNS) — The zombie apocalypse theme has become a staple of pop culture. The latest movie variant, “The 5th Wave” (Columbia), adds an alien invasion and adolescent tribulations to the mix. Neither element succeeds in boosting the novelty factor one iota. Nevertheless, while this adaptation of Rick Yancey’s 2013 book isn’t distinguished by […]

Movie: ‘The Masked Saint’

NEW YORK (CNS) — What’s a small-town pastor to do when his crumbling church in a crime-ridden neighborhood is desperately strapped for cash? Why, become a professional wrestler by day and moonlight as a vigilante, of course! That’s the unlikely — yet fact-based — premise of “The Masked Saint” (Freestyle), director Warren P. Sonoda’s screen […]