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  • Author reflects on clerical celibacy as spiritual fatherhood
    When reading Father Carter Griffin's book "Why Celibacy?" this summer, I repeatedly had to close it and think of my father.
  • Indianapolis Colts' chaplain focuses on players' lives and faith
    INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — As the Catholic chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts, Father Douglas Hunter has access to the training facility, the team meetings and the sidelines during games. He's even there in the locker room when head coach Frank Reich talks to the players, including the times the Colts' leader has shared this constant message: "Get 1 percent better every day."
  • The Goldfinch
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A 17th-century Dutch masterpiece becomes a complex souvenir in the patchy drama "The Goldfinch" (Warner Bros./Amazon). Though initially intriguing, director John Crowley's adaptation of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 best-seller flags long before its taxing two-and-a-half-hour running time is spent.
  • Father Hesburgh: Believing in ‘the redeemability of mankind’
    Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh was just 35 when he became president of the University of Notre Dame, a post he would retire from 35 years later, in 1987. He had dedicated his life to God, country and Notre Dame. A 2018 documentary convincingly makes the case that the Catholic Church and his country would turn in an unprecedented way to the Catholic priest for his moral and civic leadership.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark
    NEW YORK (CNS) — With villainy spreading across the mythical land of Teora, it's up to one woman to rally her troops and save the world.
    Created as a tribute to the 1997 PlayStation game "Final Fantasy Tactics," "Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark" (1C Entertainment) embarks on a nostalgic journey through classic tactical role-playing.
  • Book offers deep dive into church history
    When a book has more than 500 pages, more than 1,000 footnotes and a 10-page bibliography, it would be a disservice to call it an introduction. Consider "Timeless" the equivalent of at least a two-semester college overview course in Catholic Church history that touches upon key move-ments, events and people.
  • Hustlers
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Any film set in the world of women stripping for money and the men ogling them is bound to have a certain edge to it.
    But there are various ways to approach such subject matter, and it's the sordid treatment it receives in the fact-based drama "Hustlers" (STX) that pulls the picture under morally.
  • 'Country Music,' Sept. 15-18 and 22-25, PBS
    NEW YORK (CNS) — One of the fall TV season's more anticipated series, the commendably ambitious PBS documentary "Country Music," may not always meet expectations. But when it does succeed in connecting, it's very good.
  • NEW YORK (CNS) — Lullabies have been sung by parents to their children for time immemorial.
  • Fordham theologian takes new approach on pro-life, social justice issues
    In a time of intense polarization in both church and society, the new book from Fordham theologian Charles Camosy seeks to outline "a revitalized consistent life ethic" that "could demonstrate how to unify a fractured culture around a vision of the good." Above all, Camosy's book seeks to overcome the Catholic battles between pro-life and social justice issues, a dichotomy that too often mirrors the incoherence of our political parties.
  • At Washington exhibit, the toll of the immigrant journey becomes art
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — A pair of well-worn shoes left in the desert at the U.S.-Mexico border is the last thing you'd expect to find in one of the most prized rooms of the Washington museum known as The Phillips Collection, a premier venue for modern American art as well as classic European expressionists such as Renoir and Matisse.
  • 'The Feud,' Sept. 10, PBS
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Veteran character actor Michael Murphy, a frequent "American Experience" collaborator, narrates the latest film from the venerable PBS franchise, "The Feud." The absorbing and edifying documentary premieres Tuesday, Sept. 10, 9–10 p.m. EDT (consult local listings).
  • Bennett's War
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Loosely based on the case histories of real-life wounded veterans, writer-director Alex Ranarivelo's endearing sports drama "Bennett's War" (Forrest) is a portrait of courage in the face of adversity. Well-suited to an audience of grown-ups, the film may also pass muster with the parents of older teens willing to overlook some barracks-style talk in the dialogue.
  • It: Chapter Two
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The three-hour tour that went so disastrously wrong for the future denizen of Gilligan's Island was a mere picnic compared to the patience-trying endurance test that is "It: Chapter Two" (Warner Bros.). Viewers misguided enough to subject themselves to the experience, moreover, will find that this seemingly endless follow-up to the 2017 adaptation of horror maven Stephen King's novel is marked by off-kilter morality.
  • Finding images of faith at the art museum
    Dawson Carr, curator of European art at the Portland Art Museum, confides that he has seen visitors at the museum, after peeking into one of the halls of European art, skip the gallery — which is filled with religious art and themes. 
  • Don't Let Go
    NEW YORK (CNS) — An intriguing premise gets the thriller "Don't Let Go" (OTL Releasing) off to a strong start. By the time it reaches the finish line, though, director and co-writer (with Drew Daywalt) Jacob Estes' film has long since been hobbled by implausibility. While its underlying values are sound, moreover, bloody images and vulgar talk suggest this one is best for an older audience.
  • FCC weakens rules on children's programming
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Federal Communications Commission acted in July to weaken the rules governing children's educational and informational programming.
  • Sea of Solitude
    NEW YORK (CNS) — What does it mean to be human and to contend with both our positive and negative impulses? That's the question addressed in the cerebral adventure title "Sea of Solitude" (Electronic Arts). Gamers follow along with Kay (voice of Miriam Jud), a young woman exploring a drowned city filled with red-eyed beasts as she undertakes a journey of self-discovery and transformation after confronting her past.
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Film fans generally and viewers of faith in particular will find much to appreciate in the heartwarming drama "The Peanut Butter Falcon" (Roadside). Themes of friendship, brotherhood and redemption are woven into a story that resonates with Gospel values.
  • 'Carnival Row,' streaming, Amazon
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Spectacular production design, starkly beautiful Czech Republic landscapes and clever special effects can't redeem "Carnival Row." English actor Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings") stars in and executive produces the excessively gory and uninteresting eight-hour limited series, which begins streaming on Amazon Friday, Aug. 30.
  • Overcomer
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "If you want to send a message," Hollywood stalwart Sam Goldwyn is said to have remarked — with regard to someone's yen to make a "meaningful" movie — "use Western Union."
  • Agnostic author pens atypical 'appreciation' of religion's worth
    Stephen Asma once was a Catholic altar boy. Today he calls himself an agnostic. He confesses he prayed when his son "was in the emergency room with an illness" but did not believe that prayer would help to heal him.
  • 'Basketball or Nothing,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Former Professional Golfers' Association player Notah Begay III, a Navajo, and part-Navajo Rickie Fowler, a current PGA golfer, are among the executive producers of the Native American-themed docuseries "Basketball or Nothing."
  • 'Hitsville: The Making of Motown,' Aug. 24, Showtime
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Although he's approaching 90, storied music executive Berry Gordy doesn't appear to be slowing down in "Hitsville: The Making of Motown," the first documentary on the subject made with his participation.
  • Angel Has Fallen
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Good personal values vie with relentless gory combat in "Angel Has Fallen" (Lionsgate). The result is an action sequel that's too graphic for those seeking casual entertainment.
  • Ready or Not
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The honeymoon is over even before it begins in the nuptial-themed horror fantasy "Ready or Not" (Fox Searchlight).
  • The Blackout Club
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Something lurks beneath the town of Redacre, Virginia, and only a handful of teenagers can uncover the evidence. Close your eyes and run blindly through the twisting network of tunnels below Redacre because only then can you see the Shape who waits to take over your mind.
  • Drive in — Sleep out
    Family Promise of Beaverton is preparing for its biggest fundraiser of the year, the annual Drive In – Sleep Out, Saturday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Beaverton City Park. There will be live music, speakers, food trucks, a movie in the park and a hot breakfast. Donors who don’t want to spend the night can register as “backseat drivers,” going home to sleep. Go to familypromiseofbeaverton.org to learn more.
  • Blinded by the Light
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Abundant charm and an insightful depiction of the ups and downs of both friendship and family life make "Blinded by the Light" (Warner Bros.) — writer-director Gurinder Chadha's touching fact-based mix of drama and comedy — a winner.
  • 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's blood in the water in the shark-themed thriller "47 Meters Down: Uncaged" (Entertainment Studios).
  • Good Boys
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It's rare that even the premise of a mainstream movie can be characterized as immoral. Yet such is the case with the supposed comedy "Good Boys" (Universal).
  • Author's advice on moral investing not the only Catholic way
    George P. Schwartz, a certified financial adviser and CEO of Schwartz Investment Counsel, explores the idea of "participating in the capital markets in a purposeful, reasoned and ethical way to achieve legitimate investment objectives and avoid morally objectionable businesses" in his book, "In God We Trust." Schwartz names this idea "morally responsible investing," and practices it through the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, which he manages.
  • Banks holds no resentment for wrongful conviction; he's focused on others
    SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The new film "Brian Banks" recounts the true story of a high school football star whose promising future was derailed when he was falsely accused of rape.
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Much feathery fun is packed into "The Angry Birds Movie 2" (Sony), the latest animated installment in the franchise based on the addictive phone app. In fact, in every respect, it's far superior to, and more intelligent than, the 2016 original.
  • 'The Great Hack,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2016, the London-based and now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have improperly obtained 87 million Facebook subscribers' personal data to support the Trump campaign's Project Alamo. Some observers believe this activity helped sway that year's presidential election.
  • Dora and the Lost City of Gold
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Teenage and grown viewers will find much to cheer about in "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" (Paramount). As for younger fans of its source material, the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series "Dora the Explorer," however, parents may need to exercise just a bit of caution.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Classic horror motifs are given fresh life in the fun chiller "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" (Lionsgate). However, while the film is essentially a bloodless affair, other elements make it best for grownups.
  • Brian Banks
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Dramas of the falsely accused fighting against a broken legal system are reliably inspiring. With the sports star formula additionally worked in, "Brian Banks" (Bleecker Street) might seem to ace it.
  • New books outline history, modern realities of religious liberty
    Historian and journalist Steven Waldman would agree, but would quickly add that this "simple truth" has been challenged repeatedly in the United States. The subtitle of his new book says it all — America is engaged in a "long, bloody and ongoing struggle for religious rights."
  • The Kitchen
    NEW YORK (CNS) — What's cooking in "The Kitchen" (Warner Bros.)? A morally muddled stew of fatal feminism.
  • Toni Morrison, author baptized Catholic as child, dies at age 88
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Toni Morrison, award-winning author of 11 novels whose words brought to life the experiences of African American women, died Aug. 5 at age 88 in New York due to complications from pneumonia.
  • Filmmaker's documentary less on immigration than the 'human story'
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The linchpin of Marialuisa Ernst's upcoming documentary, "A Place of Absence," is that, each year, about 20,000 Latin Americans migrating to the United States seem to disappear.
  • Author shines needed light on dark chapter in U.S. Catholic history
    "Desegregating Dixie" tells the story of the slow, hesitant desegregation of Catholic parishes and schools. The Catholic Church has always had a small presence in the American South compared to the Protestant denominations. The church never set up separate black and white parishes as the Protestants did in the days of Jim Crow. Nonetheless, the vast majority of Catholics worshipped as separately as Protestants.
  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In keeping with a tested formula, barbs are traded, vehicles are raced and both fists and bullets fly in "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" (Universal), director David Leitch's stand-alone addition to the popular action franchise that started in 2001.
  • The Farewell
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "East is east and west is west," observed Rudyard Kipling, "and never the twain shall meet." Anyone doubting the ongoing applicability of that observation should see writer-director Lulu Wang's moving film "The Farewell" (A24).
  • Wall Street executive says 'joyful perseverance' key to street evangelism
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Stephen Auth is used to being taken seriously as a manager of mutual funds. In his work in street evangelism, though, he has learned new lessons in humility.
  • Intellectual biography traces influences on Pope Francis' thought
    In the age of the global papacy, the current occupant of the chair of St. Peter often gets boiled down to a simple caricature. St. John Paul II? An anti-communist celebrity. Pope Benedict XVI? A doctrinaire "rottweiler." Pope Francis? Light on theology, heavy on lived example.
  • They Are Billions
    NEW YORK (CNS) — If you've ever wanted to mesh medieval village management with the zombie apocalypse, now is your chance.
  • New documentary looks at immigrants' integration into U.S. heartland
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Filmmakers Matthew McGlinn and John Altman set out to, in McGlinn's words, "elevate the conversation" about immigration with their new documentary, "Immigrants in the Heartland: Who Are We Following?"
  • 'God gave me this passion to serve,' says 'Soul Surfer' subject
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Perhaps the most startling image in the documentary "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable" (Entertainment Films) is of the pro surfer, who lost her left arm in a 2003 shark attack, confidently navigating her surfboard while seven months pregnant with her first child.
  • Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Any film linking the names of writer-director Quentin Tarantino and infamous cult leader Charles Manson is unlikely to be a peaceable affair. And this eventually proves true for the auteur's ruefully affectionate look back at 1969 Tinseltown, "Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" (Columbia).
  • 'Pennyworth,' July 28, Epix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — At first glance, "Pennyworth," a limited series drama on the premium cable channel Epix, seems to be based on a great idea for a TV show.
  • Actor joins with those struggling for religious freedom in Middle East
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — A two-time Academy Award-winning actor lent his support July 16 to the religious freedom struggle in the Middle East.
    Mahershala Ali, winner of the supporting-actor Oscar for both "Moonlight" (2017) and "The Green Book" (2018), addressed an evening reception of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Congressional Caucus, co-sponsored at the U.S. Capitol with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
  • Faith is no trick up this magician's sleeve
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — For Giancarlo Bernini, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, things are not always as they appear and that's a good thing because it is how he plans to make a living.
  • Small volume has valuable insights on Our Father prayer
    Many books and essays have been written on the Our Father over the years. One of the most important essays prior to the Second Vatican Council was written early in his career by Father Raymond E. Brown (1928-1998).
  • Vatican Museums loan Leonardo da Vinci work for special anniversary
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci with a painting by the artist that will draw crowds but also pay solemn tribute to the larger-than-life Italian Renaissance painter, architect and inventor.
    "Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness" — an unfinished painting on wood on loan from the Vatican Museums — will be on special exhibit July 15-Oct. 6.
  • The Lion King
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Advances in moviemaking technology allow a story that could only previously be told as a cartoon to be enacted, so to speak, by animals. And so we get "The Lion King" (Disney).