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  • Advent calendars: Old tradition and modern commercialism
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Advent calendar with one tab or box to open each day for 24 or 25 days taps into something people really like: countdowns. It also highlights the anticipation that is at the heart of the four-week liturgical season of Advent.
  • Books for girls offer Catholic guidance to build bonds, navigate life
    Two new books for female readers offer Catholic perspective and guidance for building relationships and navigating through life.
  • Doctor Sleep
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- In crafting the horror sequel "Doctor Sleep" (Warner Bros.), which follows up on the events recounted in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film, "The Shining" -- based, like its successor, on a novel by Stephen King -- writer-director Mike Flanagan takes his time and effectively builds up a macabre mood.
  • 'American Son,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) stars in the intimate, viscerally powerful drama “American Son.” Miami attorney and playwright Christopher Demos-Brown adapted the 90-minute film — which is currently streaming on Netflix — from his acclaimed 2018 Broadway play.
  • Study cites 'content creep' in making TV ratings unreliable
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — A system is only as good as the people who use it.
  • Playing With Fire
    NEW YORK (CNS) — If your folks warned you against “Playing With Fire” (Paramount), their advice was sound. Though generally harmless, this comedy is so painfully unfunny, it's almost fascinating.
  • Last Christmas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The holiday-themed blend of romantic comedy and drama “Last Christmas” (Universal) is both awkward in execution and problematic in content. So viewers committed to scriptural values should approach it with caution.
  • Polish actress read saint's diaries to prepare for film role
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Kamila Kaminska, the Polish actress who played St. Faustina Kowalska in the new movie "Love and Mercy: Faustina," read the diaries her fellow countrywoman wrote to help prepare for the role.
  • Midway
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It's all hands on deck in the vivid fact-based naval epic "Midway" (Lionsgate). In fact, the cast of this historical drama is so crowded that viewers might feel the occasional roll call was in order.
  • Motherless Brooklyn
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Edward Norton wrote, directed and stars in "Motherless Brooklyn" (Warner Bros.), an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel. The result is a top-notch crime drama whose sound basic values are only tarnished by the gritty vocabulary of its script.
  • The Divine Plan
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players," says Shakespeare in "As You Like It." For people of faith, the world is God's stage, but we aren't merely players. We are partners with God as he acts through the human beings he has created.
  • Arctic Dogs
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Arctic Dogs" (AMBI Group) serves up family-friendly fare, scoring high on the cuteness meter despite its lack of originality.
  • Terminator: Dark Fate
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Grown fans of the action genre will find the sci-fi adventure "Terminator: Dark Fate" (Paramount) a serviceable diversion. Logicians dedicated to the details of cause and effect, not so much.
  • By the Grace of God
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2015, director and co-writer Tom McCarthy's fact-based film "Spotlight" followed the landmark investigation by reporters from the Boston Globe into the extent of priestly sexual abuse in their home city.
  • Top Catholic musician, conductor, composer Leo Nestor dies at 70
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 28 for Leo Cornelius Nestor, professor emeritus of sacred music at The Catholic University of America and former director of music director at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
  • Requiem to premiere at St. Mary Cathedral
    It was a requiem for the dead of World War I, but because it was written by a Russian composer, the director of the Moscow Synodal School of Church Singing, it would never be performed during the Soviet era. 
  • Harriet
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Harriet" (Focus) is a long overdue drama chronicling the exploits of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, Maryland-born Harriet Tubman (c.1822-1913).
  • Portland Art Museum: Día de Muertos
    Día de Muertos (Day of Dead) is a Mexican celebration of life to remember deceased loved ones. 
  • “Interfacing Science and Religion”
    ST. BENEDICT — Mount Angel Abbey’s 2019 Fall Lecture Series, “Interfacing Science and Religion,” offers its third of four presentations Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Mount Angel Abbey Library. This presentation is given by Dr. Russell Butkis and Dr. Steven Kolmes. 
  • St. Luke Production's next show at St. Anthony Parish in Southeast Portland, will be “Vianney” on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
  • 'The Apollo,' Nov. 6, HBO
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The last 10 minutes of "The Apollo" are wonderful. But, unfortunately, many viewers may abandon this otherwise unremarkable documentary, which premieres on the HBO pay-cable channel Wednesday, Nov. 6, 9-11 p.m. EST, long before its wrap-up.
  • Countdown
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Viewers may marvel at the efficiency and ingenuity it took to get a few authentic jolts into "Countdown" (STX). The movie is part of a loose genre of haunted-phone films.
  • Lucy in the Sky
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Something about the experience of outer space has a way of altering earthbound judgments. "Lucy in the Sky," (Fox Searchlight), a drama based loosely on a real-life love triangle involving astronaut Lisa Nowak, attempts to portray this.
  • The Current War: Director's Cut
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It's inventor Thomas Edison in one corner and industrialist George Westinghouse in the other in the intriguing historical drama "The Current War: Director's Cut" (101 Studios).
  • Victoria Requiem presented
    The combined adult and youth choirs of Cantores in Ecclesia, directed by Blake Applegate, present Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum.
  • Judgment Day: New book claims Vatican close to financial ruin
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — An Italian author who was once tried and acquitted by a Vatican court for publishing leaked documents is claiming in a new book that decades of mismanagement, shady deals and decreasing donations will leave the Vatican no choice but to default.
  • OCP unveils new missal
    After 10 years of producing the contemporary worship music supplement Choose Christ, Portland-based Oregon Catholic Press is releasing the Choose Christ Missal, which includes more contemporary repertoire.
  • Black and Blue
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Director Deon Taylor's action thriller "Black and Blue" (Screen Gems) generally succeeds in maintaining suspense about the fate of its protagonist, played by Naomie Harris.
  • Zombieland: Double Tap
    NEW YORK (CNS) — A full decade after the unusual combination of horror and comedy in "Zombieland” proved popular with both critics and audiences, the follow-up "Zombieland: Double Tap" (Columbia) arrives on screen.
  • Catholic 'Renaissance man' offers insights on writing
    Dana Gioia is something of a Renaissance man. After an education at Stanford and Harvard, he rose through the ranks at General Foods and retired as a senior vice president. That alone would be a mark of achievement.
  • 'Sid and Judy,' Oct. 18, Showtime
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Half a century after her untimely death at 47, Hollywood icon Judy Garland is hav-ing a moment of renewed attention.
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The moral probing and feminist revisionism that characterized its 2014 predeces-sor are mostly absent from the routine follow-up "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" (Disney). So much so, that ethical straightforwardness makes its title seem somewhat misleading.
  • The Addams Family
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Those creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky characters from the imagination of Charles Addams receive the big-screen animated treatment in “The Addams Family” (MGM).
  • Gemini Man
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Though it may be named after a heavenly constellation, the sci-fi action-thriller “Gemini Man” (Paramount) turns out to be less than stellar.
  • Jexi
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Discerning moviegoers will reject “Jexi” (Lionsgate). This vulgar one-joke comedy quickly wears out its welcome and exhausts its limited comic resources, leading both to excess and to a discernible tone of desperation.
  • Joker
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Origin stories of Batman villains don’t get any darker than “Joker” (Warner Bros.)
  • Downton Abbey
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Those who’ve been yearning for a fix of interwar elegance ever since the popular ITV and PBS television series “Downton Abbey” went off the air in 2015 can rejoice.
  • ‘Unbelievable,’ streaming, Netflix
    ‘Unbelievable, an eight-part miniseries, stars Kaitlyn Dever as Marie. It is a story of a police department that failed to protect its community and worse, victimized the victim. 
  • Director: Victims call new film on abuse ‘the French “Spotlight”‘
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Anybody who sees “By the Grace of God,” a new French-language film that details a true-to-life French clerical sex abuse scandal, may be struck by similarities to the U.S. drama “Spotlight,” which dealt with the abuse scandal that erupted in Boston in 2002.
  • New film on St. Faustina makes one-night-only debut Oct. 28
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — A new film on the life of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun whose visions of Jesus led to the Divine Mercy devotion, will have a one-night-only showing Oct. 28 on more than 700 screens across the United States.
  • Book relates public, private lives of pioneer in Catholic-Jewish ties
    This excellent book tells the story of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, who certainly lived up to the title, and narrates Jewish-Christian relations during his tenure with the Synagogue Council of America and the American Jewish Committee. The book speaks of his youth in Baltimore in an Orthodox Jewish family and his studies at the Conservative Jewish theological seminary in New York.
  • Sculptor hopes to convey welcoming message through art
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Since his election, Pope Francis has made the care and welcoming of migrants and refugees a cornerstone of his papacy.
  • Novel helps readers feel the chill of mid-century Minnesota
    One of the great pleasures of reading is being invited to wander through a world of someone else’s making. Characters, times and places come alive under a good writer’s hand, and an engaged reader takes up residence and settles in.
  • Rambo: Last Blood
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It’s an old and easily spotted Hollywood trick: Set up a group of easy-to-hate villains, then dole out their presumably just desserts while inviting viewers to revel in their well-earned punishment.
  • Abominable
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "Adorable" has a new synonym: "Abominable" (DreamWorks), a charming animated film which transforms the dreaded Yeti monster — the legendary abominable snowman — into a lovable furball.
  • ST. BENEDICT — Mount Angel Abbey’s 2019 Fall Lecture Series, “Interfacing Science and Religion,” offers its second of four presentations Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Mount Angel Abbey Library. This presentation is given by Holy Cross Father Thomas Hosinski, professor emeritus of the department of theology at the University of Portland. He will speak on physics, cosmology, and the hidden presence of God.
  • In Mulieribus announces 2019-20 season
    In Mulieribus, Portland’s female vocal ensemble, has announced its 13th season. 
  • Ad Astra
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The Latin motto from which the compelling sci-fi drama "Ad Astra" (Fox) takes its title assures us that, by persevering through difficulties, we can aspire to reach the stars.
  • Biography asks whether prestige, Catholic identity are at odds
    On March 3, 2015, college students donned heavy coats against the brutal Lake Michigan winter and lined a concrete drive on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. In a very particular sense, many of them would not have been there without the efforts of the man to whom they paid their respects — Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, who guided that university for 35 years on a path toward ever-higher academic prowess and prestige, but, as a new biography argues, not without tradeoffs.
  • Iconography Institute teaches students a new way to pray
    Every summer, Father Jon Buffington, a priest in the Chaldean Catholic rite, boards an airplane to take him from Portland to Florence, Italy. His destination: Zecchi’s. Zecchi’s is a shop that has been providing painters with natural stone and mineral pigments since the Renaissance.
  • 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.
  • “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy” tours Oregon
    The live drama “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy” tours the Portland Archdiocese and Baker Diocese this month: Sept. 19 in Cottage Grove, and Sept. 20 in Portland; Sept. 29 in Bend and Sept. 30 in Redmond.
  • 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.