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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Dark Skies

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Josh Hamilton and Kadan Rockett star in a scene from the movie "Dark Skies."
The restrained, but not overly original, thriller "Dark Skies" (Dimension) comes backed by the producers behind the "Paranormal Activity" franchise. And, both for better and worse, it shows.

Thus, writer-director Scott Stewart, like his "Paranormal" counterparts, presents viewers with comparatively little violence; only one passing scene relies, for its effect, on the sight of blood. But some of the proceedings—like the inexplicable rearranging of various kitchen items—feel too familiar, by now, to be scary.

As for the found footage device, Stewart holds off on introducing it, seemingly as long as he dares. But even so, its eventual, seemingly inevitable, appearance is likely to inspire a weary sigh.

The film's premise also feels well-worn: Ordinary suburban couple Lacy (Keri Russell) and Daniel (Josh Hamilton) Barrett and their sons—teen Jessie (Dakota Goyo) and 6-year-old Sam (Kadan Rockett)—are beset by a series of disturbing events.

Baffled and frightened, the parents eventually turn to reclusive conspiracy theorist Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons). His explanation indicates that the Barretts have unwittingly drawn the attention of some highly unusual, and potentially dangerous, visitors.

Stewart works into his script the pro-family notion that clan discord—under economic pressure, Lacy and Daniel have been quarreling—assists dark forces. But, with Jessie going through a rebellious phase, Stewart also shows us some adolescent experimentation with drugs, pornography and other forms of sexuality that make his eerie offering unsuitable for kids.

The film contains fleeting gore, brief scenes of sensuality, some involving teens, nongraphic marital lovemaking, a couple of uses of profanity and a smattering of crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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