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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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Josephine Bakhita: For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. 
<p>Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means <i>fortunate</i>. She was re-sold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan. </p><p>Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. </p><p>When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885. </p><p>Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!" </p><p>The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.</p> American Catholic Blog St. Paul talks about the Christian life as a race, and encourages us to run so as to win. So it’s not just OK, it’s commanded to be competitive, to strive to excel. But true greatness consists in sharing in the sacrificial love of Christ, who comes to serve rather than to be served. That means that this race St. Paul is talking about is a race to the bottom.

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Today we honor the first saint from the Sudan, who was a model of piety and humility.

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