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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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