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Beowulf & Grendel

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Source: Catholic News Service

Grim and tepid, if earnest and ruggedly beautiful, retelling of the eighth-century Anglo-Saxon saga of the Norse hero Beowulf (Gerard Butler) who leads a troop of warriors across the sea to help the long-suffering Danish king Hrothgar (Stellan Skarsgard) rid his lands of a murderous troll, Grendel (Ingvar Sigurdsson), who is exacting revenge on Danes for an earlier wrong. Stripping the epic of both its fantasy and Christian elements while remaining faithful to its outline, director Sturla Gunnarsson does a good job at establishing the dark, dank and brutish world of the poem, breaking up the overall broodiness with savage swordplay and severed limbs, but what the film gains in pathos by humanizing the monster, and a contemporary feel by modernizing the dialogue (including frequent use of the f-word), it loses in mythic luster. Assorted bloody violence, including dismemberment, some gruesome images, a rape flashback, an implied sexual encounter, a crass scene of urination, and recurring rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.
<p><b>Joseph</b> was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.
</p><p><b>Nicodemus</b> was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.
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