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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Final Destination 5

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

What has become a cinematic meat grinder of a franchise churns on with "Final Destination 5" (Warner Bros.). Appealing exploitatively to the worst in human nature—a morbid desire to watch special-effects-fodder characters killed off in various nauseating ways—director Steven Quale's gorefest is mind-numbingly boring when not repulsive.

The current retread of the all-too-familiar formula behind these flicks sees a group of paper factory executives—played by Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, P.J. Byrne, Arlen Escarpeta and David Koechner—managing to evade death thanks to the timely premonition of a colleague named Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto). Sam mystically foresees the collapse of the bridge the co-workers are crossing on their way to a corporate retreat.

But the Grim Reaper, who clearly doesn't appreciate being hustled, begins evening his accounts by subjecting each survivor in succession to a bizarre and grisly end. These range from an acupuncture session and a laser eye surgery appointment that both go horribly wrong to a gymnastics incident that even the notorious East German Olympic judges of old would have been justified in scoring low.

Stitching these scenes of mayhem together, barely, is something like a plotline about Sam leaving the paper industry behind to pursue his real interest—haute cuisine—by becoming an intern chef at a Paris restaurant.

But what will this mean for his relationship with girlfriend Molly (Bell)? Of course no one cares, and the cooking angle is just an excuse to tease viewers with the meat cleavers, flaming skillets and bubbling deep fryers of the eatery where Sam moonlights after office hours.

Those conversant with Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov's dictum that, if a revolver is seen in the first act of a play it must be fired in the second or third act, will be suitably alarmed to note that this array of kitchen equipment also includes a huge pointed skewer for roasting meat.

Coming at you, as they say, and in 3-D.

The film contains pervasive gruesome violence, a few rough and about a dozen crude terms and some sexual references. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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



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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Silence is the ability to trust that God is acting, teaching, and using me—even before I perform or after my seeming failures. Silence is the necessary space around things that allows them to develop and flourish without my pushing. God takes it from there.

 
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