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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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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