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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Last Stand

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Forest Whitaker and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in a scene from the movie "The Last Stand."
A souped-up Corvette gets more screen time than star Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Last Stand" (Lionsgate), a formulaic shoot-'em-up action flick that marks Schwarzenegger's return to leading-man roles.

Guns go a-blazin' when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, escapes custody just as he's being sent to death row. He outwits the feds, led by agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker).

Key to the plot, Cortez also is a skilled race-car driver and his Corvette can hit speeds of nearly 200 mph.

He's planning to cross the border at a narrow canyon near Sommerton, Ariz. Out to stop him is the town's sheriff, ex-Los Angeles police officer Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). Sommerton's a sleepy place and Owens' deputies are clownish until faced with this unprecedented challenge.

Cortez has a hostage in tow, FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez), while Owens has his deputies and an ally in local loon Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville).

The big finale includes a car chase through a cornfield and considerable gunfire aimed at an empty school bus. Schwarzenegger doesn't chase the bad guys; they come to him. Convenient that, given his age.

Director Kim Jee-Woon and screenwriter Andrew Knauer stick mostly to the car-chase genre while failing to give Schwarzenegger a single good one-liner, unless you count, "Dese tings are all connected."

Meandering mayhem for the sturdy and mature only.

The film contains considerable violence, including much gunplay, occasional profanity and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service 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.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog When we suffer, we don’t just come to understand the pain of Christ’s cross more, we come to understand the depth of God’s love for us: that he would endure such pain for us—in our place. We have a God who endured death so we would never have to do so.

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