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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Homefront

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Jason Statham and Izabela Vidovic star in a scene from the movie "Homefront."
The 100-minute curse-athon that is "Homefront" (Open Road) combines the violent tropes of a meth drama with tender scenes of domestic life to less than compelling effect.

With a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone adapted from the novel by Chuck Logan, you expect more gunfire than monosyllabic dialogue, plus caricatures of bad guys. Check and check.

Everyone except for 10-year-old Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), the little girl central to the family plotline, has a limited vocabulary spewed at high speed -- and oppressively high volume.

Action star Jason Statham plays Phil Broker, a recently widowed DEA agent who's trying to move on, daughter Maddy in tow, to a quieter life amidst the horses, cypress trees and waterways of rural Louisiana. Phil's last undercover operation in Shreveport, targeting a biker gang, ended badly with the death of their ringleader's son. Grieving dad's now imprisoned, vowing revenge.

Phil's never far from a bubbling meth lab. In his new hometown, where Maddy strains to fit in with the local kids, it's operated by drawling thug Gator Bodine (James Franco).

Gator learns of Phil's background and, with the help of his girlfriend, Sheryl (Winona Ryder), sets up a climactic battle with the bikers during which Maddy is held hostage.

Other potty-mouthed Cajuns under the direction of Gary Fleder include Cassie (Kate Bosworth), Gator's meth-addicted sister, whose mottled family life and parenting skills affect Maddy on the school playground.

The film contains pervasive bloody violence, a brief, semi-graphic scene of non-marital sexual activity, drug use, fleeting profanities and relentless rough and crude 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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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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