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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag

 
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