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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Adan Canto, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and Daniel Cudmore star in a scene from the movie "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
Time travel meets a gleefully loopy version of American history in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (Fox).

There are many surreal moments—Jennifer Lawrence as cerulean shape-shifter Raven/Mystique in a showdown with Richard Nixon, for one—but also some thoughtful moral commentary on whether it's a good idea to alter the path of history or accept an immutable destiny.

The plot, loaded with the kinetic action sequences familiar from the first six films in the series, is quite simple. It's 2023 and the planet has been devastated by the Sentinels, fire-breathing robots first unleashed 50 years earlier. As doom descends on the mutants known collectively as X-Men, the elderly versions of Dr. Charles Xavier and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) argue about the need to rewrite history.

Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has the ability to send someone's consciousness back in time, so she sends the most indestructible among them, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to 1973 so he can intercept Raven/Mystique before she assassinates the Sentinels' inventor, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).

It was after that event that the blue gal was captured and her DNA replicated to make the Sentinels virtually indestructible. If Trask lives, though, he'll be imprisoned and the nascent Sentinel program will go away.

Wolverine also grabs the younger Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who is being held in a secret underground prison at the Pentagon after being wrongfully implicated in the assassination of President Kennedy. He's helped by a new character, Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who escapes every jam with his super-high speed.

Discussions about how a single event changes the future mingle with arguments between the younger Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto about how best to deal with Raven/Mystique. Director Brian Singer and screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman eventually surrender existential angst to the plethora of special effects, including a flying stadium.

The film contains gun and physical violence, fleeting rear male nudity, a reference to non-marital sexual activity, and fleeting rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire 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.

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