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Hotel Transylvania View Comments
by Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP

Hotel Transylvania
When Mavis (voice of Selena Gomez), daughter of the widowed Count Dracula, or “Drack” (voice of Adam Sandler), comes of age at 118, she wants to go beyond the human-free resort for monsters that her father built to protect her. As their friends gather to celebrate Mavis’ birthday, Drack builds a fake village and disguises zombies as humans so Mavis will return home convinced that people are mean.

A hiker named Jonathan (voice of Andy Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel and meets Mavis. Drack tells one of his monster pals that a father must do everything to protect his child, even if it means lying. Of course, this becomes his undoing.

The moral of this 3-D animated comedy, aimed at the entire family for Halloween, is for parents: don’t lie to your kids because it will come back to haunt you! Drack thinks he’s protecting his daughter out of love, but we find out there is a good dose of fear as well. He is afraid of how humans will react when they find out that she is a vampire.

Hotel Transylvania is entertaining for kids under 10, and I heard some adults laughing at the screening I attended. Though all the characters are likable, there’s nothing new in yet another too-long, Hollywood-animated feature predicated on a deceased mother and an anxiety-riddled father.
A-2, PG ■ Rude humor, action that may frighten the very young.

Trouble with the Curve
This small movie is about the relationship between a grumpy, growling, aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves, Gus (Clint Eastwood), and his lawyer-daughter Mickey (Amy Adams). When Gus’ friend Pete (John Goodman) alerts Mickey to Gus’ eyesight problems, she joins her dad to scout players in North Carolina, jeopardizing her promotion to partner at her law firm.

Father and daughter spar, but they love each other—and the game—even though Mickey, named for Mickey Mantle, has abandonment issues. When Mickey was 6, her mother died, and Gus sent her to live with relatives for a year and then to boarding school.

One of Gus’ protégés, Johnny (Justin Timberlake), is retired because of injuries and is now a scout for the Boston Red Sox. He arrives at the local ballpark because all the teams are looking at a promising player. Johnny finds himself attracted to Mickey, who turns out to be a pretty good scout herself.

Director Robert Lorenz has been a crew member on several of Eastwood’s films, and first-time writer Randy Brown keeps the story uncomplicated. The plot is predictable because some of the camera shots and closeups signal what’s going to happen. Even so, the film hums along and never tries to be more than it is.
A-3, PG-13 ■ Mild language, some sexual references.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It’s 1991 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. High school freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) is shy, quiet, and anxious as school starts—afraid the other kids will know he has spent time in a hospital. When Patrick (Ezra Miller), a senior who’s gay, finds out that Charlie’s best friend committed suicide recently, he recognizes a wounded soul and brings Charlie into a small group of wallflower friends who are different for one reason or another: Sam (Emma Watson), Patrick’s stepsister and companion, and Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), a vegan Buddhist.

The friends party a lot—from acting in a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to smoking pot. Charlie is captivated by his friends’ love for music, especially when they drive their truck through a tunnel at night to blaring music and Sam stands and reaches for the stars. Music becomes the way Charlie communicates his feelings.

Charlie’s family is attentive to him, but his mom (Kate Walsh) and dad (Dylan McDermott) only realize the source of his mental problems when he has a breakdown at the end of the year. It is a moment of grace for Charlie—a rebirth.

Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the film, based on his novel of the same name. The actors excel and infuse The Perks of Being a Wallflower with so much heart and soul. The film shows how brave teens can be when faced with terrible odds and how important friends are. It does so without excluding parents, as so many of these stories often do.
Not yet rated, PG-13 ■ Mature themes including child sex abuse, domestic violence, drug use, and alcohol.

A-1 General patronage
A-2 Adults and adolescents
A-3 Adults
L Limited adult audience
O Morally offensive

The USCCB's Office for Film and Broadcasting gives these ratings. See

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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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