Staff Member, Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
January 19, 2018 | By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. The life of pop entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum provides the subject matter for the big, brash musical “The Greatest Showman” (PG, Fox).
Ironically, the film arrived in theaters almost seven months to the day after the demise of the 19th-century impresario’s most lasting legacy, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
December 15, 2017 | By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. Its rather ill-chosen title notwithstanding, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (PG, Bleecker Street) involves no denial of the Nativity.
Instead, this charming fact-based historical drama tells the origin story of Victorian author Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol.”
December 1, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. A holiday treat suitable for all but the tiniest, “The Star” (Sony) is a delightful animated version of the Christmas story told from the perspective of some of the animals present in the manger.
October 9, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. “American Made” (R, Universal), the wild, fact-based story of airline pilot-turned-gun-runner Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), is far too turbulent for youngsters and even too bumpy for most of their elders.
September 16, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. Sincere but less than slick, the low-key, fact-based drama “All Saints” (PG, Sony) celebrates Christian faith and family life. Believers, accordingly, will likely be inclined to overlook its artistic shortcomings.
July 7, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK. Stylish and energetic, the high-octane crime drama “Baby Driver” (R, TriStar) blends pop music, dizzying car chases and some dark humor to impressive effect.
While the film’s basic values are sound, however, late plot developments involve a quantity of bloodletting that will seem excessive to many moviegoers.
June 16, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK. Close to eight decades ago, William Moulton Marston — whose name seems more suited to a stodgy novelist than a writer of comic books — created Wonder Woman. In the years since, the character has, of course, become a staple for DC Comics.
June 2, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK. Iconic and eccentric buccaneer Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) hoists the black flag for a fifth time in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (PG-13, Disney). The result is a flashy but ultimately unsatisfying journey for the theme park ride-based franchise that first set sail in 2003.
May 19, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Sound fundamental values underlie the spirited sci-fi follow-up "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (Disney). But thematic elements demanding discernment, together with some less than family-friendly dialogue, make this return to the stars best for grown-ups.
March 17, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. With a thematic agenda that takes it beyond the usual confines of its genre, and a story driven forward by sustained, nervous dread -- an emotion skillfully conveyed from the characters to the audience — “Kong: Skull Island” (PG-13, Warner Bros.) is an impressive monster movie.
March 3, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK. Those seeking nothing more from a movie than sheer spectacle may be satisfied with director Zhang Yimou’s visually interesting but thoroughly implausible action adventure “The Great Wall” (PG-13, Universal).
January 20, 2017 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. The struggles of the civil rights era provide the backdrop for the appealing fact-based drama “Hidden Figures” (PG, Fox 2000). Along with a personalized insight into the injustices that still prevailed in American society in the early 1960s, director Theodore Melfi’s adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book — which centers on three extraordinarily gifted mathematicians working for NASA — successfully re-creates the tension of the Cold War space race.
December 16, 2016 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. Evangelical Christian faith hovers in the background of the holiday-themed drama “Believe” (PG, Freestyle). Though not as rose-colored in its outlook as some religiously-inspired projects, the movie — which is suitable for most age groups — lacks polish.
November 4, 2016 | By JOHN MULDERIG
NEW YORK. While not exactly hellish, “Inferno” (PG-13, Columbia), director Ron Howard’s screen version of Dan Brown’s 2013 novel, does produce some of the purgatorial tedium of sitting around in a dentist’s waiting room or standing at a bus stop.