JOHN MULDERIG

Staff Member, Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 17, 2021  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. Sprightly wit paces the elegant martial-arts showdowns in director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton’s Marvel Comics-derived adventure “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (PG-13, Disney).

A treat for grown-ups, the film is too laden with extra-biblical ideas to be recommended for impressionable moviegoers. As for older teens, they’ll likely shrug off its overly-elaborate mythos as so much window dressing.


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September 3, 2021  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. Since premiering on Nickelodeon in 2013, the Canadian-produced cartoon series “PAW Patrol” has succeeded in gluing the eyes of many a tot to their TV or computer screens.

With the arrival of “PAW Patrol: The Movie” (Paramount), the titular rescue crew of pups bring their adventures to a multiplex near you. The result is a breezy, tenderhearted film suitable for all.


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August 6, 2021  |  By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG

NEW YORK. For most of its running time, the lighthearted adventure “Jungle Cruise” (PG-13, Disney), adapted by director Jaume Collet-Serra from a Magic Kingdom theme park ride, registers as a diverting, if insubstantial, fantasy.

But the gratuitous addition of a scene in which a principal character outs himself as gay and briefly parrots the LGBTQ party line precludes endorsement of the film for youthful viewers.


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May 21, 2021  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. Though it’s adapted from a book that’s over a decade old, “Monster” (R, Netflix), director Anthony Mandler’s screen version of Walter Dean Myers’ 1999 novel for young adults, feels remarkably timely. This tale of a Harlem youth caught up in the criminal justice system gains credibility, moreover, by avoiding pat answers.


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March 19, 2021  |  By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG

NEW YORK. “If you could read my mind, love/What a tale my thoughts could tell.” So mused Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in a hit song from a half-century ago.

The downside of such a situation bedevils the hero of the dull dystopian science fiction drama “Chaos Walking” (PG-13, Lionsgate). He inhabits a world where men’s thoughts — though not women’s — take audible and sometimes visible form, and thus can only be concealed with great difficulty. While that proves troubling for him and those around him, the effect on the film’s audience is nothing short of torturous.


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February 5, 2021  |  By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG

NEW YORK. As the director of such films as “Up” (2009) and 2015’s “Inside Out,” Pete Docter has taken cartoons to the heights of artistry, proving that an animated feature can be touching, emotionally rich and memorable.

And that’s to say nothing of his involvement in the four “Toy Story” movies.


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December 4, 2020  |  By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, JOHN MULDERIG

NEW YORK. The interest high-ranking officials in the Third Reich showed in collecting valuable art — more often by foul means than fair — has proved a rich source of cinematic material in recent years.


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November 20, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. The drama “Let Him Go” (R, Focus), writer-director Thomas Bezucha’s adaptation of Larry Watson’s 2013 novel, showcases a successful, if sometimes tense, marriage.

But it’s also a morally dicey affair in which characters’ good and evil instincts are intertwined in a way that can only be untangled through subtle ethical assessment.


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October 16, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. “The family that prays together stays together.” Although he popularized rather than originated that pithy saying, the sentence aptly sums up the message of Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton (1909-1992), who advocated it both tirelessly and with great success.


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August 7, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK.  Despite a tragically brief and illness-plagued career, Catholic author Flannery O’Connor, who died in 1964 aged just 39, is recognized as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, excelling especially in her short stories.


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June 19, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. In the hands of such great artists as British novelist J.R.R. Tolkien or Irish poet W.B. Yeats, the elements of medieval lore have been deployed to great effect.

Such, alas, is not the case with “Artemis Fowl” (PG, Disney), director Kenneth Branagh’s crowded, off-key screen version of Eoin Colfer’s 2001 fantasy novel for young adults that’s streaming now on Disney+.


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June 5, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG

NEW YORK. Baby boomers may remember whiling away their Saturday mornings, beginning in 1969, by watching the Hanna- Barbera cartoon series “Scooby- Doo, Where Are You!”


Beyond the fact that its ensemble of teen sleuths always discovered a perfectly reasonable explanation for apparently occult events, however, their memories of the show may be blurry.


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FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Big hits, little-seen gems

Ten films that were among best of 2019 offer options for home viewing until theaters re-open
May 15, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. The year 2019 saw the release of quality films across a wide range of genres, from a comic book-based extravaganza and a family drama about a Chinese American clan to a crackerjack murder mystery.

Below — in alphabetical order — are the Media Review Office of Catholic News Service’s picks for last year’s Top 10 movies overall.


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March 20, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. “Emma” (PG, Focus) is a delightful screen version of Jane Austen’s classic novel, lovely to look at and abounding in gentle humor.

Only the momentary introduction of a bit of visual earthiness, presumably meant to balance off the overall painterly elegance of the picture, hinders endorsement for younger viewers. That’s a shame because this is otherwise a perfect entree into Austen’s delicate world.


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February 7, 2020  |  By JOHN MULDERIG, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK. Exactly a century ago, British author Hugh Lofting published “The Story of Doctor Dolittle,” the first in a long series of books for children that have won lasting popularity for their protagonist, a physician-turned-veterinarian who has, need it be said, the unique ability to communicate with the critters he treats.


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