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A few samples of Catholic News Service reviews

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 7:54 p.m. MDT

Examples of recent capsule movie reviews produced by the Catholic News Service:

EASY A — A clean-cut but lost-in-the-crowd teen (Emma Stone) becomes notorious among her peers when a self-righteous fellow high school student (Amanda Bynes) overhears her lying to her best friend (Aly Michalka) about losing her virginity. The gossip about her sexual exploits rapidly snowballs out of control. Though director Will Gluck's satire conveys some worthwhile messages about the dangers of judging from appearances and the temptation to pigeonhole or belittle others, the script presents all Christians as hypocrites and implies that any consensual form of bedroom behavior is acceptable. Negative portrayal of Christianity, benign view of premarital sex and homosexuality, implied drug use, brief partial nudity, venereal disease theme, some sexual humor, at least 10 uses of profanity, much crude and crass language. O— morally offensive. (PG-13)

ALPHA AND OMEGA — Opposites are forced to become allies when two kidnapped wolves, disciplined and serious Kate (voice of Hayden Panettiere) and free-spirited, fun-loving Humphrey (voice of Justin Long), embark on a challenging journey to find their way home. Despite colorful animation and eye-popping 3-D effects, co-directors Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck's adventure falls back upon a tired — but kid-approved — formula of bathroom humor, slapstick action and wisecracking characters. The potty jokes aside, this is basically harmless fun for the entire family. A-I — general patronage. (PG)

FLIPPED —A heartwarming coming-of-age story, based on the Wendelin Van Draanen novel, that chronicles the relationship of two kids, Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe), over a six-year period. At 7 years old, Juli has "flipped" over Bryce, but her puppy love is not returned. Amid the ups and downs of their friendship, the film examines family life in baby boom-era suburbia, challenging stereotypes and prejudices with a surprisingly strong pro-life message. As directed by Rob Reiner, everything about "Flipped" feels right and genuine, with a prevailing atmosphere of innocence and sensitivity, making this uplifting film probably acceptable for older teens. A handful of profane and crass expressions and scenes of family discord. A-III— adults. (PG)

THE TOWN — Seamy heist drama in which a failed pro hockey player-turned-underworld-thief (Ben Affleck) first stalks, then falls for, a bank manager (Rebecca Hall). He and his cohorts (most prominently Jeremy Renner) fear she could identify them, despite the disguises they wore while successfully robbing her workplace. But the fundamentally good-hearted gangster's hopes for romance and a return to decency are hampered by the relentless pursuit of a sometimes unscrupulous FBI agent (Jon Hamm). While director and co-writer Affleck's screen version of Chuck Hogan's 2004 novel "Prince of Thieves" is seriously intended and morally weighty, excessive violence, gritty (though fleeting) sexuality and consistently foul-mouthed dialogue are red flags for all. The nun costumes donned by the gang during a subsequent caper jar on Catholic sensibilities in particular. Considerable gunplay and some bloody beatings, brief graphic nonmarital sexual activity, glimpses of upper female and partial nudity, pervasive rough and crude language, irreverent imagery. O— morally offensive. (R)

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