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Movie review: 'The Emoji Movie'

Tech savvy viewers will especially enjoy the wacky proceedings of "The Emoji Movie" (Columbia). But patrons of all stripes will appreciate the film's themes of loyal friendship and faithful romance.
 
Set within the smartphone of high school freshman Alex (voice of Jake T. Austin), this lighthearted animated comedy tracks the adventures of a trio of misfits on their quest to reach the internet Cloud.
 
Gene (voice of T.J. Miller) is a "Meh" icon meant to express only indifference. But the first time Alex makes use of him, the native enthusiasm of his personality, together with nervousness at making his professional debut, causes him to register a strange mix of emotions instead of the bland apathy he was supposed to convey.
 
This malfunction immediately makes Gene an outcast and draws the ire of the chief emoji, maniacally cheerful Smiler (voice of Maya Rudolph). She condemns Gene to be deleted. So he goes on the run and joins forces with upbeat hand symbol Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden) and rebellious codebreaker Jailbreak (voice of Anna Faris).
 
Once one of Alex's favorites, Hi-5 has fallen into disuse and longs to regain his former popularity. Jailbreak resents the regulated life she is forced to lead on the phone and hopes to enjoy much greater freedom by transferring herself permanently to the Cloud.
 
As the three newfound friends bond, and something more than friendship blossoms between Gene and Jailbreak, the challenges of their journey force them to prove their mutual devotion. Messages about teamwork and putting the interests of others ahead of your own goals balance the emphasis on Gene's right to break the mold and be himself.
 
The presence of a minor character named Poop -- voiced, amusingly, by no less a personage than Sir Patrick Stewart -- typifies the predictable potty humor running through director and co-writer Tony Leondis' script, penned with Eric Siegel and Mike White. Together with episodes of peril, these jokes may make "The Emoji Movie" a less than ideal choice for the youngest film fans.
 
The feature is preceded by an eccentric, enjoyable short called "Puppy!" which involves a young lad, a giant, disruptive dog named Tinkles and the boy's indulgent grandfather -- who just happens to be Count Dracula.
 
The film contains characters in jeopardy, mild scatological humor, a suppressed crude expression and a slightly crass term.
 
The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
 
  • Published in Reviews

Pope offers new beatitudes for saints of a new age

MALMO, Sweden (CNS) -- The saints are blessed because they were faithful and meek and cared for others, Pope Francis said.
 
At the end of an ecumenical trip to Sweden, Pope Francis celebrated the feast of All Saints Nov. 1 with a Catholic Mass in a Malmo stadium. He highlighted the lives of the Swedish saints, Elizabeth Hesselblad and Bridget of Vadstena, who "prayed and worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians."
 
The best description of the saints -- in fact, their "identity card" -- the pope said, is found in the beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which begins, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
 
And, he said, as Christian saints have done throughout the ages, Christ's followers today are called "to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus."
 
New situations require new energy and a new commitment, he said, and then he offered a new list of beatitudes for modern Christians:
 
-- "Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart."
 
-- "Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness."
 
-- "Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him."
 
-- "Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home."
 
-- "Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others."
 
-- "Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians."
 
"All these are messengers of God's mercy and tenderness," Pope Francis said. "Surely they will receive from him their merited reward."
 
Registered Catholics in Sweden number about 115,000 -- just over 1 percent of the population. But with recent waves of immigration, especially from Chaldean Catholic communities in Iraq, local church officials believe the number of Catholics is double the reported figure.
 
Reflecting the multicultural makeup of the Catholic Church in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, the prayer intentions at Mass were read in Spanish, Arabic, English, German and Polish as well as in Swedish.
 
 
  • Published in World
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