Note: Film Forum will be posting on Wednesday next week rather than Thursday for the holiday. I'm curious—What's the best movie about American history you've seen? Send me your recommendations on good rentals for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Hot from the Oven

You probably know the premise of this week's box office champ—Minority Report—by now. Film Forum posted early reviews of the film last week. Suffice to say: Tom Cruise plays a cop who heads a prototype crime initiative in the year 2054 that uses psychic helpers to catch murderers before they commit crimes. But when he sees himself holding the gun in a projected murder scenario, he goes on the run, dodging his own team, to figure out if he has been framed, or if he is indeed a murderer. It's an action-packed sci-fi extravaganza, and the box office shows that Steven Spielberg still has the magic touch.

This week, religious press critics offered a wide array of responses to Spielberg's intense, sci-fi murder mystery, mostly positive. (My own review is at Looking Closer.)

Paul Bicking (Preview) complains that the movie includes "violent crimes … gruesome scenes [involving] a medical procedure … crude and vulgar terms." He concludes, "Minority Report doesn't get a majority vote."

But a quick scan through other religious press reviews shows that the majority is quite impressed indeed. A critic at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says, "Spielberg's direction is masterful. The narrative … presents issues of societal good at the cost of personal freedom, and the value of human life. The movie is also topical in questioning how far government should be allowed to go to protect its citizens from potential criminals, a front and center issue for Americans today." This ...

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