Despite terrible reviews, Paranormal Activity 3, released last weekend, managed to break U.S. box office records. Initially, the third installment in the series seemed unworthy of The New American’s attention until it became apparent that there was something drawing moviegoers to fork over so many inflated dollars for a film that seemed at best uninteresting and at worst laughable. It turns out all the hoopla amounted to nothing: PA3 was spiritless — at least in the sense of dull as dishwater.

It’s 1943 and you find yourself in Germany. A Nazi officer is pointing a gun at you and demanding that you hop on a bulldozer and use it to bury hundreds of Jewish families who have been shot and are piled up in a huge pit. But among the dead are some individuals who are still living, crying out for mercy. What would you do, knowing that if you refuse to bury these people alive you will be gunned down yourself?

Big Year movie posterThe recently released movie The Big Year — featuring a cast of well-known faces and a number of poignant and also comical scenes — focuses on a group of bird-watchers who allow their pride to interfere with everything that's important in life. With a positive pro-family message and loads of humor, it's a family friendly film for audiences of all ages.

Real Steel is an engaging film about the world of boxing in the year 2020, when the sport no longer permits human fighters. Instead, the boxing industry features bouts between 1,000-pound robots, leaving pugilists such as Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) in the lurch. The movie — reportedly  inspired by a 1963 episode of Twilight Zone, and adapted to the big screen by John Gatins ranges from action-packed boxing scenes to the emotional drama of paternal relationships. It's an underdog story that's virtually a cross between Rocky and Cinderella Man.

CourageousCourageous is one of the few films to hit the big screen this year that's worth writing home about. Exploring the lives of four men who are impacted by tragedy, the movie deals with spirituality and faith, and tells a story that will likely remain with its viewers long after the final credits.

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