Cake for ‘joyful’ pope on his 81st birthday

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s square as he celebrates his birthday on December 17. (AFP)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Cake for ‘joyful’ pope on his 81st birthday

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday Sunday with a hero cake and a message urging the world — and children in particular — to join in the holiday mood and be joyful.
The Argentine pontiff thanked the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer as they sang happy birthday, and was expected to slice into his birthday cake after lunch.
It sports a picture of the pope carrying the world on his shoulders, designed by Italian graffiti artist MauPal.
The artist — whose real name is Mauro Pallotta — famously depicted Francis as Superman in 2014 and has since begun supporting Vatican charitable projects by selling T-shirts bearing the flying pope.
The pear and cinnamon delight shows Francis in his white cassock, holding up with one hand the world, which is divided in two but stitched back together — a symbol of the pope’s unifying force, Rome pastry maker Hedera said.
Francis’s birthday this year falls on Gaudete Sunday, which the church marks as a moment of particular joy as celebrations for the birth of Jesus Christ approach.
“Be always joyful, even when things don’t go as we wish they would,” the pope said during the Angelus prayer.
He had earlier stressed the importance of sheltering children from adult woes.
“When children see problems at home, parents that fight, they suffer. Don’t make them sad. They must always grow up with joy,” he said as he met disadvantaged youngsters looked after by a Vatican foundation.


‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

A still from the kid-friendly film. (Sony Pictures Animation)
Updated 23 July 2018
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‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

  • The characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail

CHENNAI: Nothing can be compared to Japanese animation, especially the works of cinematic art created by Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” “The Wind Rises”), which is not just sharply political but also intensely emotional. In comparison, American animated films may seem somewhat plastic, though the Hotel Transylvania franchise has risen above the mundane. The latest installment,” Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation,” from director Genndy Tartakovsky, depicts a battle between good and evil.
The plot sees Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the entire monster entourage go on a cruise vacation to Atlantis. On board, widowed and lonely Dracula falls head over heels in love with the director of the event, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). However — plot twist! — she is a human being and several centuries younger. Even worse, she is the granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), whose bitter enmity with Dracula dates back to the 1800s. It is liberally interspersed with humor, which comes courtesy of the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the giant puppy that Dracula's grandson smuggles aboard the ship.
Tartakovsky, who helmed all three editions of the franchise, undoubtedly employed a brilliant set of animators — the characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail. The wit flows at a breathless pace, but what is lacking is a certain novelty, which one expects in an ongoing series.
One plus point is that parents will not find themselves wanting for entertainment. Dracula's romance with Ericka may be lost on children, but it will keep the adults entertained. At 97 minutes long, however, the film could have been far more fantastic.