Cinema: Giving Up the Ghosts

Two new movies trivialize matters of life and death

The Muhammadans have seven heavens, but Hollywood does nicely with just one. It's decorated in basic white and packed in dry ice. Horses and dogs have wings there, and the flowers speak to God, who is either black or George Burns. When you arrive (by elevator or escalator), a choir as big as a Nuremberg rally greets you. But if you are the prematurely dispatched hero of a film fantasy, you won't stay long. Some dignified gent -- Claude Rains or James Mason -- will serve as celestial flight attendant for a poignant return trip to earth, where you will perform...

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