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3/29/2012 2:20:00 PM
TV film fare - week of April 1
Catholic News Service


The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of April 1. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.

Sunday, April 1, 4-6 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Flightplan" (2005). Smartly crafted Hitchcockian thriller set aboard a jumbo jet en route from Berlin to New York in which a recently widowed passenger (Jodie Foster) questions her sanity as she desperately searches for her young daughter who mysteriously disappeared midflight, leaving no trace she was ever on board. Directed by Robert Schwentke with a top-flight performance by Foster, the tautly paced nail-biter maintains a high-suspense altitude, though the script experiences increasing turbulence in its story logic and plausibility leading to a more conventional action climax. Several intense sequences, some violence including the bad guy meeting a fiery end, minimal crude language and profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Monday, April 2, 9:45-11:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" (1953). The small-town Indiana family of "On Moonlight Bay" returns in a sequel centering on the misunderstandings between the strong-willed daughter (Doris Day) and her World War I sweetheart (Gordon MacRae), with a comic subplot involving the upright father (Leon Ames) and a French actress. Directed by David Butler, the proceedings are lighthearted, wholesome family fun, with charming musical numbers and warm period nostalgia. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Tuesday, April 3, 8-11 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Backdraft" (1991). Deep-rooted conflicts boil over when a rookie Chicago firefighter (William Baldwin) is placed under the command of his estranged brother (Kurt Russell) during the investigation of a string of arson-related murders. With the terrifying nature of fire emerging as the real star of the movie, director Ron Howard ambitiously tackles a relationship story, a murder mystery and a special-effects action movie with modest success. Some grisly shots of charred bodies, very brief nudity, fleeting sexual innuendo, occasional fisticuffs and intermittent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Thursday, April 5, 8-8:45 p.m. EDT (HBO) "God Is the Bigger Elvis" (2011). Splendid documentary recounting the remarkable life of screen and Broadway actress-turned-cloistered-nun Dolores Hart. In 1963, aged 25, Hart abandoned a promising career in Hollywood -- which had seen her star opposite Elvis Presley and Montgomery Clift, besides many others -- and broke off an engagement to be married, and instead entered the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where she currently serves as prioress. With an engaging combination of cheerful good humor and down-to-earth wisdom, she describes her process of discernment. Filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa also introduces us to other equally impressive members of the community and to their shared life of liturgical prayer, contemplation and agricultural work. Nominated for an Academy Award, this is an uplifting look at the concrete realities and spiritual mysteries of the religious vocation. Some restrained discussion of sexuality. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Saturday, April 7, 3-6 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Great Escape" (1963). Thrilling rendition of a fact-based story about an elaborate escape of Allied prisoners from a German POW camp during World War II. Steve McQueen is the most ambitious of a crew that includes James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Richard Attenborough as they plot a mass escape which becomes an intriguing, highly entertaining suspense gripper. With John Sturges directing, it all builds to a stunning, sobering climax that both tugs at the heart and keeps it racing. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Saturday, April 7, 7-11:45 p.m. EDT (ABC) "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Less an inspirational story based on biblical sources than a dramatic vehicle with a sense of history, director Cecil B. DeMille's epic production offers some spectacular re-creations, excellent technical effects and good acting from a fine cast, including Charlton Heston as Moses, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson and many other stars of the era. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general patronage. All ages admitted.

Saturday, April 7, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Beastly" (2011). Director Daniel Barnz's adaptation of Alex Flinn's novel retells the classic fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" for the Facebook generation, offering good lessons in humility, kindness and old-fashioned romance along the way. Handsome and wealthy, but also self-absorbed and shallow, a popular teen (Alex Pettyfer) ridicules the ugly and less fortunate, including his high school's resident witch (Mary-Kate Olsen). In revenge, she casts a spell that turns him into a hideous monster, and gives him a year to find the true meaning of love and inner beauty or remain in his repulsive new guise forever. So he sets out to win the pure heart of a classmate (Vanessa Hudgens) who prefers substance to style. Probably acceptable for mature adolescents. Brief action violence and a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Saturday, April 7, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Fast Five" (2011). An all-star cast culled from the previous four films in the action-oriented franchise that began with 2001's "The Fast and the Furious" -- most prominently Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, along with newcomer Dwayne Johnson -- reunite in Rio de Janeiro for more speeding cars, gunplay and a heist of millions of dollars from a corrupt Brazilian police chief (Joaquim de Almeida). Director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan keep the pace predictably rapid, with occasional comedic dialogue to indicate that no one's taking the proceedings all that seriously. Much gun and physical violence, a premarital pregnancy, a few instances of profanity, frequent crude and crass language, and fleeting sexual banter. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.





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