The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of July 7. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, July 7, 2-4 p.m. EDT (TCM) "An American in Paris" (1951). Stylish musical romance set in elegant 1920s Paris where an expatriate American painter (Gene Kelly) pursues a vision of beauty (Leslie Caron) while eluding the clutches of a wealthy patron (Nina Foch). Despite the flimsy plot, director Vicente Minnelli has no trouble delighting the ear with George Gershwin's music and brother Ira's lyrics while charming the eye with stylized production numbers, evocative period sets and a fine cast. Romantic complications. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Wednesday, July 10, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. EDT (AMC) "Blood Diamond" (2006). Compelling action-adventure set in Africa's Sierra Leone as a mercenary (a superb Leonardo DiCaprio), a crusading U.S. reporter (Jennifer Connelly) and a frantic African fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who's been separated from his family join forces against a backdrop of bloody civil war and plundering of the country's natural resources. Director Edward Zwick masterfully balances the action sequences with the more intimate ones. The film, though overly long, delivers on entertainment value, while imparting a worthy message about the immoral origin of conflict diamonds and the exploitation of child soldiers, and delivers a strong affirmation of family, while the DiCaprio-Connelly romance is refreshingly devoid of overt sexual elements. Much violence and bloodshed though admirably restrained in its presentation, murder, rough language and profanity, crude expressions, threat of rape, underage drinking and smoking. 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, July 11, 5:55-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Shakespeare in Love" (1998). Spirited farce in which young Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has problems writing "Romeo and Juliet" until he falls for a passionate beauty (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is engaged to a callous nobleman (Colin Firth) but disguises herself as a boy to play the role of Romeo. Director John Madden's rousing play-within-a-film is a zesty concoction of mistaken identities, outsized egos and doomed romance served up with contemporary humor. Brief comic violence, some sexual encounters with nudity and occasional double entendres. 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.
Saturday, July 13, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Women" (1939). Lavish screen version of Clare Boothe Luce's satiric play in which a New York socialite (Norma Shearer) whose husband has fallen for a calculating gold-digger (Joan Crawford) goes to Reno for a divorce, then returns home to pick up the pieces. Directed by George Cukor, the all-female cast (Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland and many others) provides a comic compendium of feminine stereotypes and caustic comments on the battle of the sexes, much of which is unflattering to women but it is the unseen males who get the worst of it. Comic treatment of sex and marriage. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.