WASHINGTON (July 11, 1997) -- Three new movie reviews join three returning from last week on the toll-free movie review line sponsored by the U.S. Catholic Conference, none of them suitable for younger audiences.
All six of movies reviewed by the USCC Office of Film and Broadcasting are recommended for adolescents and adults. Movie-goers can hear the reviews of the current releases, along with a family video by calling 1-800-311-4CCC. The line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign.
Each week the U.S. Catholic Conference's Office for Film and Broadcasting provides full-length movie reviews, brief capsules, and film classifications of new theater releases. Each review includes the movie's classification and evaluation according to artistic merit and moral suitability.
The text of the capsule reviews for July 11-July 18 follows:
- Men in Black -- Because of broad comic violence and a few instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Men in Black is a zany sci-fi comedy with brassy New York cop Will Smith joining taciturn government agent Tommy Lee Jones in monitoring extraterrestrial activity to save Earth from being overrun by aliens disguised as humans. The two leads are aptly paired in a story mixing understated hip humor with witty puppet creatures and amusing special effects.
- Contact -- Because of some sexual innuendo and fleeting violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Contact is an impressive-looking sci-fi tale in which radio astronomer Jodie Foster picks up an alien transmission with the blueprint for a spaceship to transport one human to the sender's distant galaxy. While focusing on the astronomer's determination to be the one selected for the flight, the story also touches on the scientific and spiritual implications of extraterrestrial life.
- Wild America -- Because of scenes with menacing animals, mild sexual innuendo and a profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Wild America is the story of two Arkansas teens and their 12-year-old brother as they drive across the country filming wildlife footage of endangered predators in hope of becoming documentary filmmakers. The fact-based tale of these high-spirited lads has several scary moments in the bush, but their various adventures otherwise are fairly tame.
- Out to Sea -- Because of sexual situations and innuendoes as well as coarse language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Out to Sea is a thin formula comedy with two cranky elders, inveterate schemer Walter Matthau and long-suffering pal Jack Lemmon, finding unexpected romance aboard a cruise liner. It's a good-natured vehicle for a veteran comedy team backed by a seasoned supporting cast in what adds up to a light-hearted, light-weight sentimental entertainment.
- A Simple Wish -- Because of some coarse language and mild menace, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. A Simple Wish is a weak though innocuous comic fantasy in which Martin Short plays an inept male fairy godmother trying to grant a little girl's wish for her dad to star in a Broadway musical. The comic special effects are more amusing than the flimsy story and all the frantic antics of Short's klutzy character.
- Nothing to Lose -- Because of its ambivalent attitude towards crime, comic treatment of violence, a fleeting sexual encounter and constant rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Nothing to Lose is a coarse, witless comedy in which bumbling carjacker Martin Lawrence helps despondent ad executive Tim Robbins rob his boss, then try to return the money before it's missed. The manipulative odd-couple story goes for cheap laughs while implying circumstances may justify grand theft.
The family video of the week is The Spirit of St. Louis. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
The Spirit of St. Louis stars James Stewart in the role of Charles Lindbergh as he makes aviation history in 1927 by being the first to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. In this 1957 production, Stewart convincingly portrays the character's courage and determination on his solo flight across the Atlantic, despite early aviation's considerable dangers.
The Office of Film and Broadcasting classifications are A-I -- general patronage; A-II -- adults and adolescents; A-III -- adults; A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); O -- morally offensive.
Reviewers include Henry Herx, Director, and Gerri Pare, Associate Director, of the Film and Broadcasting Office, which is funded by the CCC.
The capsule reviews are available on the World Wide Web. They can be found on two sites: http://www.nccbuscc.org and http://www.CatholicDigest.org/stops/movies/movies1.html.
Full-length reviews of the above and other movies are available through America Online at the Catholic News Service site on AOL, and can be accessed by AOL members using the keyword, "CNS."