WASHINGTON -- Air Bud, the "likeable story" of a basketball-playing pooch, leads the Bishops' toll-free movie review line for the week of August 1-August 7.
The 1-800-311-4CCC movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
Callers to the line can hear reviews -- based on their artistic merit and moral suitability -- of the following movies:
- Air Bud -- Because of some menacing situations and a few vulgarities, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Air Bud is the thin but likeable story of a lonely lad who befriends a stray dog, then discovers its talent for scoring baskets is good enough for the dog to play on the boy's basketball team. The sentimental proceedings cheerfully alternate heartwarming scenes with silly slapstick ones, though there are some threatening moments with an abusive coach and the cruel master from whom the dog ran away.
- Air Force One -- Because of intense violence, some rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Air Force One is a violent political thriller with Harrison Ford playing a President whose plane and passengers are hijacked by terrorists unaware the President is aboard and determined to stop them. The bloody confrontations in the air are intercut with escalating complications on the ground, but none of it is very credible and the suspense grows tiresome.
- Picture Perfect -- Because of sexual situations and references, deceitful behavior and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Picture Perfect is a sour romantic comedy in which a conniving woman concocts a bogus fiancÚ in order to entice the man of her dreams, then realizes she loves another and tries to undo the harm caused by her deception. The situation is endlessly contrived, with plot complications that are too obvious to be amusing and an empty-headed heroine who invites little sympathy.
- Good Burger -- Because of some slapstick violence, mild sexual innuendo and a few crude expressions, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Good Burger is a thin but good-natured comedy about two teenaged fast-food workers trying to keep a rival burger joint from stealing the recipe for their secret burger sauce. With their jobs at stake, the bumbling buddies go to comic extremes and the result offers some goofy fun.
- 187 -- Because of intense violence, menacing situations, a flash of nudity, much rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. 187 begins as a fairly convincing picture of a dedicated high school teacher confronting student gang members in an uncaring school system, then turns into a crudely melodramatic thriller when the harassed teacher goes haywire and begins killing his tormentors. The story of a good man being pushed too far loses credibility as well as sympathy in the concluding violence.
- Spawn -- Because of considerable special-effects violence, menacing situations and some devilish vulgarity, 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. Spawn is a clunky live-action cartoon in which the devil has the world's top secret agent murdered, then gives him superhuman powers to lead the forces of evil but, instead, he joins the forces of good. The flimsy fantasy comes from a comic book and serves mainly as a vehicle for grand-stand special effects that are big but emotionally and intellectually empty.
Each week the movie review line also includes a review for a video suitable for family viewing. This week's family video is Young Tom Edison. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage, not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Young Tom Edison stars young Mickey Rooney as the youthful inventor whose curiosity about how and why things work constantly get him in trouble until enabling him to save his mother's life and stop a train wreck. The 1940 production tells an enjoyably sentimental story which young viewers may find particularly inspiring.
The 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.
The reviews are produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference's Office for Film and Broadcasting which each week provides full length movie reviews, brief capsules, and film classifications for new theater releases. 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."