WASHINGTON (October 24, 1997) -- Playing God is on the 1-800-311-4CCC movie review line for October 24-30. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of National Velvet, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The October 24-30 list includes the following theater releases and their classifications according to moral suitability. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting.
- Playing God -- Because of excessive violence, substance abuse, constant rough language and some profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Playing God is a mindless crime story in which drug-addicted, ex-doctor David Due-KUV-knee falls in with mobster Timothy Hutton, then tries to double-cross him with bloody results. Drably mounted and lifelessly acted, the gore-soaked proceedings offer nothing beyond numbing murders and mayhem.
- Fairy Tale: A True Story -- Because of serious disputes over the existence of fairies and fleeting coarse language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Fairy Tale: A True Story is a romanticized version of the controversy stirred in 1917 England by two little girls whose photographs of what they said were tiny fairies frolicking in their garden aroused the skepticism of Harry Houdini (played by Harvey Keitel), though accepted as genuine by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (played by Peter O'Toole). The result is an enchanting tale of childhood innocence in a sweet family film marred by a few rude words.
- I Know What You Did Last Summer -- Because of intermittent violence, fleeting sexual innuendo, some rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. I Know What You Did Last Summer is a slick, somewhat gory thriller about four teens who accidentally kill a pedestrian and hide his body, then a year later fear for their lives after receiving notes threatening vengeance. The manipulative proceedings elicit the expected jolts as the menacing situations multiply.
- Gattaca -- Because of stylized violence, sexual situations, occasional rough language and 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. Gattaca is a weak sci-fi yarn of a future in which genetic engineering has created a master race excluding those conceived naturally, but one of these inferiors (played by Ethan Hawke) masquerades as a member of the genetic elite until a murder investigation threatens to reveal his true identity. The movie succeeds too well in showing how dull a regimented world ruled by logic would be, despite the suspenseful ending as the police close in on the impostor.
- The Devil's Advocate -- Because of gory violence, explicit sexual encounters, recurring full nudity and much rough language with profanity, The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Devil's Advocate is an overwrought fantasy in which Al Pacino plays the Devil who is determined to corrupt ambitious criminal attorney Keanu Reeves. Drama and comedy clash badly in this shrill potboiler which relies on a lame cliche to reach its drawn-out conclusion.
- A Life Less Ordinary -- Because of some violence, sexual innuendo and intermittent profanity and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. A Life Less Ordinary is a fantasy clunker in which two angels (played by Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo) are assigned to make a spoiled heiress and her dimwitted kidnapper fall in love and marry. The script's attempt to mix unexpected violence with screwball comedy is strained and unamusing.
The family video of the week is National Velvet -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. National Velvet is the warmly sentimental story of an English country girl (played by Elizabeth Taylor) who sets her heart on entering her spirited horse Pie in the Grand National Steeplechase and, with the help of supportive parents and an ex-jockey, her great expectations are realized. The 1944 production is a fine picture of youthful ambition and determination fostered within a caring, loving home.
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 movie reviews are produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Office for Film and Broadcasting, which each week provides full length movies reviews, brief capsules and film classifications of 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."