WASHINGTON (October 31, 1997) -- After weeks of adult oriented films, The Wind in the Willows tops the 1-800-311-4CCC movie review line for October 31-November 6. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Phar Lap, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The October 31-November 6 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.
- The Wind in the Willows -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Wind in the Willows features a human cast in a live-action version of the beloved children's story about an English meadow in which timid Mole, kindly Rat and bold Badger must save reckless Toad from losing his country home to evil Weasels. Except for some mild menace, the movie's charming visuals, sprightly songs and delightful sense of whimsy offer appealing entertainment for all the family.
- 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.
- Grizzly Mountain -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Grizzly Mountain is a dull wilderness tale in which two youngsters exploring an Oregon cave travel back in time to 1870 where they help an idealistic mountain man (played by Dan Haggerty) save the area from greedy developers. The movie's spectacular scenery fails to compensate for the inept script and wooden acting.
- Red Corner -- Because of some gory violence, a fleeting sexual encounter and brief nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Red Corner is a dense political thriller with Richard Gere as an American lawyer in China facing execution for rape and murder unless his government-appointed defense attorney risks her own life to uncover the truth. The story manages to work up some suspense, although hampered by a dubious plot twist and a mushy conclusion.
- Switchback -- Because of intermittent violence, nude pin-up fotos and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Switchback puts grim FBI agent Dennis Quaid on the trail of serial killer Danny Glover after he kidnaps the agent's child while on a killing spree. Despite some far-fetched plotting, Glover's chilling portrayal of an unpredictable psychopath holds interest in this tense but at times gory thriller.
- Boogie Nights -- Because of gory violence, explicit sex acts, full nudity, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Boogie Nights tells of the rise and fall of a young actor in the sleazy business of making porn movies. Though the result doesn't glamorize the dysfunctional characters and their self-destructive way of life, this attempt to humanize the pornography trade lacks any larger moral or social perspective.
The family video of the week is Phar Lap -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Phar Lap is a rousing, old-fashioned movie about an Australian racehorse that becomes a national favorite during the 1930's Depression but meets a tragic end at the peak of its career. The 1984 Australian production tells the fact-based story of a doubting owner, a harsh trainer, a kind stable boy and a magnificent thoroughbred who manages to upstage the human actors at every turn.
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.
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."