WASHINGTON (November 21, 1997) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Anastasia for the week of Nov. 21-27. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Reap the Wild Wind, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The November 21-27 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.
- Anastasia -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Anastasia is an animated musical about the youngest daughter of the Czar who survives her family's massacre during the Bolshevik Revolution, grows up in an orphanage without memory of her past, then is taken to Paris by a handsome con man to meet her one surviving relative. This romanticized story turns history into a fairy tale with the enchantment of lush animation and spirited musical numbers.
- The Little Mermaid -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. The Little Mermaid is a rerelease of Disney's 1989 animated version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a feisty mermaid who falls in love with a human prince, to which is added a hopeful, happy ending. The underwater animation is magical and the characters are a delight, especially the enterprising heroine who learns to take responsibility for her own choices.
- The Man Who Knew Too Little -- Because of brief slapstick violence, fleeting sexual innuendo and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Man Who Knew Too Little is a silly spoof set in London where a dense Bill Murray is mistaken for a hitman, then along the way nearly blows up various government heads at a gala state dinner. Though the comedy's screwball shenanigans are stretched pretty thin, Murray's character retains sympathy as a blissfully unaware dunderhead.
- John Grisham's The Rainmaker -- Because of brief but intense violence, 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. John Grisham's The Rainmaker is a bland drama in which novice attorney Matt Damon falls for troubled Claire Danes while suing a soulless insurance company represented by smug, fat-cat lawyer Jon Voight. The pedestrian treatment results in a predictable tale of a greedy corporation humbled by an idealistic underdog.
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- Because of brief violence, much sexual innuendo, some rough language and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil generates superficial drama as reporter John Cusack covers the murder trial of wealthy Savannah antiques dealer Kevin Spacey who claims he shot his homosexual boyfriend in self-defense. The movie doesn't grapple with the central question of the defendant's guilt or innocence, concentrating instead on numerous eccentric characters who add flavor but no substance to the drawn-out proceedings.
- Mortal Kombat Annihilation -- Because of much nasty fantasy violence and its theme of killing family members, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Mortal Kombat Annihilation follows four muscle-bound humans in their bone-crunching battles with shape-shifting, evil warlords intent on demolishing planet Earth. Might makes right is the wrongheaded message of this martial-arts extravanganza of deadly combat pitting father against son, mother against daughter and brother against brother.
The family video of the week is Reap the Wild Wind -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Reap the Wild Wind is a 19th-century adventure yarn in which sea captain John Wayne and maritime lawyer Ray Milland both court the appealing Paulette Goddard while fighting pirate Raymond Massey in the Florida Keys. The 1942 production re-creates the era of sailing ships in colorful fashion, with rousing action sequences paced by the developing romance.
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."