WASHINGTON (December 12, 1997) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Anastasia for the week of December 12-18. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of It's a Wonderful Life, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The December 12-18 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.
- Flubber -- Because of frequent slapstick violence and fleeting sexual innuendo, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Flubber is a weak re-make of a 1961 Disney comedy revolving around absent-minded professor Robin Williams who leaves his college president bride at the altar while trying to save their debt-ridden college by inventing flying rubber. The production flubs it with an excess of jokey special effects at the expense of story and characterization.
- Home Alone 3 -- Because of much slapstick violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Home Alone 3 is a derivative sequel in which an 8-year-old quarantined with chicken pox boobytraps his house to outwit four villains after a stolen computer chip hidden in his toy truck. Despite the tyke's appeal, his endless assaults on the house breakers add up to little more than redundant comic mayhem.
- Amistad -- Because of some gory violence, the brutalizing conditions of slavery and brief frontal nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Amistad is an historical dramatization of the legal battle over the fate of 53 Africans who massacre the crew of a slave ship, are captured in American waters and put on trial in a case that ultimately reaches the Supreme Court. Though effectively probing the contradictions of a society founded on the equality of all and yet accepting the injustices of slavery, the movie tends to bog down in the legal and political issues argued in the lengthy case.
- For Richer or Poorer -- Because of mild sexual innuendo, recurring coarse expressions and an instance of rough 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. For Richer or Poorer is a thin comedy about wealthy yuppies Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley hiding from the IRS by posing as newcomers in an Amish community whose simple, hardworking lifestyle inspires them to change their ways. While the script is wholly predictable, the actors manage to wring some humor from the fish-out-of-water premise.
- Scream 2 -- Because of excessive violence, sexual references, 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. Scream 2 is a formula slasher sequel with a college co-ed and her chums threatened by a masked killer who's stabbing people to death much as in the original. The result offers cheap thrills, bad jokes, buckets of blood and cardboard characters endlessly speculating over the killer's identity.
The family video of the week is It's a Wonderful Life -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. It's a Wonderful Life stars the late James Stewart in a seasonal favorite about the joys and trials of a good man who, facing financial ruin on the eve of Christmas, contemplates suicide until his guardian angel shows him how meaningful to others his life has been. Director Frank Capra's unabashedly sentimental picture of mainstream American life is bolstered by a superb cast and a wealth of good feelings about commonplace virtues, though young children may find the story's dark moments unsettling.
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."