WASHINGTON (December 19, 1997) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Titanic for the week of December 19-25. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of A Christmas Carol, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The December 19-25 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.
- Titanic -- Because of agonizing death scenes on a massive scale, sexual situations and sporadic 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. Titanic lavishly re-creates the 1912 sea disaster after focusing on the improbable shipboard romance between first-class passenger Kate Winslet and steerage traveler Leonardo DiCaprio. Unfortunately the human dimension of the tragedy gets lost in a paltry soap opera about two love-struck youths, though the special effects of the sinking luxury liner are truly spectacular.
- Mouse Hunt -- Because of much slapstick violence, mild toilet humor 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. Mouse Hunt is a madcap comedy in which brothers Nathan Lane and Lee Evans inherit an historic mansion, then plan to sell it for millions if they can only stop an elusive mouse from bringing the house down around their heads. The episodic results offer some zany comic mayhem as the resourceful rodent shuns every trap they set.
- Tomorrow Never Dies -- Because of excessive violence, sexual innuendo and fleeting profanity, 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. Tomorrow Never Dies features Pierce Brosnan as superagent James Bond out to stop maniacal media magnate Jonathan Pryce from starting a war to boost his cable network's ratings. The explosive action is virtually non-stop, dropping Bond's suave sophistication in favor of numbing mindless 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 A Christmas Carol -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. The 1951 British version of A Christmas Carol features Alistair Sim's zestful performance as Scrooge, the old humbug whose transformation into a loving human being is still a pleasure to behold. Done simply but with considerable spirit, this is dandy seasonal fare, especially for the younger members of the family.
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."