WASHINGTON (August 15, 1997) -- Cop Land with Sylvester Stallone joins the movies listed August 15-21 on the 1-800-311-4CCC movie-review line. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Journey to the Center of the Earth, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC). The August 15-21 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.
- Air Bud --Because of some menacing situations and a few vulgarities, the U.S. catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Air Bud is the thin but likeable story of a lonely lad who befriends a stray dog, then discovers its talent for scoring baskets is good enough for the dog to play on the boy's basketball team.
- Conspiracy Theory -- Because of some violence and a few instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Conspiracy Theory stars Mel Gibson as a paranoid New York cabbies trying to protect a skeptical attorney (played by Julia Roberts) from being harmed by government agents who for unknown reasons are after him. Though far-fetched and overlong, the elaborately plotted thriller offers engrossing escapist entertainment, anchored by Gibson's appealing performance.
- Free Willy 3: The Rescue -- Because of a brief barroom brawl and some rationalization of misdeeds, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Free Willy 3: The Rescue is a tired sequel in which the lad who befriended the title whale now must save him and his pregnant mate from being harpooned by a pursuing whaler. Although the wildlife photography is still stunning, the story generates little suspense and the boy-with-whale footage has become overly familiar.
- Cop Land -- Because of some intense violence, sexual references, occasional profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Cop Land is a gritty thriller with Sylvester Stallone as the sheriff of a sleepy New Jersey town who discovers the New York City cops living there are ruthlessly corrupt and about to murder one of their own. Its attempt at a character study of people who compromise their principles proves simplistic and the formula plot is resolved by a climactic shootout.
- Event Horizon -- Because of excessive violence, flashes of nudity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Event Horizon is a sci-fi clunker in which Laurence Fishburne heads a rescue mission to a lost spaceship, then finds it controlled by an evil force that decimates his crew. The muddled proceedings end in pools of gore and other grisly special effects.
- Steel -- Because of much fantasy violence and coarse 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. Steel presents the comic-book exploits of an ex-Army officer (played by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal) who clads himself in an armored suit to battle criminals using powerful electronic weapons. The superhero proceedings are as ridiculously overdone as the destructive violence, though the action is paced with some good-natured humor.
The Family Video of the Week is Journey to the Center of the Earth -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Journey to the Center of the Earth retells Jules Verne's adventure fantasy as 19th-century scientist James Mason leads an expedition through a network of caves to a vast ocean at the earth's core, then returns to the surface through a volcano. The 1959 production paces the subterranean excitements with some wry humor, imaginative sets and plenty of convincing special effects that add up to lively family entertainment.
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."