WASHINGTON (January 2, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Titanic for the week of January 2-8. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Our Town, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The January 2-8 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.
- An American Werewolf in Paris -- Because of mindless fantasy violence, sexual situations with nudity, condom jokes and gross language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. An American Werewolf in Paris is an inept horror movie in which an American tourist saves a woman as she jumps from the Eiffel Tower but by the time he learns she is a bloodthirsty werewolf, he has become one himself. The slipshod story mixes gory special effects with airhead humor and sophomoric sex, though the combination proves grimly tiresome.
- Jackie Brown -- Because of several casual murders, a fleeting sexual encounter, recreational drug abuse, constant rough language and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Jackie Brown is a drawn-out tale in which a cunning flight attendant (played by Pam Grier) is caught between a federal agent (Michael Keaton) and her murderous gun-dealing boss (Samuel L. Jackson), but manages to outfox both and grab a half million bucks to boot. The crime story is talky, lethargic and rationalizes felonies as a clever survival strategy.
- Mr. Magoo -- Because of mild sexual innuendo and frequent comic 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. Mr. Magoo is a feeble live-action comedy in which Leslie Nielsen plays the popular near-sighted cartoon character being chased by thieves and federal agents after unknowingly walking off with a priceless ruby. The thin premise occasions few amusing sight gags while floundering in a dull series of slapstick kickboxing confrontations.
- The Postman -- Because of recurring violence, a sexual encounter with nudity, fleeting substance abuse, some profanity and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Postman is set in a lawless post-apocalyptic society where wandering loner Kevin Costner assumes the garb of a U.S. mailman reminding people of what they have lost and motivating them to fight to restore democracy. The far-fetched but spirited story appeals to sentimental notions of patriotism while overly idealizing the title character.
- As Good As It Gets -- Because of stylized violence, sexual situations, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. As Good As It Gets is an abrasive comedy in which nasty writer Jack Nicholson mellows after falling in love with friendly waitress Helen Hunt and befriending homosexual artist Greg Kinnear. The thin plot offers little but mean-spirited humor which turns mushy as the writer attempts to reform, but the proceedings are overlong and seldom amusing.
The family video of the week is Our Town -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Our Town looks back at a simpler age and more wholesome way of life in the story of two families in a small New Hampshire town around the time of World War I. This 1940 adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play offers a rich vein of Americana, while pointing out the virtues of the community and the values of its individual members.
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."