WASHINGTON (January 9, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Wag the Dog for the week of January 9-15. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The War of the Worlds, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is funded by the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The January 9-15 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.
- Wag the Dog -- Because of sexual references, an off-screen homicide, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Wag the Dog is a political satire in which savvy media manipulator Robert De Niro gets pompous movie producer Dustin Hoffman to divert attention from a White House sex scandal by creating a bogus war. Despite the far-fetched plot premise, the result pokes some sharp fun at Washington politics, Hollywood pretensions and media gullibility.
- 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.
- The Boxer -- Because of stylized violence, much rough language and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Boxer is set in Northern Ireland where IRA ex-con Daniel Day-Lewis resumes his boxing career while romancing old flame Emily Watson, despite her now being the wife of an IRA political prisoner. The grim yet hopeful drama explores the infighting among various IRA factions, focusing on how people survive in a culture of violence.
- Firestorm -- Because of much violence and menace, some sexual innuendo and occasional rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Firestorm is a hokey thriller with superhero Howie Long rescuing a woman taken hostage by escaped convicts in the middle of forest fire. The story's cardboard characters and contrived situations add up to little more than a smoke-filled timewaster.
- Good Will Hunting -- 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 R -- restricted. Good Will Hunting features Matt Damon as a South Boston tough with the mind of a genius but no future unless psychologist Robin Williams can cure his deep-seated emotional problems. The story of a bright youth overcoming a troubled past is helped greatly by credible performances from a talented cast but the story is highly manipulative and needlessly vulgarized.
- Deconstructing Harry -- Because of numerous sexual situations, brief nudity, recurring rough language and some profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Deconstructing Harry, Woody Allen plays a troubled writer who's beginning to confuse the fictional characters in his stories with people he knows in real life. Despite some witty situations and funny one-liners, the result is an often painful picture of a glib egoist interested only in self-gratification.
The family video of the week is The War of the Worlds -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Produced in 1953, The War of the Worlds retells H.G. Wells' science-fiction tale of a Martian invasion which seems unstoppable to scientist Gene Barry until the aliens meet with the unexpected. The tautly told story uses imaginative special effects in depicting the Martian menace to humanity, then wraps the picture in a satisfying conclusion some will even find uplifting.
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."