WASHINGTON (February 20, 1998) -- The Apostle tells a compelling story according to a review on the U.S. Bishops' movie review line, 1-800-311-4CCC, for the week of February 20-February 26. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The Sun Came Up, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The February 20-February 26 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.
- The Apostle -- Because of a strong scene of violence, menacing situations and implied marital infidelity, 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. The Apostle follows Pentecostal preacher Robert Duvall after he gravely injures the man he blames for losing his wife and congregation, then flees Texas for Louisiana where he founds a church and radio ministry whose popularity leads to his arrest. This portrait of an evangelical preacher explores his religious zeal as well as personal failings in a compelling story played out with sincerity and conviction.
- Senseless -- Because of explicit sexual situations, fleeting rear nudity, bathroom humor and crude language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Senseless is a witless comedy in which college senior Marlon Wayans tries to win a Wall Street job with the help of an experimental sense-enhancing drug, with tiresomely unamusing results. The charmless storyline unfolds in a labored series of sophomoric sight gags and skits, most of them involving low humor and dimwitted characters.
- The Borrowers -- Because of comic violence and menacing situations, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Borrowers is a whimsical fantasy in which villainous banker John Goodman sets out to drive a family from their home, then finds himself up against a resourceful family of miniature people living on the premises. Based on Mary Norton's children's stories, the movie has plenty of charm and gentle humor in telling the tale of two families joining forces to outwit a bully.
- Sphere -- Because of some stylized violence and intermittent 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. Sphere is a disappointing thriller with scientists Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson threatened by an alien life force just outside the deep-sea station in which they are trapped. The initial premise is intriguing but soon gives way to murky developments that undercut the suspense and lead to an unsatisfying ending.
- The Wedding Singer -- Because of implied affairs, fleeting violence, occasional 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 PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. The Wedding Singer is a sappy romantic comedy set in the suburbs of New York where jilted fiancÚ Adam Sandler falls for waitress Drew Barrymore, then discovers she is about to marry a corrupt playboy. The contrived story pokes heavy-handed fun at 1980's fads and fashions, but the bland proceedings remain largely lifeless.
- Palmetto -- Because of stylized violence, restrained sex scenes, much 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. Palmetto is a lurid thriller in which seductive Elisabeth Shue ensnares ex-con Woody Harrelson in an elaborate kidnapping scheme that leaves him framed for murder. The story's glaring lapses in logic turn the result into a trashy pulp-fiction mess.
The Family Video of the Week is The Sun Comes Up. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. In the 1949 movie, The Sun Comes Up, Jeanette MacDonald stars as a lonely widowed singer whose interest in life is renewed when her dead son's dog, Lassie, attracts an orphaned lad greatly in need of a mother's love. The agreeably sentimental proceedings feature the ever-appealing Lassie, some enjoyable songs and the wry humor of the rural setting's homespun characters.
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."