WASHINGTON (May 8, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Les Miserables for the week of May 8-14. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of I Remember Mama, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The May 8-14 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.
- Les Miserables -- Because of some sexual innuendo and violence, including a suicide, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Les Miserables is a splendid screen version of the Victor Hugo classic, with Liam Neeson as the reformed convict Jean Valjean, and Geoffrey Rush as his implacable pursuer, Inspector Jauvert. Set amidst the strife of early 19th-century France, the movie's strong performances, vigorous narrative and evocative photography compellingly convey the story's themes of human justice and spiritual redemption.
- Deep Impact -- Because of a massive natural disaster, sexual innuendo, suicidal references, 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. Deep Impact is a low-voltage disaster movie about the chaotic proceedings after President Morgan Freeman announces the failure of a space mission to deflect a huge comet from its deadly collision course with Earth. The spectacular special effects are brief and fleeting while the personal stories are overly sentimentalized.
- Black Dog -- Because of intermittent violence, occasional profanity and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-111 -- 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. Black Dog stars Patrick Swayze as an ex-con truck driver coerced into transporting assault weapons across state lines while pursued by murderous hijackers and federal agents. The result is a contrived thriller of interest only to undemanding action fans.
- The Spanish Prisoner -- Because of brief violence and fleeting sexual innuendo, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Spanish Prisoner is a tricky tale of industrial espionage involving inventor Campbell Scott, his suspicious boss Ben Gazzara and helpful stranger Steve Martin whose advice may get the inventor framed for murder. Though the intricate plot is too far-fetched to be credible, the story more than holds attention as it unfolds in a series of unexpected surprises.
- Woo -- Because of brief violence, heavy sexual innuendo, fleeting nudity, racial slurs, profanity and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Woo is a crude, dopey comedy about a madcap blind date between a timorous law student and an impetuous beauty who attracts trouble wherever they go. The lame battle-of-the-sexes scenario results in little more than tiresome situations and witless jokes.
- Sliding Doors -- Because of sexual situations including a live-in relationship and a bedroom scene, some crude language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-111 -- 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. Sliding Doors is a halting romantic fantasy set in London showing alternate versions of what happens to the same woman (Gwyneth Paltrow in a dual role) after she boards a departing subway train or just misses it. The playfully imaginative premise starts well but the two scenarios become increasingly predictable as the one character goes on to find true romance while her alter ego is stuck with a two-timing lover.
The family video of the week is I Remember Mama -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I-- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. I Remember Mama is an engaging, warm-hearted tribute to a mother (played by Irene Dunne) who nurtures her Norwegian-American family through good times and bad in early 1900's San Francisco. The 1948 production richly depicts the interplay of family life in an appealing story mixing sentiment with humor and convincingly performed by a fine cast.
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 movie 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."