WASHINGTON (July 10, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Madeline for the week of July 10-16. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Melody Time, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The July 10-16 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.
- Mulan -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Mulan offers a boisterous animated tale of ancient China where a rebellious daughter disguises herself as a man to fight invading Huns in place of her sickly father. Blending sumptuous visuals with catchy songs and some contrived humor, the picture's theme of female empowerment downplays romance to focus on issues of self-identity, honor and patriotism.
- Madeline -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Madeline is a sweet-natured tale set in 1956 Paris where the title 9-year-old orphan lives in a girls' boarding school which she attempts to save from being sold, but instead is kidnapped by circus performers. Children will enjoy the warm characters and their engaging adventures, including a bit of mild menace, while their elders may be more charmed by its nostalgic picture of growing up in a simpler age.
- Armageddon -- Because of explosive mayhem, an implied affair, 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. Armageddon is a bloated disaster story with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck planting a nuclear warhead on a humongous asteroid in a desperate attempt to blast it out of its collision course with Earth. The result is an overlong tale of macho heroics, pumped up with special effects, then doused in weepy emotions.
- Small Soldiers -- Because of much intense fantasy mayhem and brief drug references, 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. Small Soldiers is a mean-spirited fantasy mixing live action with animation as toy soldiers come to life bent on destroying all other toys as well as the families who own them. In this cynical parody of macho heroics, the humans become just as violent as the computer-generated soldiers, with appalling results.
- Lethal Weapon 4 -- Because of excessive violence and brutality, some profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Lethal Weapon 4 reteams Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as L.A. detectives pursuing a gang of Chinese counterfeiters, while awaiting news that one's become a father and the other a grandfather. Despite the pair's appealing comaraderie, the tired action formula is still fueled by constant violence and deadly mayhem masquerading as exciting fun.
- Whatever -- Because of brief violence, teen promiscuity, much substance abuse, frequent rough language, fleeting nudity 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. Whatever is a cautionary coming-of-age tale about two high school girls from dysfunctional families who sneak out to drug parties and try casual sex, but end up going in very different directions. The result captures the adolescent anxieties of young people lacking parental guidance, but the unsentimental story is flawed by one's sudden change for the better.
The family video of the week Melody Time -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Walt Disney's 1948 Melody Time is a feature-length variety show with songs, stories and musical interludes presented in cel animation, live-action photography and sometimes both. The four music segments range from lively to lyric, but more memorable are three stories about Johnny Appleseed, young tugboat Little Toot and Western folk hero Pecos Bill as told by singing cowboy Roy Rogers.
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."