WASHINGTON (July 17, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews The Mask of Zorro for the week of July 17-23. Also, included on the toll-free line is a review of Challenge of Lassie, 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 17-23 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 Mask of Zorro -- Because of much stylized violence, mild sexual innuendo and fleeting rear nudity, 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.
The Mask of Zorro is set in Old California where Anthony Hopkins, an aging Zorro, trains fiery replacement Antonio Banderas to destroy the tyrant who 20 years
earlier stole his infant daughter, now a dazzling beauty in love with the new
masked avenger. The spirited swashbuckler features old-fashioned derring-do
and a game cast in a zesty adventure pitting dauntless heroes against daunting
- 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.
- There's Something About Mary -- Because of some comic violence, gross sexual innuendo, fleeting nudity, intermittent profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. There's Something About Mary is a wacky but very crude comedy about lovelorn Ben Stiller competing with sneaky private eye Matt Dillon and others for the affections of the attractive but incredibly naive Cameron Diaz. The jokes in this goofy romantic comedy range from the dopey to the outrageously vulgar, though the sentimental story helps keep its tasteless humor from becoming seriously offensive.
- 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 is Challenge to Lassie -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Challenge to Lassie tells the story of a dog who overcomes all obstacles to keep vigil each night beside her master's grave in 1860 Scotland. Produced in 1949, the fact-based picture of a dog's steadfast loyalty to the old man who raised her from a pup is engaging family fare, especially for youngsters.
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."