WASHINGTON (September 11, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Rounders for the week of September 11-17. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The September 11-17 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.
- Rounders -- Because of fleeting violence, some sexual references, brief nudity and drug abuse, much rough language and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Rounders is a flawed drama in which card shark Matt Damon becomes a law student, then is lured back into illegal gambling by an ex-con pal (Edward Norton) with huge poker debts. Despite some good performances, the situations are unconvincing and the plot is dragged out to a weak conclusion.
- Simon Birch -- Because of a scene of extreme menace to children, sexual references, a few rude expressions and minimal profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Simon Birch is an old-fashioned tale of friendship between two 12-year-old boys, one of whom is seeking the identity of his father, while the other, afflicted with dwarfism, is convinced God has put him on earth to do something heroic. The result is a well-intentioned attempt to explore faith through the eyes of a doomed child but its uplifting message is delivered with a heavy hand.
- Knock Off -- Because of excessive violence, sexual innuendo, foul language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Knock Off is a high tech, low concept action thriller with musclebound Jean-Claude Van Damme battling renegade Russian agents in Hong Kong. Like the title, the boring plot is as bogus as the mindless violence it dishes out.
- Dance with Me -- Because of romantic complications and unmarried sexual relationships, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Dance with Me offers overblown musical romance with a Latin beat as a Cuban youth comes to Texas to meet the man he's certain is his father, then falls for a dance studio instructor while helping restart her professional dancing career. The thinly developed story relies on increasingly elaborate dance routines to provide the interest missing from stereotyped situations and characters.
- Next Stop, Wonderland -- Because of its ambiguous view of unmarried sexual relationships, much 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. Next Stop, Wonderland is an off-beat comedy in which a Boston nurse searches for a serious relationship while a serious-minded plumber seeks to become a marine biologist, with these two kindred spirits meeting only at movie's end. The parallel stories poke fun at the singles scene, especially the pathetic games played by males, while pointing to a more traditional notion of romance.
- Slums of Beverly Hills -- Because of explicit sexual situations and references, nudity, violence, drug usage, rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Slums of Beverly Hills is a lethargic coming-of-age tale in which a 15-year-old girl learns about life from her sour divorced dad and about sex from a mixed-up cousin and a local drug dealer. The result is a glossy but empty picture centered in a charmless collection of losers whose troubled behavior is meant to be seen as amusing.
The family video of the week is The 7th Voyage of Sinbad -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is an exciting Arabian Nights adventure in which Sinbad (played by Kerwin Matthews) battles a number of fantastic monsters while rescuing a princess from a wicked magician. Though the 1958 production has some scary special effects, they are within the context of a satisfying fantasy tale which will entertain youngsters without boring their elders.
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."