WASHINGTON (October 30, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews The Mighty for the week of October 30 - November 6. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The October 30 - November 6 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.
- Beloved -- Because of some intensely violent images, brief sexual encounters, full nudity and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.
Beloved is the affecting story of a woman whose horrific memories of escaping from a Kentucky slave plantation and its violent aftermath are stirred by the visit of an old friend and the arrival of a disturbed young woman. The movie takes an unflinching look at slavery's legacy of shame and violence, with emotionally shattering results.
- Soldier -- Because of much special-effects violence, including some gore, and instances of rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Soldier is a sci-fi misfire with Kurt Russell as a veteran combat soldier who saves a lost space colony of Earth people from annihilation by a battalion of super troopers. The picture's predictable plot and cardboard characters are given such earnest treatment that even the action scenes seem dull.
- The Mighty -- Because of brief violence, some menace and an instance of profanity, 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 Mighty is a touching drama in which a gifted but physically deformed schoolboy befriends a slow-witted, oversized classmate and the two help each other face growing personal problems. The result weaves a tale of psychological and physical impairment into a story of hope triumphing over loss.
- Vampires -- Because of frequent gory violence, some nudity, occasional profanity and no-stop rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Vampires is a trashy horror tale about present-day mercenaries hired to slay vampires led by a centuries-old priest under the protection of a corrupt Cardinal. The nonsensical gorefest wallows in brutal violence, misogyny and a cynical disdain of religion.
- Apt Pupil -- Because of some harsh violence, fleeting nudity, brief sexual innuendo, recurring 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. Apt Pupil offers the sinister story of a manipulative high school senior who discovers his elderly neighbor is an escaped Nazi war criminal, then forces him to reveal the details of his crimes. The result is a dark melodrama with unexpected twists and a chilling view of evil's corrupting influence.
- Pleasantville -- Because of situations involving teen sex, marital infidelity, masturbation and several nude drawings, occasional profanity and an instance of rough language, 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. Pleasantville is an empty-headed comic fantasy in which two teens are zapped back into a 1958 TV family sitcom where they proceed to update the traditional moral values of the TV show's characters. The movie's premise sets up some amusing if obvious culture clashes, but its depiction of the repressed 1950s vs. the supposedly enlightened 1990s is simplistic at best.
The family video of the week is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a lavish 1968 musical fantasy with Dick VanDyke as a widowed inventor who takes his two youngsters and a girlfriend on an imaginary tour in the strange flying automobile of the title. Their adventures along the way, such as rescuing children from a castle in the sky, are great fun for young viewers, though forgettable songs and lackluster special effects dampen its appeal for older ones.
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.shtmll.
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."