WASHINGTON (December 4, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews A Bug's Life for the week of December 4-10. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Heidi, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The December 4-10 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.
- The Rugrats Movie -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences.
The Rugrats Movie, based on the animated children's TV series, finds the five frisky toddlers lost in a forest on the way to returning the infant brother of one of them back to the baby hospital for being such a loud crybaby. The tykes survive assorted misadventures and dangers while learning about friendship and helping the helpless.
- Babe: Pig in the City -- The U.S. Catholic Conference
classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of
America rating is G -- general audiences. Babe: Pig in the City is a darker sequel to the 1995 hit as the plucky porker of the title gets lost in the big city where he and other homeless animals have to fend off starvation and the machinations of nasty humans. The polite pig's innocence and generosity are still appealing, but this time around the story is less endearing and some of the perilous situations may be a bit intense for very young children.
- A Bug's Life -- Because of some scenes of physical abuse and verbal
intimidation, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults
and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G --
general audiences. A Bug's Life is the vividly animated tale of a spunky ant who rounds up several performing circus bugs to help defend his endangered ant colony against marauding grasshoppers. The computer animation and the pacing are outstanding but some of its scenes of menace may be too intense for young viewers.
- Psycho -- Because of some violence with gore, brief nudity and an implied affair, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Psycho is a faithful re-make of the 1960 black-and-white Hitchcock thriller in which a doomed young woman (played by Anne Heche) vanishes from the Bates Motel, drawing suspicion on its secretive owner (played by Vince Vaughn). The cast and color photography are new but the sleek storytelling and suspenseful build-up remain much the same as in the original shocker.
- Elizabeth -- Because of period violence including religious persecutions, torture and executions, sexual situations and brief nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Elizabeth re-creates the political intrigues and religious conflicts besetting 16th-century England under the Catholic Queen Mary, then her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, who reigns as the Virgin Queen after crushing the Catholic nobles. The dramatization turns a complex and confusing period of history into a series of highly dramatic scenes focusing on Elizabeth's rise to power, though the result never probes beneath the surface of events or motivations.
- Celebrity -- Because of numerous sexual situations, some gross sexual humor, and scene of domestic violence, frequent 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. Celebrity is Woody Allen's seriocomic tale in which a small-time New York writer on the trail of the rich and famous gets lost in a series of sexual affairs while his ex-wife remarries and finds happiness as a TV celebrity. The result is flat and labored, but especially unamusing is its hollow treatment of the neurotic writer's chronic infidelity.
The family video of the week is Heidi -- the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Heidi tells the story of a little Swiss orphan who brings cheer into the morose life of her grandfather, then is taken away to be the companion of a lame rich girl whose spiteful housekeeper kidnaps her until rescued on Christmas Eve. The 1937 version is still one of the best with curly-haired Shirley Temple smiling her way through considerable woes that will make young children glad for the reassuring presence of a parent.
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."