WASHINGTON (January 8, 1999) --The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews A Civil Action for the week of January 8-14. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The Rescuers, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The January 8-14 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.
- A Civil Action -- Because of occasional rough language and fleeting 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. A Civil Action presents a fact-based courtroom drama pitting crafty corporate attorney Robert Duvall against ambitious small-time lawyer John Travolta representing the families of children whose deaths are blamed on industrial pollution. Though the story focuses on moral and ethical issues in the case, the result is unfortunately dramatized in sluggish fashion.
- Life Is Beautiful -- Because of its Holocaust setting, 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. Life Is Beautiful offers a bittersweet comic fable in which an Italian Jew convinces his little son their grim existence in a Nazi concentration camp is just a game which they are sure to win. The subtitled picture begins as a comedy about the young man's courtship and marriage, then switches midway into the touchingly human story of a parent's determination to protect his child from terror and misery.
- Patch Adams -- Because of an off-screen act of tragic violence, fleeting nudity and a few coarse words as well as double entendres, 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. Patch Adams offers a fact-based comedy-drama with Robin Williams as an idealistic medical student whose belief in the healing power of humor leads him to risk dismissal from medical school. The unabashedly sentimental story lacks subtlety but Williams' ingratiating performance and his character's beliefs provide some appeal.
- The Prince of Egypt-- Because of some emotionally intense scenes, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Prince of Egypt retells the biblical story of Exodus in a beautifully crafted animated feature that focuses on Moses' conflicts with having been raised as the Pharaoh's adopted son, then leading his oppressed people from bondage in Egypt. The result is an impressive animated spectacle told in compelling fashion, though younger children may find it an overwhelming experience with some harrowing scenes.
- The Faculty -- Because of gory violence, sexual references and innuendo, the use of drugs as a plot device, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Faculty is an inept sci-fi horror tale about body snatchers from outer space taking over a high school until some students find a way to fight back. The formula plot has some scary effects but little suspense, with the slack taken up by the teen-agers' preoccupation with sex and drugs.
- Waking Ned Devine -- Because of some comic inebriation, fleeting rear nudity and a few instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Waking Ned Devine is a wry Irish comedy in which the residents of a tiny village conspire to pass off one of their own as the winner of a giant lottery after the actual ticket owner dies of shock. The crafty enterprise of the villagers is played up in amusing fashion without losing sight of their humanity and sense of community.
The family video of the week is The Rescuers -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. The Rescuers is an animated feature in which two enterprising mice try to rescue an orphaned girl from the wicked Madame Medusa and her gang in the dark Louisiana swamps. The 1977 Disney movie is helped along by an imaginative assortment of human and animal characters, several pleasant songs and smartly paced action scenes, some of which may be a bit scary for little 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/index.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."