WASHINGTON (January 15, 1999) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews The Thin Red Line for the week of January 15-21. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Nanook of the North, 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 15-21 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 Thin Red Line -- Because of graphic battlefield violence, fleeting nudity, recurring rough language and much profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Thin Red Line offers an eloquent reflection on the insanity of warfare as American soldiers in 1942 battle the Japanese on Guadalcanal while their thoughts turn to what brought each to this once-peaceful tropical paradise. Based on the James Jones novel, the result is a lengthy philosophical drama viewing war as a desecration of life and its significance.
- 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.
- Virus -- Because of some gory sci-fi violence, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Virus is a ludicrous special-effects monster movie about what happens when a shipwrecked crew seek refuge aboard a Soviet vessel that has been taken over by an alien life force. The mindless proceedings pit the humans against robot-like creatures in an increasingly tiresome series of shootouts.
- In Dreams -- Because of recurring gory violence, deadly menace to children, some 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. In Dreams is a murky thriller about a woman disturbed by vivid dreams of a serial killer but when she goes to the authorities, they think she is mentally deranged and commit her to an asylum. The plot is a muddled jumble of murder, clairvoyance and insanity which fails to mesh into a coherent story.
- Varsity Blues -- Because of sexual situations, nudity, alcohol abuse, intermittent 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. Varsity Blues tells a hokey formula tale of how high school football players come to dump their mean, dishonest coach in the middle of the championship game. Most of the bogus proceedings, however, are devoted to the teen's activities off the field, principally their drunken hijinks and quest for sex.
- 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 Nanook of the North -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Nanook of the North is a famous American documentary following a year in the life of an Eskimo family in the icy wastes of the Arctic where they live by hunting and bartering furs for supplies. This 1922 silent movie needs no dialogue to convey the humor as well as drama of the family's daily rounds in a harsh and, at times, dangerous environment, and the result is a richly human experience all the family can share.
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."