WASHINGTON (January 22, 1999) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews The Thin Red Line for the week of January 22-28. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of First Men in the Moon, 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 22-28 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.
- Playing by Heart -- Because of sexual situations, brief alcohol abuse, intermittent 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. Playing by Heart follows the floundering romantic relationships of five couples until they all come together at a marriage renewal ceremony, by which time each couple has learned to cope with their problems. Much is made of the surprise connections tying the characters together but that's the least interesting aspect of the sentimental story.
- 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.
- At First Sight -- Because of restrained bedroom scenes, a flash of nudity, some profanity and an instance of rough language, 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. At First Sight is a fact-based drama in which the blind Val Kilmer, at the urging of his girlfriend Mira Sorvino, undergoes an operation which restores his sight but causes other difficulties that jeopardize their relationship and his former sense of security. While overly sentimental, the romantic drama becomes emotionally involving as it explores the unexpected pitfalls of a sudden, drastic change in lifestyle.
- Gloria -- Because of some hard-edged violence, sexual references and innuendo as well as recurring rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Gloria is a hollow crime tale in which Sharon Stone plays a tough jailbird who tangles with her old gang when they try to rub out a 7-year-old boy who knows too much. Despite all the desperate action and gritty Manhattan locales, the result lacks the emotional credibility of Gena Rowlands' title performance in the 1980 original.
- 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.
The family video of the week is First Men in the Moon -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. First Men in the Moon offers a whimsical H.G. Wells' fantasy set in 1899 as an eccentric English inventor uses his discovery of anti-gravity to take a young couple on a trip to the moon. The 1964 British production makes the journey amusingly imaginative, though matters get somewhat scary after the visitors find an advanced civilization of human-sized insects living beneath the lunar surface.
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."