WASHINGTON (February 19, 1999) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews October Sky for the week of February 19-25. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Lilies of the Field, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The February 19-25 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.
- October Sky -- Because of a mining tragedy, fleeting parental abuse
and a few muttered profanities, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is
A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America
rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.
October Sky is an uplifting tale set in 1957 rural West Virginia where a
miner's son rejects his father's occupation, instead enlisting three
schoolmates to build a functioning rocket in hopes of winning a college
scholarship. The fact-based story sensitively dramatizes the familial
conflicts and how the impoverished youngsters persevere to better themselves
with higher education.
- Office Space -- Because of fleeting nudity, brief sexual references,
gangsta rap lyrics with recurring rough language and racial slurs, and a few
instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III
-- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Office Space three downtrodden office buddies conspire to rip off their
soulless corporation, relenting just before another mistreated employee
resorts to more desperate measures. While somewhat predictable, the sly
comedy humorously captures the numbing corporate environment of disposable
workers at the mercy of power-mad superiors.
- Message in a Bottle -- Because of a discreet bedroom scene,
fleeting violence and occasional profanity, 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. Message in a Bottle is a gauzy romance in which widowed North Carolina boat
builder Kevin Costner so loved his late wife, he's reluctant to take a chance
on love again with Chicago single mom Robin Wright Penn. Despite pretty
scenery and appealing performances, the slow, soppy proceedings furnish little
insight on the story's themes of loss, hope and renewal.
- 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.
- Payback -- Because of excessive violence, exploitative sexual
situations, drug abuse, intermittent profanity and much rough language, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The
Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.
Payback is a mindless action movie featuring Mel Gibson as a mad-dog killer
seeking revenge on those who hijacked his loot and left him for dead. The
movie's sadistic violence is depicted in jokey fashion intended to make the
killer seem a supercool hero.
- Jawbreaker -- Because of brief violence, a fleeting sexual encounter, frequent innuendo, intermittent rough language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Jawbreaker is a feeble black comedy in which three arrogant high school beauties accidentally kill a classmate then proceed to transform the class geek into a vixen to guarantee her silence about the crime. The girls' catty dialogue lamely satirizes snooty high school cliques, but the stale results are unamusing and derivative.
The family video of the week is Lilies of the Field -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Lilies of the Field stars Sidney Poitier as a jack-of-all-trades who helps a group of German nuns settle in New Mexico, but Lilia Skala as the stern Mother Superior isn't satisfied until he builds them a chapel. The 1963 story of faith coupled with good will has enormous charm in the winning performances of the two principals, some good-natured comedy and the infectious theme song, "Amen."
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.usccb.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."