WASHINGTON (July 30, 1999) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Eyes Wide Shut for the week of July 30 - August 5. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Pollyanna, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The July 30 - August 5 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.
- Eyes Wide Shut -- Because of graphic sex scenes, full nudity, drug use and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.
Eyes Wide Shut is a failed cautionary tale about a mixed-up Manhattan physician who sneaks into a satanic cult's sex orgy from which he barely escapes with his life to return home a more sober husband. Director Stanley Kubrick's final picture is a major disappointment in its cold-hearted, heavy-handed treatment of shallow characters in thinly contrived situations that fail to elicit any empathy.
- Runaway Bride -- Because of very discreet sexual innuendo and minimal profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. In Runaway Bride cynical big-city reporter Richard Gere comes to a small town to do an exposť on bride-to-be Julia Roberts, who has left several previous suitors at the altar, only to find he wants to replace the groom at the imminent ceremony. With Roberts luminous in her role, the feel-good romantic comedy, though predictable, brims with warmth and charm.
- Deep Blue Sea -- Because of gory maritime violence, coarse expressions and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Deep Blue Sea is a wildly implausible thriller in which three genetically enhanced sharks devastate a floating sea laboratory experimenting on them, then roam through the lab's lower levels hunting down trapped survivors, including the lead scientist (played by Saffron Burrolip) and the project's financial backer (Samuel L. Jackson). The synthetic characters bring little human interest to the frantic proceedings as sudden, ferocious shark attacks punctuate the contrived action.
- The Blair Witch Project -- Because of fleeting violence, much menace, some profanity and constant rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is, A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Blair Witch Project is a documentary-like horror film showing footage found a year after the disappearance of three young filmmakers who entered a Maryland woods to explore an old myth about a resident witch, leaving only the filmed record of their frightened final days. The low-budget effort has a sense of urgency as the footage shows the trio increasingly lost and terrified, but the dialogue is soon reduced to shrill, incessant cursing, which undermines the film's ominous atmosphere.
- The Haunting -- Because of gory violence, including a decapitation, and intermittent 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. The Haunting is set in a spooky old house in rural New England where a psychologist uses three volunteers for an experiment in fear that goes awry as the house begins to come alive with the evil spirit of its builder. The special effects horror is laboriously overdone and leaves nothing to the imagination, a mistake not made in the 1963 original which remains the one to see.
- Inspector Gadget -- Because of comic violence and mild sexual innuendo, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Inspector Gadget is a dopey adventure comedy starring Matthew Broderick as a bionic policeman slowly learning how to use the various crime-fighting gadgets with which his body has been equipped. Based on a TV cartoon character, this live-action Disney misfire is a waste of time.
The family video of the week is Pollyanna. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Pollyanna is the heartwarming tale of an orphan who comes to live with her stern New England aunt, then brightens the lives of all in the vicinity with her sunny disposition and penchant for looking on the bright side. The 1960 Disney production gets a sweet performance from Hayley Mills in the title role, though grumps may be put off by the story's sugar-coated treatment.
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."