WASHINGTON -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews The Thomas Crown Affair for the week of August 6-12. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The Swan Princess, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The August 6-12 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 Thomas Crown Affair -- Because of sexual encounters with nudity, occasional profanity and a few instances of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Thomas Crown Affair is a cat-and-mouse drama in which a billionaire art thief (played by Pierce Brosnan) and the insurance investigator (Renee Russo), who will net five million for nailing him, become romantically involved, complicating whether she will do her job or take off with him as he suggests. An update of the 1968 Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway crime caper, the bedroom scenes are more explicit in this glossy escapist fantasy of riches and romance without consequences.
- 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.
- The Iron Giant -- Because of some intense cartoon combat violence and menace to a child, 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 Iron Giant is an absorbing animated adventure about a young boy trying to protect a towering alien robot from a paranoid government agent bent on its elimination even if it means destroying the boy's hometown. The well-crafted tale is both political allegory adults can enjoy and a sweet story of friendship that older children can relate to.
- The Sixth Sense -- Because of gory violence, a menaced child and coarse 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. The Sixth Sense is a clunky psychological thriller in which child psychologist Bruce Willis tries to help a shaky 8-year-old who keeps seeing dead people walking around, though matters ultimately are not what they seem. The story's vague assumptions and boring situations are suddenly thrown into an entirely new light by a twist ending, though few will find the "surprise" worth waiting for.
- Mystery Men -- Because of intermittent comic violence and some toilet humor, 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. Mystery Men is a dopey spoof in which seven would-be superheroes (including Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo and William H. Macy) combine their kooky talents to outwit a nasty megalomaniac (Geoffrey Rush) intent on leveling their metropolis. The ensemble cast offers only sproadic laughs and a chaotic script further dilutes the comedy-fantasy.
- Dick -- Because of sexual innuendo, coarse humor, drug use, occasional 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. Dick is a weak spoof of the Nixon Administration during the Watergate cover-up when two blissfully ignorant high school girls become welcome visitors to the White House, then finally tumble to what's going on and become the newspaper source known as Deep Throat. The low comedy proceedings turn the era into a broad farce involving dumb-and-dumber adolescents with dim-and-dimmer Watergate caricatures.
The family video of the week is The Swan Princess -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. The Swan Princess is an animated tale of a beautiful princess changed into a swan by an evil sorcerer while a valiant prince attempts to break the spell. The lovely graphics are animated in the style of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," with the heavily romantic story paced by some lighthearted humor from an animal trio assisting in the rescue.
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."