WASHINGTON (September 3, 1999) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews A Dog of Flanders for the week of September 3-9. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of The Great Mouse Detective, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The September 3-9 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.
- A Dog of Flanders -- Because of stylized violence, some intense menace, an implied sexual encounter and a few cuss words, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. A Dog of Flanders is an engrossing version of the Ouida novel in which an orphaned 19th century Flemish boy, who is encouraged by local painter Jon Voight to become a great artist, gives up after losing a painting contest and is accused of arson, then faces death in a snow storm until a miracle gives him a second chance. The movie richly evokes the period in exploring the poor lad's problems and prospects, his love of his deceased mom and his yearning for his unknown father.
- Dudley Do-Right -- Because of comic violence, much menace and assorted vulgarities, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Dudley Do-Right is a thin live-action comedy based on the TV cartoon series in which the hopelessly square Canadian Mountie of the title (played by Brendan Fraser) gets some help from his faithful horse in saving his dim sweetheart (Sarah Jessica Parker) from a villain (Alfred Molina) who's using a fake gold rush to fleece novice prospectors. There are more easy laughs than genuine humor in the corny dialogue, weak sight gags and frantic slapstick action.
- The Muse -- Because of a few instances of profanity and a flash of nudity, 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. In The Muse a failing screenwriter (played by Albert Brooks) is forced to indulge every pampered wish of a woman (Sharon Stone) he believes to be a genuine muse whose inspiration will turn around his career. Brooks, who also directs, mocks the Hollywood value system quite amusingly, but has nowhere to go with the silly premise beyond clever one-liners.
- Chill Factor -- Because of intermittent violence, profanity and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Chill Factor, two strangers (played by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Ulrich) are pursued by murderous terrorists and the law as they struggle to deliver a volatile chemical capable of killing millions to a safe destination. The formula buddy-action movie is run-of-the-mill escapist fare with over-the-top Gooding attempting to add a dash of humor.
- The 13th Warrior -- Because of some gory battlefield violence with decapitations, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The 13th Warrior is a chaotic tale of tenth-century Vikings who force a traveling Arab diplomat Antonio Banderas to fight with them against savage cannibals decimating one of their kingdoms. The constantly panning camera, murky visuals and often incomprehensible dialogue amount to a dark and dreary horror film.
- The Astronaut's Wife -- Because of some intense violence, explicit sex, an attempted abortion, rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Astronaut's Wife is a lame sci-fi thriller in which a woman begins to suspect her husband has been replaced by an alien, then fears she will give birth to its alien offspring. The movie's weak premise, pedestrian pacing and predictable ending turn this supposed thriller into a limp misfire.
The family video of the week is The Great Mouse Detective -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of
America rating is G -- general audiences. The Great Mouse Detective is an animated feature detailing the adventures of Basil of Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes of mouseland, who sets out to rescue a little girl mouse's kidnaped father from the nefarious Professor Ratigan (voice of Vincent Price). While not one of Disney's finest, the sprightly take-off on the Holmes stories still manages charming characterizations throughout.
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."