WASHINGTON (January 7, 2000) -- Hurricanes and snow fall are featured on this week's movie line. The January 7-13, 2000 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 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
- The Hurricane -- Because of brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, some profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Hurricane is a powerful fact-based account of the 20-year struggle of boxer Rubin "Hurricane'' Carter (played by Denzel Washington) to regain his freedom, aided by an African-American teen (played by Vicellous Reon Shannon) and his Canadian guardians, after Carter was wrongly convicted of a 1966 New Jersey barroom triple murder. As a study of institutionalized racism, the movie chronicles a man's personal agony and triumph as he spiritually transcends his confines while helped by those committed to social justice.
- Magnolia -- Because of some gory violence, a brief sexual encounter with nudity, numerous sexual references, intense domestic crises, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Magnolia, an erratic, undisciplined tale, unfolds in loosely connected vignettes involving, among others, a dying media magnate (played by Jason Robards), his estranged son who's the guru of a macho cult (played by Tom Cruise), as well as a closet homosexual, a quiz show host, his estranged, cokehead daughter, and a good-hearted cop. The self-indulgent film treats the odd assortment of vignettes with emotional extravagance, resulting in a hodge-podge of uninteresting characters floundering about in sudsy situations.
- The Cider House Rules -- Because of its positive treatment of abortion, references to incest, violent and suicidal behavior, drug abuse, a fleeting sexual encounter and brief nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. 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 Cider House Rules is a romanticized 1940's drama in which a young man (played by Tobey Maguire) leaves the Maine orphanage run by the doctor (played by Michael Caine) who had raised him to carry on in his footsteps, but who refuses to perform illegal abortions until he resorts to the procedure when a farm worker (played by Erykah Badu) becomes pregnant by her own father (played by Delroy Lindo). The movie adaptation of John Irving's 1985 novel is emotionally manipulative in its pro-abortion stance with the story's humanist themes failing to apply to life within the womb.
- Any Given Sunday -- Because of much stylized violence, brutality, sexual situations, locker-room frontal nudity, drug abuse, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Any Given Sunday is a frenetically jumbled look at a professional football team trying to make the play-offs under a veteran coach Al Pacino who puts his career on the line by starting an ailing but reliable old-timer as quarterback rather than the hotshot young maverick favored by the club's devious owner (played by Cameron Diaz). The strictly formula sports story follows the underdogs to the big game in a jazzed-up narrative with jarring scenes of physical and verbal violence on and off the field, in locker rooms, bedrooms and corporate suites, while the coach philosophizes, cajoles, screams and whispers about team unity and the game's dignity.
- All About My Mother -- Because of some stylized violence, deviant sexual situations and references, some flashes of nudity, coarse language and sexual expletives, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. All About My Mother is a Spanish production in which a mother devastated by the death of her teenage son searches for his father in Barcelona where she soon becomes involved with a transvestite prostitute, a lesbian actress and a pregnant nun. The subtitled movie reflects on the positive qualities of this sorority of characters through a series of bizarre plot twists and ludicrous coincidences which add some humor but also point to the tragic consequences of AIDS.
- Snow Falling on Cedars -- Because of discreet sexual encounters, wartime violence 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. Snow Falling on Cedars is a ponderous drama in which the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II has resonance when one of them is put on trial for murder in 1950 and a reporter (played by Ethan Hawke) hesitates to reveal evidence helpful to the accused because he is still obsessed with memories of a love affair with the man's wife (played by Youki Kudoh) when they were both teenagers. The visually evocative film exploring racial prejudice is flawed by an excess of flashbacks to the affair which stagnate the courtroom drama.
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 Gerri Pare, Director, and Anne Novarro, Officer, 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.
Reviews of movies classified by the USCC can also be found in Our Sunday Visitor's Family Guide to Movies and Videos, edited by Henry Herx and available in bookstores for $29.95 per copy. They can also be ordered direct from OSV by calling 1-800-348-2440 or ordered online at www.osv.com.