WASHINGTON (January 14, 2000) -- Supernova, but no superior movies were added to this week's movie line reviews. The January 14-20 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 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. An 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 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 an abortionist doctor (played by Michael Caine) who had raised him to carry on in his footsteps, but the youth 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.
- Girl, Interrupted -- Because of a suicide, implied sexual encounters, crude references, occasional profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Girl, Interrupted a half-hearted suicide attempt lands a spoiled teen (played by Winona Ryder) in a late 1960's private asylum where living with the more seriously disturbed, especially a charismatic sociopath (played by Angelina Jolie), allows her to gain some insight into her own problems. Although unevenly adapted from an ex-mental patient's memoir, the movie is basically engrossing in spite of some melodramatics and sketchy characterizations.
- Next Friday -- Because of sexual situations, intermittent violence, recurring recreational drug use, bathroom humor and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R –- restricted. Next Friday is an unfunny sequel to the juvenile 1995 "Friday" in which central character Ice Cube moves to his uncle's home in the Los Angeles suburbs trying to escape a bully only to find trouble with his uncle's Chicano neighbors. The characters become caricatures as the cast squeezes out nothing but cheap laughs from the thin material.
- Supernova -- Because of intermittent sci-fi violence and a few sexual encounters with 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 Supernova, a 22nd-century medical rescue spaceship receives a strange distress call that launches the vessel on an adventure linking them with an alien artifact able to make humans stronger and younger, but with some harrowing side effects. With its unbelievable plot development and cardboard acting, this film is one to skip for all but die-hard sci-fi fans.
Family video of the week:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Produced in 1939, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is still one of the best screen adaptations of the Twain classic with Mickey Rooney properly scrappy in the title role and Rex Ingram strong and dignified as the freedom-seeking Jim. The result captures much of the youthful wonderment and spirit of adventure that makes the original such enjoyable reading.
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.