WASHINGTON (June 9, 2000) -- If the Catholic Communication Campaign movie review line has anything to say about it, the newly released Gone in 60 Seconds might take about that long to zip from theatrical release to video shelves. An unlikely and underdeveloped story about stealing cars, Gone in 60 Seconds has lots of speed and flash, but not much under the hood in the way of dialog or character development. Then again, Mission Impossible 2 has done well at the box office, despite an arsenal of shortcomings.
The movie line number is 1-800-311-4CCC. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting. The list for June 9-15 includes the following theater releases and their classifications:
- Mission: Impossible 2 -- Because of recurring stylized violence, implied affairs and minimal crass 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. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Mission: Impossible 2 is a diverting action flick in which American spy Tom Cruise and a sultry cosmopolitan thief (Thandie Newton) set out to avoid an international crisis by preventing a secret-agent-turned-terrorist from releasing a deadly virus. The glossy sequel's plot is more streamlined than the original and is tautly edited, but all the razzle-dazzle only adds up to a lightweight thriller.
- Big Momma's House -- Because of brief violence, an implied sexual encounter and sporadic innuendo, fleeting rear nudity, crude toilet humor and recurring crass 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, Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In Big Momma's House an FBI agent (Martin Lawrence) goes undercover as a hefty Southern grandmother to catch a brutal bank robber, but finds himself falling for the robber's ex-girlfriend (Nia Long). Except for a few genuine laughs, the derivative comedy plays as a star vehicle for Lawrence, loaded with predictable scenes.
- Gone in 60 Seconds -- Because of violence, an implied sexual encounter with shadowy nudity and brief 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. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Gone in 60 Seconds is a lackluster action flick in which retired car thief Nicolas Cage must steal 50 cars in one night to save the life of his younger brother who is in over his head in a dangerous high stakes heist. Zippy car chases and flashy autos set a fast pace, but underdeveloped characters, weak scripting and trite dialogue do little to keep the momentum going.
- Shanghai Noon -- because of intermittent stylized violence, implied sexual encounters, fleeting drug use and brief crass 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. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In Shanghai Noon an imperial Chinese guard (Jackie Chan) travels to America in 1881 to save the kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu) he loves and is unexpectedly aided by an easygoing outlaw (Owen Wilson) in learning the ways of the wild west. With its kicky kung-fu action and East-meets-West antics, the action-comedy is light-hearted fun with its confrontations and innuendo not to be taken seriously.
- Running Free -- the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. Running Free tells the tale of an abandoned colt that eventually finds freedom in the harsh deserts of Namibia, Africa after being adopted by an orphaned stableboy in a 1914 southern African mining town. Beautiful shots of wildlife and desert grandeur don't offset a shaky, unconvincing plot and the goofy narration by Lukas Haas as the colt. Brief wartime explosions.
- Road Trip --because several sexual encounters, sporadic nudity, intermittent drug use, comic depiction of suicide and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Road Trip is a gross-out comedy following four college kids from New York to Texas in pursuit of a video tape accidentally mailed to a girlfriend of one of the students that shows him in bed with someone else. The brainless plot uses an onslaught of tedious vulgarities and dumb sight gags to depict higher education as an excuse for drunken and lewd behavior.
- Heidi -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. The children's classic, Heidi, stars Shirley Temple as a little Swiss orphan who brings cheer into the morose life of her grandfather but is sent to be the companion of a crippled rich girl in Frankfurt, where she helps the child to walk again. Winsome Shirley smiles her way through considerable woes until rescued from near tragedy on Christmas Eve. Best for young children with the reassuring presence of a parent.
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 Navarro, Officer, of the USCC Film and Broadcasting Office.
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.