WASHINGTON (June 26, 2000) – Movie goers of all ages should run to see Chicken Run, says this week's Catholic Communications Campaign's 1-800 movie review line. From the directors of the delightful Wallace and Gromit claymation short series, this full-length English feature will enchant young and old with its tongue-in-chick humor and visual cleverness. Mel Gibson does a remarkable job avoiding typecasting in two widely disparate new movie roles this week, being both the voice of a rooster in Chicken Run and a pacifist Revolutionary soldier in The Patriot.
Adults who can overlook some pretty rough language may enjoy Samuel Jackson in the remake of the street-smart Shaft.
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 23-29 includes the following theater releases and their classifications:
- Jesus' Son -- Miserable drama set in the 1970s about a drug addict-loser (Billy Crudup) who wanders through life in a heroin-induced haze until a traumatic event convinces him make a half-hearted attempt to find meaning in his empty existence. Lacking a cohesive plot director Alison Maclean's episodic film of pathetic characters fails to make a connection between sporadic religious iconography and the lead character's vaguely redemptive pilgrimage. Repeated graphic drug abuse, a few sexual encounters, rationalization of an abortion, some violence, brief nudity and recurring rough language. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. (Lions Gate)
- My, Myself and Irene -- Extremely vulgar comedy in which a Rhode Island state trooper (Jim Carrey) with split personality disorder falls for a young woman (Renee Zelllweger) being pursued by deadly crooks and cops. Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly's crude road romance showcases Carrey's manic physicality but hits new lows in aesthetic offensiveness with its gross body-fluid sight gags and racial stereotyping. Implied sexual encounters, brief violence, rear nudity, toilet humor and comic treatment of incessant rough language and profanity. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. (20th Century Fox)
- The Patriot -- Savage action drama about a former war-hero-turned-pacifist (Mel Gibson) drawn into the American Revolutionary War when his idealistic son (Heath Ledger) joins the fight for colonial freedom, but the protective father's vicious past comes back to haunt him. Director Roland Emmerich's sweeping historical epic is a compelling story as interested in conveying the tragedy of violent human conflict and destroyed families as it is in depicting graphically intense battlefield scenes. Brutal scenes of war violence. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. (Columbia)
- Chicken Run -- Delightful clay animation feature about a plucky chicken (voice of Julia Sawalha) and her hen pals cooped up in a British egg farm who, with the help of a flying Yankee rooster (voice of Mel Gibson), must escape the cruel clutches of the egg farmer (voice of Miranda Richardson) before she turns them into chicken pies. Though the story line lags in parts and some jokes may go over children's heads, fantastic anthropomorphized features and the narrative's witty details make directors Peter Lord and Nick Park's first full-length feature both visually pleasing and cleverly amusing despite a few intense moments. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. (DreamWorks)
- Freaky Friday -- In Freaky Friday a mother and teenage daughter (Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster) vehemently wish to trade places for a single day, only to have the wish granted, to their mutual discomfiture. Gary Nelson directs a typical Disney slapstick comedy bolstered by good performances in the lead roles. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America is G -- general audiences.
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.