WASHINGTON (August 22, 2000) -- Godzilla has risen again and appears on the Catholic Communication Campaign's movie line for the week of August 18-24. Despite a fair assortment of hot special effects, the science fiction in Godzilla 2000 left CCC reviewers cold. Two other movies this week center on New York City, with the family video pic Muppets Take Manhattan overshadowing the newly released Autumn in New York.
Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting. The movie line number is 1-800-311-4CCC. This week's line includes the following:
- The Cell -- Because of disturbing violence and sexual images, some nudity, occasional rough language and fleeting profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. The Cell is a bizarre sci-fi thriller in which psychologist Jennifer Lopez uses radical drug therapy to explore the unconscious mind of a comatose, schizophrenic killer hoping to save his latest victim, who is hidden in a booby-trapped cell. Stunning, surreal visuals don't make up for a weak narrative whose minimally developed characters produce little suspense.
- The Replacements -- Because of sexually suggestive gestures, brief violence, recurring crude expressions, profanity 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. The Replacements is surprisingly winsome in following a football team of alternate players (including Keanu Reeves) put together during an NFL players' strike by retired veteran coach Gene Hackman. Formulaic but funny, the briskly paced comedy appeals despite a predictable story line, time-worn cliches and stereotypical characters.
- The Original Kings of Comedy -- Because of some crude sex-related humor with constant 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. The Original Kings of Comedy is a sometimes hilarious comedy-concert revue showcasing standup comics Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac. While the foul language is repelling, the humor is never mean-spirited as the four acerbically poke fun at themselves, their African-American culture and race relations.
- Autumn in New York -- Because of a few sexual encounters and fleeting 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. Autumn in New York is a forgettable romantic drama in which aging playboy Richard Gere discovers true love with a feisty young woman half his age (Winona Ryder) whose grave illness may abbreviate their time together. Swell shots of fall in the Big Apple is the sole attraction as performances are hammy and the tearjerker plot is predictable.
- Saving Grace -- Because of its drug theme, an implied suicide, intermittent substance abuse, brief frontal nudity, an extramarital affair, recurring rough language and some profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Saving Grace is a high-spirited British romp in which an older woman (Brenda Blethyn), left destitute after her husband's death, tries to earn money by using her gardening savvy to grow a bumper crop of marijuana with the help of her pothead gardener. The character-driven film rolls out the laughs, but the moral implications of resorting to illegal acts to solve life's troubles is problematic.
- Godzilla 2000 -- Because of sci-fi violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Godzilla 2000 is a sluggish Japanese monster film in which the famous giant reptile once again rises from the sea to terrify the populace while doing battle with a mysterious UFO and a mammoth alien beast. Lifeless characters and dopey plotting make the overlong creature feature lack even a campy sense of humor, although scattered special effects are impressive.
Family video of the week:
- The Muppets Take Manhattan -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. In The Muppets Take Manhattan Kermit and Miss Piggy emulate Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a 1984 spoof of old-time Hollywood musicals. This third screen outing of Jim Henson's Muppets offers some highly entertaining musical numbers, much witty comedy and a lot of fun. Highly recommended for family viewing
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.