DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of June 14, 2010
This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases
The following are capsule reviews of new and recent DVD and Blu-ray releases from Catholic News Service. Theatrical movies have a Catholic News Service classification and Motion Picture Association of America rating. These classifications refer only to the theatrical version of the films below, and do not take into account the discs' extra content.
The Book of Eli
This unexpectedly contemplative and lyrical, if violent, homage to spaghetti Westerns, martial arts films and religious faith follows a lone hero (Denzel Washington) as he traverses a post-apocalyptic landscape using his considerable fighting skills to safeguard the only extant copy of the King James Bible. Director siblings Albert and Allen Hughes have succeeded at making an entertaining and relatively substantive movie, while refraining from saturating the proceedings in blood or prolonging the violent passages. Still, some moviegoers will find the pairing of scripture with stylized aggression unnecessary and avoidable. Intermittent strong violence including gunplay and swordplay and a killing intended to be merciful, much rough language, some crude language, and brief sexual innuendo. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Neither Sam J. Jones as the comic-strip hero nor Melody Anderson as Dale Arden are especially memorable in this lush and campy Dino De Laurentiis production whose witless script is directed by Mike Hodges. What moderate entertainment value the movie has to offer comes from the nonstop action, the inspired tackiness of the costumes and sets and the performances of Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless and Brian Blessed as a jovially barbaric hawkman. Much stylized violence and sexual innuendo. A-III -- adults. (PG) (Universal Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 1980
Writer-director Jim Jarmusch has concocted a trio of lightly comic tales set on the back streets of Memphis that offhandedly invoke the memory and spirit of Elvis Presley. An offbeat road picture in which locals and foreigners mix in search of themselves and the ghost of Elvis. Some violence, sexual innuendo and profanity. A-III -- adults. (R) (E1 Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 1989
Tristan and Isolde
Occasionally stirring but mostly somber retelling of the classic star-crossed love story set in the sixth century, about an English knight (James Franco) and his Irish lover (Sophia Myles) -- promised in marriage to his liege (Rufus Sewell) -- who must choose between passion and duty with the peace of their warring peoples hanging in the balance. Despite nice photography, attractive leads and the enduring themes of love, loss and honor, director Kevin Reynolds' tale of tragic romance is weighed down by Franco's brooding and humorless performance. Intense battle violence, including severed limbs, a hanging, several sexual situations with suggested nudity, and themes of adultery. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) 2006
When in Rome
Perky romantic comedy about a work-obsessed New York museum curator (Kristen Bell) who travels to Rome for the wedding of her sister (Alexis Dziena) and falls for the best man (Josh Duhamel), but their path to bliss takes a detour when she defies local custom by removing several coins from the "Fountain of Love," causing the quartet of eccentric strangers who deposited the change (Danny DeVito, Will Arnett, Jon Heder and Dax Shepard) to become hopelessly infatuated with her. While the youthful, slightly pixilated priest (Keir O'Donnell) who performs the nuptials comes in for some gentle ribbing, director Mark Steven Johnson's pleasantly diverting, blithely illogical ensemble piece is mostly worry-free with only a fleeting scene of newlywed friskiness barring endorsement for teens. Brief nongraphic marital lovemaking with implied nudity, mildly irreverent portrayal of a clergyman and a few crass expressions. Spanish language and titles options. A-III --adults. ( PG-13) (Touchstone/Disney) 2010
These movies have been evaluated for artistic merit and moral suitability by the media reviewing division of Catholic News Service. The reviews include the CNS rating, the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and a brief synopsis of the movie.
The classifications are as follows:
A-I -- general patronage;
A-II -- adults and adolescents;
A-III -- adults;
L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
O -- morally offensive.
Note: Some movies previously were designated A-IV. Older films with this classification should be regarded as classified L.