DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of July 12, 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.
Assault on Precinct 13
Brutal and violent -- though reasonably gripping -- story of a desolate Detroit police precinct under siege by crooked police who are out to silence a criminal (Laurence Fishburne) incarcerated there, to cover up what he knows about corruption within their ranks, creating an unusual alliance between the police and criminals within the station house who must unite to defend themselves. Jean-Francois Richet's remake of the 1976 film features good performances by Fishburne, Ethan Hawke and Brian Dennehy, but the bloodshed and violence seem unnecessarily explicit, and the improbable story calls for major suspension of disbelief. Graphic and bloody violence and related gore, much rough, crude and profane language, some sexual innuendo. Spanish titles option. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Universal Studios Home Video; also available on Blu-ray) 2005
The Bounty Hunter
Forgettable, frequently mean-spirited mix of romantic comedy and crime story begins with a former police officer-turned-bounty hunter (Gerard Butler) delightedly arresting his journalist ex-wife (Jennifer Aniston) after she fails to appear for a court hearing, but the two quickly become entangled in a case of police corruption that leaves them dodging bullets and, far less successfully, a renewed hail of arrows from cupid's bow. Any potentially heartwarming elements in director Andy Tennant's predictable tale of rekindling romance get lost amid the frenetic shuffle as the rival protagonists use a Taser stun gun on one another as well as tackle and handcuff each other. Some action violence, scenes of torture, brief rear nudity, several sexual jokes and references, about eight uses of profanity, a bit of rough, much crude language. Spanish language and titles options on Blu-ray edition. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Playwright Martin McDonagh is writer and director of this film about a mobster (Ralph Fiennes) who, after a heinous murder, orders his two Irish hit men (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) to go into hiding in the medieval Belgian city -- an experience that proves transformative for both of them. Though the finely acted tragicomedy has several extremely violent sequences and myriad other sordid elements, necessitating the film's highly restrictive classification, McDonagh's theme of the futility of cyclical violence is powerfully conveyed, while the intermittent conversations between the two criminals about the meaning of life and other spiritual matters provide further texture. Pervasive rough language and some profanity, violence with bloodshed, murder and suicide, killing of a priest, drug use, prostitution, frank sexual talk, a nongraphic sexual encounter, ethnic slurs. Spanish titles option. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Universal Studios Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2008
Grim tale of a sleep-deprived LA police detective (Al Pacino) on assignment in Alaska who is conflicted by his desire to nail a vicious killer (Robin Williams) while covering up his own shameful secrets. Pacino's performance as the morally flawed lawman carries director Christopher Nolan's atmospheric thriller with a strong assist from Hilary Swank as a rookie cop. Some violence, fleeting corpse nudity, much rough language and brief profanity. Spanish language and titles options. A-III --adults. (R) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2002
Our Family WeddingScattershot comedy, prone to physical gags, about the culture clash between two families when a Latina (America Ferrera) marries an African-American (Lance Gross). Director Rick Famuyiwa, who co-wrote along with Wayne Conley and Malcolm Spellman, leaves no stereotype untouched in this wildly uneven combination of "Father of the Bride" and "Abie's Irish Rose," but mostly manages to stay within tasteful boundaries. A fleeting instance of crass language and the implication of a premarital relationship. Probably acceptable for mature teens. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 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.