DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of July 19, 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.
Cats & Dogs
Fitfully amusing action comedy in which a young pup (voiced by Tobey Maguire) and his canine crew must protect man from a frisky feline (voiced by Sean Hayes) who plans to destroy a new vaccine for dog allergies and dominate the world. Director Larry Guterman makes clever use of the age-old battle between cats and dogs, and the computer-generated effects are exceptional, but the soft narrative disappoints. Some mild action violence. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2001
Passable comedy in which two Brooklyn buddies (Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson) end up being pursued in the Australian Outback after a kangaroo hops off with the envelope of mob money they were supposed to deliver. The scenic setting, animal antics and the leads' easygoing rapport make director David McNally's goofy crime caper relatively innocuous entertainment. Mild sexual innuendo, occasional toilet humor and some menace with comic violence. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Warner Home Video) 2003
This slick action comedy about a unit of ex-special forces soldiers (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada) who are betrayed by a fiendish spymaster (Jason Patric) holds itself in much higher regard than its deprecatory title and flippant tone would suggest -- or than the disposable project as a whole deserves. Director Sylvain White applies a music-video sensibility to the comic-book source material, and the stylized violence, though considerable, is never explicit, while the jocularity is more juvenile than offensive. A moderately explicit nonmarital sexual encounter, some profanity, at least two instances of rough language, a steady stream of crude and crass verbiage, frequent bloodless violence and some sexual innuendo and banter. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Warner Home Video) 2010
The Red Shoes
Life imitates art in the romantic tragedy of a dedicated ballerina (Moira Shearer) in a company whose manipulative impresario (Anton Walbrook) forces her to choose between her love for a talented composer (Marius Goring) and her dedication to dancing. Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the convincing portrayal of the ballet world, on-stage and off, proves of more interest than the star-crossed romance and its relation to the title ballet which is the movie's thematic center. Suicide in the plot resolution. A-III --adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray.) 1948
Intermittently amusing comedy that reunites the Mystery Inc. gang of Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), Velma (Linda Cardellini) and Great Dane Scooby (voiced by Neil Fanning) to solve what's behind the strange incidents happening at Spooky Island that turn happy college coeds into straight-laced, uptight students. Director Raja Gosnell seamlessly blends live action with the animation as actors convincingly interact with the computer-generated Scooby character in a skimpy story that closely follows the formulaic boundaries from the Hanna-Barbera animated TV episodes. However, some parents may be dismayed at the film's cleavage-revealing outfits and occasional supernatural references. Some scary action sequences and puerile humor, and a few crass expressions and innuendos. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2002
TMNTComputer-animated feature revives the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise, as four brothers set out to defeat a villain poised to unleash 13 monsters on New York. Writer-director Kevin Munroe navigates a rather overly complicated plot with aplomb, successfully balancing action and humor while enforcing the values of solidarity and atonement. Cartoon-level combat and swordplay, a subtle acceptance of a premarital living situation, two instances of belching and some disrespectful banter, and a mild instance of profanity. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2007
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.