DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of June 21, 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.
Idealistic but raw combat drama, set in the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as a dedicated Army officer (Matt Damon) tries to discover why his unit's search for the Saddam regime's weapons of mass destruction continually comes up empty, and he finds himself caught in a power struggle between a Defense Department intelligence agent (Greg Kinnear) who's indifferent to the justification for American intervention and a rogue CIA station chief (Brendan Gleeson) who believes the whole operation rests on a foundation of lies and fabrications. Director Paul Greengrass' uneasy mix of political conspiracy yarn and action adventure, loosely inspired by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 2007 best-seller "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," increasingly takes on the qualities of a personal crusade by its hero, thus blunting its ability to dissect larger questions of real-life morality. Considerable action violence, some of it bloody, torture, several uses of profanity, frequent rough and crude language. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Universal Studios Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Night Train to Munich
Classy British espionage caper in which a Czech inventor and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood) are snatched from England by a nasty Nazi agent (Paul von Henreid), then rescued from a heavily guarded German train by a daredevil British operative (Rex Harrison). Director Carol Reed paces the cat-and-mouse thriller with some twisty plot turns, comic byplay (notably Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne as woolly English travelers) and suspenseful action, including a shootout atop the Swiss Alps. Stylized violence and mild romance. A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Criterion Collection) 1940
Vague Italian mood piece about a troubled woman (Monica Vitti) living in the industrial city of Ravenna who struggles to find human warmth and hope in a seemingly alienated world. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, the unconventional narrative is more concerned with interior feelings than the exposition of events, and many might find its images of disorientation irritatingly abstract and meaningless. English subtitles. Needlessly detailed treatment of sexual matters. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Criterion Collection: also available on Blu-ray.) 1964
Less than memorable romantic drama about the relationship between an angst-ridden twentysomething New York bohemian (Robert Pattinson) and the university student (Emilie de Ravin) he initially dates as a practical joke to get back at her policeman father (Chris Cooper) for roughing him up and arresting him, but for whom he eventually falls in earnest. Director Allen Coulter's young sophisticates play cutesy when not dwelling on the losses -- his brother's early death and her mother's murder -- that help them bond. Along with glamorizing the couple's premature sexual union, as well as their eventual shacking up, Will Fetters' script moves toward a climax related to real-life events that many will find distastefully manipulative. Cohabitation, passionate, but nongraphic premarital sexual activity, a couple of uses of profanity, some sexual references and jokes, including a promiscuous character, frequent smoking, at least one drug reference, a few rough and numerous crude terms. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Summit 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.