DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of July 26, 2010
This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases
The following are capsule reviews of new and recent DVD and Blu-ray releases from the Catholic News Service. Theatrical movies have a Catholic News Service 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.
Appointment With Danger
Contrived but fairly interesting crime story of a postal inspector (Alan Ladd) getting some help from a nun (Phyllis Calvert) in tracking the killer of a colleague, then foiling a million-dollar mail robbery. Director Lewis Allen handles the action with the hard-bitten crooks (Paul Stewart, Henry Morgan and Jack Webb) better than the idealistic nun's reformation of a tough, cynical postal agent. Stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films) 1951
Clash of the Titans
Muddled mythological epic, set in ancient Greece, in which the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) embarks on a quest to defend humanity against the forces of Hades (Ralph Fiennes), the god of death, whom his brother Zeus (Liam Neeson), as king of the gods, has unleashed to punish humankind for their growing dissatisfaction with, and attempted rebellion against, the Olympian deities. Long action sequences and an emphasis on special effects leave little room for engaging drama in director Louis Leterrier's frequently violent 3-D remake of Desmond Davis' 1981 swords-and-sandals exercise, though undemanding viewers may be content enough with the proceedings not to notice the gifts of top-tier players such as Fiennes and Neeson being squandered on stilted dialogue. Complex, though undeveloped, religious themes; constant action violence, some of it bloody or gruesome; a bedroom encounter with implied sexual activity; at least one sexual reference; and a couple of mildly crass terms. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Crack in the World
Doomsday scenario unleashes widening series of earthquakes caused when a scientist (Dana Andrews) explodes a nuclear bomb to tap the energy at the earth's core. Director Andrew Marton gets some frightening moments in an otherwise sluggish script ending with the earth's getting a second moon. Stylized violence and a menacing premise. A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films) 1965
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Thrilling drama, set in 19th-century China during the Qing Dynasty, in which the precious sword of a famed warrior (Chow Yun-Fat), entrusted to a longtime friend (Michelle Yeoh), is stolen and must be recovered at all costs. Although melodramatic in part, director Ang Lee blends mesmerizing martial arts with stunning special effects into a script brimming with intrigue and suspense. Subtitles. Martial arts violence and an implied sexual encounter. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Sony Pictures Classics) 2000
Gritty crime thriller in which Chicago gamblers (Charlton Heston, Jack Webb and Ed Begley) fleece a visiting businessman (Dan DeFore) whose suicide brings his psycho older brother (Mike Mazurki) to hunt them down one by one. Directed by William Dieterle, the stark proceedings focus on Heston's cynical character as he gradually softens under the influence of a torch singer (Lizabeth Scott) and the dead man's widow (Viveca Lindfors). Stylized violence, menacing atmosphere and sexual innuendo. A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films) 1950
The Girl-Getters (aka "The System")
British look at contemporary society through the eyes of young rebels (notably Oliver Reed) without goals. Michael Winner's direction of Peter Draper's episodic script captures something of the cynical innocence of its subject. A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (VCI Entertainment) 1966
Effective crime thriller in which an alert citizen (Nancy Olson) tips a railroad detective (William Holden) to what turns out to be the kidnapping of a millionaire's blind daughter (Allene Roberts), with the crowded train station serving as the ransom point. Director Rudolph Mate keeps the tension high as the search for the desperate kidnapper (Lyle Bettger) widens through the city until the final showdown in the station's labyrinthine tunnels. Stylized violence and much menace. A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films) 1950
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.