DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of August 16, 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.
Vibrant intercultural feast updating the Greek myth to a Rio de Janeiro setting where trolley driver Orpheus (Breno Mello) accidentally kills his beloved Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) while trying to protect her from a stalker costumed as Death. After a religious cult fails to revive her, he sets out with her body for burial until another fatal accident intervenes. Directed by Marcel Camus, the appealing leads are supported by a spirited cast who play out the mythic tragedy amid the gaiety of Rio's Carnival with its colorful parades of dancing bands, backed by a haunting music score and spectacular views of Rio's picturesque locales. Subtitles. Stylized violence, sexual situations and innuendo. A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray.) 1959
Intricate story about the world of electronic eavesdropping in which a colorless professional bugger (Gene Hackman) is hired to spy on a young couple but then finds himself being spied upon. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it is beautifully acted, meticulously paced and of interest because it looks at some of the ambiguities and shades of responsibility in the subterranean area of electronic snooping as practiced by anonymous professionals for hire. Some violence. A-III -- adults. (PG) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment) 1974
Painfully flat comedy in which a Chicago-based construction supervisor (Brendan Fraser) moves to the Oregon woods to oversee a new housing development. But he finds his work stymied by a mischievous conspiracy of the forest creatures whose habitat the supposedly eco-friendly development will displace. This leads to complications with his scheming boss (Ken Jeong) and his unwillingly uprooted wife (Brooke Shields) and son (Matt Prokop). Director Roger Kumble's frequently distasteful romp registers as more juvenile than sprightly, while its underlying themes of respect for nature and the priority of family life over career advancement, though honorable, are driven home far too ham-handedly. Much scatological humor and some comic violence. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Summit Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
The Last Song
Based on the eponymous Nicholas Sparks novel, this old-fashioned romance features teen singing sensation Miley Cyrus in her first dramatic role. She plays the troubled child of divorced parents who is shipped off, along with her younger brother (precocious Bobby Coleman), to spend the summer with their father (Greg Kinnear) in a picture-perfect seaside Georgia town. There she falls for Will (Liam Hemsworth), a hunky volleyball player who quotes Tolstoy and saves baby sea turtles. As these star-crossed lovers from different worlds learn important life lessons about love and forgiveness, broken hearts heal and second chances rule in a film calculated to please both teens and their parents. Some scenes of teenage drinking, a few mildly crass terms, and brief images of a fire that could frighten very young viewers. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Touchstone Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Orlando Special Edition
British adaptation of Virginia Woolf's feminist fantasy about the curious experiences of an Elizabethan noble (Tilda Swinton) who lives for 400 years, the first 200 as a man and the next 200 as a woman. Adapted and directed by Sally Potter, the result is always pretty to look at but not particularly amusing or enlightening as the centuries roll by slowly with few insights on the unequal social conditions that until recently had been women's traditional lot. Momentary frontal nudity and a few circumspect scenes of lovemaking. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1992
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.