DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Oct-14-2010
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.
The Darjeeling Limited
Quirky, bittersweet odyssey about three estranged siblings -- the eldest, controlling brother recovering from a near-fatal injury (Owen Wilson), anxious father-to-be middle son (Adrien Brody) and the youngest, a writer (Jason Schwartzman). They set out on a spiritual journey on a train through India after their father's death, including a visit to a Himalayan monastery where their widowed mother (Anjelica Huston) has become a nun. Though the colorful film, as per director and co-writer Wes Anderson's usual style, is not conventionally structured, it becomes more involving as well as genuinely touching as it progresses, with some off-putting antics of the brothers at the start of their trip yielding to reflection and transformation after a tragic occurrence along the way. A nonmarital sexual encounter without nudity, brief rough language and profanity, and a drug reference. Spanish titles option. A-III - adults. (R) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.) 2007
Deep Blue Sea
Wildly implausible thriller in which three supersmart sharks devastate the floating sea laboratory using them for brain experiments, then roam through the lab's half-submerged lower levels hunting down the trapped survivors, including the lead scientist (Saffron Burrows) and the project's financial backer (Samuel L. Jackson). Directed by Renny Harlin, the synthetic characters bring little human interest to the frantic proceedings as the survivors try to escape drowning and the unseen menace of the sharks whose sudden, ferocious attacks punctuate the contrived action. Gory maritime violence, coarse expressions and rough language. A-III -- adults. (R) (Warner Home Video.) 1999
How to Train Your Dragon
Robust animated fantasy about a teenage Viking (voiced by Jay Baruchel) who goes against his own people by befriending and domesticating the creatures his society has been battling for 300 years. Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois have fashioned an engaging boy's own action-adventure, based on Cressida Cowell's book, with impressive 3-D visuals and a constructive pacifist message. While not overly taxing on brain cells or the imagination, it constitutes an above-average family-oriented ride, keeping in mind younger children may be frightened at times. Much relatively intense fantasy action, some harsh descriptions of Viking-dragon mayhem, two instances of potty language, two mildly off-color references to body parts. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Paramount Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-Ray.) 2010
The popular DC Comics series springs to life with a bang as the title character, a Civil War soldier turned bounty hunter and drifter, seeks revenge on the man who killed his family and left him disfigured. Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) chases his nemesis, Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich), across the country to prevent him from blowing up Washington and restarting the Civil War. The body count along the way is enormous, and while it is always clear that the bad guys go to hell, it's hard to condone Hex's fanatical drive for revenge. Stylized, unbloody violence, including gunfights, brawls, and explosions; implied sexual activity; occult rituals; and some profanity. Spanish titles option. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-Ray.) 2010
Handsome adaptation of Eric Knight's original novel, "Lassie Come Home," about an impoverished Yorkshire mining family (Samantha Morton, John Lynch and Jonathan Mason) in World War II that reluctantly sells its beloved dog to a rich nobleman (Peter O'Toole) who takes the dog to Scotland where the collie escapes and attempts the impossibly long trek back home. Writer-director Charles Sturridge has assembled a fine, mostly English cast, including Edward Fox, Kelly MacDonald and Jemma Redgrave, and two appealing youngsters, Mason and Hester Odgers. The scenic vistas are breathtaking and the story appealing, making this fine family viewing, though discerning adults may be bothered by a disjointed narrative, some plot turns that defy credulity, and an awkwardness in both script and direction that places it several notches below the classic 1943 MGM version. A brief sequence of Lassie being beaten with a belt, a nongraphic scene where the miners urinate to throw some hunting dogs off the scent of an escaping fox, some mildly crass language, some mild violence and the death of a dog. Spanish titles options. A-I -- general patronage. (PG) (Genius Entertainment.) 2006
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.