DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Oct-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. .
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Ultimate Edition)
Fourth film in the series based on J.K. Rowling's fantasy novels, in which Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) competes against students from two rival schools in a perilous wizard's tournament that ends up being sabotaged by the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who uses it to ensnare Potter. Director Mike Newell continues the darker tone set by 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and though this go-round feels a tad long, it still conjures enough movie magic to cast a satisfying spell over audiences. Frightening images, scenes of intense menace and some sexual innuendo. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG-13) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-Ray.) 2005
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Ultimate Edition)
Richly textured fantasy in which the young wizard (Daniel Radcliffe), aided by his two best friends (Emma Watson and Rupert Grint), seeks out a violent escapee (Gary Oldman) accused of killing his parents, and who also is suspected of plotting to murder Harry. Director Alfonso Cuaron's adaptation of J.K. Rowling's third Harry Potter novel covers darker emotional territory in masterful cinematic fashion, blending fantastical images with Harry's need to reconcile past familial tragedy and a mounting desire for vengeance. Some frightening images and scenes of intense menace. Spanish language and titles options. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-Ray.) 2004
The Lemon Drop Kid
Frantic adaptation of a Damon Runyon story in which a small-time bookie (Bob Hope) schemes to raise the money owed a gangster by setting up bogus sidewalk Santa Clauses supposedly collecting money for an old people's home. Directed by Sidney Lanfield, the script is tailored to suit Hope's talents for sight gags and one-liners, but the humor is too fitful to sustain the cumbersome plot and phony Christmastime sentimentality. Mild sexual innuendo. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (N/R) (Shout! Factory) 1951
Frenetic musical romance set in circa-1900 Paris about a penniless poet (Ewan McGregor) in love with an enchanting courtesan (Nicole Kidman) who is pressured to accommodate a rich duke (Richard Roxburgh) capable of making her a star. Director Baz Luhrmann's wildly creative blend of diverse music and visual styles is a madly paced triumph of artifice over substance in its gushy valentine to romantic love. An implied affair with some sexual innuendo. Spanish language option. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Video) 2001
Surprisingly philosophical nature documentary offers stunning images of sea life from around the globe while conveying a positive message about mankind's connection to the ocean and the need for environmental conservation. Actor Pierce Brosnan intones pleasing narration for co-directors and writers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, whose film, though it lacks a solid narrative structure and occasionally suffers from a dearth of explanatory detail, nonetheless constitutes a visual feast, and their avoidance of graphic images of predatory behavior makes this eye-catching spectacle suitable for viewers of all ages. Spanish language and titles options. A-I -- general patronage. (G) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray.) 2010
Informative and enjoyable hourlong documentary examining the history of the Catholic Church's reverence for saints and the development, over the centuries, of the current process of canonization. Narrated by Martin Sheen and featuring interviews with officials from the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes, including its former prefect, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, as well as Kenneth L. Woodward, author of "Making Saints," the film uses classic artwork and dramatizations to tell the stories of four figures presently at different stages on the path to sainthood. Those proclaimed "servants of god" are represented by Msgr. Nelson Baker (1841-1936) of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., and Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980); those declared "blessed" by Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), the "Lily of the Mohawks"; and those already canonized with St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), the apostle of Divine Mercy. A fine introduction to the subject, suitable both for individual viewing and as a parish or catechetical resource. (www.daybreaktv.org) 2007
Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition)
Classic thriller from the Robert Bloch story in which a private detective (Martin Balsam) tracks a missing person (Janet Leigh) to a lonely, back-roads motel whose affable but high-strung manager (Anthony Perkins) seems strangely preoccupied with the demands of his invalid mother in the eerie Victorian house atop a nearby hill. Director Alfred Hitchcock starts the proceedings with an impulsive theft, then smoothly switching gears, turns the ordinary into a scary, sinister nightmare with a compulsive murderer on the loose at the motel. Strong adult fare with much suspense, brief but shocking violence, most notably in the motel shower scene, and some sexual references. Spanish titles option. A-III -- adults. (N/R) (Universal Studios; also available on Blu-Ray.) 1960
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.