DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Nov-23-2010
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.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Enchanting animated fairy tale of a young maiden who rescues her father from a ferocious beast only to fall in love with the creature's gentler qualities. Computer graphics enhance classic Disney animation for eye-pleasing visuals enlivened by rousing musical numbers and delightful characterizations from directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. Brief scary scenes. Spanish language and titles options. A-I -- general patronage. (PG) (Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Off-kilter values underlie this fact-based narrative of a travel writer's (Julia Roberts) self-initiated divorce (from Billy Crudup), brief affair with a much younger actor (James Franco) and yearlong quest for enlightenment and self-understanding via Italian cuisine, Hindu spirituality (under the guidance of Richard Jenkins) and romance with a Brazilian expatriate (Javier Bardem) living in Bali. Director and co-writer Ryan Murphy's overlong, ultimately exhausting screen version of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling 2006 memoir displays an ambivalent attitude toward marriage, ignores Christianity as a source of insight and revolves around an interminably navel-gazing central figure. That figure, along the path of her pampered pilgrimage, confuses psychobabble for wisdom. Complex religious themes, acceptability of divorce, nonmarital and premarital situations, rear nudity, some sexual humor, an obscene gesture, a few uses of profanity, at least one rough and a half-dozen crude terms. Spanish titles option. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
A heartwarming coming-of-age story, based on the Wendelin Van Draanen novel, that chronicles the relationship of two kids, Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe), over a six-year period. At 7 years old, Juli has "flipped" over Bryce, but her puppy love is not returned. Amid the ups and downs of their friendship, the film examines family life in baby boom-era suburbia, challenging stereotypes and prejudices with a surprisingly strong pro-life message. As directed by Rob Reiner, everything about "Flipped" feels right and genuine, with a prevailing atmosphere of innocence and sensitivity, making this uplifting film probably acceptable for older teens. A handful of profane and crass expressions and scenes of family discord. A-III -- adults. (PG) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray)
Strictly Ballroom (Widescreen; 1993)
Old-fashioned success story of an Australian youth (Paul Mercurio) with his own ideas about dance steps teaming with an ugly duckling novice (Tara Morice) to compete for the championship in a traditional ballroom dancing contest. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the outcome of all this is as obvious as the eventual romance between the two principals is inevitable. But the movie's pleasure comes along the way in watching the energy and determination of the young dancers and their innocence in confronting unsympathetic parents and manipulative contest organizers. Mild sexual references, domestic difficulties and several instances of profanity. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Miramax Home Entertainment)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
A trio of down-on-their-luck Americans in Mexico (Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt) pool their stakes to prospect for gold in the mountainous backcountry, stumble upon a rich vein of ore and then face dissension over dividing their sudden wealth and getting it past a local band of murderous cutthroats. Director John Huston's suspenseful adventure tale features standout performances by his father Walter as a happy-go-lucky veteran prospector and Bogart as a penny-ante drifter driven over the edge by greed. Some intense menace. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (N/R) (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray)
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.