DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Dec-06-2010
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 Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story
Poignant biography of Walt Disney Studios' most famous songwriter team -- Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman -- whose cheery songs for such films as "Mary Poppins" and "The Jungle Book" belied a fractious personal relationship. Directed by their sons, Jeffrey C. Sherman and Gregory V. Sherman, the well-crafted documentary (unobjectionable though probably not for the kiddies) -- which includes interviews with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury and other luminaries, as well as friends and family members -- attempts to trace the roots of the conflict between these two disparate personalities. It also illuminates the mutual respect and love beneath the strained surface. Spanish titles option. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage.(N/R) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) 2009
Knight and Day
This good-natured, though intermittently violent, action-and-romance combo sees an everyday woman (Cameron Diaz) unwittingly caught up in the conflict between a highly skilled but apparently rogue CIA agent (Tom Cruise) and his former colleagues (led by Viola Davis and Peter Sarsgaard). They battle each other and an evil Spanish arms dealer (Jordi Molla) for possession of a recently invented (by young geek Paul Dano) energy source with revolutionary potential. Director and co-writer James Mangold's breezy diversion takes a largely bloodless toll on the extras while the adroitly portrayed central relationship progresses, for the most part, innocently enough. Frequent, though mostly nongraphic, action violence, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, some crude language, a few instances of sexual humor. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Generally inoffensive but routine fantasy adventure about an ordinary New York City college student (Jay Baruchel) who discovers he is the long-prophesied heir to legendary magician Merlin's wonderworking skills, powers he struggles to master under the supervision of a good wizard (Nicolas Cage) so he can aid in the fight against an evil sorcerer (Alfred Molina). But his pursuit of the gal (Teresa Palmer) he has loved since childhood proves a constant distraction. As directed by Jon Turteltaub, the special effects-driven proceedings -- which include unbloody battle scenes too intense for tots -- fall well short of movie magic. Extensive stylized violence, brief scatological humor. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
A well-behaved vampire (Robert Pattinson) and an equally courtly werewolf (Taylor Lautner) overcome their natural antipathy and temporarily unite to protect the teen mortal (Kristen Stewart) they both love from the threat posed by a vengeance-driven bloodsucker (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her plasma-hungry minions. Director David Slade's third installment in the hugely popular Gothic romance franchise -- based on the best-selling novels of Stephenie Meyer -- draws on self-referential humor to leaven its potentially ridiculous, and occasionally over-familiar, proceedings as it ramps up the mostly bloodless supernatural battling, but shifts the basis of the main couple's chaste interaction from a matter of constraint to one of choice. Considerable stylized violence, an off-screen rape, a scene of nongraphic sensuality, a birth control reference and a few mildly crass terms. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG-13) (Summit Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
In this pale, stale and mirthless spoof of the "Twilight" films, Matt Lanter is a tortured vampire and Jenn Proske is the mortal high schooler he loves. Completing the triangle is her friend with werewolf issues played by Chris Riggi. Co-directors and writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer find the bottom of the comedy barrel and scrape it mightily with a collection of sight gags strung together to approximate the story arc of the famed teen-vampire franchise. Fleeting profane, crude and crass language, some sexual innuendo. Spanish titles option. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Diana Ross stars as Dorothy, the girl who flies over the rainbow in a black musical version of "The Wizard of Oz." Chasing Toto into a snowstorm in Harlem, she winds up on the yellow brick road with the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), the Tin man (Nipsey Russell) and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross) on their way to meet the Wiz (Richard Pryor). Directed by Sidney Lumet, it has lavishly staged musical numbers, opulent costumes and colorful settings, but is overlong and its humor seems addressed more to adults and teenagers than younger viewers. Spanish titles option. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.(G) (Universal Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 1978
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.