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.
Rapidly fizzling horror entry in which Satan stalks an elevator stuck between floors in a Philadelphia high-rise. Director John Erick Dowdle, working from a story by M. Night Shyamalan, puts reliable scream queen Bojana Novakovic and a handful of other riders with unsavory pasts through some decidedly less-than-scary paces as the Prince of Darkness dispenses rough justice. Fleeting crude and crass language, dubious, though incidental, use of Catholic imagery. Spanish language and titles options. A-III – adults (PG-13) (Universal Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Meet John Doe (Ultimate Collector's Edition)
An unassuming hobo (Gary Cooper) is hired to embody the average American, but when he discovers that his media-created popularity is being used to further the ambitions of a home-grown fascist politician (Edward Arnold), he decides to commit suicide. Director Frank Capra plumbs the darker side of the American character in an interesting but ultimately heavy-handed story about the dangers of media manipulation. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (N/R) (VCI Video) 1941
Well-acted but thoroughly violent action thriller in which, after being accused by a Russian intelligence officer (Daniel Olbrychski) of being a double agent, a highly skilled CIA operative (Angelina Jolie) goes on the run, leaving her colleagues (principally Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor) scrambling to uncover whether she is friend or foe, even as they try to track her down. As directed by Phillip Noyce, Jolie makes a weak script reasonably compelling, and her character displays strong marital loyalty; yet, as an all-but-superhuman killing machine, her path is littered with corpses. Frequent violence, some of it bloody, at least 10 uses of profanity, one instance of the F-word, six crude terms. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Step Up 3D
In this third installment of the street stomping franchise, the setting shifts from Baltimore to New York as the leader (Rick Malambri) of a Gotham dance crew recruits a college freshman (Adam G. Sevani) he takes under his wing and a nightclub denizen (Sharni Vinson) for whom he quickly falls to help win a contest, the proceeds from which will forestall foreclosure on the loft where he and his followers live and practice. But his quest is hindered by his new protege's academic and amorous distractions (the latter caused by Alyson Stoner) and by the underhand scheming of a friend-turned-rival (Joe Slaughter). Three-dimensional effects enhance the precision choreography in director Jon M. Chu's generally buoyant follow-up to his 2008 feature debut "Step Up 2: The Streets," but the nimble numbers in this tale retreading familiar Hollywood themes of dream fulfillment and the self-selecting circle of friends as do-it-yourself substitute family are interspersed with flat-footed dialogue, a creaky plot and some provocative moves and lyrics. At least one use of the S-word, occasional crass language, a mildly irreverent joke and scenes of moderately suggestive dancing. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Uneven sequel in which, seven years after being released from prison, a disgraced financier-turned-author (Michael Douglas) convinces his estranged daughter's (Carey Mulligan) fiance (Shia LaBeouf) to help him reconcile with her. He offers in return to assist the young investment executive's business vendetta against a ruthless mogul (Josh Brolin) whose machinations ruined the lad's mentor (Frank Langella). Set against the backdrop of the economic crisis that began in 2007, and directed -- like its 1987 predecessor "Wall Street" -- by Oliver Stone, the high-stakes drama benefits from Douglas' magnetic performance as a man compounded of charisma, corruption and a few remaining shards of human decency. Less appealing are the script's heavy-handed attempts at social comment and a central romantic relationship that puts the sexual cart before the marital horse. Cohabitation, brief sexual imagery and occasional sexual references, several uses of profanity, at least two instances of rough language, a few crude and some crass terms. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
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.