DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS week of January 3, 2011
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.
A professional assassin (George Clooney) flees to Italy in search of healing and a better life, only to discover that it's hard to shake his past. He falls for the proverbial prostitute with a heart of gold (Violante Placido), and receives moral advice from the flawed but sympathetic local priest (Paolo Bonacelli), but must ultimately find his own way. Although the serious intent of the filmmakers is clear, director Anton Corbijn's adaptation of Martin Booth's novel "A Very Private Gentleman" makes for a dark, brooding and lethargic film that features graphic sexuality and an insubstantial treatment of Christian morality, only skirting the implications of its main character's profoundly sinful situation. Bloody violence including multiple shootings, full-frontal female and partial male nudity, and explicit scenes of nonmarital sex. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Universal Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
A Far Off Place
Contemporary African adventure with a 14-year-old American girl (Reese Witherspoon) and young friend (Ethan Randall) fleeing murderous ivory poachers by trekking 1,000 miles across the Kalahari Desert with only an African bushman (Sarel Bok) as guide. Director Mikael Salomon combines a lively story, delightful cast and exquisite cinematography for an old-fashioned outdoor adventure with modern environmental sensibilities. Brief violence, occasional profanity and continuing menace. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) 1993
A Fool There Was
Silent melodrama in which an upright millionaire forgets wife, child and all sense of honor after falling under the spell of a heartless vamp (Theda Bara) who seduces men, breaks their spirit and leaves them penniless outcasts. Based on Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The Vampire," and directed by Frank Powell, the production is fairly primitive and the florid melodramatics border on the silly, yet the simple cautionary tale reflects the moral attitudes of its time in still interesting fashion. Unenticing sexual situations. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (N/R) (Kino International Home Video) 1915
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Fourth entry in the gory series based on the video game has only 3-D to commend it this time around, which makes it moderately more interesting, if not less of a completely dull waste of time. Writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson puts Milla Jovovich as Alice back into the black tights to fight off virus-infected, flesh-eating zombies in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Fleeting rough, crude and profane language, flying knives, gun violence and abundant splattering zombie heads. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Sony Pictures 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.