DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Jan-11-2011
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.
Turgid self-parody of a horror film in which a social worker (Renee Zellweger) finds she has a demon-possessed child (Jodelle Ferland) on her hands. Director Christian Alvart and screenwriter Ray Wright scoop deeply from the cliches of demon-seed-children flicks to clumsy effect. Fleeting crude language, a scene of nonsexual child abuse, brief but intense bloody violence. Spanish language and titles options. A-III -- adults. (R) (Paramount Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Dinner for Schmucks
To score a promotion, a financial analyst (Paul Rudd) must bring a suitable guest to the titular meal organized by his boss (Bruce Greenwood) as a competition to see which corporate hotshot can produce the most amusing idiot as a target for secret ridicule. His accidental meeting with a bizarrely naive and nerdy IRS agent (Steve Carell) seems like a godsend until his victim's well-intentioned bumbling begins to ruin both his career and his relationship with his live-in girlfriend (Stephanie Szostak). Though its underlying message is one of sensitivity and respect, director Jay Roach's comedy, adapted from Francis Veber's 1998 French feature "Le Diner de Cons," showcases numerous wayward riffs on topics such as adultery, casual sex and venereal disease. Shadowy rear and partial nudity, cohabitation, much sexual and brief irreverent humor, a couple of uses of profanity, at least one use of the F-word and six crude terms. Spanish language and titles options. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Dreamworks Video; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Good Neighbor Sam
Uneven romantic comedy with a married advertising executive (Jack Lemmon) working on a wholesome ad campaign for a fussy new client (Edward G. Robinson) while pretending to be the husband of a divorced neighbor (Romy Schneider) who will lose an inheritance if she's unmarried. Directed by David Swift, the frantic proceedings are played for slapstick effect, leaving little room for wit or clever plot developments. Romantic complications and sexual innuendo. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (N/R) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1964
The Last Exorcism
Middling fright fest about an evangelical minister and self-confessed charlatan (Patrick Fabian) who brings a film crew (led by Iris Bahr) along to document his final faked exorcism. But he gets more than he bargained for when the Louisiana farm girl (Ashley Bell) whose father (Louis Herthum) summoned him shows signs of genuine possession. While the gore factor is kept comparatively low in director Daniel Stamm's gothic outing -- which toys cleverly with the modern presumption that all phenomena can be explained scientifically -- the preacher's corrosive cynicism and the occult atmosphere by which he unexpectedly finds himself surrounded make this inappropriate for all but well-grounded and judicious adult viewers. Complex treatment of religion, sacrilegious activity, some gruesome images, at least two uses of profanity, brief sexual talk, and references to incest and homosexuality. Spanish titles option. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (PG-13) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
The Notorious Landlady
Dark comedy about a newcomer (Jack Lemmon) to the American Embassy in London who rents an apartment from a mystery woman (Kim Novak) suspected of having murdered her husband. Director Richard Quine gets some good sight gags out of an anemic storyline which picks up energy only toward the end when the diplomat risks his career trying to clear the landlady's name. Occasional stylized violence and romantic situations. A-III -- adults. (N/R) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1962
Leaden romantic comedy about a couple (Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon) who get divorced for no good reason, then can't adjust to the complications of single life and decide to get back together. Director Mark Robson gets no laughs from his heavy-handed treatment of the mating game, which here has little to do with love, much less fidelity. Recurring sexual references. A-III -- adults. (N/R) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1954
Under the Yum Yum Tree
Dreary sex farce in which a college couple (Dean Jones and Carol Lynley) share an apartment in a celibate trial marriage beset by the leering interference of their lecherous landlord (Jack Lemmon). Directed by David Swift, the stale one-joke comedy becomes tedious long before the predictable ending. Lame comic treatment of sexual situations and endless innuendo. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (N/R) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) 1963
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.