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 Last Unicorn
Animated feature about a lonely unicorn (voice of Mia Farrow) who goes off on a quest to learn what happened to the others of her kind. Though the animation is not very imaginative, the Rankin and Bass production has some superb voice-over talent (Alan Arkin, Angela Lansbury, Keenan Wynn, Christopher Lee and Tammy Grimes) and the story itself is likable enough. The result provides some pleasant fantasy for younger children. Spanish titles option. A-I -- general patronage. (G) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 1982
Generally endearing 3-D animated adventure about a good-hearted, perpetually inept alien villain (voice of Will Ferrell) who, with the aid of his trusty assistant (voice of David Cross), finally defeats his longtime superhero rival (voice of Brad Pitt), also a visitor to Earth, only to find that mastery of the city the good guy once protected is not all he had dreamed. Though the bored scamp's scheme to create a new adversary for himself goes awry when he accidentally endows an ordinary cameraman (voice of Jonah Hill) with superhuman powers, the possibility of winning the love of the charming TV reporter (voice of Tina Fey) by whom both are smitten offers the not-so-naughty knave hope of ultimate redemption. The occasional indulgence in mild bathroom humor is outweighed, in director Tom McGrath's diverting, if not strikingly original, tale by worthy lessons about making positive use of talents and abilities and about the dangers of allowing others to define who you are. Scenes of peril, a few touches of crude humor, a bit of slightly crass language. Spanish titles option. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG) (Paramount Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Haunting tale about a former insurance agent (Guy Pearce) suffering from short-term memory loss who vows to avenge the rape and murder of his wife. A remarkable yet flawed psychological puzzle, writer-director Christopher Nolan's film tells its story in reverse, beginning at the end yet maintaining suspense, but the unstable lead character's deadly revenge-seeking is disturbing. Some strong violence, brief drug content, fleeting rear nudity and much rough language with a few instances of profanity. Spanish titles option. L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2001
Set in the 19th century during the time of Garibaldi, this 1954 Italian melodrama relates the story of a passionately indiscreet countess (Alida Valli) and an unscrupulous lieutenant (Farley Granger). Directed by Luchino Visconti, the movie probes the relationship of personal and class attitudes, love and infidelity, evoking the ambivalences and decadence of a society in transition. A-III -- adults. (N/R)(Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray) 1954
This adult comedy is funnier on paper as Michael Caine stars as the frustrated governor of an underdeveloped island nation in the Caribbean. Prosperity and independence are achieved only after diuretic mineral water and oil are discovered at a defunct U.S. drilling rig. Ethnic jokes, TV sitcom-style humor and sexual innuendo predominate as "Water" oozes rather than bubbles. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Image Entertainment) 1986
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.