DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Mar-03-2011
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.
Walt Disney's classic animated feature conveys the simplicity, charm and excitement of Felix Salten's novel, especially in its appealing characterization of Thumper, Flower and all the others who inhabit the young deer's forest world. The story has some intense moments, notably the forest fire sequence and the death of Bambi's mother, though in a context not beyond the resources of most young viewers. Spanish titles option. A-I -- general patronage. (G) (Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 1942
Federico Fellini directs a highly imaginative documentary about the disappearance of laughter and fantasy in modern life, but it concentrates on the tradition of the circus and various kinds of clowns, citing them as sources of his own cinematic inspiration. Most viewers will find more than enough to satisfy their curiosity about the subject and will be abundantly entertained as well. A-I -- general patronage. (G) (Raro Video) 1971
Curly Top is a lesser Shirley Temple vehicle directed by Irving Cummings in which the little charmer leaves the orphanage behind after captivating a millionaire (John Boles), then helps him realize he's in love with her older sister (Rochelle Hudson). Contrived but still fun thanks to Shirley's zestful screen presence and playful way with such numbers as "Animal Crackers in My Soup." A-I -- general patronage. (G) 1935
Dimples is another Shirley Temple vehicle, this one set in pre-Civil War New York where the little star plays a street urchin cared for by a rascally dishonest grandfather (Frank Morgan) until he's reformed by a wealthy matron (Helen Westley) interested in the girl's welfare. Director William A. Seiter peps up the sentimental plot with appealing musical numbers and colorful period settings, including scenes from "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with Shirley in the tragic role of Little Eva. Black stereotyping typical of the era. A-I -- general patronage. (PG) (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) 1936
This fact-based survival yarn about a self-centered, negligent mountain climber (James Franco) who becomes trapped in an isolated Utah canyon, with an 800-pound boulder crushing his right arm, is as straight up about moral consequences as any Sunday school lesson. Intelligently made and exciting, if also, at times, difficult to watch, director Danny Boyle's drama -- adapted from Aron Ralston's 2004 memoir "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" -- is unflinching in its portrayal of the devastating, yet personally transformative results of its central character's irresponsible behavior. Possibly acceptable for mature adolescents. A harrowing scene of amputation, a nonmarital situation, fleeting rough and crude language. Spanish titles option. A-III -- adults. (R) (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.