DVD/VIDEO REVIEWS Mar-10-2011
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.
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie
Whimsical, computer-animated retelling of the biblical story of Jonah and the whale, featuring a salad bar of Christian vegetables who sing and dance their way through this parable of God's unconditional love. Written and directed by Mike Nawrocki and Phil Vischer and based on the popular "Veggie Tales" video series, the movie's strong positive message is effective in reducing complex moral concepts into child-sized bites making it an appealing alternative to the glut of merchandise-driven flicks geared to younger audiences. A-I -- general patronage. (G) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2002
The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus
A terrific lineup of mostly British actors (including Ian Holm, Alfred Molina, Julie Christie, William Hurt, and more) provides the voices for this clay- and cel-animation rendering of the greatest story ever told. Nicely framing the narrative of Jesus' life from age 30 on is a sickly young girl named Tamar (voice of Rebecca Callard) who first observes Jesus (voice of Ralph Fiennes) preaching in her village. Fluidly directed by Stanislav Sokolov and Derek Hayes, the film embodies simplicity, drama and joy in the good news. The childlike perspective of Tamar should appeal to youngsters, and it lends freshness to the tale's familiar trajectory. Recommended viewing. Spanish language and titles options. A-I -- general patronage. (N/R) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2000
Generally likable light comedy about an enthusiastic television producer (Rachel McAdams) who gets her shot at the big time running a struggling morning show for a national network. Tasked with lifting ratings, she must mediate between clashing co-anchors (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton) and convince one -- a venerable reporter -- that fluff is an acceptable substitute for hard news. In the process, she learns that balance is essential in her own life, though she also makes a morally unacceptable decision to bed down with a colleague (Patrick Wilson). Director Roger Michell leans heavily on the appeal of the talented McAdams, whose infectious smile lends the film a warm glow. Nongraphic sexual activity, an off-screen encounter, several uses of profanity, two instances of rough language, much crude and crass talk, numerous scatological and sexual references, and a drug reference. Spanish titles option. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Paramount Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
The Next Three Days
Implausible, ethically dubious thriller about a Pittsburgh college professor (Russell Crowe) who decides to spring his wife (Elizabeth Banks) from a prison where she's serving time for murder. Writer-director Paul Haggis embeds faulty moral logic inside his far-fetched premise. Together with certain plot contrivances, its endorsement of seriously flawed behavior -- a laudable belief in his spouse cannot excuse some of the choices Crowe's character makes -- renders this otherwise well-made movie difficult to enjoy. One instance of rough language, a smattering of profanity and crass terms, some gunplay and other nongraphic violence, an off-screen suicide attempt, drug dealing, brief sexual banter. Spanish titles option. A-III -- adults. (PG-13) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray) 2010
Tricked into joining the Army, a prizefight manager (Bob Hope) is assigned to the military police, then ordered to make a boxer out of a lightweight recruit (Mickey Rooney) whose aunt (Marilyn Maxwell) disapproves. Directed by George Marshall, the two veteran comics wring few laughs out of a tired service comedy whose outlandish situations were thin even then. Comic violence and mild romantic complications. A-I -- general patronage. (N/R) (Olive Films) 1953
Tales From Earthsea
Something is amiss in the mythical land of the title, and it's up to a mighty wizard (voice of Timothy Dalton) and his princely apprentice (voice of Matt Levin) to set things right, despite the opposition of a wicked sorcerer (voice of Willem Dafoe) with a mania for immortality at any cost. Though unusually dark for a Disney offering, and technically less than top-flight, director Goro Miyazaki's Japanese anime adaptation of the popular book series by Ursula K. Le Guin features an epic battle between good and evil tinged with Christian symbolism. Stylized cartoon violence, including stabbings and strangulations, instances of drug use and fantasy witchcraft. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG-13) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) 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.