Web site TV for Jan 9 – Jan 15, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Jan. 9
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Jan. 9. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 12:30-3:30 p.m. EST (AMC) "El Dorado" (1967). When a band of cutthroats terrorize the town, an aging sheriff (Robert Mitchum) who drinks too much fights them off with the help of his old partner (John Wayne) who suffers occasional spinal spasms. Producer-director Howard Hawks mixes the action formula with farcical situations and unconventional characters in this tribute to the old cowboy heroes of screen legend. Stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Monday, Jan. 10, 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EST (TCM) "Patterns" (1956). Thoughtful drama in which a callous corporation head (Everett Sloane) tries to force an aging executive (Ed Begley) to retire by bringing in a younger man (Van Heflin), but the newcomer has his own ideas about what's best for the company. Adapted by Rod Serling from his teleplay and directed by Fielder Cook, the result is a credible picture of conflict in the executive suite as corporate greed and bottom-line policies are challenged by a more humane style of business management. Unlikely fare for children. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 9-11 p.m. EST (Lifetime) "Dan in Real Life" (2007). Steve Carell shines as the widowed father of three girls who takes them to a family reunion at his parents' rambling house in Rhode Island, and while there falls in love with an empathetic woman (Juliette Binoche) he meets in a bookstore, only to learn she's the girlfriend of his younger brother (Dane Cook). Also on the plus side of director Peter Hedges' leisurely paced, likable but only mildly amusing film are the positive depiction of Carell's large, loving family, and the almost total lack of objectionable elements. But the basic setup seems contrived, the ostensible romance earthbound and the formulaic script not terribly funny. Mild innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Friday, Jan. 14, 8-10 p.m. EST (AMC) "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951). Science fiction classic about a humane alien (Michael Rennie) landing a flying saucer in Washington on a mission to warn the world of self-annihilation if wars continue, makes the point by demonstrating his superior powers and then, with some help from a widow (Patricia Neal) and her boy, departs in peace. Director Robert Wise treats the fantasy premise in sober, underplayed fashion, giving the anti-war theme unusual credibility by relying more on the viewer's imagination and intelligence than on the hokum of the special-effects department. Unsettling atmosphere of menace and some stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Jan. 15, 10-11:30 p.m. EST (Cinemax) "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" (2009). Harmless but mostly routine comedy with music, mixing animation and live action, in which the familiar trio of harmonizing rodents (voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) have a series of slapstick misadventures, eventually winding up in the inept care of a gadget-obsessed slacker (Zachary Levi), becoming school students, and entering a singing competition that pits them against a group of chipmunk divas (voices of Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate). A bit of gently rude humor aside, director Betty Thomas' extension of the 50-year-old franchise, which includes hit recordings, a pair of TV cartoon series and this feature's 2007 predecessor, "Alvin and the Chipmunks," is unobjectionable, though its positive lessons about choosing loyalty over selfishness come wrapped in an entertainment package that feels somewhat shopworn. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Saturday, Jan. 15, 10 p.m.-12:15 a.m. EST (TCM) "Missing" (1982). Director Costa-Gavras in his first American movie presents a taut and powerful drama based upon an actual event, that of an American father's search for his son, a 31-year-old writer living with his wife in a Latin American country, who has disappeared in the midst of the brutal repression following a right-wing coup. Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek are outstanding as the concerned father and his daughter-in-law, with John Shea giving capable support as the missing man. Significant and absorbing work on a topical and important theme of human rights. General atmosphere of menace, a depiction of the aftermath of bloodshed and occasional profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
TV program notes -- week of Jan. 9
Here are some television program notes for the week of Jan. 9 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not all been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 4-6 a.m. EST (EWTN) "Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Live)." From the Sistine Chapel, Mass presided over by Pope Benedict XVI with the sacrament of baptism. The liturgy will be rerun noon-2 p.m. EST.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 9-10:30 p.m. EST (PBS) "Downton Abbey." This new four-part miniseries -- a "Masterpiece Classic" presentation -- depicts the lives of the noble Crawley family and the staff who serve them in their Edwardian country house in 1912. The cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern. Laura Linney hosts (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Sunday, Jan. 9, 9-11 p.m. EST (NBC) "The Cape." Premiere of a new comic book-style action series about Vince Faraday (David Lyons), a dedicated police officer and family man who lives with his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin), and young son, Trip (Ryan Wynott), in the troubled municipality of Palm City. Framed by corrupt billionaire Peter Fleming (James Frain) for a series of crimes Fleming himself committed, and presumed dead in an explosion during the manhunt to bring him in, Faraday goes underground. With the help of a group of criminally minded carnival folk (led by Keith David), Faraday assumes a new identity as the titular superhero to bring his nemesis to justice and reunite with his loved ones. In this episode, Faraday works to hone his self-defense skills and mastery of his trademark garment's magical properties while also endeavoring to foil Fleming's assassination plot against an uncooperative local official (Richard Schiff). Though the violence wrought by high-tech bombs, gunplay and brawling is frequent and fairly intense, family values, especially evident in Faraday's bond with Trip, are also prominent. So -- despite the occasional crass term in the dialogue -- this may be a more acceptable offering than many for adult and mature teen viewers, at least those willing to be cued by the script not to take too seriously the imaginative, but now and then downright silly proceedings. The series will air in its regular timeslot, Mondays, 9-10 p.m. EST, beginning Jan. 17.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 9:30-10 p.m. EST (Showtime) "Episodes." Premiere of a new comedy series about successful British husband-and-wife television writers Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) and their experiences in Hollywood after smooth-talking American network executive Merc Lapidus (John Pankow) lures them to L.A. to create a U.S. version of their hit sitcom set in an elite boys' boarding school. The initial program finds them experiencing culture clash as they move into a gated community and disillusionment as Lapidus and his team -- led by chief underling Carol Rance (Kathleen Rose Perkins) -- begin to make disastrously ill-advised changes to the show, the first being to replace its original star, West End theater veteran Julian Bullard (Richard Griffiths), with an unlikely West Coast substitute. The potentially amusing - though hardly groundbreaking -- sendup of Tinseltown callousness and a fine turn by Griffiths as a sort of latter-day Peter Ustinov are marred by frequently vulgar dialogue and sexually themed humor, including references to homosexuality and masturbation, making this material of which even most adults will want to be wary.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 10-11 p.m. EST (PBS) "Children of Haiti." Filmmaker Alexandria Hammond's documentary follows three teenage boys who reflect on their country and their lives, while sharing a common dream of education, government assistance and social acceptance. Part of the series "Independent Lens" (TV-PG - parental guidance suggested).
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 8-8:30 p.m. EST (TCM) "Luise Rainer: Live at the TCM Classic Film Festival." Aired in celebration of two-time Academy Award-winning actress Rainer's 101st birthday, this special features host Robert Osborne's interview with her from the 2010 TCM Classic Film Festival at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre. Among other topics, Rainer discusses her often stormy relationship with MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer and her marriage to playwright Clifford Odets. Following the interview, Rainer's two Oscar-winning performances will be shown: "The Good Earth" (1937) 8:30-11 p.m. EST, and "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936) 11:30 p.m.-2:45 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 15, 9 a.m.-noon EST (EWTN) "A Morning of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession." Broadcast live from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, this prayer service, created in the spirit of the new evangelization, acknowledges abortion's universal impact through reflections and testimonies.