Web site TV for Mar. 27 – Apr. 02, 2011
TV film fare -- week of Mar. 27
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of March 27. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, March 27, 5-7 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "Nights in Rodanthe" (2008). Sensitively played but synthetic tale of a betrayed wife (Diane Lane), mulling her errant husband's (Christopher Meloni) surprising request to return to her, and a troubled plastic surgeon (Richard Gere), coming to terms with the death of a patient. They connect at a North Carolina waterfront inn, offer each other comfort and, of course, fall in love. Stage director George C. Wolfe makes his feature-film debut with this gauzy adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' best-seller which, though it has little overtly objectionable content in terms of graphic sex or language, romanticizes an objectively adulterous affair. A few expletives including one use of the F-word, mild innuendo, a nongraphic sexual encounter, and the acceptance of nonmarital sexual relationships and divorce. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Sunday, March 27, 10:15 p.m.-12:15 a.m. EDT (TCM) "Accident" (1967). Cryptic Harold Pinter script begins with an auto crash killing the young man engaged to an Oxford coed, after which the events and forces contributing to the "accident" are presented in flashback, including the rivalry of two dons for the woman student's affection. Director Joseph Losey and an excellent cast use the sparse dialogue and strained situations to give clues to the violence developing beneath the tranquil surface of academic life. Adult situation and treatment. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Tuesday, March 29, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Dinner At Eight" (1933). Classic comedy-drama in which a desperate shipping magnate (Lionel Barrymore) on the verge of bankruptcy hosts a dinner party, among whose invited guests are a rich but ruthless businessman (Wallace Beery), his earthy wife (Jean Harlow), a witty former stage headliner (Marie Dressler) and a fading alcoholic movie star (John Barrymore). Director George Cukor unfolds the plot in a series of character vignettes put over by an all-star cast that confronts Depression woes with irony, satire and comic misunderstandings. Implied marital infidelity, sexual innuendo and a suicide. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Wednesday, March 30, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Speed" (1994). Determined to save a busload of terrified passengers, a Los Angeles SWAT team cop (Keanu Reeves) leaps onboard a city bus that has been rigged by a psychotic explosives expert (Dennis Hopper) to blow up if it goes less than 50 mph. Despite the ludicrous escapist plot that ultimately goes over the top in turns of impossible heroics, director Jan De Bont's nonstop action movie concentrates more on the steel-willed cop's efforts to prevent mass murder than on the mayhem committed by the crazed maniac. Intermittent violence, intense explosions and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Thursday, March 31, 8-10 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Secret Window" (2004). Absorbing psychological thriller set in an isolated lakefront cabin about a successful novelist (Johnny Depp) who is terrorized by a stranger (John Turturro) claiming that the author plagiarized one of his short stories and demanding restitution, threatening the scribe with a brand of backwater justice that includes cold-blooded murder. Based on a novella by Stephen King and buttressed by top-notch performances, writer-director David Koepp avoids buckets of blood in favor of more muted chills, crafting a suspenseful exploration of isolation and madness. Recurring gory violence, a discreet fleeting sexual encounter, some crude language and profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Saturday, April 2, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962). British reform school inmate (Tom Courtenay) mulls over his troubled past while making practice runs in training for the big cross-country race that the institution's head (Michael Redgrave) wants him to win. Alan Sillitoe's story of a working-class youth's rebellion against authority is directed by Tony Richardson with a gritty social realism that convincingly reflects, if not explains, the boy's alienation from a hypocritical adult world. Bleak study of the making of a juvenile delinquent. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, April 2, 8-11 p.m. EDT (ABC) "Transformers" (2007). Engineered to appeal to a wide cross section of the public, this lumbering, mindless summertime entertainment -- based on the Hasbro action toys from the 1980s -- follows a teenager (Shia LaBeouf) embroiled in a battle between two factions of shape-shifting alien robots, with the fate of mankind and the universe hanging in the balance. Director Michael Bay has evidently benefited from working with executive producer Steven Spielberg, because humanistic themes offset Bay's propensity to fetishize weaponry and explosions, but not the movie's large amount of gratuitous material inappropriate for children and teens. Numerous sexual references, some crude language, a vulgar gesture, disrespectful racial jokes, drug references and some moderately violent action sequences. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
TV program notes -- week of March 27
Here are some television program notes for the week of March 27 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, March 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Haydn's 'The Seven Last Words of Christ.'" The Ottawa Chamber Music Society performs Joseph Haydn's music about the final seven words Christ uttered as he was crucified. As a narrator explains, this was Haydn's attempt to express these moments of the Passion instrumentally.
Sunday, March 27, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Outback Pelicans." This episode of the series "Nature" examines an unusual phenomenon: The Australian outback is the driest place on the driest inhabited continent on the planet. Yet once every 10 years, rains flood into dried-up riverbeds and head inland to create the largest lake in Australia, and 100,000 pelicans -- a third of all the pelicans in Australia -- arrive for the event (TV-G -- general audience).
Tuesday, March 29, 6:30-7 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Heart Speaks to Heart From Heaven: The Newman Miracle Story." Special focusing on the life of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890), the cardinal recently beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, and on the Newman conference in which the testimony of Deacon Jack Sullivan -- who was healed by the late cardinal's intercession -- was showcased.
Tuesday, March 29, 9-10 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Money and March Madness." The series "Frontline" delves into the multibillion-dollar business of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the commercialization of college basketball.
Saturday, April 2, 11-11:30 p.m. EDT (A&E) "Purgatory." Special documenting an experimental program that offers juvenile offenders the chance of a reduced sentence if they spend a weekend behind the walls of an adult jail.