Web site TV for Web site TV for Apr 10–Apr 16, 2011
TV film fare -- week of April 10
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of April 10. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Monday, April 11, 8-11:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). D.W. Griffith's still-controversial, still-powerful picture of the Civil War and Reconstruction links the lives of two families, North and South, each sacrificing sons in the fratricidal conflict, then focuses on the Southern family's plight under greedy carpetbaggers and black opportunists until the Ku Klux Klan rides to the rescue in a swirl of racist propaganda. Griffith's mastery of the silent medium succeeds in combining the sweep of historical spectacle with the intimacy of individual lives in a fashion that still engages viewers' emotions. Though it has a place in film history as the first feature to demonstrate fully the dramatic potential of the medium, the work presents an uncritical view of 19th-century myths justifying white supremacy. Not for casual entertainment but has a place in the study of cinema. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. Not rated by the Motion Pictures Association of America.
Wednesday, April 13, 8-11 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Batman Begins" (2005). Dark and brooding prequel that explains how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) became the costumed crimefighter and reveals the "hidden years," detailing his training as a member of a clandestine order of ninjalike vigilantes, leading up to his donning the cape and cowl to become Gotham City's self-appointed guardian. Director Christopher Nolan goes for a more gritty "reality-based" approach, focusing on the psychological dimension of Bruce/Batman's inner conflict rather than comic-book heroics. Intense action violence, some frightening images and mature thematic elements, as well as a few crude expressions and an instance of 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.
Thursday, April 14, 5-8 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004). Pulse-pounding political thriller about a troubled Army officer (Denzel Washington) haunted by nightmares of a combat mission years earlier which may or may not hold the key to shedding light on a conspiracy involving a former member of his platoon (Liev Schreiber) running for vice president of the United States. In remaking John Frankenheimer's 1962 Cold War classic, director Jonathan Demme gives the tale a 21st-century facelift, weaving ripped-from-the-headlines fears about government and corporate malfeasance into a tautly paced tapestry of spine-tingling suspense that falls short of the original's masterpiece status. Several scenes of graphic violence and torture, as well as 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 R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Saturday, April 16, 8-9:45 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Lottery Ticket" (2010). Broad comedy centers on a hardworking, good-natured 18-year-old (rapper Bow Wow) from an Atlanta housing project who wins the lottery but must survive a long holiday weekend before he can collect. He must evade the wiles of a menacing thug (Gbenga Akinnagbe) and a natty crime boss (Mike Epps) with the help of a retired boxer (Ice Cube) for whom he runs errands. Director Erik White's efforts to bridge materialism and spiritual growth are awkward, and viewers seeking an entertaining and perceptive social satire will be disappointed. Nongraphic nonmarital sexual activity, much profanity, at least one use of the F-word, frequent crude and crass language, numerous sexual and contraception references and some violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Saturday, April 16, 10-11:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Crossfire" (1947). Tightly wound thriller in which a police detective (Robert Young) investigating a murder case links the fact that the victim (Sam Levene) was a Jew to a rabid bigot among a group of soldiers (Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum and others). Director Edward Dmytryk handles the theme of anti-Semitism directly yet with some sensitivity as the convincing story of a hate crime is unraveled by a persistent cop. Stylized violence, considerable psychological tension and some racist epithets. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Pictures Association of America.
TV program notes -- week of April 10
Here are some television program notes for the week of April 10 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, April 10, 9-10 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Upstairs Downstairs." First episode of a three-part sequel to the popular series that originally aired in the 1970s. In this installment, Sir Hallam (Ed Stoppard) and Lady Agnes Holland (Keeley Hawes) move into 165 Eaton Place -- the London setting of the initial saga -- and hire former parlor maid Rose (Jean Marsh) to assemble a staff. The servants are soon put to the test during a party that threatens to destroy Sir Hallam's career. Dame Eileen Atkins also stars. Series host Laura Linney introduces this "Masterpiece Classic" presentation (TV-PG - parental guidance suggested).
Monday, April 11, 6:30-7 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "A Link in the Chain." This short film from the Christophers stars Jimmy Cagney as a retiring college professor reflecting on whether he's made a difference in his students' lives.
Monday, April 11, 10 p.m.-midnight (PBS) "Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton." In this historical special, author and journalist Richard Brookhiser explores the legacy of Alexander Hamilton (circa 1755-1804) and examines what made him a great man (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Wednesday, April 13, 6:30-7 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Notre-Dame-du-Cap Shrine." Program highlighting the history of "The Cap," as the Shrine of Notre-Dame-du-Cap -- a pilgrimage site located in Trois Rivieres, Quebec -- is affectionately called by many Canadians.
Wednesday, April 13, 9-11 p.m. EDT (History) "The Lost Kennedy Tapes." Using home movies gathered from archives and attics -- and now broadcast for the first time -- this special tells the story of the children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, as they grew up in the 1930s and '40s through November 1963, with scenes of the last weekend Jack and Jackie Kennedy spent with Caroline and John Jr., just two weeks before the president's death in Dallas.