TV film fare -- week of Apr. 17
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of April 17. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, April 17, 6:30-9 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (2005). Sober, theologically oriented thriller based, in part, on true events surrounding a Catholic priest (Tom Wilkinson) on trial for negligent homicide in connection with an exorcism he performed on a young woman (Jennifer Carpenter) believed to be possessed that resulted in her death. Thoughtfully directed by Scott Derrickson and with a solid performance by Laura Linney as the priest's skeptical attorney, the film eschews horror-movie cliches (though not entirely) in favor of serious reflection on faith and the mystery of evil. Disturbing scenes of demonic possession, a brief but violent vehicular homicide, a grisly death image, as well as minimal crude language. 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.
Tuesday, April 19, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Kitty" (1945). Droll tale of a 1783 London guttersnipe (Paulette Goddard) befriended by a cynical schemer (Ray Milland) and his eccentric aunt (Constance Collier) who turn her into a proper lady with many suitors until she ultimately becomes a duchess. Directed by Mitchell Leisen, the Pygmalion story offers some wry twists as the woman's romantic adventures overcome the oppressive gulf separating aristocrats and commoners. Sexual situations and romantic complications. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Friday, April 22, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (TCM) "Stella Dallas" (1937). Sentimental tale of a small-town wife (Barbara Stanwyck) whose husband (John Boles) gets a good job in New York while she stays behind raising their daughter (Anne Shirley) until she realizes the youngster will have a better life with her father and his new wife. Director King Vidor's classic tearjerker about a mother's love and self-sacrifice has a well-plotted script, neatly defined class distinctions and a stand-out performance by Stanwyck. Some domestic strife. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Pictures Association of America.
Saturday, April 23, 1:30-4:30 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "The Holiday" (2006). Generally appealing romantic comedy about a wedding columnist (Kate Winslet) in the English countryside and a movie-trailer producer (Cameron Diaz) in Los Angeles whose failed romances find them swapping homes and continents over Christmas, leading to the former falling in love with a film composer (Jack Black) and the latter with the columnist's brother (Jude Law). Writer-director Nancy Meyers elicits heartfelt performances from all, and there's a strong affirmation of family and concern for the elderly, though some of today's permissive attitude, but not overt sexual content, is inherent in the script. Some rough and crude words, implied premarital relationships, light innuendo and banter, a chaste bedroom scene and mild domestic violence. 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 23, 7-11:45 p.m. EDT (ABC) "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Less an inspirational story based on biblical sources than a dramatic vehicle with a sense of history, director Cecil B. DeMille's epic production offers some spectacular re-creations, excellent technical effects and good acting from a fine cast, including Charlton Heston as Moses, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson and many other stars of the era. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general patronage.
Saturday, April 23, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Gunga Din" (1939). Classic adventure yarn loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling poem about a water carrier (Sam Jaffe) in Victoria's India who here dies a hero with a bugle warning British forces of an ambush. Director George Stevens focuses the action on three seasoned sergeants (Victor McLaglen, Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) whose bickering comradeship provides some hardy fun while fighting Thugs, a long-suppressed murder cult led by a formidable foe (Eduardo Ciannelli). Old-fashioned "manly" celebration of such virtues as loyalty, courage and steadfastness, though with plenty of stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, April 23, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (Cinemax) "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010). A mildly troubled New York high school student (Logan Lerman) discovers his true identity as a demigod -- offspring of the Greek sea god Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and a human mother (Catherine Keener) -- and embarks on a quest to prevent a war among the deities of Mount Olympus. He's assisted by a semi-divine teen girl warrior (Alexandra Daddario) and a courageous but untested adolescent satyr (Brandon T. Jackson). Director Chris Columbus' glossy but shallow screen version of the first in novelist Rick Riordan's best-selling series of children's novels relies on some slick special effects to keep the adventure moving forward. But the titular hero's transformation from a 12- to a 17-year-old introduces elements unsuitable for some of the book's younger fans, while parents who see the tale's mythological premise as more than a literary device will hesitate to allow impressionable youngsters to view it. Pagan themes, brief domestic discord, a few instances of sexual innuendo and a couple of crass terms. 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.
TV program notes -- week of April 17
Here are some television program notes for the week of April 17 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 17, 3:30-5:30 a.m. EDT (EWTN) "Solemn Mass of Palm Sunday From Rome." Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the liturgy of Palm Sunday, followed by the Angelus, live from Vatican City. The events will be rerun 8-10 p.m. EDT.
Sunday, April 17, noon-2 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Solemn Mass of Palm Sunday (Live)." Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, is scheduled to serve as celebrant and homilist at this liturgy broadcast live from Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Tuesday, April 19, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Black in Latin America." Premiere of a four-part miniseries in which Harvard University's professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores Latin America's African roots, discovering -- behind a shared legacy of colonialism and slavery -- vivid stories and personalities marked by their African heritage. In this episode, "Haiti & Dominican Republic: An Island Divided," Gates examines how the Dominican Republic's troubled history with its neighbor Haiti informs notions about racial classification. Visiting the latter country, he also recounts how it became the birthplace of the first black republic (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested). The series continues 8-9 p.m. EDT Tuesdays through May 10.
Wednesday, April 20, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Lost in the Amazon." Program documenting a modern-day quest to find the truth behind one of the greatest mysteries in the history of exploration: What happened to famed adventurer Col. Percy Fawcett, who went looking for a city of gold -- the Lost City of "Z" -- in the Amazon in 1925 and disappeared in the jungles of Brazil forever? Part of the series "Secrets of the Dead" (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Thursday, April 21, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Solemn Mass of the Lord's Supper From Rome." Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the liturgy of the Lord's Supper, live from the Eternal City's Basilica of St. John Lateran.
Thursday, April 21, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Choral Meditations and Solemn Mass of the Lord's Supper." The liturgy of the Lord's Supper, and choral meditations, broadcast live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Friday, April 22, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Celebration of the Lord's Passion From Rome (Live)." Pope Benedict presides over this commemoration of the Passion, broadcast from Vatican City.
Friday, April 22, 9-11 p.m. EDT (CBS) "Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country." Tribute special celebrating some of today's most popular female artists in country music. Featured performers include the Judds, Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.
Saturday, April 23, 3-6 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Easter Vigil Mass From Rome (Live)." Pope Benedict celebrates the Easter Vigil Mass live from Vatican City. The liturgy will be rerun Sunday, April 24, midnight-3 a.m. EDT.
Saturday, April 23, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Easter Vigil Mass From Washington, D.C. (Live)." The Easter Vigil liturgy, as celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.