Web site TV for May 30 – June 5, 2010
TV film fare -- week of May 30
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of May 30. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, May 30, 2-4:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993). Fact-based biography of the late martial arts screen actor (played by Jason Scott Lee) tells of his relocation from Hong Kong to the United States, interracial marriage, the founding of his own martial arts academy and his imminent crossover to movie stardom at the time of his death under mysterious circumstances in 1973. Despite being based on the rose-tinted memoirs of Lee's widow, the Rob Cohen-directed movie captures Lee's personal life and struggle against discrimination while blending in numerous intense but well-choreographed fight sequences. A discreet bedroom scene and several violent martial arts confrontations. 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, May 30, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Mister Roberts" (1955). The conflicts between the bored crew and mean-spirited captain (James Cagney) of a cargo ship in the South Pacific during the waning months of World War II are tempered by the executive officer of the title (Henry Fonda) who jeopardizes his long-sought transfer to combat duty to get the crew a long-overdue shore leave. Directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, the result largely overcomes its stage origins, thanks to vigorous staging of the shipboard antics as well as memorable lead performances abetted by William Powell as the ship's sage doctor and Jack Lemmon as its callow laundry-and-morale officer. Broad sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Tuesday, June 1, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Hoosiers" (1987). Dedicated but dictatorial coach (Gene Hackman) leads a small-town high school basketball team to the 1952 Indiana state championship while effecting some attitude adjustments in the community and rebuilding his self-esteem along the way. Director David Anspaugh's film recalls and celebrates a vanishing American rural ethic where integrity is everything and winning is the spice of life. Brief instances of mildly vulgar language and a courtside scuffle. 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.
Wednesday, June 2, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Dead" (1987). James Joyce's story of a family gathering on the feast of the Epiphany in 1904 Dublin, Ireland, makes a small but beautifully crafted mood piece that ends somberly in the reverie of a wife (Anjelica Huston) on the long-ago death of a boy who was in love with her and the reflections of her husband (Donal McCann) on the transitory nature of love, life and the world. Director John Huston's warm evocation of the period and its characters is enlivened by the excellent performances of a largely Irish cast. A few indelicate words and mature references. 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.
Saturday, June 5, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (HBO) "State of Play" (2009). Engrossing political thriller about a veteran reporter (Russell Crowe) and a rookie blogger (Rachel McAdams) on the same Washington newspaper who join forces to investigate a series of murders, one of which involves a crusading congressman (Ben Affleck) who is trying to expose corruption involving a powerful military contractor. Kevin Macdonald directs this streamlined version of an acclaimed BBC miniseries which, though not always plausible, and with some of its revelations all too transparent, has an intriguing narrative, a solid cast and a script that eschews overt sex and violence, making this acceptable for older teens. Nongraphic violence, implied past adultery, some rough language and profanity, brief sexual remarks and innuendo, abortion and drug references 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, June 5, 10-11:45 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (2009). Enjoyable sequel, again directed by Shawn Levy, has the ex-Museum of Natural History night guard (Ben Stiller) traveling to Washington to rescue his formerly inanimate friends -- the museum's display figures (Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Steve Coogan) -- from being archived in the Smithsonian. With the help of Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and General Custer (Bill Hader), they must ward off Egyptian pharaoh Kahmunrah (funny Hank Azaria), Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat) and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal). Kids will love the gags (the humor stays clean) and excellent special effects, and adults will appreciate the wit of some of the D.C. museum's most iconic paintings and sculptures springing to life. 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.
Here are some television program notes for the week of May 30 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not all been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by the Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Sunday, May 30, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (PBS) "National Memorial Day Concert." This concert -- broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and featuring Lionel Richie, Brad Paisley, Katherine Jenkins, Kelli O'Hara and Yolanda Adams -- honors the service and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform, their families and all those who have given their lives for their country. Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise co-host (TV-G -- general audience).
Monday, May 31, 5-6 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Frontline Families: Captain & Mrs. Guy Gruters, Vietnam." In a series of interviews, retired U.S. Air Force Capt. Guy Gruters discusses the numerous ways he was sustained by his Catholic faith in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp; and his wife explains the role her faith played as she faced daily uncertainty during her husband's captivity.
Monday, May 31, 8-9 p.m. EDT (Smithsonian) "Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin." This special profiles U.S. Marine Lt. Chew-Een Lee, the first commissioned regular officer of Chinese descent in the Corps, who battled injuries, hypothermia and racism to help 8,000 of his comrades stave off certain capture during the Korean War's Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
Tuesday, June 1, 9:30-11 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Goodbye Solo." Director Ramin Bahrani mixes up a fable with flavors of Africa, Mexico and the new American South in this drama about an old man who wants to die -- and the cab driver who wants to talk him out of it. Part of the series "Independent Lens" (TV-PG/L -- parental guidance suggested; infrequent coarse language).
Wednesday, June 2, 9-9:30 p.m. EDT (TBS) "Are We There Yet?" Premiere of a new situation comedy series -- adapted from the 2005 film of the same title -- about affluent African-American newlyweds Nick and Suzanne Kingston-Persons (Terry Crews and Essence Atkins) and their efforts to create a "blended" family with her 14-year-old daughter Lindsey (Teala Dunn) and 10-year-old son Kevin (Coy Stewart). In this episode, after six months of marriage, Nick and Suzanne quarrel over her use of a hyphenated last name but are encouraged to reconcile by their respective best friends, sports memorabilia merchant Martin (Christian Finnegan) and fast-living material girl Gigi (Keesha Sharp). Despite a somewhat murky premise -- the circumstances of Lindsey and Kevin's births are not made clear -- the mostly routine humor is relatively mild, though both Gigi and Nick's mother, Marilyn (Thelma Hopkins), are portrayed as comically freewheeling in their relationships with men, while Martin displays a similar taste for commitment-free hook-ups. Executive producer Ice Cube guest stars as Suzanne's brother Terrence, an exaggeratedly secretive security officer.