Web site TV for July 18 - July 24, 2010
TV film fare -- week of July 18
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of July 18. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, July 18, 9-11:30 p.m. EDT (USA) "Hairspray" (2007). Highly enjoyable adaptation of the hit Broadway musical based on a 1988 film of the same title about an overweight 1960s Baltimore girl (Nikki Blonsky) whose parents (Christopher Walken and John Travolta, the latter in a cross-dressing role) support her dreams of competing on a racially segregated local dance program, which the girl helps integrate. Director Adam Shankman keeps the pace moving and strikes a sensible balance between heightened realism and more fanciful elements. There are entertaining performances from a well-chosen cast, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron and James Marsden, and strong messages about racial tolerance and self-respect. Some crass expressions, innuendo, mild sexual banter and irreverence, and brief teen smoking make this best for older adolescents. 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.
Sunday, July 18, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (TCM) "King Kong" (1933). The screen's best-remembered monster takes on New York City in a desperate attempt to regain the blond beauty (Fay Wray) lost by the beast when captured on an uncharted island by an intrepid showman (Robert Armstrong). Produced and directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, this classic adventure fantasy succeeds largely because of the giant ape's sympathetic treatment and Willis H. O'Brien's imaginative special effects in animating Kong and the prehistoric world of Skull Island. Scary situations and stylized violence, some of it quite brutal. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Friday, July 23, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Poor Little Rich Girl" (1936). Dated but enduring Shirley Temple vehicle in which she pretends to be an orphan, gets taken in by a song-and-dance vaudeville team (Jack Haley and Alice Faye), then charms a crusty soap manufacturer (Claude Gillingwater) into sponsoring their radio show. Directed by Irving Cummings, little Shirley troupes through the formula sentiment in winning fashion, though the bald plot contrivances may hinder the enjoyment of some viewers. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.
Saturday, July 24, 12:15-2:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Support Your Local Gunfighter" (1971). James Garner plays an ingenuous con man who tricks a small town divided by rival mine operators into believing that an innocuous rummy (Jack Elam) is a dangerous gunslinger. Under Burt Kennedy's direction, the amiable Western comedy meanders its way through predictable but amusing plot twists and cliches before reaching its long-overdue happy ending. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.
Saturday, July 24, 8-10 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Terminator Salvation" (2009). Explosively violent sci-fi action sequel in which the prophesied victor (Christian Bale) in humanity's post-apocalyptic struggle against a race of murderous supermachines must locate the teen (Anton Yelchin) who will someday travel back in time to become his father while determining whether a bewildered visitor from the past (Sam Worthington) is friend or foe. A few undeveloped philosophical observations are drowned out, in director McG's time-twisting, special-effects extravaganza, by the roar of unremitting battle. Intense and pervasive combat, some gore, and half a dozen crude or crass terms. 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, July 24, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Black Orpheus" (1959). Vibrant intercultural feast updating the Greek myth to Rio de Janeiro, where trolley driver Orpheus (Breno Mello) accidentally kills his beloved Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) while trying to protect her from a stalker costumed as Death and, after a religious cult fails to revive her, he sets out with her body for burial until another fatal accident intervenes. Directed by Marcel Camus, the appealing leads are supported by a spirited cast who play out the mythic tragedy amidst the gaiety of Rio's Carnival with its colorful parades of dancing bands, backed by a haunting music score and spectacular views of Rio's picturesque locales. Subtitles. Stylized violence, sexual situations and innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Here are some television program notes for the week of July 18 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, July 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "In Concert: Beethoven's Missa Solemnis." A performance of Beethoven's celebrated setting of the Mass, a work considered by many -- from the time of its first presentation in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1824 -- as the pinnacle of the great composer's career.
Wednesday, July 21, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "New Orleans: Been in the Storm Too Long." For the third installment of the series "Tavis Smiley Reports," host Smiley and Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme travel to New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina. Through the lens of the city's rich culture, Smiley examines the efforts of its most resilient residents as they rebuild their schools, churches and homes against enormous odds.
Wednesday, July 21, 9-10:30 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Merle Haggard: Learning to Live With Myself." Filmmaker Gandulf Hennig's documentary - part of the series "American Masters" -- follows musician Haggard for two years, on tour and at home on his ranch.
The program also includes interviews with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price, Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams and Allison Krauss (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Saturday, July 24, 8-9 p.m. EDT (Animal Planet) "Dogs v. Cats" A lighthearted look at the "rivalry" between two of the world's most popular pet species.
Saturday, July 24, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Faustyna." This special examines the life of St. Faustina Kowalska, (1905-38), a Polish nun who began the Divine Mercy devotion in the late 1930s. She said she had a vision of Jesus in which he asked for devotions to divine mercy on the Sunday after Easter. (English subtitles).