Web site TV for Aug. 1 – Aug 7, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Aug.1
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Aug. 1. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007). Adept, sophisticated political drama, based on real events, recounting how an obscure, high-living Texas congressman (Tom Hanks) united with a wealthy, ostensibly pious political supporter (Julia Roberts) and a gifted but volatile CIA agent (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to defeat the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Director Mike Nichols' rollicking film revels in the comic divide between its central character's disreputable lifestyle, which is portrayed at times quite graphically, and his historic achievement, with perhaps an invitation to excuse or even celebrate the one in light of the other. Sustained upper female and rear nudity, implied nonmarital sex, drug use, sexual humor, irreverent dialogue, pervasive rough and some crude and crass language, and scenes of wounded children. 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.
Monday, Aug. 2, 5-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Far From the Madding Crowd" (1967). Excellent British screen version of Thomas Hardy's romantic melodrama of early Victorian country life with Julie Christie being pursued by Peter Finch, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates. Director John Schlesinger avoids the pitfalls of the formula blockbuster and comes up with a superbly realistic, atmospheric production filmed entirely on location in Hardy's Dorset. 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, Aug. 6, 9:30-11:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Casablanca" (1942). Classic romantic melodrama set in the refugee crossroads of French North Africa where an American expatriate (Humphrey Bogart) helps the woman who broke his heart (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband (Paul Henreid), an underground leader, escape the Nazi dragnet. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the story is replete with World War II intrigue, sardonic humor, punchy dialogue ("Here's looking at you, kid!") and a great cast, including Claude Rains as a suave Vichy police officer and Dooley Wilson's rendition of "As Time Goes By." Time stands still for this one, though the wartime atmosphere may be too menacing for the children. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Aug. 7, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Undefeated" (1969). Post-Civil War story in which a group of Confederate families (led by Rock Hudson) heading for asylum in Mexico under Emperor Maximilian join forces with a former Union officer (John Wayne) bringing a herd of horses south of the border as they fight off Mexican bandits and get embroiled in the Mexican Civil War. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, it's an unpretentious, old-fashioned cowboy movie that can be enjoyed by any who like Western action and adventure. 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, Aug. 7, 8-9:45 p.m. EDT (HBO) "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.
Saturday, Aug. 7, 9-11 p.m. EDT (ABC) "Red Eye" (2005). Uneven psychological thriller about a young air passenger (Rachel McAdams) en route to Miami who becomes an unwilling accomplice in a deadly assassination plot against a high-ranking government official orchestrated by the charming stranger (Cillian Murphy) sitting next to her on the plane, who coerces her cooperation by threatening to have her father back home in Florida killed if she refuses. Directed by Wes Craven, the initial takeoff is smart and suspenseful, but the film hits story turbulence midflight before nose-diving in the third act. Several instances of intense violence, including a graphic throat puncturing, as well as some crude language. 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, Aug. 7, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (Cinemax) "The Box" (2009). In 1976 Richmond, Va., a cash-strapped suburban couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) find themselves in a moral dilemma when a mysterious, disfigured stranger (a haunting Frank Langella) presents them with a device that, if they choose to activate it, will kill someone unknown to them but also will gain them a $1 million payment. Spiritually well-grounded adult viewers willing to overlook some improbabilities in writer-director Richard Kelly's intelligently challenging, if over-elaborate, screen version of Richard Matheson's 1970 short story "Button, Button" may be intrigued by this reflection on ethical choices and consequences, but the evolving parable includes actions that would be blatantly unacceptable in a more realistic context. Mature themes, complex moral issues, a few uses of profanity and a couple of sexual references. 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.
TV program notes -- week of Aug. 1
Here are some television program notes for the week of Aug. 1 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, Aug. 1, 9-10 p.m. EDT (Discovery) "Ultimate Air Jaws." Kicking off this year's edition of the Discovery Channel's popular "Shark Week" series of programs, this special features an investigation into the airborne attacks great white sharks are capable of launching as they pursue their seal prey in the waters off South Africa.
Sunday, Aug. 1, 9-11 p.m. EDT (National Geographic) "Inside the Iraq War." Woven together with testimonials from dozens of Iraq war veterans, video shot by troops themselves, news footage from embedded journalists and battlefield photos, this special provides an in-depth look at the grim reality of the last six years inside the Iraq War.
Sunday, Aug. 1, 10-11 p.m. EDT (check local listings) (PBS) "Max Raabe & Palast Orchestra: Tonight or Never." Baritone Raabe and the orchestra he founded in 1986 -- to embody the high style and musical glory of the 1920s and '30s with a repertoire of German and American standards -- present highlights from their show "Heute Nacht Oder Nie" ("Tonight or Never"), recorded live at Berlin's historic Admiralspalast (TV-G -- general audience).
Tuesday, Aug. 3, 10-11:30 p.m. EDT (check local listings) (PBS) "Diahann Carroll: The Lady, the Music, the Legend." Carroll, a multitalented singer and actress, performs some of her most popular songs, which reflect the many roles she has played throughout her career (TV-G -- general audience).Thursday, Aug. 5, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (check local listings) (PBS) "Michel Legrand & Friends: 50 Years of Music and Movies." Jon Voight and Jennifer O'Neil host a concert in honor of composer Legrand and his celebrated film work. Guests include Quincy Jones, Dionne Warwick, Sting and George Benson, among others (TV-G -- general audience).