Web site TV for Aug. 22 – Aug 28, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Aug. 22
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Aug. 22. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, Aug. 22, 3-6:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Superman Returns" (2006). The world's greatest superhero flies triumphantly back onto movie screens as the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) returns to earth after a five-year absence to find that while some things haven't changed -- archnemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is still plotting mass destruction -- Metropolis has moved on without him; this includes reporter Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), who is now engaged and raising a young son. More than a special-effects extravaganza, director Bryan Singer's visually elegant film heavily lays on Christian symbolism, while balancing comic-book spectacle with emotional drama and tender romance. Some stylized action violence, including intense scenes of peril, a vicious beating, an implied past premarital encounter, and a few mildly crude expressions. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Sunday, Aug. 22, 4:30-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Gandhi" (1982). Superb portrait of India's great political and spiritual leader comes to life in Ben Kingsley's authoritative, yet sensitive performance. Director Richard Attenborough's epic-scale production re-creates Gandhi's life and times, especially his use of nonviolence and hunger strikes to bring together the diverse peoples of India and unify them as a nation. Though its scenes of violence are not for children, the movie's vision of justice and peace is for everyone else, especially young people. 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.
Monday, Aug. 23, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986). Director John Hughes turns in a lighthearted spoof about a teenager (Matthew Broderick) who has made a science out of truancy because he likes to take a break now and then to observe the world around him. The cheerfully implausible plot serves as the catalyst in changing the attitudes of his sister and his best friend. Some vulgar language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Tuesday, Aug. 24, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Big Parade" (1925). Silent World War I epic centers on a small-town Army recruit (John Gilbert) who goes to France, falls in love with a village girl (Renee Adoree), joins in the "big push" at the front -- the Battle of Somme. He returns home minus a leg. Director King Vidor mounts the large-scale sequences of troop movements and the chaos of battle with realistic vigor that, combined with small scenes of human tenderness and comic byplay, add up to a convincing picture of men in war and its inhuman cost. Wartime violence and romantic situations. 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. 28, 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Becket" (1964). Superb adaptation of Jean Anouilh's classic play about the deep friendship and later conflict between England's King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and his friend, Sir Thomas Becket (Richard Burton), who was later canonized, and how their days of drinking and womanizing came to an end when the monarch appointed Becket archbishop of Canterbury, leading to Becket's spiritual transformation and ultimate martyrdom. Director Peter Glenville's film is rather stagy and leisurely paced, but the Oscar-winning dialogue is uncommonly literate, and the performances are brilliant. Some crass expressions and (by today's standards) tame sexuality. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Saturday, Aug. 28, 8-10 p.m. EDT (HBO) "The Time Traveler's Wife" (2009). A librarian (Eric Bana) afflicted with a genetic disorder that causes him to disappear from the present and travel -- involuntarily and randomly -- through time pursues romance with an artist (Rachel McAdams) who has known him since childhood, when he befriended her during visits from his future. At its core, the enjoyable tale of a lifelong committed relationship, director Robert Schwentke's adaptation of novelist Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 bestseller features persuasive central performances that divert attention from the logical loose ends, though not from some behavior that would be objectionable in less far-fetched circumstances. Brief nongraphic premarital sexual activity, rear nudity, a sterilization theme, a few uses of profanity, and some crude and crass 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.
Saturday, Aug. 28, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Horse Soldiers" (1959). Sprawling Civil War tale of a Union colonel (John Wayne) leading an 1863 cavalry raid to cut Vicksburg's railroad lines but runs into plenty of trouble from Southern civilians, Confederate regulars and a boy's military academy. Director John Ford stages the action scenes with his usual gusto but places them in an unusually somber context through the comments of the troop's surgeon (William Holden) who opposes the colonel's scorched-earth tactics and their heavy casualties. Wartime 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, Aug. 28, 10-11:30 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Post Grad" (2009). After failing to secure her dream job, a recent college graduate (Alexis Bledel) is forced to return home to her eccentric parents (Jane Lynch and Michael Keaton) and feisty grandmother (Carol Burnett) whose antics distract her from her employment search and from her efforts to choose between her longtime boyfriend (Zach Gilford) and a Brazilian-born ladies' man (Rodrigo Santoro). A talented cast is becalmed, in veteran animation director Vicky Jenson's live-action debut, by a listless script which, though it boosts family solidarity, also features a passionate encounter between characters who have barely met and repeatedly refers to the importance of condom use. Brief nongraphic, nonmarital sexual activity, occasional sexual references, a half-dozen uses of profanity, at least one use of the F-word, and some crude and crass 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.
Here are some television program notes for the week of Aug. 22 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Tuesday, Aug. 24, 8-10 p.m. EDT (History) "Jefferson." A look at the complicated life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the author of the Declaration of Independence, the nation's third president, and the most researched, most written about, most referenced and most quoted of our Founding Fathers.
Wednesday, Aug. 25, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2010." The philharmonic, with guest conductor Franz Welser-Most, continues its summertime tradition with another open-air concert held in the gardens of the Austrian capital's Schonbrunn Palace. A "Great Performances" presentation (TV-G -- general audience).
Wednesday, Aug. 25, 9-10 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Law & Disorder." This special -- the result of a yearlong, ongoing collaboration among "Frontline," ProPublica and The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans -- investigates charges that New Orleans Police Department officers inappropriately used lethal force against citizens of their city, and then tried to cover up their actions. Part of the "Frontline" series.
Thursday, Aug. 26, 6:30-7 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Priests of the Sacred Heart: A Light in the Darkness of Our Days." Sacred Heart Father Michael van der Peet shares insights on his friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The program includes reflections on her "dark night of the soul."
Saturday, Aug. 28, 8-9 p.m. EDT (Animal Planet) "Dogs 101" Third season premiere of this series surveying the more than 150 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. This episode includes profiles of the Irish wolfhound, the American pit bull terrier, the Gordon setter and the silky terrier (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).Saturday, Aug. 28, 8-10 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Lourdes" The first half of a two-part program exploring the life of St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-79), the visionary of Lourdes, France, and the vast impact she has had in the lives of others. The profile concludes Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1-3 p.m. EDT.