Web site TV for Oct. 3 – Oct. 9, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Oct. 3
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Oct. 3. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Monday, Oct. 4, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (AMC) "You've Got Mail" (1998). Breezy romantic comedy in which two rival Manhattan booksellers (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) trade barbs and are unaware that they are falling in love with each other through anonymous e-mail messages. Director Nora Ephron turns in a romantic trifle made enjoyable by the winning chemistry between its appealing stars. Implied affairs and an instance of profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested.
Monday, Oct. 4, 7-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Bandslam" (2009). Genial comedy with music in which a newcomer (Gaelan Connell) at a New Jersey high school overcomes his socially disastrous past when befriended by a popular fellow student (Alyson Michalka). She makes him the manager of her rock group as they prepare for the titular battle-of-the-bands competition, with his confidence getting a further boost from his blossoming romance with a bookish goth (Vanessa Hudgens). Though it deals with a few mature topics, and is unlikely to interest very young viewers, director and co-writer Todd Graff's exuberant salute to clique-defying friendship is free of anything unsuitable for the tween-and-up audience at whom it's aimed. 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.
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931). Classic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's story about idealistic London doctor Jekyll (Fredric March) seeking a drug to separate the soul's good and bad elements, but the result frees his evil side to emerge as the bestial Hyde who kills a prostitute (Miriam Hopkins), among other acts of wanton violence. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, the story is creatively visualized, well-paced and convincingly acted, with March's Oscar-winning performance greatly aided by the make-up department. Nasty violence and sexual situations. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Citizen Kane" (1941). When a Hearst-like newspaper tycoon (Orson Welles) dies, a reporter (William Alland) interviews the man's former associates (Joseph Cotten and Everett Sloane, among them) and wives (Ruth Warrick and Dorothy Comingore). He does so in an effort to pin down the essence of the contradictory, larger-than-life millionaire by discovering the meaning of his dying word, "Rosebud." Also co-written (with Herman J. Mankiewicz), produced and directed by Welles, the 1941 movie is a landmark in American cinema, both for its superb use of film technique and its intriguing story of a man who came from nothing, acquired fame and fortune but died without the love he sought. Marital infidelity. 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, Oct. 9, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" (2009). Harmless but mostly routine comedy with music, mixing animation and live action, in which the familiar trio of harmonizing rodents (voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) have a series of slapstick misadventures. Eventually, they wind up in the inept care of a gadget-obsessed slacker (Zachary Levi), becoming school students, and entering a singing competition that pits them against a group of chipmunk divas (voices of Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate). A bit of gently rude humor aside, director Betty Thomas' extension of the 50-year-old franchise, which includes hit recordings, a pair of TV cartoon series and this feature's 2007 predecessor, "Alvin and the Chipmunks," is unobjectionable, though its positive lessons about choosing loyalty over selfishness come wrapped in an entertainment package that feels somewhat shopworn. 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.
Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 p.m.-12:20 a.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Public Enemies" (2009). Polished dramatization of the last months of famed Depression-era gangster John Dillinger (a commanding Johnny Depp). He orchestrates prison breaks, continues his bank-robbing spree across the Midwest, repeatedly eludes capture by special agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) of the nascent FBI, and romances Chicago coat-check girl Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard). Though the bullets fly in director and co-writer Michael Mann's sleek adaptation of journalist Bryan Burrough's 2004 history, the violence never becomes excessive, and the focus remains on Dillinger's complex personality, his perverse popularity and the moral limits circumscribing law enforcement. Considerable action violence, brief torture, cohabitation, brief nongraphic premarital sexual activity, at least one use of the F-word, and occasional crude and profane language. 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.
Here are some television program notes for the week of Oct. 3 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Sunday, Oct. 3, 10-11 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Strengthening Marriages." Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, joins host Franciscan Father Michael Scanlan and panelists Regis Martin and Scott Hahn, all of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. They discuss the nature of the current marriage crisis in Western society, and examine what Catholics can do to protect marriage as a cultural institution. Part of the series "Franciscan University Presents."
Monday, Oct. 4, 9-10:30 p.m. EDT (PBS) "A Letter to Elia." In this episode of the series "American Masters," Martin Scorsese explores the life of celebrated director Elia Kazan (1909-2003), probing Kazan's sense of himself as an immigrant and an outsider and recounting Kazan's influence on his own work (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 9 p.m.-midnight EDT (PBS) "Macbeth." Sir Patrick Stewart stars in a Tony-nominated performance of Shakespeare's "Scottish play." Director Rupert Goold's allegorical adaptation of the classic tragedy, which won acclaim both in London and on Broadway, also stars Kate Fleetwood as the villainously ambitious Lady Macbeth. A "Great Performances" presentation (TV-14/V -- parents strongly cautioned; intense violence).
Friday, Oct. 8, 10-11 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Assisi: Home of St. Francis." This special offers a guided tour of Assisi, Italy, the hometown of the great mystic and founder of the Franciscan order. The program explores many of the cultural and historic elements that helped shaped him.