Web site TV for Oct. 10 – Oct. 16, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Oct. 10
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Oct. 10. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (TCM) "San Francisco" (1936). Robust romantic melodrama set on the eve of Frisco's 1906 earthquake as Barbary Coast saloon owner Clark Gable vies with Nob Hill swell Jack Holt for the affections of opera singer Jeanette MacDonald, with local priest Spencer Tracy trying to safeguard her best interests. Director W.S. Van Dyke II's colorful period piece has a grand cast in a formula plot whose romantic complications are resolved and ennobled by the quake's destructive magnitude in a finale that still ranks among the most memorable of screen disasters. Not especially suited for children, though enduring, old-fashioned entertainment for the rest of the family. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 9:15-11:30 a.m. EDT (AMC) "Rails & Ties" (2007). Intimate, moving drama in which a terminally ill woman (Marcia Gay Harden) and her emotionally repressed railroad engineer-husband (Kevin Bacon) find their failing relationship revived when they surreptitiously shelter a boy (Miles Heizer) whose mentally ill single mother (Bonnie Root) committed suicide by parking in front of the husband's train. Director Alison Eastwood, in her first feature, balances a plot that tugs shamelessly at every heartstring with an understated approach that generally forestalls sentimentality. Problematic religious elements, upper female nudity, tense accident scene, one use of the F-word, two crude words, one crass term and one use of profanity. Acceptable for older teens. 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.
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 8-11 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Inside Man" (2006). Crime drama about a New York City police detective (Denzel Washington) who matches wits with a cunning armed robber (Clive Owen) holding hostages captive in a Wall Street bank, while a politically connected power broker (Jodie Foster) hired by the bank's owner (Christopher Plummer) muddies negotiations in trying to keep an incriminating secret buried in the bank's vault. Smartly written with nods to "Dog Day Afternoon" and just the right amount of humor, director Spike Lee's film puts an interesting spin on the heist genre while exploring themes of race and corruption. It results in an intelligent caper that can be enjoyed on several levels, despite a morally ambiguous ending. Some discreet violence, violent video game images, pervasive rough and crude language, and a disturbing execution image, as well as some sexual humor, innuendo and racial epithets. 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 R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The General" (1927). Epic silent comedy set in the Civil War has Buster Keaton as a Southern railroad engineer pursuing the Northern spies who have stolen his locomotive, outwitting them and driving it back in time to stop an attack by the Union Army. Keaton's mastery of physical comedy is seen at its best here as he stoically overcomes all manner of obstacles in the path of his speeding but recalcitrant locomotive. A beautifully crafted work, with an appropriate musical score, it's a treat for all ages. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Oct. 16, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (HBO) "The Lovely Bones" (2009). Narrating from beyond the grave, a 14-year-old girl (Saoirse Ronan) recounts her murder at the hands of a psychopath (a squirm-provoking Stanley Tucci) and the effects of the crime on her devastated parents (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz), her boozy but sensible grandmother (Susan Sarandon) and her sensitive younger sister (Rose McIver), who eventually joins the obsessive dad in a determined hunt for redress. Director and co-writer Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-selling 2002 novel features a visually rich, though theologically vague, vision of "the In-Between," a picturesque purgatory in which the youthful heroine is trapped as she works through her rage and desire for revenge. But the attempt to blend genres with a story that mixes elements of suspense, emotion-driven drama and a morality tale about the limits of human justice and the dangers of fixation eventually becomes scattershot. Themes of perversion and crime, gory images, scenes of harsh violence, brief nongraphic marital lovemaking, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, a few crude and crass terms. 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, Oct. 16, 10-11:30 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009). Droll stop-motion animated adventure, set in the animal world of rural Britain, in which the titular vulpine creature (voice of George Clooney), now a respectable newspaper columnist with a wife (voice of Meryl Streep) and son (voice of Jason Schwartzman), tries to recapture his wild past as a chicken thief poaching on local farms. But his renewed raiding, abetted by his daring nephew (voice of Eric Anderson), enrages a trio of mean-spirited farmers whose escalating countermeasures endanger the whole burrowing community. A touch of menace and a fleeting joke about Mrs. Fox's youthful indiscretions aside, director and co-writer Wes Anderson's clever, lovingly crafted adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1970 children's book offers sophisticated family entertainment, with abundant fun for youngsters and a few insights into the tensions and paradoxes of human nature for adults. 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.
TV program notes -- week of Oct. 10
Here are some television program notes for the week of Oct. 10 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. 10, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Jesus of Nazareth." A meditative look at the life of Jesus of Nazareth in painting, featuring portrayals of the passion and death of Jesus set against a backdrop of classical music.
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 1-2:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Brother Andre." The struggles and miracles in the life of Holy Cross Brother Andre Bessette (1845-1937) -- whose canonization is scheduled for Oct. 17 -- are detailed in this biographical profile. From his modest position as doorman, Brother Andre not only increased devotion to St. Joseph, but built an oratory to this great saint in Montreal, a place of worship which has inspired Catholics in Canada and around the world. It is the largest shrine dedicated to St. Joseph in the world.
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 8-9 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Best Band in the Land." This episode of the series "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" examines how popular songs provided emotional solace and patriotic inspiration during World War II (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).