Web site TV for Oct. 31 – Nov. 6, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Oct. 31
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Oct. 31. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Oct. 31, 7-9 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "The Eye" (2008). Reasonably effective suspense yarn about a blind concert violinist (a believable Jessica Alba) who, after receiving corneal transplants, begins to envision harrowing scenes of devastation and spectral spirits for reasons she connects with her anonymous eye donor, while she tries to convince her doctor (Alessandro Nivola), sister (Parker Posey) and conductor (Rade Serbedzija) that she's not hallucinating. Co-directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud's remake of a 2002 Taiwanese film delivers the requisite scary jolts, despite plot improbabilities, and is devoid of sex and language concerns. Some brief and nongraphic but disturbing violent images, including fires and explosions, and a suicide flashback. 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.
Thursday, Nov. 4, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Sundowners" (1960). Excellent story about the joys and hardships of an itinerant Australian sheepherder (Robert Mitchum) whose passion for the unencumbered life is in direct conflict with the yearnings of his wife (Deborah Kerr) to settle down. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, the movie's characters and its locale are finely evoked in a story that is part outdoors adventure and part domestic drama. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Thursday, Nov. 4, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Kingdom" (2007). Riveting but disturbingly violent drama in which a team of four FBI agents (Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) is dispatched to Saudi Arabia to investigate a major terrorist attack on Americans living there, a hunt they must pursue under the watchful and initially suspicious eye of a Saudi colonel (Ashraf Barhom). It's hard to tell the good guys from the bad in director Peter Berg's stylish, all-too-relevant film, and it's also difficult to know whether the use of force is being glorified or denounced. Sudden, bloody violence with gore, torture and much rough, crude and profane 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 R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Saturday, Nov. 6, 3:30-6 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Spirit of St. Louis" (1957). Meticulous but lengthy re-creation follows the thoughts and reflections of Charles Lindbergh (James Stewart) while making aviation history in 1927 as the pilot of the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris. Directed by Billy Wilder, Stewart manages to hold viewer interest on the solo flight across the Atlantic, partly because of the journey's dangers en route but mostly because of the character's courage and determination in accomplishing this feat of early aviation. Some threatening situations. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Nov. 6, 8-10:45 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Avatar" (2009). Among the most expensive and highly anticipated films ever made, director James Cameron's visually arresting science-fiction adventure sends a paraplegic soldier (Sam Worthington) to a planet called Pandora, where he falls in love with a native princess (Zoe Saldana) and must choose between her ecologically enlightened culture and his own violent, rapacious species. Amid passages resembling a Vietnam War movie, a Western -- pitting bellicose interlopers against spiritual natives in harmony with their natural environment -- and a Disney animated musical, Cameron marshals impressive resources to tell an entertaining story, though whether the aliens' pantheistic religion is meant to be a model for humanity or merely an indigenous cult remains unclear. Frightening action sequences with much intense, war-related violence, an implied sexual encounter, partial upper female and rear nudity, a consistently sensual undercurrent, frequent profanity, considerable 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, Nov. 6, 10-11:50 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "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 best-seller 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.
TV program notes -- week of Oct. 31
Sunday, Oct. 31, 10-11 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Enrique Shaw: A Life, a Testimony." This documentary examines the life of the Enrique Ernesto Shaw -- a married businessman from Argentina -- and his witness of faithful service to Christ and the church.
Monday, Nov. 1, noon-1:30 p.m. EDT (EWTN) "Solemn Mass of All Saints." From Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, is scheduled to serve as celebrant and homilist.
Monday, Nov. 1, 8-9 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood." First episode of a seven part documentary surveying the history of the American film industry from its origins through the 1960s. Christopher Plummer narrates and those interviewed include Sidney Lumet, Peter Bogdanovich and Robert Osborne. This first installment covers the years 1889-1907 and profiles such Hollywood pioneers as the Warner Brothers, Louis B. Mayer, William Fox and D.W. Griffith. The series continues each Monday, 8-9 p.m. EDT, through Dec. 13.
Tuesday, Nov. 2, 10-11 p.m. EDT (PBS) "Reel Injun." In this "Independent Lens" presentation -- part of PBS' Native American Heritage Month programming -- Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes a look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of American Indians through a century of cinema and examining the myth of "the Injun" (TV-PG/V -- parental guidance suggested; moderate violence).
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 9-11 p.m. EDT (PBS) "First of May/One Ring Family." Premiere of "Circus," a six-part miniseries exploring life behind the scenes with the Big Apple Circus. In these first two back-to-back episodes, viewers are introduced to the circus' colorful personnel -- including clowns, wire-walkers and the rough-and-tumble ring crew -- and witness preparations for the opening of the circus' 350-performance annual tour. Back-to-back episodes continue Mondays, 9-11 p.m. EDT through Nov. 17 (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).