Web site TV for Nov. 7 – Nov. 13, 2010
TV film fare -- week of Nov. 7
The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Nov. 7. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Nov. 7, 8-11 p.m. EST (TCM) "Metropolis" (1927). Silent classic of a future society ruled by an aristocracy living in luxury above ground while the workers suffer miserably underground, comforted only by the religious faith of a young woman (Brigitte Helm) in whose likeness a sinister scientist (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) fashions a robot inciting the workers to rebel but all ends in reconciliation. Directed by Fritz Lang, the story's melodramatic turns and woolly finale may be dated but not its vivid pictorial sense, grandly expressionistic decor and theme of social justice. Bleak picture of exploited workers, stylized violence and some sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9-11 p.m. EST (Lifetime) "The Lake House" (2006). Intriguing if slow-moving time-warp romance, as a doctor (Sandra Bullock) commences correspondence with an architect (Keanu Reeves) who lived in the same Illinois lakeside house she herself once occupied. But they come to realize they are existing two years apart from each other. Alejandro Agresti's fantasy is intelligently adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn from a South Korean film, "Il Mare." Though the leads are appealing, and the story of two unhappy people trying to make a connection touching if sometimes perplexing, somehow the movie never really grips. Just a couple of instances of mild profanity and a crude word, and a brief but violent traffic accident, though otherwise refreshingly free of objectionable content. 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.
Thursday, Nov. 11, 12:30-2:15 p.m. EST (TCM) "Fighting Father Dunne" (1948). Inspirational tale of a Catholic priest (Patrick O'Brien) in 1905 St. Louis who starts a residence for homeless boys, then struggles to find adequate funding as his efforts expand in rehabilitating a growing number of youths, one of whom (Darryl Hickman) proves incorrigible. Directed by Ted Tetzlaff, the subject is certainly worthy and the treatment sincere, but the result suffers from a bland sentimentality which wears thin today. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Thursday, Nov. 11, 8-11 p.m. EST (AMC) "A Few Good Men" (1992). Insecure but glib Navy lawyer (Tom Cruise), goaded by a strong-willed Internal Affairs attorney (Demi Moore), takes on the politically sensitive murder trial of two Marines (James Marshall and Wolfgang Bodison) who are being used as scapegoats by their commanding officer (Jack Nicholson). Director Rob Reiner's tautly constructed courtroom drama bristles with intense performances while tackling prickly issues of honor, responsibility and personal integrity. An off-screen suicide, a blatantly sexist remark and intermittent rough 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.
Saturday, Nov. 13, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. EST (AMC) "Bend of the River" (1952). After escorting a wagon train of settlers to Oregon, two Kansas cowboys (James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy) find themselves on opposite sides in the battle between the new farmers and an influx of gold miners to the area. Directed by Anthony Mann, the pioneer setting is colorful and the action plentiful, but too many subplots weaken the dramatic focus. Stylized violence and romantic situations. The Catholic News Service classification was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Nov. 13, 7-9 p.m. EST (Lifetime) "Sleeping with the Enemy" (1991). When a psychotically jealous husband (Patrick Bergin) discovers his abused wife (Julia Roberts) has faked her own death to escape him, he tracks her down and finds her in the arms of her new love (Kevin Anderson). Director Joe Ruben's sleek thriller efficiently creates suspense by making full use of Robert's beautifully played vulnerability but falters with a needless cliche at the end. Some violence, restrained marital encounter and minimal rough 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.
Saturday, Nov. 13, 8-10 p.m. EST (HBO) "It's Complicated" (2009). A decade after their divorce, a couple (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) reconnect and have an affair, despite his second marriage to a much younger wife (Lake Bell) and her budding romance with an architect (Steve Martin). Though it highlights the lasting emotional toll exacted on children when their parents split, writer-director Nancy Meyers' aesthetically smooth-running romantic comedy is aptly titled from a Catholic moral perspective, since -- assuming their union was valid to begin with -- the pair's seeming adultery, presented as a daring feminist adventure for Streep's well-delineated character, would in fact be marital lovemaking. Yet the breach of trust with the new "spouse" can hardly be excused and adds a further twist to an ethically tangled story demanding careful evaluation by mature viewers. Complex moral issues, skewed values, implied sexual activity, some of it adulterous, off-screen masturbation, fleeting rear nudity, considerable drug use, some sexual references and humor, a half-dozen crude or crass terms. 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.
TV program notes -- week of Nov. 7
Here are some television program notes for the week of Nov. 7 with their TV Parental Guidelines ratings if available. They have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by Catholic News Service.
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 10:30-11:30 p.m. EST (PBS) "The Longoria Affair." This "Independent Lens" presentation recounts the events surrounding the World War II death of Pvt. Felix Longoria. When the only funeral parlor in Longoria's Texas hometown refused his family because "the whites wouldn't like it," the incident created deep divisions, but also helped launch the Mexican-American civil rights movement (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 8-9 p.m. EST (PBS) "Slave Ship Mutiny." This documentary, part of the series "Secrets of the Dead," looks at the 1766 uprising on the Dutch slave ship Meermin during which the African captives on board managed to overpower the crew, and ordered the ship to be sailed back to its starting point, the island of Madagascar, and to freedom (TV-PG/V -- parental guidance suggested; moderate violence).
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 8-11 p.m. EST (ABC) "The 44th Annual CMA Awards." Once again hosted by country singers and songwriters Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, this live broadcast from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., will feature performances by Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Reba McIntire, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Sugarland and Keith Urban as well as by Paisley and Underwood.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9-11 p.m. EST (History) "WWII in HD: The Air War." This special travels with five veterans on some of the most dangerous and visually striking aerial missions of the Second World War.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 10-11 p.m. EST (EWTN) "Pakistan's Christians." This special focuses on the Catholic Church in Pakistan, covering recent issues in that country such as progressive Islamicization and the persecution and killing of Catholics falsely accused of blasphemy.