TUESDAY
February 8, 2000
volume 11, no. 27

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VIDEOS & VIRTUES      INTRODUCTION
    Because Catholics rent videos like all others, we have decided to inaugurate on every Tuesday (except during Lent) a similar feature as our Friday series MOVIES & MORALS. We call the Tuesday entry VIDEOS & VIRTUES in which we'll preview some of the newest releases on Video as rated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops so you can check the moralometer before plopping down hard-earned money to rent a movie you might wish you hadn't. If it's worthwhile, the Bishops will let you know.

      As you'll see with each review there is almost always something objectionable about each movie so rent with an open mind and keep in mind the best advice before you plunk down your hard-earned money at your local Blockbuster or video store: Would Jesus and His Mother Mary watch it with you? If not, think twice about seeing it.

      Below are some of the latest releases and our pick for the week with the Bishops' reviews. Reviews are categorized by:

A-I -- general patronage;

A-II -- adults & adolescents;

A-III -- adults;

A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); and finally, ones no one should see:

O -- morally offensive and should be avoided at all costs!

     Reviews are provided through Film & Broadcasting Division of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops


VIDEOS & VIRTUES

We strongly recommend...

  • LES MISERABLES (PG-13) (One of the best adaptations ever of a Victor Hugo novel. Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush have never been better. A triumph of the human spirit and goodness.)
          Because of some sexual innuendo and, violence including a suicide, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Les Miserables" is a splendid screen version of the Victor Hugo classic, with Liam Neeson as the reformed convict Jean Valjean, and Geoffrey Rush as his implacable pursuer, Inspector Jauvert. Set amidst the strife of early 19th-century France, the movie's strong performances, vigorous narrative and evocative photography compellingly convey the story's themes of human justice and spiritual redemption. May 1998

OUR RECOMMENDED CLASSIC FOR THE WEEK:

  • SONG OF BERNADETTE (G) (One of the all-time classics that is a must for every Catholic to keep in their library! The more who watch this outstanding cinema, the more will be healed of any prejudice toward the Church.)
          Few films have ever been made that portrays the Blessed Virgin Mary in a better light and brought to the screen the virtues of Saint Bernadette Soubirous than did movie mogul David O. Selznick who adapted Franz Werfel's excellent novel of the same name written in 1942. The next year Selznick transferred it to film with the help of Henry King as director/writer and tabbed Jennifer Jones in the starring role as Bernadette and Charles Bickford, Anne Revere, Gladys Cooper and, of course, the inimitable Vincent Price as the doubting, hard-hearted prosecutor Dutour. Jones won the 1944 Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal of the French peasant girl of Lourdes who was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933, a decade before this excellent movie was made.


New Videos released today:

  • TARZAN (PG) (A good barometer of how far Disney has fallen. Animation relies too much on computer animation, forsaking the old cell method that showed the love of the art in every frame with classic scenes that comprised films like "Bambi" and "Snow White". Just a little more graphic than "Bambi" but can't hold a candle in content, melody or animation to Disney's other classics, especially "Jungle Book" and "Bambi" that introduced the world to "Thumper" and "Flower.")
         Because of intensely menacing hunting scenes, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Tarzan" is Disney's animated tale about an orphaned baby boy raised by jungle gorillas who grows up before encountering his first humans, including a duplicitous hunter intent on capturing his beloved ape family and spunky Jane, who tempts Tarzan to return to civilization. The classic characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs are appealing, the animation splendid and the music tuneful but some action scenes of predatory violence are too intense for younger children. June 1999

  • BLUE STREAK (PG-13) (Another typical Martin Lawrence vehicle where values and right are eschewed for the sake of putdown comedy. Funny in places but not enough to recommend.)
          Because of its justification of a major crime, some violence, coarse sexual references, occasional profanity and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Blue Streak" is a routine action-comedy in which thief Martin Lawrence passes himself off as an LAPD detective in order to get access to headquarters where he's stashed a 17 million-dollar diamond. Numerous cliches and Lawrence's comic mugging don't improve a movie where the thief is seen as a hero who deserves his instant millionaire status after escaping with police complicity. September 1999

  • THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE (R) (Definitely one sci-fi flick to miss! Same lame blame game that's not tame!)
         Because of some intense violence, explicit sex, an attempted abortion, rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Astronaut's Wife" is a lame sci-fi thriller in which a woman begins to suspect her husband has been replaced by an alien, then fears she will give birth to its alien offspring. The movie's weak premise, pedestrian pacing and predictable ending turn this supposed thriller into a limp misfire. August 1999

    While the reviews by the NCCB are very good and provide the ratings, we have discovered another site which will give you a much more detailed survey of what to watch out for. Just click on Christian Analysis of Culture Alert.
          

February 8, 2000
volume 11, no. 27
VIDEOS & VIRTUES

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