1. STUART LITTLE
$11.2 million last week: $95.3 million in four weeks
Because of scenes of menace and a few cuss words, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents..
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance
suggested. "Stuart Little" is a fetching live-action fantasy in which a talking
white mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is happily adopted as the younger
son in a human family (in which Geena Davis plays the mom) only to be
targeted as a meal by mean neighborhood alleycats. As loosely adapted
from E. B. White's 1945 classic, the cheery tale has ample visual appeal,
though purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's
more probing tale of self-discovery.
2. THE GREEN MILE
$9.7 million last week/ $91.3 million in five weeks:
Because of some violence including an horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and
intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Green Mile" is a prison drama set in 1935 Louisana where death-row head guard Tom Hanks comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man played superbly by Michael Clarke Duncan whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. Adapted from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment.
3. THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
$9.3 million last week/ $54.2 million in three weeks:
Because of occasional gory violence, and implied affair,
discreet homosexual innuendo, fleeting full nudity and a few instances of rough language, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a disquieting
melodrama set in 1958 Italy where, after befriending a rich expatriate couple (played by Jude
Law and Gwyneth Paltrow), an impoverished young American assumes his identity and
stops at nothing to keep the risky charade going. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1955
novel, a chilling cautionary tale of materialism expanding to grotesque evil unfolds replete with
seductive visuals and sleek performances -- but an ambiguous ending.
4. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
$8.8 million last week/ $59.2 million in three weeks:
Because of much stylized violence, brutality, sexual situations,
locker-room frontal nudity, drug abuse, recurring rough language and occasional profanity,
the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV - adults, with reservations.. The Motion
Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Any Given Sunday" is a frenetically
jumbled look at a professional football team trying to make the play-offs under veteran coach
Al Pacino who puts his career on the line by starting an ailing but reliable old-timer as
quarterback rather then the hotshot young maverick favored by the club's devious owner
(played by Cameron Diaz). The strictly formula sports story follows the underdogs to the big
game in a jazzed-up narrative with jarring scenes of physical and verbal violence on and off
the field, in locker rooms, bedrooms and corporate suites, while the coach philosophizes,
cajoles, screams and whispers about team unity and the game's dignity.
5. GALAXY QUEST
$8 million last week/ $38.5 million in three weeks:
Still no available review from the NCCB on this film as of yet, but it has received favorable reviews and is rated PG so it can't be all bad. Actually is quite funny with Tim Allen as a mock William Shatner from "Star Trek" fame.
6. TOY STORY 2
$7.2 million last week/ $219.7 million in eight weeks:
The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I --
general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G
-- general audiences. In "Toy Story 2" the animated adventures of toys
that come to life when humans aren't around continues as cowboy
Woody voiced by Tom Hanks is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear, the voice of Tim Allen, on a breathless rescue mission. Featuring even better animation, the briskly paced cartoon sequel is slightly less original,
but zippy action scenes and gentle humor should amuse small fry and grown-ups alike.
$5.7 million last week: $6.6 million in four weeks
Because of some gory violence, a brief sexual encounter with nudity, numerous
sexual references, intense domestic crises, recurring rough language and occasional
profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The
Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Magnolia," an erratic,
undisciplined tale, unfolds in loosely connected vignettes involving, among others, a dying
media magnate (played by Jason Robards), his estranged son who's the guru of a macho cult
(played by Tom Cruise), as well as a closet homosexual, a quiz show host (played by William Macy), his estranged, cokehead daughter, and a good-hearted cop. The self-indulgent film treats the odd assortment of vignettes with emotional extravagance, resulting in a hodge-podge of uninteresting
characters floundering about in sudsy situations.
8. BICENTENNIAL MAN
$5.3 million last week: $47.2 million in four weeks
Because of mild sexual innuendo and references, as
well as occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is
A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America
rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Bicentennial Man" is a
futuristic fantasy in which a family robot (played by Robin Williams) actively
seeks to become fully human over two centuries and eventually to marry the
family's great-granddaughter. The bland tale examines what it is to be
human in terms of free will, love and mortality, but its poky pace blunts
interest in the robot's earnest quest.
9. DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO
$5 million last week/ $54.1 million in five weeks:
Because of sexual situations, comically
intended violence, brief rear nudity and occasional profanity, the U.S.
Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Deuce Bigalow: Male
Gigolo" a klutzy loser (played by Rob Schneider) tries and fails at temporary
male prostitution in order to pay for accidentally wrecking his bossís condo.
The pathetically unfunny comedy dredges up lame double entendres and
toilet humor when not mocking characters with assorted physical diseases
and disabilities who resort to paying for male companionship.
10. SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS
$3.9 million last week: $4.1 million in three weeks
Because of discreet sexual encounters, wartime violence and
an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults.
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 - parents are strongly cautioned
that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Snow Falling on Cedars" is a
ponderous drama in which the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II has
resonance when one of them is put on trial for murder in 1950 and a reporter (played by
Ethan Hawke) hesitates to reveal evidence helpful to the accused because he is still
obsessed with memories of a love affair with the man's wife (played by Youki Kudoh) when
they were both teen-agers. The visually evocative film exploring racial prejudice is flawed by
an excess of flashbacks to the affair which stagnate the courtroom drama.
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.