By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Aug. 16. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Aug. 16, 10-11:45 a.m. EDT (TCM) “Bringing Up Baby” (1938). Classic screwball comedy in which a serious-minded paleontologist (Cary Grant) gets mixed up with a zany socialite heiress (Katharine Hepburn) whose pet leopard, Baby, is mistaken for an escaped killer leopard as confusions multiply until girl gets boy. Howard Hawks directs the hilarious proceedings with flair and style, abetted by a playful plot, madcap performances by Hepburn and Grant and a great supporting cast (including Charlie Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald and Walter Catlett). Absurdly silly and utterly delightful. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Sunday, Aug. 16, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) “To Catch a Thief” (1955). Fluffy romantic thriller set on the French Riviera where a string of jewel robberies have the local gendarmes chasing a onetime cat burglar (Cary Grant) who uses an heiress (Grace Kelly) to catch the real crook. Alfred Hitchcock directs the chic proceedings with his usual flair for the eccentric and offbeat, but there’s more romance than suspense. Some stylized violence and veiled sexual references. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 6-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973). Screen version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical adds a completely new dimension and drive to the music by virtue of a cinematography that enhances the original songs but also threatens to overwhelm them. Director Norman Jewison presents a visual recording, with optical embellishment, of a performance of the rock opera based on the last days of Christ’s life on earth, ending in his crucifixion. Entertaining as musical theater, it also can be seen as a sincere if naive effort to tell the story of Jesus in contemporary musical and ethical terms. Some scenes require a mature perspective. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was G — general audiences. All Ages Admitted.
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 6:30-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) “Minority Report” (2002). Engrossing murder mystery set in 2054, when future crimes can be detected before they are committed, in which a “precrime” police detective (Tom Cruise), one who investigates crimes before they happen, is accused of an imminent murder and, in attempting to prove his innocence, discovers a flaw in the system. Seeped in futuristic atmospherics, director Steven Spielberg combines thrilling action sequences with a thought-provoking narrative which confronts the issue of personal freedom versus national safety as well as the value of each human life. Recurring stylized sci-fi violence, brief substance abuse, fleeting sexual situations, occasional profanity and an instance of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Friday, Aug. 21, 6-8 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (2005). Uplifting if at times heavy-handed melodrama set in Atlanta about a grievously wronged woman (Kimberly Elise) who tries to pick up the pieces of her life after her successful but cold-hearted husband of 18 years (Steve Harris) demands a divorce, and who struggles to start anew with the support of a colorful extended family, including a plus-size, pistol-packing grandmother figure (played in drag by screenwriter Tyler Perry) and a chivalrous new love interest (Shemar Moore). Based on the stage play by Perry and directed by Darren Grant, this woman-overcoming-adversity movie mixes emotional drama, zany dark-edged comedy, and rousing gospel music resulting in a moving, fitfully funny and occasionally spiritually soaring affirmation of faith and family that celebrates the healing power of forgiveness. Some violence, including domestic abuse, mature thematic elements, an implied sexual encounter, brief drug content, crude sexual language and humor. 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.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.