TV film fare -- week of Dec. 5, 2021
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Dec. 5. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, Dec. 5, 10:39 a.m.-1:09 p.m. EST (AMC) "Fred Claus" (2007). Generally funny yet bittersweet tale of a sad-sack Chicago repo man (Vince Vaughn) who travels to the North Pole to help his younger, more popular brother, St. Nicholas (Paul Giamatti), at Christmas, while a devious efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) threatens to shut down the elves' toy factory. Underneath the laughs, Dan Fogelman's script is a surprisingly resonant take on sibling rivalry, with lots of heart-tugging sentiment, and solid messages about family, self-esteem, forgiveness and, ultimately, redemption. Under David Dobkin's deft direction, there's sharp work by the leads and the classy supporting cast (Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates and John Michael Higgins). Mild innuendo, an implied premarital living arrangement, a suggestive costume and some crass humor and expressions. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Tuesday, Dec.7, 6:15-8 p.m. EST (Showtime) "Beauty Shop" (2005). Amiable comedy about a widowed mother (Queen Latifah) working as a hairdresser who, after a falling-out with the shop's flamboyant owner (scene-stealing Kevin Bacon), opens her own establishment in the ghetto and, thanks to her styling prowess and warmhearted people skills, overcomes myriad obstacles to succeed. Bille Woodruff's engaging film is a perfect showcase for the likable Latifah, the eclectic ensemble cast (including Alfre Woodard, Alicia Silverstone, Djimon Hounsou and Andie MacDowell) makes for interesting watching, and despite some salty street language and salon sex chatter the movie imparts solid messages about loyalty, friendship and parenting. Some profanity, crude language and crass expressions, sexual innuendo and suggestive dancing. 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.
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 8-10:15 p.m. EST (TCM) "The Bells of St. Mary's" (1945). Director Leo McCarey's sequel to "Going My Way" (1944) pulls out all the emotional stops in a sugary confection that takes happy-go-lucky Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby) to a poor parish with a crumbling school run by overworked Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman). Though their conflicting views on education have less to do with the plot than the chasm between their personalities, Bergman's shining performance as the idealistic nun is still worth watching. Sentimental yet warm picture of Catholic life in an age of innocence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Friday, Dec. 10, 5-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "Camelot" (1967). Director Josh Logan's screen version of the Broadway musical on the King Arthur legend offers the charming Lerner and Loewe score and lyrics, luxurious fantasy settings and a grand cast (Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero and David Hemmings). Emphasizing the human implications of the legend rather than its romanticism, the musical shows that power is not strength and that compassion is not weakness. Never has adultery carried so high a price -- the downfall of Camelot. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8-9:55 p.m. EST (HBO) "I, Robot" (2004). Science fiction thriller set in 2035 about a technophobic Chicago cop (Will Smith) whose investigation into the apparent suicide of a renowned scientist leads him to suspect that the dead visionary was actually murdered by a member of the swelling robot population he helped create and which is supposed to be programmed to serve and protect mankind. Inspired by the short works of Isaac Asimov, director Alex Proyas underpins dazzling special-effects sequences with philosophical musings about artificial intelligence, our relationship to technology and what constitutes a soul. Intense action violence, two brief shower scenes with shadowy profile nudity and recurring crass language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.