TV film fare -- week of Feb. 6, 2022
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Feb. 6. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Monday, Feb. 7, 4:45-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014). Director and co-writer Peter Jackson's trilogy of films based on Catholic novelist J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 fantasy for children, set in Tolkien's imaginary world of Middle-earth, reaches a rousing finale as the forces of good and evil, both within and surrounding its characters, confront each other in a climactic struggle. After the fearsome dragon (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) who long ago exiled them from their ancestral bastion is slain, the brave band of Dwarves whose quest to reclaim their fabled citadel has been aided by the formerly fainthearted Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is finally able to recover their stronghold. But the untold wealth stored up in the mountain fortress begins to obsess their king (Richard Armitage), making him hopelessly greedy and paranoid just as a vast army of evil Orcs (led by Manu Bennett) is on the march against them. The warping effects of avarice are poised against the redeeming consequences of heroic selflessness in this combat-heavy parable, which also sees the return of Ian McKellen as the wizard who first prompted Bilbo's transformation. The film offers valuable lessons for those viewers mature enough to endure its many armed confrontations. Pervasive, sometimes harsh battle violence with minimal gore, a couple of crass expressions. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 8-10:15 p.m. EST (TCM) "Mister Roberts" (1955). The conflicts between the bored crew and mean-spirited captain (James Cagney) of a cargo ship in the South Pacific during the waning months of World War II are tempered by the executive officer of the title (Henry Fonda) who jeopardizes his long-sought transfer to combat duty to get the crew a long-overdue shore leave. Directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, the result largely overcomes its stage origins, thanks to vigorous staging of the shipboard antics as well as memorable lead performances abetted by William Powell as the ship's sage doctor and Jack Lemmon as its callow laundry-and-morale officer. Broad sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 10:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. EST (Showtime) "Road to Perdition" (2002). Gripping drama set in Depression-era Chicago in which a hit man (Tom Hanks) working for the leader of the Irish mob (Paul Newman) embarks on a journey to protect his 12-year-old son and avenge the death of the rest of his family. Examining complicated father-son relationships, director Sam Mendes' evocative moral tale presents a calculated visual tapestry of intrigue and multilayered characters which smoothly weaves in themes of betrayal, redemption, filial love and family responsibility. Some brutal scenes of violence with sporadic rough language and profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Saturday, Feb. 12, noon-2 p.m. EST (TCM) "Treasure Island" (1934). The classic Hollywood version of the Robert Louis Stevenson adventure saga, with Wallace Berry outstanding as Long John Silver and Jackie Cooper as the stout-hearted Jim Hawkins. Directed by Victor Fleming, it is still enjoyable family fare, though youngsters may be disappointed by its black-and-white photography. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, Feb. 12, 1:30-5 p.m. EST (AMC) "The Hurricane" (1999). Powerful fact-based account of the 20-year struggle of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (Denzel Washington) to regain his freedom, aided by an African American teen (Vicellous Reon Shannon) and his Canadian guardians, after Carter was wrongly convicted of a 1966 New Jersey barroom triple murder. As a study of institutionalized racism, the movie chronicles one man's personal agony and triumph as he spiritually transcends his confines while helped by those committed to social justice. Brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, some profanity and recurring rough language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.