TV film fare -- week of April 17, 2022
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of April 17. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, April 17, 12:30-3 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "I Can Only Imagine" (2018). Dennis Quaid brings his formidable talent to bear in this faith-driven drama, playing an abusive father whose conversion to evangelical Christianity inspired his son (John Michael Finley) to write the eponymous 2001 song, an unprecedented chart-topper that became popular even with nonbelievers. Essentially a biography of Finley's real-life counterpart, Bart Millard, directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin's film, which Jon Erwin co-wrote with Brent McCorkle, also traces his on-again, off-again romance with a friend from childhood (Madeline Carroll) and his struggle to achieve musical success under the guidance of his group's dedicated manager (Trace Adkins). While its primary appeal will be to religious pop fans who, like the protagonist, would be star-struck on meeting genre icons Amy Grant (Nicole DuPort) and Michael W. Smith (Jake B. Miller), the movie offers uplifting entertainment that parents and teens can share without worry. Mature themes, including marital discord and the physical abuse of a child. 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.
Sunday, April 17, 2:30-5 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Barabbas" (1962). Uneven costume epic follows the tormented path of the criminal (Anthony Quinn) who, after being freed by Pilate instead of Christ, is sentenced to the sulfur mines in Sicily, brought to Rome to be a gladiator (with Jack Palance as grimacing tutor-adversary) and finally crucified as a Christian under Nero. Directed by Richard Fleischer, the movie begins promisingly with a sequence counterpointing Christ and Barabbas, but the religious level gets lost in Quinn's one-note performance as the surly, ever questioning survivor until reemerging in the ironic conclusion. Stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, April 19, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "In Which We Serve" (1942). World War II British classic in which the survivors (notably Noel Coward, John Mills and Bernard Miles) of a destroyer sunk in the 1940 battle of Crete recall their lives ashore and at sea, especially in helping rescue British soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Also scripted by Coward, who co-directed with David Lean, the result is an absorbing mix of wartime naval action and the ardors of the home front, with well-defined characters whose human appeal and patriotic fervor have not dimmed over the years. Wartime violence and sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, April 23, 2:25-4:05 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Good Time" (2017). When their attempt to rob a bank goes awry, a petty criminal (Robert Pattinson) evades capture, but his mentally challenged brother (Benny Safdie) ends up in custody. Desperate to free his vulnerable sibling, the hood embarks on a nocturnal odyssey through the underworld of New York City during which he tries to get his emotionally unstable girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to loan him bail money, then takes refuge in the home of a Haitian immigrant (Gladys Mathon) and her teenage granddaughter (Taliah Webster) before joining forces with a recent parolee (Buddy Duress) in a scheme to make a quick windfall by selling a cache of liquid LSD. Co-directed by Safdie and his brother Josh (who co-wrote the script with Ronald Bronstein), this intense crime drama presents a subtly shaded portrait of its protagonist, aided by an outstanding performance from Pattinson. But the film conducts viewers on a journey through a bleak urban landscape entertainment oriented moviegoers may not care to visit. Much nonlethal violence, including bloody beatings, brief graphic casual sex and an underage bedroom encounter, drug use, several instances of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Saturday, April 23, 5-8 p.m. EDT (A&E) "Hacksaw Ridge" (2016). The extraordinary heroism of Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) during the Battle of Okinawa in the closing days of World War II is vividly realized in this fact-based drama, directed by Mel Gibson. A committed Christian and conscientious objector who refused to bear arms, Doss was nonetheless eager to serve his country, despite the misgivings of his parents (Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths) and his fiancee (Teresa Palmer). Doss overcomes the ridicule and abuse of his fellow recruits in boot camp as well as an effort to discharge him led by the sergeant (Vince Vaughn) heading his platoon and the captain (Sam Worthington) commanding his company. Once in combat, he single-handedly saves the lives of over 75 wounded soldiers while under constant enemy fire. As might be expected with Gibson at the helm, Doss' religious convictions, which are integral to his story and his performance on the battlefield, are not sidelined. Yet, while no doubt realistic, the carnage is extreme and its portrayal will necessarily restrict this ultimately inspiring film's audience to those mature viewers willing to endure such sights. Graphic war violence with much gore, brief rear male nudity, a scene of marital sensuality, considerable crude language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Saturday, April 23, 6:09-8 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "I Am Number Four" (2011). Occasionally moving teen drama about a human-looking alien (Alex Pettyfer) who has come to Earth to prevent its colonization by the race of evil creatures (led by Kevin Durand) who took over his home planet, slaughtering the native population in the process. Perpetually on the run, he's protected by a guardian (Timothy Olyphant) from his own world, but his love for a fellow high school student (Dianna Agron) in his latest hometown proves a potentially dangerous distraction. With its main character's sense of isolation and desire to rebel against his seemingly overzealous caretaker paralleling more mundane adolescent angst, director D.J. Caruso's adaptation of a novel by Pittacus Lore may appeal to targeted younger viewers. But, while the innocent central relationship is perfectly acceptable for them, the same cannot be said of the hyperviolent, though generally bloodless, climax toward which the proceedings build. Much intense but largely gore-free combat, a few uses of profanity, a bit of vaguely scatological humor, at least a dozen instances of crude language, about half that many crass terms. 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.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.