TV film fare -- week of June 19, 2022
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 19. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Tuesday, June 21, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Ivanhoe" (1952). The age of chivalry comes to life in this version of Sir Walter Scott's novel about 12th-century England where Saxon knight Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor) battles a host of Norman nobles, wins the hand of his lady fair (Joan Fontaine) and rescues a Jewish merchant (Felix Aymler) and his comely daughter (Elizabeth Taylor). Director Richard Thorpe's good cast does well in a story chock-full of romance, ideals, villainy and medieval derring-do, including tournaments, the storming of a castle and the ransom of good King Richard. Stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, June 22, 5:45-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "The Hunt for Red October" (1990). Cold War thriller based on Tom Clancy's novel tracks the near clash of U.S. and U.S.S.R. submarines in the Atlantic when a maverick Soviet sub captain (Sean Connery) plots to defect. Director John McTiernan captivates viewers with the suspenseful story, fine ensemble cast and masterful production design without resorting to gratuitous violence for thrills and chills. Some intense menace and climactic violence. 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.
Wednesday, June 22, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Back to the Future" (1985). Above-average entertainment about a teenager (Michael J. Fox) who is transported back through time and obliged to serve as matchmaker for his parents or face retroactive nonexistence. A major problem is that his mother-to-be finds him far more attractive than she does his father-to-be. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it is funny and clever with a bit of genuine sentiment, but unfortunately is marred by casual profanity, the depiction of violence as manly and, though there is no depiction of it, an implicit acceptance of sexual promiscuity as standard teenage behavior. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Friday, June 24, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Till the Clouds Roll By" (1946). Fans of big production numbers will revel in this lavish, music-rich biography of composer Jerome Kern (Robert Walker). Though only one of several who took turns at the helm, Richard Whorf is the credited director of a film that kicks off with the triumphant first night of "Show Boat" in 1927 -- and extensive excerpts from that landmark in Broadway history -- then has Kern, who died in 1945, aged 60, reflect on his friendship with a fictional mentor (Van Heflin) and the latter's daughter (Joan Wells as a girl, Lucille Bremer when grown) as well as on his romance with the English lass (Dorothy Patrick) he eventually married. Despite the title, the troubles through which the tunesmith passes are mild and the best that can be said of the tepid drama is that Bremer's character learns a lesson about selfishness. But the real point of the proceedings is that if Lena Horne singing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" or Judy Garland exhorting viewers to "Look for the Silver Lining" doesn't grab you, an unlikely yet oddly successful version of "Ol' Man River" by Ol' Blue Eyes just might. Mature themes. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, June 25, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (HBO) "The Holiday" (2006). Generally appealing romantic comedy about a wedding columnist (Kate Winslet) in the English countryside and a movie-trailer producer (Cameron Diaz) in Los Angeles whose failed romances find them swapping homes and continents over Christmas, leading to the former falling in love with a film composer (Jack Black) and the latter with the columnist's brother (Jude Law). Writer-director Nancy Meyers elicits heartfelt performances from all, and there's a strong affirmation of family and concern for the elderly, though some of today's permissive attitude, but not overt sexual content, is inherent in the script. Some rough and crude words, implied premarital relationships, light innuendo and banter, a chaste bedroom scene and mild domestic violence. 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.
Saturday, June 25, 9:23-11:13 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Voyagers" (2021). This tedious sci-fi parable about the positive and negative aspects of human nature pits an aggressive, fear-mongering lad (Fionn Whitehead) against a gentler peer (Tye Sheridan) for the leadership of their fellow crew members on board a spaceship staffed by teenagers and bound for a distant planet. The two also become rivals for the favor of a female comrade (Lily-Rose Depp). Writer-director Neil Burger's flat thriller, which also features Colin Farrell as the lone adult on the craft, fails to arouse interest in, or sympathy for, its colorless characters and will likely leave viewers feeling lost in space. Much violence with some gore, considerable sexual content, including an assault, briefly glimpsed but graphic nonmarital activity, an offscreen premarital encounter and artificial insemination. 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.