TV film fare -- week of Feb. 5
(OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Feb 5. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, Feb. 5, 9:30-11 p.m. EST (TCM) "The Hitch-Hiker" (1953). Hardboiled, fact-based crime drama in which two friends (Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy) on a fishing expedition pick up the traveler of the title (William Talman) only to discover that he is a murderous psychopath who not only takes them hostage but terrorizes them as well. Remarkable as the only film noir of the golden era directed by a woman, the multitalented Ida Lupino, the durable film finds Talman a long way from the TV courtroom in which his district attorney Hamilton Burger was, in later years, forever being bested by Raymond Burr's Perry Mason. Believers will appreciate the fact that his desperado's scoffing at faith and prayer, while incidental, are depicted as characteristic of his depravity. Grim but discreet violence. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Monday, Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m. EST (Showtime) "The Italian Job" (2003). High-octane caper flick about a gang of professional thieves (including Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton) who must track down and outfox one of their own who double-crosses them after they steal millions in Italian gold, and makes off to Los Angeles with the loot. A formulaic revamping of the Michael Caine-Noel Coward 1969 heist classic, director F. Gary Gray's film scores points with deftly orchestrated action sequences, but flounders with a predictable premise and threadbare characters. A benign portrayal of theft, an implied sexual encounter, an instance of rough language, some profanities, brief interludes of violence. The OSV News 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.
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. EST (TCM) "The Pirate" (1948). Stylish musical romance set in the 18th century on a Caribbean island where a traveling performer (Gene Kelly) woos a well-bred senorita (Judy Garland) by pretending to be the dashing pirate she secretly admires. Directed by Vicente Minnelli, the stage-bound story is an uneasy mix of comedy and sentimentality, though the sets, costumes and choreography are lovely to look at and the Cole Porter songs easy to take, especially the "Be a Clown" finale. Romantic situations. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 8-10 p.m. EST (Showtime) "Eve's Bayou" (1997). Poignant drama set in 1962 Louisiana where a precocious 10-year-old (Jurnee Smollett) observes how her family is affected by the womanizing of her prosperous doctor father (Samuel L. Jackson), which culminates in a violent tragedy. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons' beautifully lyric tale probes human failings, though the results are marred by the action's melodramatic treatment. An adultery theme, a fleeting sexual encounter, brief violence, intermittent rough language and profanity. The OSV News 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.
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 10:03 p.m.-12:01 a.m. EST (Lifetime) "27 Dresses" (2008). Glossy but formulaic romantic comedy about a perennial bridesmaid (the engaging Katherine Heigl) and the wedding reporter (James Marsden) who pursues her incognito, while she silently pines for her boss (Edward Burns), who, in turn, has fallen for her glamorous but superficial kid sister (Malin Akerman). Anne Fletcher's smooth direction, Heigl's self-deprecating charm and the rest of the personable cast compensate somewhat for the predictable script with results never less than pleasant, and there's a satisfying and morally sound plot resolution. Some crude language, crass expressions, a superfluous bathroom scene, an implied nonmarital sexual encounter, mild sexual banter and innuendo. The OSV News 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, Feb. 11, 5:58-8 p.m. EST (Cinemax) "Hunter Killer" (2018). Far-fetched but reasonably entertaining military potboiler puts scowling macho man Gerard Butler at the helm of a U.S. submarine during a potentially war-triggering crisis in relations with Russia. To avert a nuclear holocaust, he must not only do some fancy maneuvering but gain the cooperation of a Russian counterpart (Michael Nyqvist), despite the numerous objections to this apparently collaborationist plan by his conventionally minded executive officer (Carter MacIntyre). Back on land, the skipper gets support from a level-headed admiral (Common) and an equally sensible presidential security adviser (Linda Cardellini) who together also dispatch a team of Navy SEALs (led by Toby Stephens) to the Kola Peninsula to see what’s going on at Russia’s naval headquarters. Director Donovan Marsh’s screen version of George Wallace and Don Keith's 2012 novel "Firing Point," which also features Gary Oldman chewing the scenery as the fuming, trigger-happy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is crowded, somewhat laborious and hard to swallow. But, while it includes too much bloodletting and sailor slang for youngsters, the film ultimately promotes the need to take chances for peace. Much violence with considerable gore, several uses of profanity, a few rough terms, frequent crude and crass language, a couple of vulgar sexual references. The OSV News 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. 11, 8-10:32 p.m. EST (A&E) "Deepwater Horizon" (2016). Forceful but grim dramatization of events surrounding the 2010 disaster that destroyed the titular drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Drawing on a New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul, screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand fix their focus on a quartet of principals: the vessel's chief electronics technician (Mark Wahlberg), his worried wife back on shore (Kate Hudson), the craft's respected crew commander (Kurt Russell) and the young officer (Gina Rodriguez) responsible for keeping the vast, free-floating structure in position. The tense opening scenes of director Peter Berg's film find a visiting corporate executive (John Malkovich) pushing back against the safety concerns expressed by both Russell and Wahlberg's characters, only to find himself caught up in one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history. Following the "blowout," the race for survival against shooting flames, sudden explosions and deadly flying debris is fueled by self-sacrificing heroism and courage. It's an admirable and well-crafted spectacle for grownups -- with the background assets of a solid, positively portrayed marriage and some incidental religious elements. Still, it's not an easy movie to watch. Pervasive, sometimes gory, disaster violence, a scene of nongraphic marital lovemaking, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, frequent crude and crass language. The OSV News 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, Feb. 11, 8-11:05 p.m. EST (HBO) "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014). This intriguing sci-fi action epic, set against the background of a devastating worldwide invasion by murderous aliens, finds a combat-averse Army officer (Tom Cruise) paying for his confrontation with a powerful superior (Brendan Gleeson) by being summarily reduced to the ranks and placed in the front line of a D-Day-like attack designed to liberate continental Europe from its extraterrestrial occupiers. Though the vast operation quickly becomes a rout, the unwilling warrior's seemingly fatal encounter with the enemy results, not in death, but in his being caught up in a time warp within which he's forced to live out the day preceding the doomed assault over and over again. He eventually makes contact with a skilled Special Forces operative (Emily Blunt) whose earlier experience of the same phenomenon enabled her to achieve a high-profile but temporary victory over the intruders, and together they try to use the anomaly to reverse humanity's fading fortunes. Despite repeated scenes of battlefield chaos, director Doug Liman's satisfying adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's teen-targeted novel "All You Need Is Kill" mostly shields viewers from gore, while the leads are too distracted by their military mission to express their mutual attraction in any but the most restrained of ways. Only some salty barracks talk bars a youthful audience. Pervasive action violence with minimal blood, a couple of uses of profanity, about a half-dozen crude and twice as many crass terms, a bit of sexual humor. The OSV News 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.- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News.