TV film fare -- week of June 18, 2023
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 18. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, June 18, 3-5:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962). When a Southern lawyer (Gregory Peck) undertakes the defense of a black man (Brock Peters) accused of rape, he has to help his young children cope with the town's racial hostilities and their own fears of a mentally disabled neighbor (Robert Duvall). In this fine adaptation of the Harper Lee novel, director Robert Mulligan evokes a nostalgic picture of small-town life as seen mostly through the eyes of a youngster whose father is a reassuring figure of integrity in the confusing world of adults. Excellent for discussions of racial prejudice. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, June 20, 8-9:45 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Sullivan's Travels" (1942). Wacky comedy about a lightweight Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) who wants to make a serious movie on the struggles of poor people; he sets out to research the subject dressed in rags and winds up on a chain gang where he learns the universal value of laughter. While satirically whaling the tar out of Hollywood and its pretensions, writer-director Preston Sturges uses the comic misadventures of the director's sojourn into the real world to demonstrate the refreshing attributes of a good laugh. Some menace and minor romantic complications. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Friday, June 23, 6-8:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Ghostbusters" (1984). Three parapsychologists (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis), bounced from Columbia University because of the dubious nature of their research, go into private practice as ghost exterminators and find that all hell is about to break loose, quite literally. There are some very funny moments, largely because of Murray, but director Ivan Reitman lets the spectacular special effects begin to dominate midway and the humor fades. Some adult ribald jokes. The OSV News 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.
Saturday, June 24, 5:30-8 p.m. EDT (HBO) "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 OSV News 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.
Saturday, June 24, 8-9:54 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Gone Baby Gone" (2007). Thought-provoking mystery about a private investigator (a superlative Casey Affleck) and his girlfriend-partner (Michelle Monaghan) hired to investigate the disappearance of the 4-year-old daughter of a drug addict (Amy Ryan) in the Boston area, with the reluctant cooperation of the police (Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris). Ben Affleck makes an auspicious directorial debut in this adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel and, though the seedy environment, pervasive expletives and sporadic but graphic violence will not be to everyone's taste, mature viewers will find those elements and some morally troublesome actions handled with gravity and intelligence. Pervasive rough language, profanity, violence with blood, corpses, an impulsive vigilante-style killing, drug use, implied nonmarital relationships, child abuse references. The OSV News 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.- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter @JohnMulderig1.