TV film fare -- week of Oct. 29, 2023
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Oct. 29. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, Oct. 29, 8-10 p.m. EDT (ABC) "Hocus Pocus" (1993). Three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy), brought back to life in a Halloween prank by teenagers, scour a New England village for children whose life force they need to survive beyond the break of day. Directed by Kenny Ortega, the spooky comedy misfires by lavishing its attention on ghoulish special effects rather than the contrived predicaments of silly youngsters and dopey adults. Multiple vivid frights and some sexual innuendo. The OSV News 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.
Tuesday, Oct. 31, 5-6:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). In a horror sequel better than the 1931 original, the macabre Dr. Praetorious (Ernest Thesiger) forces the reluctant Frankenstein (Colin Clive) to create a mate (Elsa Lanchester) for the unhappy monster (Boris Karloff). Director James Whale treats the dire proceedings with dry wit (a prologue featuring Lanchester as author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) and dark humor (timorous Una O'Connor), though the picture is best remembered for the poignant sequence in which the hunted monster is befriended by a blind hermit (O.P. Heggie). Stylized violence and considerable menace. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7-10 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "The Godfather" (1972). Blockbuster screen version of the Mario Puzo novel about a Mafia family's rise, decline and resurgence in the murderous world of New York racketeering. Marlon Brando plays the aging but indomitable don with James Caan and Al Pacino as leading family members. Francis Ford Coppola's direction is a study in control and pacing with all the right touches in establishing the proper 1940s ambience. The murders are plentiful and gruesome, with little spared in detailing the intricacies of mob life. 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, Nov. 1, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (TCM) "Intruder in the Dust" (1949). Engrossing social drama from William Faulkner's novel about an aloof black farmer (Juano Hernandez) arrested for killing a white man, then saved from lynching by a Southern mob after an earnest youth (Claude Jarman Jr.) and an elderly lady (Elizabeth Patterson) prove his innocence. Director Clarence Brown uses the puzzling murder mystery to hold interest while exploring the motivations of the characters and the ethos of a small town (filmed in Oxford, Mississippi) where racial prejudice is an accepted way of life. Excellent study of racial attitudes and human rights, though some scenes may be too intense for small children. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 8-11 p.m. EDT (AMC) "The Fugitive" (1993). Having escaped while being transported to the state pen, a Chicago surgeon (Harrison Ford) convicted of murdering his wife must evade the ever-tightening net of a relentless U.S. marshal (Tommy Lee Jones) while desperately tracking down the one-armed man (Andreas Katsulas) who actually killed her. Director Andrew Davis knits together a strong narrative, crackerjack performances and taut editing for a fine thriller not dependent on constant, glorified mayhem for mounting suspense. Brief, sporadic violence. 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, Nov. 4, 6:20-8 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Legally Blonde" (2001). Determined to dazzle the boyfriend (Matthew Davis) who dumped her for a smarter girl, a flighty sorority coed (Reese Witherspoon) ends up attending Harvard Law School alongside him. As directed by Robert Luketic, Witherspoon makes the predictable, frivolous film stand out even when the lighthearted "dumb blonde" jokes fade. Some mild sexual references with a smattering of crass language and an instance of profanity. 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. (Followed by the sequel "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" (2003) 8-9:35 p.m. EDT)- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @JohnMulderig1.