TV film fare -- week of Nov. 5, 2023
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Nov. 5. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 8-10 a.m. EST (TCM) "Things to Come" (1936). British sci-fi classic opens on Christmas Eve 1940 as war erupts, then drags on for 30 years with people living in ruins under a brutal warlord (Ralph Richardson) until a group of scientists establish a new world order that by 2036 has become a technological utopia, though condemned as inhuman by a rebel artist (Cedric Hardwicke) who seeks to stop a scientist (Raymond Massey) from shooting a rocket to the moon. Directed by William Cameron Menzies and scripted by H.G. Wells, the melodramatic action and period dialogue may creak a bit, but they don't detract from the picture's eerily prophetic story, striking photography, epic-scale set design and clever montage work. Stylized violence, menacing situations, veiled sexual innuendo. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 6-9 pm. EST (AMC) "Skyfall" (2012). A rousing return for British Agent 007 and a much-needed injection of vitality into the 50-year-old James Bond film franchise, this 23rd outing for the iconic spy is directed by Sam Mendes. Bond (Daniel Craig) and a field operative (Naomie Harris) are on the trail of a villain (Javier Bardem) who has stolen a computer disc containing the identities of every secret agent in the world. The sleazy megalomaniac uses the data to terrorize London and exact revenge on veteran counter-intelligence chief M (Judi Dench), who is also contending with the threat posed by a government rival (Ralph Fiennes) who seeks her job. Though the violence quotient is undeniably high, Mendes' film is thoughtful and character-driven, raising issues of loss, responsibility, patriotism and loyalty amid the battle of good vs. evil. Scenes of intense action violence and torture, implied nonmarital sexual activity, mild sensuality and innuendo, some profane and rough 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.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 8-10 p.m. EST (ABC) "Coco" (2017). A young Mexican lad's (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) quest to follow in the footsteps of his hometown's most famous son (voice of Benjamin Bratt) by becoming a world-renowned musician takes a supernatural turn on the Day of the Dead when he is mysteriously transported to the afterlife as depicted in the folklore associated with the pre-Columbian aspects of that celebration. There a good-hearted but slippery character (voice of Gael Garcia Bernal) becomes his guide and agrees to help him obtain the blessing of a deceased relative he will need if he is to return to the land of the living. While free of any age-inappropriate content and strong on the importance of family solidarity, co-director Adrian Molina's script, penned with Matthew Aldrich, is stuffed full of notions about the fate of the departed that clash with revealed truth and so are unsuitable for impressionable viewers. Thus principal director Lee Unkrich's visually rich animated fantasy cannot be recommended for the youthful audience at which it seems primarily aimed, though teens and grownups can safely appreciate it. Non-scriptural religious ideas. 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.
Wednesday, Nov. 8, 5:05-7 p.m. EST (Showtime) "The Yards" (2000). Engrossing crime drama set amid corruption in the New York City subway construction industry in which a newly released ex-con (Mark Wahlberg) hides from a wrongful murder charge that would implicate a volatile friend (Joaquin Phoenix) and family member (James Caan). Director James Gray orchestrates a dark tale of moral dilemmas enhanced by muted performances but undermined by some glaring script implausibilities. Brief violence, much rough language, a sexual situation with fleeting nudity, occasional 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.
Thursday, Nov. 9, 8-10 p.m. EST (TCM) "Hairspray" (1988). Underground writer-director John Waters makes a successful transition into the mainstream with this campy musical comedy tracing the rise of a chubby teenager (Ricki Lake) as the unexpected star of a 1962 Baltimore TV dance show. The storyline includes teen rivalry, outrageous stage parents and a nice subplot about integration, all of which is enlivened by toe-tapping period music and rousing dance numbers. Some off-color remarks. 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.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 8-9:57 p.m. EST (Cinemax) "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (2015). Droll humor punctuates this breezy espionage yarn, set at the height of the Cold War in 1963. Forced to work together to retrieve revolutionary nuclear know-how that may have fallen into the hands of the shady heir (Luca Calvani) to a fascism-tainted Italian industrial fortune and his scheming but elegant wife (Elizabeth Debicki), an art thief-turned-CIA operative (Henry Cavill) and a rage-prone KGB agent (Armie Hammer) team with the daughter (Alicia Vikander) of the missing scientist who developed the breakthrough to track the couple. In adapting the mid-1960s television series, director and co-writer Guy Ritchie diverts his audience with James Bond-style glamor while keeping the violence vague. But the substantial, if slightly strange, relationship that increasingly tethers Hammer and Vikander is offset by Cavill's carefree philandering. And the script's anti-war, pro-friendship sentiments rest, to some extent, on an implied moral equivalence between the forces of East and West wholly at variance with history. Much violence, including torture, but with little gore, brief gruesome images, off-screen casual encounters, glimpses of partial nudity, some sexual banter, a couple of crude terms. 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. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @JohnMulderig1.