Home Viewing Roundup for Oct. 30, 2023
(OSV News) The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies available now for streaming or scheduled for broadcast on network or cable television during the week of Nov. 12, as well as notes on TV programming for the same week. Televised films may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations while the programs listed have not been reviewed and therefore are not necessarily recommended by OSV News.
"The Banshees of Inisherin" (2022; Hulu)
Bleak combination of black comedy and drama, set in 1923 on the imaginary Irish island of the title. When one local resident (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly ends his longstanding friendship with another (Colin Farrell), the rebuffed pal not only broods about the cause of the mysterious breach, he refuses to stop trying to restart the relationship, despite his ex-companion's threats of a drastic reaction. As the increasingly dire consequences of the rift between the pair play out against the distant background of the real-life Irish Civil War that was then raging, writer-director Martin McDonagh carries Celtic bloody-mindedness to an extreme some may not find credible. But he manages to maintain suspense via viewer dread. Though Catholicism -- personified by the priest (David Pearse) who makes periodic visits from the mainland -- pervades the atmosphere, it does nothing to soften the human relations of the community or to offer hope to any of the characters, the more prominent of whom include the abandoned amigo's goodhearted sister (Kerry Condon) and an intellectually challenged youth (Barry Keoghan) to whom he turns for companionship. An ambivalent portrayal of faith, numerous gruesomely gory images, full male nudity in a nonsexual context, mature references, including to incestuous sexual abuse, about a half-dozen instances each of profanity and milder swearing, pervasive rough language, some crude terms. The OSV News classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
"Dune" (2021; Netflix)
Gripping sci-fi epic, adapted by director and co-writer Denis Villeneuve from the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, centers on the heir (Timothée Chalamet) to a powerful dynasty of intergalactic warriors who may also be the messiah figure foretold in various prophecies. As his clan gets caught up in the battle for control of the titular world, a desert planet rich in a highly prized spice, he seeks to emulate his sage and enlightened father (Oscar Isaac). But his priestess mother (Rebecca Ferguson) steers him toward a more mysterious destiny. Combining elements of a costume drama, an against-the-odds quest and a parable about imperialism, the film features a complex religious mythos requiring careful reflection on the part of viewers. Parents will probably find it acceptable for those older teens capable of sorting through such material. Nonscriptural beliefs, much stylized but sometimes intense violence, cohabitation, partial nudity, brief sexual references, a few mild oaths, at least one crude term. The OSV News classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
"Padre Pio" (2022; Amazon Prime)
Less a profile of the titular saint (Shia LaBeouf) than a portrait of San Giovanni Rotondo, the Apulian town of his Capuchin monastery, in the period immediately after World War I. As the priest grapples with tormenting Satanic visions, Italian social tensions are personified in the wealthy, corrupt local landowner (Brando Pacitto) on the one side and a group of virtuous socialists, including a would-be revolutionary (Vincenzo Crea), on the other. Director and co-writer Abel Ferraras historical drama suggests points of coherence between Marxism and Christianity. But if that sounds like an uneasy mix, the attempted blending of the events unfolding inside the walls of the Franciscan refuge and those transpiring beyond it is equally unstable. Ferraras script, penned with Maurizio Braucci, includes graphic material that precludes endorsement for a wide range of age groups and suffers from ham-handedness and a tendency to caricature as when the local parish priest (Piergiuseppe Francione), a dedicated ally of the oppressors, blesses their guns before a showdown with the good guys. Brief but intense gory violence, demonic behavior, rear nudity, references to incest, several rough terms, a couple of crass expressions. The OSV News classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Sunday, Nov. 12, 9:05-11:15 a.m. EST (Showtime) "The Kite Runner" (2007). Superb adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's bestseller about an Afghan writer (Khalid Abdalla) now living in the U.S. who recalls how as a boy (played by Zekiria Ebrahimi) in his native homeland, he failed to help and subsequently betrayed his best friend (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), and now finds he has a chance to atone for that misdeed. Under Marc Forster's sensitive direction, the beautifully acted film provides a fascinating portrait of pre- and (temporarily) post-Taliban Afghanistan. Its fine human values, strong affirmation of friendship and family, and redemptive ending should move even the most stone-hearted. Possibly acceptable for older teens. In Dari and English. Partially subtitled. A single profanity and use of the F-word, a brief rape scene with no nudity involving a small boy and a bully, two discreetly worded sexual references, illegitimacy theme, a violent beating, a woman's stoning. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Sunday, Nov. 12, 1:30-2:45 p.m. EST (EWTN) "J.S. Bach's High Mass." Viennas Bach Consort Wien, under the direction of conductor Rubén Dubrovsky, performs Bachs Mass in B Minor. An "In Concert" presentation (TV-G -- general audience).
Sunday, Nov. 12, 8-10:30 p.m. EST (ABC) "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)" (1980). Gallant intergalactic rebels, led by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), together with lovable android companions, continue the fight against the evil Empire aided by Yoda, a remarkable creature who safeguards the Force and teaches moderation in all things. Some intense fight sequences punctuate director Irvin Kershner's sci-fi fantasy action. 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.
Monday, Nov. 13, 6-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "My Brilliant Career" (1979). Bright Australian dramatization of an autobiographical novel about a young farm girl (Judy Davis in a dazzling performance) raised in poverty but determined to make a life of her own as a writer at the turn of the century. Gillian Armstrong directs a work that besides being very funny, very human, very touching and always entertaining, is a tribute to the human spirit and the artistic imagination. Exhilarating family fare. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating was G -- general patronage. All ages admitted.
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 9-10 p.m. EST (PBS) "The Battle to Beat Malaria." A look at the quest to create a lifesaving malaria vaccine. Part of the series "Nova."
Friday, Nov. 17, 9-11 p.m. EST (PBS) "Making Shakespeare: The First Folio." This episode of the series "Great Performances" celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeares First Folio by recounting the story of its publication (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Saturday, Nov. 18, 5-6:30 p.m. EST (TCM) "D.O.A." (1950). Involving thriller in which a vacationing accountant (Edmond O'Brien) discovers he has been given a lethal dose of poison, then backtracks trying to find his killer before he dies. Directed by Rudolph Mate, the premise is simple but effective, with O'Brien's frantic performance as the doomed man adding a sense of urgency to the proceedings. Stylized violence and emotionally intense situations. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, Nov. 18, 5:30-8 p.m. EST (HBO) "The Flash" (2023). Time travel-themed adventure in which the super-speedy DC Comics figure of the title (Ezra Miller) journeys back into the days of his childhood to prevent the murder of his mother (Maribel Verdú), a crime for which his father (Ron Livingston) has since been unjustly convicted. Predictably, his attempt to undo the double tragedy creates innumerable fresh problems. So he teams with a carefree youthful version of himself (also Miller) from the timeline in which mom went unscathed and with a previously unknown variant (Michael Keaton) of his pal Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) to retrieve the situation. Action abounds in director Andy Muschietti's sprawling addition to Justice League lore. But the chronological convolutions, which eventually introduce Krypton-born Supergirl (Sasha Calle) into the mix, hover between interesting and confusing. As for Christina Hodson's script, although it puts forward a view of suffering that comports with Christian values, consistent vulgar vocabulary and an embarrassing lesson for the protagonist's adolescent alter ego about why the Flash sports a specially designed low-friction suit make the film a dicey proposition for the teens at whom, along with grown-ups, it's presumably aimed. Much stylized violence with occasional gore, rear male nudity in a nonsexual context, at least one use each of profanity and rough language, several milder oaths, frequent crass talk. 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.