Home Viewing Roundup for Nov. 20, 2023
NEW YORK (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 Dec. 3, 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 Boogeyman" (2023; Hulu)
Above-average chiller in which a recently widowed and still grieving father (Chris Messina) and his equally bereft daughters (Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair) become the victims of the unwelcome visitor of the title, with predictably unsettling results. Director Rob Savage's relatively subtle screen version of a 1973 short story by horror-meister Stephen King avoids all but minimal bloodletting and benefits from the credible human dynamics of the haunted clan. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods' script also takes it easy on off-color dialogue, making this tingler possibly acceptable for older teens. Stylized but briefly disturbing violence, gruesome sights, fleeting scatological humor, a couple of instances each of profanity, milder swearing and crass talk, a rough expression, several crude terms. 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.
"Elvis" (2022; Amazon Prime)
This highly entertaining, turbocharged biography of a music legend is a lavish, over-the-top production with all the creative hallmarks of its flamboyant director, Baz Luhrmann. In rural Mississippi, young Elvis Presley (Chaydon Jay) is transfixed by the musical vibe and suggestive dancing of his African-American neighbors. Years pass, and Presley (Austin Butler) embarks on a musical career, drawing on these styles. A carnival barker, "Colonel" Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), offers to be Elvis' manager with the blessing of his parents (Helen Thomson and Richard Roxburgh). Presley's wife, Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge), tries to protect him from the excesses of success. Implied adultery, drug use, suggestive dancing, several profane and crude oaths. 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.
"A Man Called Otto" (2022; Netflix)
Generally goodhearted but formulaic profile of a curmudgeonly bereaved widower (Tom Hanks) whose grim outlook on life begins to change after he's befriended, at first unwillingly, by a young couple (Mariana Treviño and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) who've just moved into his suburban housing development. As the sunny, spunky Latina wife works to dispel his isolation and gloom, he reconsiders his long-standing alienation from another married pair in the neighborhood (Juanita Jennings and Peter Lawson Jones) with whom he and his late spouse (Rachel Keller) were once best pals. Director Marc Forster's screen version of Swedish author Fredrik Backman's 2012 novel "A Man Called Ove," previously adapted, in its original language, by Hannes Holm, celebrates kindness, emotional openness and reconciliation. But its treatment of the protagonist's continuously futile attempts to kill himself is somewhat frivolous while homage is paid to the zeitgeist by the inclusion of a secondary character (Mack Bayda) who is a downtrodden transexual. Mature themes, including suicide and gender-switching, a couple of profanities, about a dozen milder oaths, occasional crude language, several crass expressions. 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.
Sunday, Dec. 3, 8-9:30 p.m. EST (PBS) "Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen." First episode of a three-part special in which host Lucy Worsley explores the life of mystery novelist Agatha Christie (1890-1976) and the experiences that shaped her fiction. This installment, titled "Cat Among the Pigeons," examines Christie's haunted early life. The program continues Sundays, 8-9 p.m. EST through Dec. 17 (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).
Sunday, Dec. 3, 8-10 p.m. EST (ABC) "The Santa Clause" (1994). Magically transformed into Santa Claus when he dons a Santa costume, a divorced dad (Tim Allen) takes a sleigh ride to the North Pole and back with his awed young son (Eric Lloyd), whose boisterous account of the experience moves his mom and stepdad (Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold) to seek to protect the child from a man they suspect has gone bonkers. Director John Pasquin's cutesy comic fantasy is blandly amusing without reaching any discernible level of wit or adding anything new to the enduring Santa Claus legend. A vituperative relationship between divorced parents and occasional toilet humor. 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.
Friday, Dec. 8, 10-10:45 a.m. EST (EWTN) "Homage to the Immaculate Conception." Pope Francis presides over the traditional homage to Mary Immaculate in Rome's Piazza di Spagna (TV-G -- general audience).
Saturday, Dec. 9, 3-5:15 p.m. EST (Showtime) "Almost Famous" (2000). Poignant drama set in the 1970s about an aspiring rock journalist (Patrick Fugit) who lands a freelance assignment at age 15 with Rolling Stone magazine to interview a hot new rock band (led by Billy Crudup) as they tour the United States. Director Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story skillfully reflects the era, yet remains on a largely superficial level. Implied sexual encounters, fleeting nudity, an extramarital affair, some drug use including an overdose and intermittent rough language. 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 X (formerly Twitter) @JohnMulderig1.