Home Viewing Roundup for Feb. 5, 2024

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 Feb. 18, 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.

Streaming Now:

"Beloved" (1998; Hulu)

Affecting tale of a Kentucky slave (Oprah Winfrey) whose horrific escape to freedom in Ohio one fateful night in 1855 comes back to haunt her 18 years later when she is visited by an old friend (Danny Glover) and, shortly afterward, a disturbed young woman (Thandie Newton) shows up bringing further shocking revelations. Directed by Jonathan Demme from Toni Morrison's novel, the picture's unflinching look at slavery's legacy of shame and violence is powerfully acted, emotionally shattering and suffused with a sense of mystery that helps to sustain the saga. Some intensely violent images, brief sexual encounters, frontal nudity and intermittent profanity. 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.

"Fiddler on the Roof" (1971; Amazon Prime)

Fine screen adaptation of Joseph Stein's Broadway musical about Tevye (Topol), a milk seller in a Czarist Russian village whose life of Orthodox Judaism is filled with joy and sadness but always buoyed by the human spirit and eternal hope. Struggling in a time of cultural and political flux to find suitable husbands for his three dowryless daughters, Tevye's faith and hope and sheer love of life and humankind keep him and the family going. Norman Jewison's direction does full justice to a rich and appealing musical that the whole family can enjoy. The OSV News classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating is G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.

"Ready Player One" (2018; Netflix)

Director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline (who co-wrote the screenplay with Zak Penn) offers a dizzying immersion into virtual reality via an alternative universe called the Oasis. In the dystopian world of the year 2045, everyone straps on a pair of goggles and uses this device to escape their miserable existence and embrace narcissism. Before he died, its creator, an eccentric scientist (Mark Rylance), designed a contest for his gamers the winner of which would not only inherit his fortune but gain control of the Oasis. Motivated by greed, a wicked CEO (Ben Mendelsohn) harnesses the resources of his corporation to solve this puzzle. Out to thwart the powerful villain's scheme are an intrepid teenager (Tye Sheridan), the lad's love interest (Olivia Cooke) and a gaggle of his friends. Spielberg's sci-fi fantasy initially offers relatively wholesome escapist fun. But it becomes suitable for mature viewers only once key scenes from the inventor's favorite movie, 1980's "The Shining," are re-created. Intense violence with gore, much stylized mayhem, brief sensuality and partial nudity, one use of profanity, occasional crude language. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 9-11 p.m. EST (PBS) "Fly with Me." This episode of the series "American Experience" profiles pioneering women flight attendants (TV-14 -- parents strongly cautioned).

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 6:15-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "Winged Migration" (2003). Spectacular documentary that follows the annual journey of various birds as they often travel more than 10,000 miles between the tropics and the Arctic to ensure their survival. With minimal dialogue and exhilarating cinematography, director and narrator Jacques Perrin's quietly thrilling film provides a heady vicarious experience as it captures the migratory patterns of birds, uplifting the spirit and eliciting awe at God's perfection in creating such wondrous creatures. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating was G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8-9 p.m. EST (EWTN) "EWTN Live." On this edition of the weekly program, series host Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa welcomes Sinologist and historian Anthony E. Clark (TV-G -- general audience).

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8-9 p.m. EST (PBS) "Patrick and the Whale." Wildlife photographer Patrick Dykstra explores the hidden world of sperm whales. A "Nature" presentation (TV-PG -- parental guidance suggested).

Saturday, Feb. 24, 8-9:57 p.m. EST (HBO) "Priscilla" (2023). Generally low-key in tone but peculiar in content, writer-director Sofia Coppola's screen version of Priscilla Presley's 1985 memoir "Elvis and Me" charts the unusual romance between the stepdaughter (Cailee Spaeny) of a U.S. Air Force officer (Ari Cohen) and the King of Rock and Roll (Jacob Elordi). The pair first meet in 1959 Germany when she is 14 and he 24, then keep up a long-distance relationship until she relocates to Memphis, Tennessee under his auspices. While the quasi-cohabitation that follows her return to the States remains chaste until their eventual marriage, their restraint is shown to be a source of discontent to her and may have been influenced -- and, to that extent, tainted -- by his desire to control his youthful partner. Such difficult-to-assess attitudes typify the ethical fault line on which the plot of this eccentric, sometimes uncomfortable but not, ultimately, unappealing tale uneasily sits. Mature themes, including addiction and borderline physical abuse, narcotics use, scenes of premarital sensuality, sexual references, frequent profanities, a few milder oaths, a couple of rough terms, at least one crass expression. 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.- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @JohnMulderig1.