Listen to this article now
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of May 22. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, May 22, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Mildred Pierce" (1945). Misplaced ambition fuels James M. Cain's dark story of a driven woman (Joan Crawford) who shucks a useless husband (Jack Carson) in rising from waitress to head a restaurant chain, then falls for a scoundrel (Zachary Scott) who turns his attentions to her adolescent daughter (Ann Blyth). Directed by Michael Curtiz, it's an acerbic tale of how obsession with material success ultimately destroys its misguided heroine, not the least of whose mistakes is raising her only child to be a spoiled brat. Mature theme and treatment. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, May 24, 7-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Minari" (2020). Set in the 1980s, and loosely based on the childhood experiences of writer-director Lee Isaac Chung, this gentle mix of drama and comedy explores the immigrant experience from a Korean-American perspective while also charting the struggles and triumphs of family life. An aspiring produce farmer (Steven Yeun), his wife (Yeri Han) and their two children (Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho) move from California to rural Arkansas where the tedious nature of the couple's work in a chicken hatchery, together with the outlay of money Dad dedicates to his dream, inspires constant bickering. Another source of friction is introduced when the children's maternal grandmother (Yuh-jung Youn) relocates from Korea and joins the household to help look after them. The film's strength lies in its understated presentation of universal themes concerning marriage, parenting and familial bonds in general. Probably acceptable for mature adolescents. Fleeting crude and crass language, a suicide reference. The Catholic News Service 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.
Wednesday, May 25, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Seven Days in May" (1964). When a top American general (Burt Lancaster) plots to take over the government to stop the President (Fredric March) from signing a disarmament agreement with the Russians, a loyal Army colonel (Kirk Douglas) tries to avert the coup. Director John Frankenheimer's suspense thriller is thoroughly involving, credibly done and provides some food for thought. Much tension and some menace. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, May 28, 2-5 p.m. EDT (A&E) "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994). Gritty prison drama begins in 1946 when a quiet banker (Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted of murder, then spends the next two decades inside a brutal and corruptly run penitentiary where he has positive effects on the hapless inmates, especially another lifer (Morgan Freeman), before his unexpected departure. Director Frank Darabont does not spare viewers the dehumanizing ugliness of life behind bars in a story notable for its portrayal of a man who inspired hope in others while coping with the injustice done to him. Some graphic prison violence and suicides, crude sexual innuendo, brief nudity and much rough language. The Catholic News Service 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.
Saturday, May 28, 8-9:50 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Old" (2021). In between an intriguing set-up and a reasonably credible conclusion, this thriller loses its way, becoming by turns tedious and chaotic. A couple (Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps) on the verge of divorcing and their young children (Nolan River and Alexa Swinton) join other guests from the resort hotel at which they're vacationing for a daylong excursion to a secluded beach. There, they discover that time is passing at an unnaturally rapid rate and that escape from the spot appears to be impossible. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's adaptation of Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters' 2010 graphic novel "Sandcastle," which also features Rufus Sewell as a troubled physician as well as Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie as the kids in sudden adolescence, makes a few points about vanity and the perspective conferred by age. But audience interest evaporates as swiftly as the accelerated chronology advances. Some bloody violence, medical gore, brief rear nudity, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, a couple of profanities, several milder oaths, at least one use each of rough and crass language. The Catholic News Service 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.
- - -
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.