TV

TV film fare -- week of Sept. 9, 2018

byJohn Mulderig
8/27/2018

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Sept. 9. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.

Sunday, Sept. 9, 1:30-3:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Secret Garden" (1949). Durable version of the Frances Hodgson Burnett children's classic about an orphaned girl (Margaret O'Brien) who is given a home in the remote Yorkshire mansion of her sour uncle (Herbert Marshall) then discovers a hidden garden whose secret transforms her 10-year-old cousin (Dean Stockwell) and others. Directed by Fred M. Wilcox, the eerie mansion and past family tragedies are balanced by the girl's spunk and the healing powers of nature. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Monday, Sept. 10, 6-7:55 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004). Cleverly conceived and executed love story about an introverted loner (Jim Carrey) who has all his memories of his former girlfriend (Kate Winslet) erased from his brain after learning that she had recently undergone the same procedure, only to discover midway through the operation that he still loves her and ends up fighting to retain precious recollections of their relationship. Despite an intentionally convoluted script, director Michel Gondry crafts an ingenious and emotionally resonant film -- buttressed by a subdued, against-type performance by Carrey -- about regret and the value of memories in defining our personality. Implied sexual encounters, fleeting rear nudity, some drug content and recurring rough and crude sexual language, as well as profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Friday, Sept. 14, 5-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936). The life of Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell) is told in terms of the various performers he turned into headliners, including wives Anna Held (Luise Rainer) and Billie Burke (Myrna Loy). Directed by Robert Z. Leonard, the result is an eye-filling cornucopia of musical extravaganzas, stylish show girls and vintage acts, including Fanny Brice and Ray Bolger as themselves. Mild sexual innuendo and romantic complications. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 8-9:35 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Pitch Perfect 3" (2017). Discordant and exceedingly unfunny musical comedy, directed by Trish Sie. The members of an award-winning a capella singing group (Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and Anna Camp, among others) have graduated from college and entered the real world. Job prospects are slim, and they long to reunite and sing again. A USO tour offers that chance, and a silly romp through military bases in four countries ensues. The tour is also a competition to become the opening act for hip-hop artist DJ Khaled (playing himself), the contest filmed as a documentary by a duo who judged the ensemble in a previous tournament (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins). Although the film reunites the cast of the 2012 kickoff and 2015 sequel, and features the expected toe-tapping tunes and lowbrow humor, it lacks originality and runs out of steam well before the end credits roll. An out-of-wedlock pregnancy, vulgar humor, sexual banter, a couple of crude terms. The Catholic News Service 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.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 8-11 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Gods of Egypt" (2016). This unintentionally funny swords-and-sandals epic about warring deities in ancient Egypt, directed with deadly seriousness by Alex Proyas, unfolds at a furious pace -- a fantasy adventure turned frenetic video game. A wicked god (Gerard Butler) usurps the throne of his brother (Bryan Brown), slaying him in the process, and gouges out the eyes of his nephew (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), thereby removing his divine powers. But a teenage mortal (Brenton Thwaites) and his resourceful girlfriend (Courtney Eaton) scheme to retrieve the purloined peepers and restore the rightful heir. Viewers are unlikely to fall into the sin of idolatry as a result of this overblown nonsense which strays, on occasion, into outright campiness before fading quickly -- and mercifully -- from memory. Mythological hooey, cartoonish action violence, an adulterous relationship, at least one crude term. The Catholic News Service 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.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:55-11:25 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Date Night" (2010). This well-intentioned but ultimately wayward mix of the romantic comedy and action genres sees an ordinary suburban New Jersey couple (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) caught up in an underworld blackmail scheme after being mistaken for the cohabiting lowlifes (James Franco and Mila Kunis) who are out to sell the damning evidence. As written by Josh Klausner and directed by Shawn Levy, the pair's nocturnal Manhattan odyssey -- during which they flee a duo of thugs (Common and Jimmi Simpson) in the employ of a mob boss (Ray Liotta), and turn for help to a James Bond-like intelligence agent (Mark Wahlberg) -- though its travails aid them to rekindle their flickering love for each other, eventually leads to an underground sex club where they briefly find themselves forced to entertain a powerful patron with perverse tastes. Considerable, though bloodless, action violence, partial rear nudity, much sexual humor, including gags about casual sex, masturbation and aberrant practices, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, some crude and crass 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 of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.