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TV film fare -- week of Jan. 21, 2018


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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Jan 21. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.

Sunday, Jan. 21, 4-6 p.m. EST (TCM) "King Solomon's Mines" (1950). Rousing good version of the H. Rider Haggard adventure yarn about an Englishwoman (Deborah Kerr) who hires a guide (Stewart Granger) to search for her lost brother (Richard Carlson) in the African jungle where they also find fabulous diamond mines. Directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton, the movie's picturesque sights and colorful action make this a first-rate family safari. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Monday, Jan. 22, 5:45-8 p.m. EST (Showtime) "The Interpreter" (2005). Glossy, reasonably suspenseful tale about a Secret Service agent (Sean Penn) who investigates the claim that an African-born interpreter at the United Nations (Nicole Kidman) has overheard a plot against an African dignitary accused of genocide, and though the agent begins to suspect the interpreter may in fact be part of the plot, he finds himself falling in love with her. Director Sydney Pollack's international political thriller is much too complex -- not to mention improbable -- for its own good, and even with intelligent performances and sharp U.N. location shooting, this is several notches below "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and other similarly themed films. Some profanity and crude language, several instances of brief but strong violence, thematic suicide material, a scantily clad lap dancer, a glimpse of massacred bodies. 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.

Thursday, Jan. 25, 8-10 p.m. EST (AMC) "Bruce Almighty" (2003). Be-careful-what-you-wish-for comedy about a frustrated TV news correspondent (Jim Carrey) whose life is changed when God (Morgan Freeman) entrusts him with divine power after the reporter angrily accuses the Almighty of being asleep at the wheel. Despite its lighthearted irreverence, director Tom Shadyac uses humor to explore such issues as free will, and offers a positive image of personal faith rare in Hollywood flicks. An instance of rough language, minimal profanities, some crass humor and an implied sexual encounter. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Friday, Jan. 26, 9:45-11:45 p.m. EST (TCM) "My Side of the Mountain" (1969). Toronto youth journeys into the Quebec wilderness to prove that he can take care of himself, adapts quite easily to life in the forest and is befriended by a migrant folk singer (Theodore Bikel) who eventually rescues him during a snowstorm. Produced by Robert B. Radnitz and directed by James B. Clarke, its intriguing story has substance instead of cliches, in addition to magnificent photography capturing the beauty of its natural setting. Intelligent family fare whose spirit of adventure and youthful independence can be enjoyed by all. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.

Saturday, Jan. 27, 9-11 a.m. EST (Showtime) "Rocky" (1976). Underdog Philadelphia club fighter Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has a shot at the heavyweight championship with the help of a tough old trainer (Burgess Meredith). Director John Avildsen concentrates on the gritty, back-street quality of life in the old neighborhood and the relationship that grows between Rocky and the introverted sister (Talia Shire) of his best friend (Burt Young). The bloody brutality of the prizefight game is abundantly evident. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (Four "Rocky" sequels follow ending 6:20 p.m. EST.)

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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