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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 23. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, June 23, 9:45-11:45 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Girl Crazy" (1943). Giddy musical in which a New York publisher sends his playboy son (Mickey Rooney) to a rugged, all-male college in the backlands of the Southwest where he falls for the dean's granddaughter (Judy Garland) and saves the school from financial ruin by making it co-educational. Directed by Norman Taurog, the thin story line features buoyant lead performances, comic routines by Rags Ragland and Nancy Walker and, best of all, upbeat songs by George and Ira Gershwin, ending with Busby Berkeley's staging of the big production number, "I Got Rhythm." The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Tuesday, June 25, 5-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Dances With Wolves" (1990). Set in the Dakota Territory of the 1860s, the story centers on a soldier (Kevin Costner) at a deserted frontier fort who embarks on a voyage of self-discovery when he is befriended by a Sioux tribe and falls in love with a white woman (Mary McDonnell) adopted by them. Also directed by Costner, the film's sensitive treatment of Native Americans, exceptional cinematography and fine performances compensate for its excessive three-hour-plus length. Much gory battlefield violence, minimal, restrained lovemaking and a flash of rear nudity. 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, July 27, 5:10-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "The Aviator" (2004). Absorbing and entertaining epic detailing the dramatic glory days of legendary billionaire Howard Hughes, in his myriad roles as aviation innovator and visionary, daredevil pilot, Hollywood producer and airline tycoon, while charting his well-publicized relationships with Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner, and ultimately his appearance before the Senate on charges of defrauding the public through wartime airplane contracts. This film is a career highpoint for both director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, who is onscreen almost every minute and gives a highly charismatic performance; and the supporting cast is mostly first-rate. A smattering of profanity and rough language, implied sexual situations, a violent plane crash and brief rear nudity. 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.
Saturday, June 29, 2-4 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Gentleman Jim" (1942). Period success story unfolds as James Corbett (Flynn) rises from lowly San Francisco bank clerk to cocky prizefighter, ultimately winning the heavyweight championship in 1892 by knocking out John L. Sullivan (Ward Bond). Director Raoul Walsh alternates scenes of Jim's prowess in the ring with his relations, often comic, with his working-class Irish-American family and his on-again, off-again romance with a society debutante (Alexis Smith). Stylized boxing sequences and brawls. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, June 29, 6-9 p.m. EDT (AMC) "American Sniper" (2015). Sober war drama based on Chris Kyle's 2012 memoir (written with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice) about his service as a Navy SEAL during the conflict in Iraq. As Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, gains a reputation as an expert sharpshooter, he wins the respect of his comrades, but also becomes a prime enemy target with a price on his head. The Texas native's insistence on returning to combat through four grueling tours of duty, moreover, predictably exacts a psychological toll and strains his relationship with his wife (Sienna Miller). Working from a script by Jason Hall, director Clint Eastwood successfully conveys the heroic personal commitment that motivated Kyle to protect his fellow fighters. Yet the film avoids any big-picture moral assessment of the specific struggle in which he participated or of armed clashes in general. Stylized violence with some gore, a scene of torture, a premarital situation, some sexual humor and references, several uses of profanity, constant rough and crude language. 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.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.