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TV film fare -- week of Sept. 22, 2019


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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Sept. 22. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.

Sunday, Sept. 22, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "State of the Union" (1948). Campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, a self-made millionaire (Spencer Tracy) fights for his political principles with his estranged wife (Katherine Hepburn), his campaign adviser (Van Johnson) and his chief backer (Angela Lansbury). Directed by Frank Capra, the political and domestic battlefields are rendered with wit, intelligence and plenty of good humor. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Monday, Sept. 23, 6-9 p.m. EDT (AMC) "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 of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 9-11 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Dead Presidents" (1995). Crime melodrama in which a black youth (Larenz Tate) returns to the mean streets of the Bronx after serving four years in Vietnam, then turns to crime to support his family. Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, the story of a disillusioned veteran becoming an armed robber is not new, but the African-American context gives it a fresh vitality. Some intense violence, sexual situations and 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 of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Friday, Sept. 27, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Good News" (1947). Nostalgic musical set in 1927 with a giddy plot about the college football star (Peter Lawford) chasing a snooty new girl on campus (Patricia Marshall) while getting some needed tutoring from a bookish student (June Allyson) who by the finale has won his heart. Directed by Charles Walters, the cheerful proceedings feature the usual romantic complications, but the real fun is in the period dance numbers and such songs as "The Varsity Drag" and "Pass the Peace Pipe." Innocent fun from another age. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Saturday, Sept. 28, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Isn't It Romantic" (2019). In this clever send-up of romantic comedies, an architect (Rebel Wilson) who's a cynical critic of the genre gets a blow to the head and wakes up in a transformed version of her world, one filled with all the cliches of the films she disdains. One of her potential clients (Liam Hemsworth), a dashing billionaire who had previously ignored her now courts her assiduously, but she still feels drawn to her co-worker and best friend (Adam Devine), a down-to-earth guy who has long been her secret admirer. Though the laughs are plentiful, and the essential message about the need to appreciate yourself before you can be open to receiving love is valid enough, other material makes director Todd Strauss-Schulson's upbeat satire strictly grown-up fare. Mature subject matter and humor, including numerous references to homosexuality and nonmarital sex, brief medical gore, a same-sex kiss, an irreverent joke, a few uses of profanity and a mild oath, at least one instance of rough language, occasional crude and crass talk, an obscene gesture. 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. 28, 9:55 p.m.-midnight EDT (Cinemax) "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004). Visually spectacular doomsday drama about a scientist (Dennis Quaid) trying to reunite with his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) during a worldwide environmental catastrophe triggered by global warning which, in addition to unleashing monstrous hurricanes, killer tornadoes and biblical-proportion floods, threatens to rapidly plunge earth into a new ice age. The film is brimming with eye-popping special-effects sequences; director Roland Emmerich plays fast and loose with scientific facts to craft a high-concept roller-coaster ride full of escapist thrills but without much of a story beyond its nature-gone-mad premise. Intense scenes of natural disasters. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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