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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of March 8. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Sunday, March 8, 3:15-5:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Rain People" (1969). Shirley Knight plays a pregnant woman fleeing husband and home to come to terms with her womanhood and incomplete sense of fulfillment. Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the movie's theme of flight from responsibility is treated with poetic intensity and subtle nuance. Some violence and sexual references. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Tuesday, March 10, 6:50-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Serpico" (1973). Screen version of the life and hard times of Frank Serpico (Al Pacino), the New York City patrolman whose disclosure of deep and insidious corruption within the police force went unheard until he told the press, after which a commission was set up to reform the department. Director Sidney Lumet's movie is gritty and uncompromising, convincingly realistic, yet engrossing in its human drama and tension. Its theme of corruption is unpleasantly graphic, and some will find its implications frightening. 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.
Wednesday, March 11, 6:15-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Little Princess" (1939). Delightfully sentimental children's story of a poor little rich girl (Shirley Temple) put to work as a servant in a ritzy boarding school when her father (Ian Hunter) is reported dead during the Boer War but she persists in searching for him among the convoys of wounded. Directed by Walter Lang, the story is not only a good heart-tugger but gives Shirley a chance to sing, dance and dream of being a queen. Charming family movie. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating was G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.
Friday, March 13, 8-10:35 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Top Gun" (1986). The bravado of a Navy hotshot jet pilot (Tom Cruise) wins the grudging admiration of his comrades, the affection of his female flight instructor (Kelly McGillis) and audience commendation for his patriotic hip-shooting heroism. Director Tony Scott's high-flying celebration of peacetime military training is mostly a hollow exercise in macho derring-do. Fairly restrained bedroom scene, brief nudity and incidental profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Saturday, March 14, 8-10:21 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" (2019). Two longtime antagonists, a retired American law-enforcement official (Dwayne Johnson) and a British military veteran (Jason Statham), are forced to work together after the latter's estranged sister (Vanessa Kirby), an intelligence operative, is wrongly accused of stealing a bioweapon with the potential to wipe out a whole swath of the world's population. The virus was developed by a secretive organization intent on killing off the weak and enhancing survivors -- as they have already done with the seemingly unstoppable cyber-soldier (Idris Elba) they dispatch to retrieve the toxin. Barbs are traded, vehicles are raced and both fists and bullets fly in director David Leitch's stand-alone addition to the popular action franchise. But the absence of gore, together with an implicitly pro-life message and themes of family unity and forgiveness, make this rowdy globetrotting chase acceptable for most grown viewers. Constant harsh but bloodless violence, including gunplay, explosions and torture, some sexual humor, a few uses of profanity, at least one rough term, much crude 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.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.