By John Mulderig Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of May 8. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, May 8, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. EDT (A&E) "The Green Mile" (1999). Prison drama set in 1935 Louisiana where a death-row head guard (Tom Hanks) comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man (Michael Clarke Duncan) whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. As adapted by director Frank Darabont from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment. Some violence including a horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Monday, May 9, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Gang's All Here" (1943). Wartime musical extravaganza in which a nightclub singer (Alice Faye) falls in love with a soldier (James Ellison) who happens to be engaged to someone else. Directed by Busby Berkeley, things work out happily between the big musical numbers, including Carmen Miranda's "The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat." Innocent but dated fun. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, May 10, 6-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Julius Caesar" (1953). Lavish Hollywood version of Shakespeare's play in which the noble Brutus (James Mason) joins the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar (Louis Calhern) in order to preserve the Republic, but two years later his forces are crushed by Mark Antony (Marlon Brando) at Philippi in 42 B.C. Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz has boiled down the play to its essentials and the fine cast does well with the Elizabethan language, but the drama is too static to be entirely satisfying. Period violence, including suicide. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, May 14, 1:30-4 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Knight and Day" (2010). This good-natured, though intermittently violent, action-and-romance combo sees an everyday woman (Cameron Diaz) unwittingly caught up in the conflict between a highly skilled but apparently rogue CIA agent (Tom Cruise) and his former colleagues (led by Viola Davis and Peter Sarsgaard) as they battle each other and an evil Spanish arms dealer (Jordi Molla) for possession of a recently invented (by young geek Paul Dano) energy source with revolutionary potential. Director and co-writer James Mangold's breezy diversion takes a largely bloodless toll on the extras while the adroitly portrayed central relationship progresses, for the most part, innocently enough. Frequent, though mostly nongraphic, action violence, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, some crude language, a few instances of sexual humor. 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.
Saturday, May 14, 8-10:30 p.m. EDT (HBO) "The Matrix Resurrections" (2021). As this third sci-fi sequel -- set 20 years after the last installment -- opens, the computer whiz protagonist of the series (Keanu Reeves), once a rebel against the mental enslavement by which a race of intelligent machines kept vast numbers of humans trapped in the simulated reality of the title so that, out in the concrete world, they could harvest the energy of their contentedly comatose prey, has been lulled back into submission and into a form of amnesia. Yet, despite the best efforts of his overly solicitous psychologist (Neil Patrick Harris) to convince him that his past exploits were hallucinations, his encounters with a former comrade (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a relative newcomer to the fight (Jessica Henwick) and his dimly remembered true love (Carrie-Anne Moss) ultimately combine to rouse him to renewed insurrection. Viewers unfamiliar with the elaborate backstory get little help in navigating the franchise's trademark combination of chases, dust-ups and labyrinthine philosophizing. While the mayhem of the struggle over which director and co-writer Lana Wachowski presides is predominantly bloodless, some is disturbing. Together with other elements, that makes this brainteaser best for grown-ups. Mostly stylized violence with some gore, partial nudity, a few uses of profanity, about a half-dozen milder oaths, a couple of rough terms, considerable crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association 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.