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‘Tower Heist’ is loud, crude and slapdash

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Catholic News Service

Workers at a luxury Manhattan apartment building plan to rob a felonious financier in the action-comedy “Tower Heist” (Universal).

What could have been a crowd-pleasing caper is marred by a steady stream of crude language. Though it features some amusing moments courtesy of a talented ensemble, the topical romp is also short-circuited by manic energy that comes across as more slapdash than extemporaneously madcap.

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Harold & Kumar return in anti-Catholic, blasphemous movie

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Catholic News Service

Viewers of faith beware: In its largely vain pursuit of laughs, the comedy sequel “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” (Warner Bros.) stoops not only to sexual excess but to anti-Catholic animus and even blasphemy.

The result — as written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson — is a consistently vulgar, intermittently loathsome insult to the holiday.

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Worth renting? Check out these ratings of movies on video, DVDs

November 3rd, 2011 Posted in Movies

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Here’s a list of home video releases of theatrical movies that Catholic News Service has rated on the basis of moral suitability.

These classifications refer only to the theatrical version of the films below, and do not take into account home video releases’ extra content.

The first symbol after each title is the CNS classification. The second symbol is the rating of the Motion Picture Association of America.

CNS classifications: A-I — general patronage; A-II — adults and adolescents; A-III — adults; L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; O — morally offensive.

MPAA ratings: G — general audiences. All ages admitted; PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children; PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13; R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian; NC-17 — no one 17 and under admitted.

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Cinema savvy: What’s this movie rated?

November 3rd, 2011 Posted in Movies

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Here’s a list of recent movies rated by Catholic News service on the basis of moral suitability.

The first symbol after each title is the Catholic News Service classification. The second symbol is the rating of the Motion Picture Association of America.
CNS classifications: A-I — general patronage; A-II — adults and adolescents; A-III — adults; L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; O — morally offensive.

MPAA ratings: G — general audiences. All ages admitted; PG — parental guidance suggested.
Some material may not be suitable for children; PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13; R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian; NC-17 — no one 17 and under admitted.

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Cat in hat and sword movie is rated A-1 and No. 1 at box office

October 31st, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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An exceptionally intelligent and energetic script that includes a moral lesson propels “Puss in Boots” (DreamWorks), a 3-D animated children’s feature that provides the back story of the fairy tale character as portrayed in the “Shrek” films.

Without being condescending and without adding snarky in-jokes likely to fly over the little ones’ heads, director Chris Miller and screenwriter Tom Wheeler combine imagery from fairy tales with a plot that makes Puss (voice of Antonio Banderas) a mischievous bandit.

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‘Anonymous’ full of beds, Bard and balderdash

October 28th, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

To be or not to be Shakespeare? That is the question at the heart of “Anonymous” (Columbia), which takes up the old and debunked chestnut of a conspiracy theory that William Shakespeare was a fraud, never having written a play or sonnet in his entire life.

Director Roland Emmerich, having rampaged through New York City in 1998’s “Godzilla” and nearly destroyed the entire planet in “Independence Day” (1996) and “2012” (2009), sets out to humiliate the Bard of Avon. His style is part Oliver Stone, part Dan Brown in “Da Vinci Code” mode — playing very loose with the facts and changing history to suit the agenda of John Orloff’s script.

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‘In Time’ presents world where 25-year-olds have no future

October 28th, 2011 Posted in Movies, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

The dystopia sketched out in the sci-fi thriller “In Time” (Fox) is intriguing and, theoretically at least, more than a little chilling. In the near future, each member of society has been genetically engineered to stop aging when they reach 25, after which they’ll live for only one more year unless they can add more time to their biological clock.

With seconds, minutes, hours and days serving as currency, the wealthy can live forever while the less privileged must hustle to acquire time by any means necessary. An LED display on each person’s forearm reveals how much time remains before they expire. Units of chronology are up- and downloaded via scanners and can be transferred between individuals when they clasp arms in a particular way.

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‘The Rum Diary’ is alcohol-fueled coming of age story

October 28th, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags: ,

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Smoke, drink, be hung over, repeat. That’s the lusty refrain of “The Rum Diary” (FilmDistrict), although you would expect nothing else from a film based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s roman a clef about his early years in the business, living in Puerto Rico.

To its credit, the movie, written and directed by Bruce Robinson and starring Johnny Depp as Thompson’s alter ego Paul Kemp, doesn’t try to glamorize the abundant substance abuse. It’s set in 1960, when such behavior was considered part and parcel of newspapering, along with colorful swearing and perpetually rumpled clothes.

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Paranormal Activity 3

October 24th, 2011 Posted in Movies

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Catholic News Service

The “Paranormal Activity” franchise, which began in 2009, has provided a forceful illustration of the genuine jolts that can be exacted from an audience without resort to the bucket-of-blood approach that characterizes all too many contemporary horror films. In that respect, “Paranormal Activity 3” (Paramount) continues a commendable tradition.

Nevertheless, the satanic elements of the plot that eventually come to the fore will make even many adults want to steer clear of this latest installment, as too may the vulgar language indulged in by the startled.

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The Three Musketeers

October 24th, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags:

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Catholic imagery abounds in “The Three Musketeers” (Summit), the latest remake of Alexandre Dumas’ durable costume epic of 17th-century swordsmanship, French patriotism and political treachery.

A quick inventory: Aramis (Luke Evans), a former priest, blesses himself and carries a rosary. D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) has a climactic swordfight with the Englishman Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) on the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris — a sequence so overblown, one half-expects Quasimodo to pop out of his bell tower.

As always, there’s also the problematic Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), who was, of course, the real-life prime minister to King Louis XIII and a practitioner of political intrigue with England and other powers.

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