New releases include no child-friendly films
NEW YORK -- The following are capsule summaries of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
'The Bourne Legacy'
Mediocre extension of the popular action franchise -- based on a series of novels by Robert Ludlum -- that began with 2002's "The Bourne Identity." After the (now-absent) titular character's public exposure of a top-secret program that biologically altered government spies to enhance their skills, the intelligence establishment (led by Edward Norton) decides to terminate a similar Defense Department project -- and kill everyone involved. One subject (Jeremy Renner) manages to escape assassination, and teams with another of the authorities' targets, the researcher (Rachel Weisz) who treated him as he was being endowed with his heightened powers. The duo goes on the lam and struggles to evade their pursuers' global reach.
Standard shootouts, fatal vehicular accidents and at least one close-up scene of medical unpleasantness mark director and co-writer Tony Gilroy's convoluted cat-and-mouse game as off-limits for youngsters. Most adults, though, will probably take these elements -- along with the script's occasional lapses into foul language -- in stride. Considerable, at times harsh, violence with some gore, about a half-dozen uses each of profanity and crude language, a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is adults.
A potentially salient critique of the nation's political process gets buried under a landslide of vulgarity and sex jokes in this comedy from director Jay Roach. With the career of a longtime North Carolina congressman (Will Ferrell) endangered after he misdirects an obscene phone call intended for his mistress, the two wealthy brothers who were formerly his most powerful supporters (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) scheme to replace him. They back the bumbling director of a local tourist center (Zach Galifianakis) in a race that quickly descends into farce. Though it includes a few relatively serious passages of commentary on issues such as campaign finance reform, Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell's screenplay is primarily devoted to sophomoric humor and repellant shock gags. And some funny swipes at how politicians try to use religion to win votes are mingled with material genuinely odious to viewers of faith.
An instance of blasphemy, some mild violence, an adultery theme, obscured frontal male and partial upper female nudity, a few uses of profanity, much sexual and occasional irreverent humor, pervasive rough and crude language, an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is morally offensive.
Flawed, but fundamentally moral, mix of comedy and drama in which Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a long-married couple who have grown physically and emotionally distant. At her insistence, they set off from their home in suburban Omaha, Neb., to Maine for a week of intensive therapy with a marriage counselor and self-help author (Steve Carell). Even discussing their intimate problems, much less solving them, proves a challenge for the buttoned-up duo. A resounding pro-marriage message undergirds director David Frankel's film, which sees its leads in top form. Yet the proportion of Vanessa Taylor's script devoted to talk about, or activity in, the marital bedroom narrows the appropriate audience for this keenly observed study. Only mature moviegoers well formed in faith and morals will be up to the task of gleaning its virtues from its failings
Considerable sexual content, including semigraphic scenes of marital lovemaking and masturbation; pervasive references to sexuality; a benign view of aberrant sex acts; about a half-dozen uses of profanity; and at least one crude and a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling.
'Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D'
Amiable collection of stunts, performed with dirt bikes, monster trucks and even tricked-up Big Wheels, adapted for the big screen from the popular MTV series, with a crew headed by Travis Pastrana. The flying conveyances are balletic in slow motion, and their tricks are possibly not quite as dangerous as co-directors Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle would like you to believe.
Fleeting crass language and stunts no one should try at home. The Catholic News Service classification is adults.
In a post-apocalyptic world divided between a rich region where people live in luxury and an oppressed colony where the working classes dwell, an Everyman factory drudge (Colin Farrell) discovers his past identity as a secret agent. Stunned by the revelation -- which instantly makes him a wanted man -- and thrown further off balance when his seemingly loyal wife (Kate Beckinsale) turns against him, he goes on the lam, eventually joining forces with the envoy (Jessica Biel) of a guerrilla resistance group. Director Len Wiseman has sanitized Paul Verhoeven's extremely violent 1990 action thriller, itself an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1966 short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale." Yet although toned-down, the new version still contains more than its fair share of objectionable content.
Frequent action violence, including gunplay; upper female and brief rear nudity; references to prostitution; occasional uses of profanity; at least one rough term; and pervasive crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling.
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