NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies scheduled to run on network and cable television during the week of May 16. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.
Monday, May 17, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) “Summertime” (1955). Katharine Hepburn plays a spinster on a vacation in Venice who becomes enchanted with a handsome Italian (Rossano Brazzi) but, when she learns he is married, cuts her vacation short and returns home, a sadder but wiser person. British production directed by David Lean is a classic romantic melodrama, faultlessly told with charming, bittersweet humor and the eye-filling, Renaissance splendor of the city of canals. The CNS classification of the theatrical version was A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Thursday, May 20, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) “Devil’s Doorway” (1950). Decorated for bravery as a Union soldier in the Civil War, a Shoshone Indian (Robert Taylor) returns to his Wyoming ranch, but a fanatic Indian-hater (Louis Calhern) tries to drive him and his people off their fertile lands by stirring up a range war. Director Anthony Mann handles the Vanishing-American theme with much sympathy and plenty of action culminating in a truly tragic last stand. Stylized violence. The CNS classification of the theatrical version was A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, May 22, 8-10 p.m. EDT (HBO) “My Sister’s Keeper” (2009). Generally well-acted if sometimes soggy family drama about a strong-willed mother (Cameron Diaz excellent in a not-always-likable part), in denial about her teenage daughter’s (Sofia Vassilieva) losing battle with cancer; the loving but conflicted father (Jason Patric); and sister (Abigail Breslin), who hires a lawyer (Alec Baldwin) for “medical emancipation” so she won’t be forced to donate her kidney to her sister. Affecting, despite basic plot contrivances and a couple of morally questionable elements, co-writer and director Nick Cassavetes’ tear-jerker ultimately presents a positive view of marriage and family. A nongraphic nonmarital sexual encounter, in vitro conception, disturbing hospital imagery, brief rough and crude language and a couple of profanities, domestic discord, some mild sexual talk and brief teenage drinking. The CNS 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 PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Saturday, May 22, 10:15 p.m.-12:15 a.m. EDT (TCM) “Nicholas Nickleby” (1947). Memorable adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel in which a young man (Derek Bond) in 1830 England saves a youth (Aubrey Woods) from a brutal boys’ school while struggling to protect his mother and sister from his miserly, conniving uncle (Cedric Hardwicke). Director Alberto Cavalcanti embroiders the desperate proceedings with zestful visuals of the period setting and its quirky assortment of characters. Some frightening ordeals for young viewers. The CNS classification of the theatrical version was A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, May 22, 10-11:45 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) “Drag Me to Hell” (2009). Intentionally over-the-top horror tale in which a Los Angeles loan officer (Alison Lohman) is cursed to death and damnation by a woman (Lorna Raver) on whose home her bank is foreclosing and, with the reluctant support of her skeptical boyfriend (Justin Long), enlists the aid of a fortuneteller (Dileep Rao) in her increasingly frantic efforts to undo the spell. Gross-out sight gags abound in director and co-writer Sam Raimi’s canny shockfest, but bloodletting is generally minimal and the occult elements, like the dubious premise that one person can consign another to Hades, need not be taken seriously. Some hand-to-hand violence, a premarital situation, a couple of uses of profanity and of the S-word, and a few crass terms. The CNS 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.
Mulderig is on the staff of CNS.