Sentimental classics, two thrillers lead TV films for week of Sept. 23 - Catholic Courier

Sentimental classics, two thrillers lead TV films for week of Sept. 23

NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Sept. 23. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.

Sunday, Sept. 23, 8-10 a.m. EDT (TCM) “Boys Town” (1938). Sentimental but emotionally honest story of how Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy) built his school for homeless and delinquent youths during the Depression. Directed by Norman Taurog, the Hollywood version centers in the conflict between the priest’s charismatic powers of persuasion and a street tough (Mickey Rooney) who only thinks he’s hard-boiled. Tracy’s Oscar-winning performance as a role model for those in need of one was a credible blend of the idealistic and the pragmatic. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945). Solid adaptation of Betty Smith’s novel about a young girl (Peggy Ann Garner) growing up in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood around 1900. Under Elia Kazan’s sensitive direction, the movie chronicles her troubled family’s hand-to-mouth existence, with father (James Dunn) mostly unemployed and often inebriated, mother (Dorothy McGuire) holding the household together and the kids experiencing the various pains and joys of being young during hard times. Warmly evocative picture of family life, though a bit heavy for youngsters. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 9-11:30 a.m. EDT (USA) “No Country for Old Men” (2007). Spellbinding, richly detailed thriller based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2003 novel set in the Texas borderlands as a cold-blooded, psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem) ruthlessly pursues a welder (Josh Brolin) who’s taken a suitcase of loot after stumbling across a brutal drug slaying, while a philosophical small-town sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) pursues them both hoping to avert tragedy. Co-directors and writers Joel and Ethan Coen create an atmosphere of almost unbearably quiet tension, with powerful performances by a masterful cast (including Woody Harrelson and Kelly MacDonald), underscored by themes of the struggle between good and evil, the changing ethos of the West, temptation, honor and sacrifice. Strong violence and multiple killings with blood, occasional rough language and profanity, and brief partial nudity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. EDT (USA) “3:10 to Yuma” (2007). Generally absorbing remake of the 1957 film, based on an Elmore Leonard story, about an impoverished 1880s rancher (Christian Bale) who, for $200, agrees to escort a notorious Bible-quoting bandit (Russell Crowe) to the train that will transport him to prison and justice before the outlaw’s gang can rescue him. The narrative — diffuse at first — becomes more cohesive and gripping as director James Mangold’s Western throwback builds to its climax, and the performances, including Ben Foster as the outlaw’s wild-eyed henchman and Peter Fonda as a corrupt bounty hunter, are fine. There are also interesting moral issues at play, as the charming villain offers to bribe the rancher who’s hoping for personal redemption, particularly in the eyes of his 14-year-old son (Logan Lerman) impressed by the criminal. Pervasive but not graphic violence and torture, killings, profanity, rough language, a grisly bullet removal, brief rear nudity and some light sexual talk. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 6:30-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) “Valley of the Kings” (1954). American archeologist (Robert Taylor) helps an Englishwoman (Eleanor Parker) search for evidence proving the biblical account of Joseph’s sojourn in the land of the pharaohs. Director Robert Pirosh muddies matters with murderous conniving by greedy traffickers in antiquities, but the result is worth seeing for its grand vistas of famous sites in ancient Egypt. Some menace and stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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