Video releases for Feb. 1, 2017 - Catholic Courier

Video releases for Feb. 1, 2017

By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service
 
NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews from Catholic News Service of new and recent video releases available on DVD and/or Blu-ray — as well as for online viewing. Theatrical movies have a Catholic News Service classification and Motion Picture Association of America rating. These classifications refer only to the theatrical version of the films below, and do not take into account any extra content.
 
"Boo! A Madea Halloween" (2016)
 
The language-fracturing violence-threatening moral force in a muumuu (played, of course, by writer-director Tyler Perry) still gives out with the bickering and the lightning-fast asides. But Perry’s script gives her little to do other than mingle with college students and trash-talk with her elderly friends. The hammer-wielding harridan tries, unsuccessfully, to prevent the 17-year-old niece (Diamond White) she’s minding from attending a raucous fraternity party. Once defied, she turns up at the shindig herself, showing off her dance moves and leering at the guys until she and her charge are both tossed out. After that, the humor turns on the fact that White’s character has managed to convince Madea and her clan — including her pot-smoking cousin (Cassi Davis) — that their family’s dwelling is haunted by ghosts from an old murder. As in all Madea stories, much is made of the beneficial effects of corporal punishment and the need for the young to respect their elders. Occasional nonlethal violence and marijuana use. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" (2016)
 
Tom Cruise, in his second venture as the former Army officer-turned-freelance-detective invented by British novelist Lee Child, is as durable as a cast-iron stove. A somewhat mysterious knight-errant, Reacher is a strong moralist according to his own lights, and descends into others’ predicaments like a deus ex machina. This go-round, he comes to the rescue of a military-intelligence operative (Cobie Smulders) who has been framed for an espionage charge involving murders in Afghanistan. He also learns that he may have a teenage daughter (Danika Yarosh) from a previous fling. The difference between this film and the 2012 original, in which Cruise sulked through Pittsburgh, is that director Edward Zwick, who co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz, provides occasional moments of pleasantly acidic domestic bickering. That helps break up the narrow escapes, shootings and slugfests — as well as the long sequences during which cast members simply break into a sprint. Stylized violence, including gunplay, fleeting crude and crass language. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Paramount Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Masterminds" (2016)
 
This vehicle for Zach Galifianakis and a group of drawling actors from NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" is a comic recounting of the 1997 "hillbilly heist" from an armored-car firm in North Carolina. Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, who stole $17.3 million from Loomis Fargo & Co., only to be tripped up at every turn by his own ineptness and that of his co-conspirators (Kristin Wiig and Owen Wilson). Director Jared Hess and his screenwriters take as their premise the idea that Southerners with dead-end jobs who live in trailer parks are inherently funny. They evidently left it up to the cast to work out their own character quirks, with highly uneven results. Galifianakis’ self-ridicule, targeting his hirsute appearance, squeaky manner and juvenile personality, is intermingled with slapstick chases and the occasional gross-out gambit. Light sexual banter, some crude humor. Spanish titles option. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Oklahoma!" (1955)
 
Director Fred Zinnemann’s stunning, delightful yet surprisingly serious adaptation of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is set in the relatively innocent days when Oklahoma was getting ready to join the Union and everything was up-to-date in Kansas City. Shirley Jones is absolutely winsome as the fresh-as-milk farm girl, Gordon MacRae almost outsmarts himself as her cowpoke-beau and Rod Steiger is downright malevolent as would-be suitor Jud Fry. The plot is corny as all get-out, the music and dance numbers charming and memorable but the melodrama tends to be a tad too heavy. Spanish titles option. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All ages admitted. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Pinocchio" (1940)
 
Walt Disney’s animated classic about a wooden-headed puppet (voice of Dick Jones) who wants to be a real boy but keeps getting into trouble by listening to foxy Honest John (voice of Walter Catlett) instead of appointed conscience Jiminy Cricket (voice of Cliff Edwards). The fantasy quality of the story is made all the more delightful by superb animation and such lovely songs as "When You Wish Upon a Star," though small fry may get some frights on Pleasure Island and in the sea depths with Monstro the Whale. One of Disney’s grandest contributions to family entertainment. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All ages admitted. (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Poltergeist II: The Other Side" (Collector’s Blu-ray Edition; 1986)
 
Angry spirits led by a demonic minister (Julian Beck) return to torment and terrorize the Freeling family just when they thought it was safe to leave Grandma’s house. The family has become more cynical, and the effects less frightening but more disgusting, in this sequel. The Vomit Creature sequence may be too gruesome for the very young in an otherwise mild-mannered Gothic tale. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (Shout Factory)
 
"Queen of Katwe" (2016)
 
A glorious drama that applies the traditional formula of an uplifting sports film to the real-life story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), and then goes in unexpected directions to expose the scars horrific poverty can leave on the human soul. In adapting a book by Tim Crothers, director Mira Nair and screenwriter William Wheeler don’t attempt to explain the vagaries of chess, other than to demonstrate Phiona’s particular talent with three-dimensional thinking. Rather, they focus on her relationships with her supportive mom (Lupita Nyong’o) and her heroically selfless coach (David Oyelowo). The result is a remarkably inspirational movie about the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. References to cohabitation. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"South Pacific" (Collector’s edition) (1958)
 
Clunky screen version of the hit Rodgers and Hammerstein musical from James A. Michener’s tales of a 1943 Navy base where a nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) falls for a French planter (Rossano Brazzi) and a Marine lieutenant (John Kerr) yearns for a Polynesian girl (France Nuyen). Directed by Joshua Logan, the leads fail to score either with the songs or the dramatic action and the use of color filters to set the mood for key scenes only emphasizes the movie’s artificiality. Sexual situations and innuendo. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; also available on Blu-ray)
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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