Video releases for Nov. 16, 2016 - Catholic Courier

Video releases for Nov. 16, 2016

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.
 
"Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams" (1990)
 
Beautiful Japanese production presents eight short fragments from the imagination of 80-year-old director Akira Kursosawa. These lyric, at times surreal, musings on childhood, tradition, toxic pollution, nuclear holocaust, art and death are timeless, open-ended and calculated to expand the mind and feelings of the viewer. Sparse subtitled dialogue. Some unsettling themes and a few frightening visuals. 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. (Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Boomerang" (Blu-ray Edition; 1947)
 
Semi-documentary account of the arrest and trial of a vagrant (Arthur Kennedy) for the murder of a clergyman in a Connecticut town whose local prosecutor (Dana Andrews) is unsatisfied with the circumstantial evidence presented by the police chief (Lee J. Cobb). Director Elia Kazan’s low-key treatment of the fact-based events involves viewers in the police investigation and political pressures to solve the case. Tense scenes and legal ambiguities. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Kino Lorber)
 
"Carrington" (1995)
 
Fact-based story of the live-in relationship between homosexual author Lytton Strachey (Jonathan Pryce) and painter Dora Carrington (Emma Thompson) who remain devoted to one another while carrying on a series of affairs with other men. Writer-director Christopher Hampton establishes the pair’s deep mutual affection while indulging their sexual appetites with others, but leaves their part in the British cultural scene between the world wars a disappointing blank. Uncritical treatment of sexual promiscuity, brief bedroom scenes with fleeting nudity, an off-screen suicide and a few instances of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Citizen Kane" (75th Anniversary Edition; 1941)
 
When a Hearst-like newspaper tycoon (Orson Welles) dies, a reporter (William Alland) interviews the man’s former associates (Joseph Cotten and Everett Sloane, among them) and wives (Ruth Warrick and Dorothy Comingore) in an effort to pin down the essence of the contradictory, larger-than-life millionaire by discovering the meaning of his dying word, "Rosebud." Also co-written (with Herman J. Mankiewicz), produced and directed by Welles, the movie is a landmark in American cinema, both for its superb use of film technique and its intriguing story of a man who came from nothing, acquired fame and fortune but died without the love he sought. Marital infidelity. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Warner Home Video; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Coffee and Cigarettes" (2004)
 
Motley mosaic of 11 short films, each involving a pair of actors (including Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Roberto Benigni and Steve Buscemi) sitting around, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes while conversing on such eclectic subjects as the use of nicotine as an insecticide and Elvis conspiracies. Shot in black-and-white over the past 17 years by maverick director Jim Jarmusch, the smoky slice-of-life minimovies unspool, apart from a few clever vignettes, as exercises in artsy absurdity which, despite the amount of caffeine consumed, provide little stimulation and percolate less interest. Some rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Cry of the City" (Blu-ray Edition; 1948)
 
Moody crime melodrama set in New York City where a relentless cop (Victor Mature) pursues a wounded but ruthless crook (Richard Conte) with whom he had grown up in an Italian-American neighborhood but who is now being hunted as a cop-killer and jewel thief. Directed by Robert Siodmak, the narrative is well-paced with unexpected plot twists and colorful characters but the focus is on the personal battle between one-time pals who have chosen opposite sides of the law. Stylized violence and menacing situations. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Kino Lorber)
 
"Daisy Kenyon" (Blu-ray Edition; 1947)
 
Classy sudser in which a fashion illustrator (Joan Crawford) finally realizes the futility of her affair with a wealthy, married lawyer (Dana Andrews) and weds a likable, bemused architect (Henry Fonda), only to find herself still pursued by the heel who’s now getting a divorce. Director Otto Preminger dresses up the brittle heroine’s saga of romantic woes with some good performances and ironic humor but the tears are all artificial. Stylized treatment of infidelity and a broken marriage. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Adopt Films)
 
"Finding Dory" (2016)
 
This dandy animated sequel to 2003’s "Finding Nemo" sets that film’s trio of main characters on another epic journey, this one undertaken to reunite the absent-minded blue tang of the title (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) with her long-lost parents (voices of Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Her eventful quest, on which she’s accompanied by the father (voice of Albert Brooks) and son (voice of Hayden Rolence) duo of clownfish she befriended in the first outing, takes her to a fictional California aquarium. There she gains the help of three more pals: a curmudgeonly octopus (voice of Ed O’Neill), a beluga whale with defective sonar skills (voice of Ty Burrell) and a nearsighted whale shark (voice of Kaitlin Olson). Working with co-director Angus MacLane, writer-director Andrew Stanton conveys life lessons about family loyalty, teamwork and the proper balance between courage and caution via a script full of gentle humor and appealing personalities. But his most impressive achievement is the use to which he puts the various disabilities on display, using them to send an implicit anti-bullying and pro-life message to youthful viewers. While objectionable elements are virtually absent, the dangers lurking in the deep may be too much for small fry. Scenes of peril, a distant reference to cliches about the facts of life, equally vague bathroom humor. Spanish language and titles options. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. 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)
 
"Houdini" (1953)
 
Tony Curtis plays Harry Houdini (1874-1926), the escape artist whose loyal wife (Janet Leigh) assists his rise to international fame but cannot deter his growing interest in the supernatural and death-defying escapes, one of which kills him. Directed by George Marshall, the Hollywood version greatly fictionalizes Houdini’s life and manner of death, turning it into a colorful period melodrama of an engaging couple whose domestic bliss is paced by ever more dangerous escape acts. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Lulu Belle" (1948)
 
Lackluster tale directed by Leslie Fenton in which a conniving 1890s singer (Dorothy Lamour) romances a series of men (notably George Montgomery, Albert Dekker and Otto Kruger) as stepping stones to Broadway stardom until she and her current lover are shot. Implied sexual affairs. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Macbeth" (1948)
 
Murky but interesting version of Shakespeare’s play in which the title nobleman (Orson Welles) is goaded by his ambitious wife (Jeanette Nolan) into killing the Scottish king (Edgar Barrier), then is undone by his conscience and the ambiguous prophecy of three witches. Also directed by Welles, the dark setting of bleak moors and cavelike interiors is visually very effective, but the sinister feudal proceedings lack dramatic consistency and the result is wildly uneven. Stylized violence and much menace. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"One of Our Aircraft Is Missing" (1942)
 
Hit during a raid on Nazi Germany, a British bomber crew (Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Bernard Miles and others) bail out over Holland and are helped by Dutch patriots (including Peter Ustinov as a local priest) to reach the coast and embark for England. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, the airmen’s predicament behind enemy lines is tense but lightened by occasional humor, some of it directed at British conceits. Wartime violence. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Pimpernel Smith" (1941)
 
The Scarlet Pimpernel rides again, this time in the spring of 1939 as a British archaeologist (Leslie Howard) helps anti-Nazis escape Germany, despite the fiendish efforts of a Gestapo chief (Francis L. Sullivan). Also directed by Howard, the cat-and-mouse thrills still hold up, as does much of the low-key humor, though some patriotic rhetoric dates it as a period piece. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Olive Films; also available on Blu-ray)
 
"Punch-Drunk Love" (2002)
 
Tiresome romance in which a rage-filled loner (Adam Sandler) is beset by thuggish phone-sex scam artists while falling for a friend (Emily Watson) of his domineering sisters. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson turns in a harsh, unengaging tale whose comic subtext is as flat as the obtrusive music track is loud. Brief violence, crude sexual references, an implied sexual encounter, minimal profanity and much rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray)
 
– – –
 
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

Copyright © 2024 Catholic News Service, Inc. All rights reserved. Linking is encouraged, but republishing or redistributing, including by framing or similar means, without the publisher's prior written permission is prohibited.

Choose from news (Monday), leisure (Thursday) or worship (Saturday) — or get all three!


No, Thanks


Catholic Courier Newsletters