TV film fare -- week of May 29, 2022
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of May 29. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Monday, May 30, 8-11:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Longest Day" (1962). The Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, is re-created on an epic scale in this dramatization of the operational preparations, behind-the-line activities and mostly the ferocious battle itself, with particular attention to the American landings at Omaha Beach. Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernard Wicki, the result is an absorbing account of D-Day from both sides of the battlefield, with convincing portrayals of men in combat from an international cast headed by John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Henry Fonda. Wartime violence seen in the context of a righteous cause. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Tuesday, May 31, 7-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Florence Foster Jenkins" (2016). Moral complications limit the appropriate audience for director Stephen Frears' charmingly eccentric, fact-based profile of the titular New York socialite (Meryl Streep) whose yearning to take to the stage as a singer of operatic arias and similar works, though motivated by a genuine love of music, was undercut by her spectacular lack of talent. Protecting her from the truth about her voice, which is, in fact, excruciating to a point that's unavoidably comic, becomes a full-time job for her husband (Hugh Grant), a failed British actor. Though he gains an ally in this effort when a sympathetic young pianist (Simon Helberg) comes on board as the singer's accompanist, the duo of defenders faces heightened stakes when she insists on booking Carnegie Hall for a night. With characteristic deftness, Streep gets across both the full ridiculousness and the touching pathos of the situation. But her complex marital arrangement, and her spouse's concurrent relationship (with Rebecca Ferguson), though mitigated by extenuating circumstances, require viewer discernment. Possibly acceptable for especially insightful older teens. Mature themes, including adultery and venereal disease, a morning-after bedroom scene, vague references to homosexuality, at least one profanity, a couple of uses each of crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Tuesday, May 31, 8-10:45 p.m. EDT (AMC) "1917" (2019). Gripping historical drama, set in the midst of World War I, in which two British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) are dispatched across enemy territory to call off an attack by an officer (Benedict Cumberbatch) whose men are about to fall into a German trap, a mission made more urgent by the fact that the brother (Richard Madden) of Chapman's character is among those facing slaughter if they fail. By turns harrowing and lyrically beautiful, and deeply humane throughout, director and co-writer Sam Mendes' film displays both the horrors of trench combat and the endurance of fundamental decency and spiritual striving. Unsparing in its portrayal of misery and desperation, it's also luminous in its affirmation of civilized values and the triumph of faith, broadly considered, over cynicism. Much combat violence with gore, numerous gruesome sights, slightly irreverent humor, a fleeting sexual reference, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, several rough terms, occasional crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Friday, June 3, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Babes in Arms" (1939). With the talkies having put their vaudeville parents out of work, their adolescent offspring (led by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland) get together to earn some money by putting on a variety show. Director Busby Berkeley's period piece showcases Rooney's talents as a juvenile hoofer and madcap comic but shortchanges the Rodgers and Hart musical upon which the zestful proceedings are based. Youthful optimism wins the day, despite the creaky plot cliches. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, June 4, 9:45-11:25 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Changing Lanes" (2002). Tense drama about a cocky young lawyer (Ben Affleck) and an insurance broker (Samuel L. Jackson) whose chance encounter in a minor fender bender escalates into a terrifying tit for tat as each tries to retaliate against the other's callous comportment. Director Roger Michell's morality tale provokes reflection on corporate ethics, individual responsibility and self-destructive behavior while weaving a taut, disturbing tale of two men caught in the increasingly tangled web of their own actions. Brief violence, much menace and intermittent rough language with some profanity. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.