TV film fare -- week of April 2, 2023
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of April 2. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Sunday, April 2, 2:30-5:30 p.m. EDT (A&E) "Hacksaw Ridge" (2016). The extraordinary heroism of Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) during the Battle of Okinawa in the closing days of World War II is vividly realized in this fact-based drama, directed by Mel Gibson. A committed Christian and conscientious objector who refused to bear arms, Doss was nonetheless eager to serve his country, despite the misgivings of his parents (Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths) and his fiancee (Teresa Palmer). Doss overcomes the ridicule and abuse of his fellow recruits in boot camp as well as an effort to discharge him led by the sergeant (Vince Vaughn) heading his platoon and the captain (Sam Worthington) commanding his company. Once in combat, he single-handedly saves the lives of over 75 wounded soldiers while under constant enemy fire. As might be expected with Gibson at the helm, Doss' religious convictions, which are integral to his story and his performance on the battlefield, are not sidelined. Yet, while no doubt realistic, the carnage is extreme and its portrayal will necessarily restrict this ultimately inspiring film's audience to those mature viewers willing to endure such sights. Graphic war violence with much gore, brief rear male nudity, a scene of marital sensuality, considerable crude language. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Sunday, April 2, 4:30-7 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Bridge of Spies" (2015). Outstanding historical drama, set at the height of the Cold War, in which a New York corporate lawyer (Tom Hanks) is given the thankless task of defending an accused KGB agent (Mark Rylance), does so with more doggedness than expected by those who selected him, then becomes involved in the negotiations to swap his client for the downed pilot (Austin Stowell) of a U.S. spy plane. Director Steven Spielberg's film adds suspense to a fact-based story whose outcome is well known by focusing on the fate of an American graduate student (Will Rogers) caught on the wrong side of the newly built Berlin Wall. A balanced outlook on the struggle between East and West and the thoroughgoing, understated decency of its main character make this well-crafted retrospective a valuable viewing experience. Probably acceptable for older teens. A few uses of profanity, a couple of rough terms, occasional crude and crass language. The OSV News 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.
Monday, April 3, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (Showtime) "Mission: Impossible" (1996). Framed as a traitor, a top U.S. spy (Tom Cruise) must evade capture by the CIA, identify the real culprit and prevent a list of American agents from falling into enemy hands. Based on the vintage TV series, director Brian De Palma's sleek action thriller has an impossibly complicated plot but its exciting action scenes, special effects and swift pacing make it high-style escapist entertainment. Some stylized violence and occasional profanity. The OSV News 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, April 4, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "42nd Street" (1933). Prototypical backstage musical in which a member of the chorus (Ruby Keeler) wins stardom when the frantic director (Warner Baxter) has her take over for the disabled leading lady (Bebe Daniels) on opening night. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the Depression-era setting, slangy dialogue and zesty cast (Ginger Rogers, Una Merkel and Dick Powell, among them) are still fun, abetted by Al Dubin and Harry Warren's brassy music and topped off by Busby Berkeley's inventive production numbers for the title song, "I'm Young and Healthy" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo." Some romantic complications and mild sexual innuendo. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, April 5, 9:45-11:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Brother Orchid" (1940). Seriocomic tale of a gang boss (Edward G. Robinson) returning from a vacation in Europe to find his mob has a new leader (Humphrey Bogart), but he escapes being rubbed out by hiding in a monastery where he works as a gardener while plotting his comeback -- until he has a change of heart. Director Lloyd Bacon mixes some droll comedy and a bit of spiritual uplift into a standard crime melodrama, with surprisingly agreeable results. Stylized violence and criminal menace. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, April 8, 4-6 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Rocky IV" (1985). Sylvester Stallone gets back in the ring for the fight of his life against a Russian Olympic boxing machine (Dolph Lundgren). Stallone directs himself fighting to avenge the death of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) while regaining American honor. The sensitive may find the fight scenes too brutal. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Saturday, April 8, 7:47-9:48 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" (1996). Ambitious adaptation of the classic tale of star-crossed lovers (Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) remains literally faithful to the original while updating the story to a contemporary U.S. urban setting. Director Baz Luhrmann's flawed but never dull adaptation is visually operatic, highly stylized -- and jarringly wedded to Shakespeare's Elizabethan language. Several violent deaths and romanticized suicides. The OSV News 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.
Saturday, April 8, 8-9:30 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Lucy" (2014). Giddy sci-fi notions pepper this bizarre action thriller in which an unwilling drug mule (Scarlett Johansson) is accidentally exposed to the cutting-edge narcotic that's been implanted in her at the direction of a Taiwanese crime lord (Choi Min Sik). The startling result is that she rapidly begins using more and more of her brain's untapped capacity for thought, a process that not only enables her to escape, but keeps her several steps ahead of the pursuing bad guys (led by Nicolas Phongpheth) who chase her even as she tries to turn her experience to the benefit of science under the guidance of an academic (Morgan Freeman) who's an expert on the subject of evolutionary consciousness. No one can accuse French writer-director Luc Besson of having made a dull film. But, as his protagonist approaches intellectual totality, she gains the ability to control the material world while her ever-deepening insights into the nature of things have more to do with a sort of low-rent Zen Buddhism than with revealed religion. These philosophical factors, together with a steady stream of nasty mayhem, suggest a wary stance would be best, even for grown-ups. Themes requiring mature discernment, considerable gory violence, drug use, a scene of sexual aggression, about a half-dozen crude terms. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.- - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter @JohnMulderig1.