TV film fare -- week of June 4, 2023
NEW YORK (OSV News) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 4. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.
Tuesday, June 6, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Engaging musical spoof of early Hollywood as a silent movie star (Gene Kelly) makes the transition into talking pictures with some help from a loyal pal (Donald O'Connor) and a talented young singer (Debbie Reynolds) who dubs the voice of the star's shrill leading lady (Jean Hagen). Directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, the period nostalgia is served up as lighthearted fun with the Kelly-Reynolds romance sweetly in the background while the plot rolls along with fine songs, zestful comedy routines and lovely production numbers, from O'Connor's solo "Make 'Em Laugh" to Kelly's memorable title number. Minor sexual innuendo. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Wednesday, June 7, 8-10 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Unstoppable" (2010). This gripping suspense tale charts the efforts of a veteran rail engineer (Denzel Washington) and a novice conductor (Chris Pine) to stop a runaway train before it derails on a twisting stretch of track running through a densely populated Pennsylvania town. Though opposed by a scheming railroad executive (Kevin Dunn), the pair are assisted by a competent but overwhelmed yardmaster (Rosario Dawson) and by a savvy federal official (Kevin Corrigan). Bolstered by adept performances and by the amusing asides in Mark Bomback's script, director Tony Scott crafts a diverting entertainment solidly founded on its main characters' heroic selflessness and incorporating themes supportive of marriage and family life. A few scenes of graphic injury, about a dozen uses of profanity, at least one instance of the F-word, frequent crude or 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.
Saturday, June 10, 10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "Road to Perdition" (2002). Gripping drama set in Depression-era Chicago in which a hitman (Tom Hanks) working for the leader of the Irish mob (Paul Newman) embarks on a journey to protect his 12-year-old son and avenge the death of the rest of his family. Examining complicated father-son relationships, director Sam Mendes' evocative moral tale presents a calculated visual tapestry of intrigue and multilayered characters which smoothly weaves in themes of betrayal, redemption, filial love and family responsibility. Some brutal scenes of violence with sporadic rough language and profanity. The OSV News 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.
Saturday, June 10, 6-8 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965). The title character is an enterprising young card shark (Steve McQueen) in 1930s New Orleans who takes on the gambling world's top poker player (Edward G. Robinson) in a high-stakes game of stud. Directed by Norman Jewison, the narrative takes too long in setting up the characters and their motivations, especially the Kid's problems with women (Tuesday Weld and Ann-Margret), but when the big game finally gets under way, it's a real gripper. Some violence, including a cockfight, and sexual situations. The OSV News classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
Saturday, June 10, 8-11:15 p.m. EDT (MAX) "Avatar: The Way of Water" (2022). Director and co-writer James Cameron's follow-up to his 2009 sci-fi blockbuster returns viewers to the fictional moon Pandora and continues the story of the kick-off's two principal characters, the avatar of an Earth-born ex-Marine (Sam Worthington) and his Pandoran wife (Zoe Saldaña). When human intruders return to his adopted world in a renewed attempt to exploit it, the warrior becomes the leader of the indigenous resistance. But his high-profile role makes him a target, once again, for the ruthless colonel (Stephen Lang) with whom he clashed in the original. So, together with his family, he retreats to a distant set of islands occupied by a tribe whose lifestyle is centered on the sea. The technically innovative visual flair that helped make the first film the highest grossing feature of all time is present in abundance across a three-hour-plus running time. But themes connecting the proceedings to environmental issues, corporate greed, the fate of Native Americans and the Vietnam War are conveyed in an excessively earnest tone and via some clunky dialogue. More significantly, the local religion, a form of pantheistic goddess worship, is at odds with Christian faith and is not fit fare for the impressionable. Nonscriptural beliefs and practices, stylized but intense and momentarily disturbing combat, partial nudity, at least one use each of profanity and rough language, a few milder oaths, about a dozen crude terms, several crass expressions, an obscene gesture. 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. - - - John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter @JohnMulderig1.