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TV film fare -- week of June 7, 2020


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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 7. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.

Sunday, June 7, 4-6 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Rachel, Rachel" (1968) Joanne Woodward plays a painfully lonely, somewhat repressed schoolteacher in a small Midwestern town where she fears becoming a dowdy spinster. When an old school chum (James Olson) visits, she falls hopelessly in love and has a brief, intense affair that ends harshly and with bitterness. Director Paul Newman receives excellent performances from a fine cast in a story that is touchingly poignant and deeply human. Mature theme. 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.

Tuesday, June 9, 8-10:03 p.m. EDT (Lifetime) "27 Dresses" (2008). Glossy but formulaic romantic comedy about a perennial bridesmaid (the engaging Katherine Heigl) and the wedding reporter (James Marsden) who pursues her incognito, while she silently pines for her boss (Edward Burns), who, in turn, has fallen for her glamorous but superficial kid sister (Malin Akerman). Anne Fletcher's smooth direction, Heigl's self-deprecating charm and the rest of the personable cast compensate somewhat for the predictable script with results never less than pleasant, and there's a satisfying and morally sound plot resolution. Some crude language, crass expressions, a superfluous bathroom scene, an implied nonmarital sexual encounter, mild sexual banter and innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Wednesday, June 10, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Million Dollar Mermaid" (1952). Loosely based on the life of Annette Kellerman, the Australian swimmer (Esther Williams) imported by a carnival showman (Victor Mature) to turn-of-the-century America, where she raises eyebrows in a one-piece bathing suit, becomes the aquatic star of New York's Hippodrome whose owner (David Brian) wants to marry her, then goes to Hollywood where she's injured making a silent movie. Director Mervyn LeRoy's episodic success story moves briskly along, abetted by a charming romantic subplot and several eye-filling water ballets staged by Busby Berkeley. Sentimental but easy-to-take family fare. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.

Saturday, June 13, 12:45-3 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "Unforgiven" (1992). A reformed gunfighter (Clint Eastwood) and his former partner (Morgan Freeman) join a novice bounty hunter (Jaimz Woolvett) to hunt down two cowboys wanted for cutting up a prostitute but find a despotic sheriff (Gene Hackman) squarely in their way. Also produced and directed by Eastwood, the richly textured movie demythologizes the Western hero while portraying the main character's moral downfall as tragic. Intermittent violence motivated by revenge and vigilante justice, fleeting bedroom shots, an uncritical acceptance of prostitution and occasional rough language. The Catholic News Service 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.

Saturday, June 13, 6-8:30 p.m. EDT (AMC) "Snitch" (2013). With his naive son (Rafi Gavron) facing a mandatory 10 years in prison for dabbling in the drug trade, a successful trucking executive (Dwayne Johnson) makes a deal with the federal prosecutor (Susan Sarandon) on the case: If he can infiltrate a local narcotics cartel and garner sufficient evidence to convict its boss (Michael K. Williams), she'll reduce the lad's sentence. Director and co-writer Ric Roman Waugh enhances his fact-based action outing with human drama and social commentary. Though the latter element gives rise to some clunky dialogue, the overall result is both suspenseful and morally rich. Much stylized and some graphic violence, including gunplay and a beating, mature themes, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, considerable 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.

Saturday, June 13, 8-9:50 p.m. EDT (HBO) "The Good Liar" (2019). Elegant but ultimately dark suspense yarn in which a ruthless con man (Ian McKellen) sets his sights on the fortune of a vulnerable, naive widow (Helen Mirren), skillfully ingratiating himself with her after initially making contact through a dating website. Despite the objections of her worried grandson (Russell Tovey), she gradually falls into his trap. But savvy viewers will sense from the start that things are more complicated than they initially appear. Director Bill Condon's sophisticated adaptation of Nicholas Searle's novel, which also features Jim Carter as the trickster's partner, offers intelligent entertainment powered by excellent performances. Some stylized but harsh violence, including torture and a discreetly portrayed sexual assault, brief upper and rear nudity, an incidental gay relationship, a same-sex kiss, occasional rough and crude language, references to sexual activity. 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.

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