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TV film fare -- week of June 28, 2020


Keean Johnson and Ed Skrein star in a scene from the movie "Midway." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Lionsgate)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of June 28. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence, and sexual situations.

Sunday, June 28, 10 p.m.-midnight EDT (TCM) "The Marrying Kind" (1952). Engaging melodrama in which a blue-collar couple (Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray) recount the ups and downs of seven years of marriage to a divorce court judge whose questions force them to rethink their relationship. Director George Cukor gets convincing performances from the principals as seen in the flashbacks of a happy marriage buffeted by the tragedy of their son's accidental death. Serious treatment of marital discord. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.

Tuesday, June 30, 5:55-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "3:10 to Yuma" (2007). Generally absorbing remake of the 1957 film, based on an Elmore Leonard story, about an impoverished 1880s rancher (Christian Bale) who, for $200, agrees to escort a notorious Bible-quoting bandit (Russell Crowe) to the train that will transport him to prison and justice before the outlaw's gang can rescue him. The narrative -- diffuse at first -- becomes more cohesive and gripping as director James Mangold's Western throwback builds to its climax, and the performances, including Ben Foster as the outlaw's wild-eyed henchman and Peter Fonda as a corrupt bounty hunter, are fine. There are also interesting moral issues at play, as the charming villain offers to bribe the rancher who's hoping for personal redemption, particularly in the eyes of his 14-year-old son (Logan Lerman) impressed by the criminal. Pervasive but not graphic violence and torture, killings, profanity, rough language, a grisly bullet removal, brief rear nudity and some light sexual talk. 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.

Wednesday, July 1, 5:25-8 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "The Firm" (1993). After accepting a lucrative job offer from a small law firm in Memphis, Tennessee, a novice lawyer (Tom Cruise) discovers his bosses are laundering mob money and must decide whether to risk his life copying their files for the FBI or be indicted if he doesn't cooperate. Director Sydney Pollack translates John Grisham's bestseller into a tense thriller in which the cat-and-mouse maneuverings are sometimes confusing but the wily performances by Cruise, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter and Gary Busey are consistently absorbing. Brief violence, some sexual innuendo and intermittent rough 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.

Thursday, July 2, 8-10:15 p.m. EDT (TCM) "The Black Stallion" (1979). Strikingly visualized tale about the magical relationship between a youngster (Kelly Reno) and the horse he finds shipwrecked on a deserted island becomes a beautiful metaphor for the force of youthful ambition taming the raw power of nature. Directed by Carroll Ballard from the Walter Farley story, the drama is the perfect children's movie -- unsentimental, gripping and good stimulation for the young imagination. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association rating was G -- general patronage. All ages admitted.

Saturday, July 4, 8-10:19 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Midway" (2019). Vivid fact-based epic recounting the period from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, to the Navy's decisive victory in the battle of the title in June 1942, a triumph that turned the tide in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The ensemble drama follows, among others, top brass, including Adms. Chester W. Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), William "Bull" Halsey (Dennis Quaid) and Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa), a brilliant intelligence officer (Patrick Wilson), two daring pilots (Ed Skrein and Luke Evans) and Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart) whose air raid on Tokyo in April 1942 was a major propaganda coup for the Allies and helped lay the groundwork for the positive outcome at sea less than two months later. As this partial list suggests, director Roland Emmerich has a lot of personal story lines to keep bound together with the result that the details of his film are sometimes confusing. But there's a good balance in Wes Tooke's script between action scenes and human interest and the patriotism, courage and tenacity on display go a long way to maintain attention. Possibly acceptable for older teens despite a lot of realistic sailors' talk. Frequent stylized violence with little gore, brief gruesome images of a burned corpse, about 10 uses of profanity, an equal number of milder oaths, at least one rough term, 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, July 4, 9:45-11:45 p.m. EDT (Cinemax) "The Mule" (2018). This ambling, fact-based story of an octogenarian drug runner who becomes a success at it because no one, evidently, believes he's capable of such a dangerous task is more than a little morally tone deaf. Clint Eastwood, who directed from a script by Nick Schenk, plays an easygoing Illinois horticulturist who has neglected his estranged family for years while puttering around the country hawking prize-winning daylilies. He gets a second chance at life and sudden wealth when a young Latino man makes him an offer to be a drug mule, hauling cocaine from El Paso, Texas, back to the Midwest for astonishing and ever larger amounts of cash. The film doesn't address the question of doing an immoral job to achieve positive ends (the protagonist shows largesse toward his relatives and his local Veterans of Foreign Wars hall) and its willful ignorance of the downside of the narcotics trade makes it wholly unsuitable for young people. An implied nonmarital sexual encounter, fleeting upper female nudity, some gore-free gunplay, frequent rough 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.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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