"Man of Steel" (Warner Bros.)
Action adventure recounting the life of iconic comic book hero Superman (Henry Cavill). Born on distant Krypton, as an infant his parents (Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer) send him to Earth so that he can escape his doomed home planet's imminent destruction. His adoptive human parents (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) instill positive values and try to protect his secret. But, once grown, an investigative reporter (Amy Adams) is on the verge of disclosing his true identity when an old enemy (Michael Shannon) of his father's arrives from space and threatens humanity with annihilation unless Superman surrenders. Director Zack Snyder's take on the familiar narrative has the makings of an engaging drama and includes Christian themes and an anti-eugenics message that viewers of faith in particular can appreciate. But this positive potential is squandered in favor of endless scenes of high-powered brawling and the pyrotechnics of innumerable explosions. Much intense but bloodless violence, a fleeting sexual advance, occasional crude and crass language. 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.
"The Purge" (Universal)
Set in a dystopian future America during the one night each year when any crime may be committed with impunity, writer-director James DeMonaco's thriller -- a potentially challenging study of the conflict between lifeboat ethics and personal decency -- degenerates into an orgy of the very violence it sets out to question. When the chosen target (Edwin Hodge) of a bloodthirsty mob (led by Rhys Wakefield) manages to take refuge in the home of a security specialist (Ethan Hawke), his presence threatens to bring the wrath of the gang down on the whole family (including wife Lena Headey and kids Max Burkholder and Adelaide Kane) unless they give the fugitive up to his pursuers. Inept social commentary -- the victim is a homeless black veteran, the marauders are crazed preppies -- and pointless religious overtones hobble the proceedings even before the gore goes off the charts. Excessive graphic violence, including torture, a scene of underage sensuality, a few uses of profanity and of rough language, a couple of crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
"This Is the End" (Columbia)
Tedious comedy in which an ensemble of actors playing themselves (most prominently James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen -- who directed, with Evan Goldberg -- and Jay Baruchel) are holed up in a Los Angeles mansion during the Apocalypse. Rogen and Goldberg, who also wrote the script, celebrate altruism and loyal friendship. But no other virtue dividing those caught up in the rapture from those left behind seems comprehensible to them, certainly not moderation in the pursuit of worldly pleasures. As for their treatment of matters religious, it might best be described as frivolous affirmation. Comic treatment of sacred subjects, scenes of gruesome bloody violence, strong sexual content including a graphic glimpse of aberrant sexual activity with rear nudity, a benign view of drug use, much sexual and some scatological humor, occasional instances of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
The following is a list of CNS movie classification and MPAA ratings:
Copyright (c) 2013 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Movie Capsules for June 14: "Man of Steel" (Warner Bros.), "The Purge" (Universal), "This Is the End" (Columbia)