NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
"The Man With the Iron Fists" (Universal)
Repulsively violent martial-arts fantasy in which a blacksmith -- played by rapper RZA, who also directed and co-wrote the script -- a secret agent for the emperor of China (Russell Crowe) and the heir of an assassinated warlord (Rick Yune) join forces to battle a variety of villains (principally Byron Mann and David Bautista), all of whom are out to purloin a shipment of imperial gold. Far from administering stylized karate chops, warriors on both sides dismember, disembowel and even liquefy their enemies to sickening effect. Excessive bloody violence, gruesome images, graphic sexual activity, implied aberrant sex acts, a prostitution theme, drug use, an anti-Catholic slur, much rough language, a few crude or 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.
A rousing return for British Agent 007 and a much-needed injection of vitality into the 50-year-old James Bond film franchise, this 23rd outing for the iconic spy is directed by Sam Mendes. Bond (Daniel Craig) and a field operative (Naomie Harris) are on the trail of a villain (Javier Bardem) who has stolen a computer disc containing the identities of every secret agent in the world. The sleazy megalomaniac uses the data to terrorize London and exact revenge on veteran counter-intelligence chief M (Judi Dench), who is also contending with the threat posed by a government rival (Ralph Fiennes) who seeks her job. Though the violence quotient is undeniably high, Mendes' film is thoughtful and character-driven, raising issues of loss, responsibility, patriotism and loyalty amid the battle of good vs. evil. Scenes of intense action violence and torture, implied nonmarital sexual activity, mild sensuality and innuendo, some profane and rough 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.
"Somewhere Between" (Long Shot Factory)
Filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton's documentary offers an unvarnished look at the awkwardness involved when Chinese-born adoptees in the U.S. seek to reconnect with their original culture and birth families, and as they struggle to forge an identity for themselves as adults. Knowlton, herself the mother of a child adopted from China, follows the lives of four teenage girls in different parts of the country, one of whom is a devout evangelical Christian. She also charts the varied levels of interest those profiled display toward their homeland. Mature themes. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
"Wreck-It Ralph" (Disney)
This clever 3-D animated adventure, directed by Rich Moore, ponders the meaning of life inside a video arcade machine once the "Game Over" message appears. The perennial bad guy (voice of John C. Reilly) of the title wants to be just like his good-guy opponent (voice of Jack McBrayer). So he abandons his game for others in search of fame and glory. Along the way he encounters a violent warrior (voice of Jane Lynch) and an outcast (voice of Sarah Silverman) from a racing game with whom he bonds. The pair unites to overcome prejudice and embrace their differences, offering a positive lesson in self-esteem for young viewers. Mild cartoonish violence, some rude humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested, some material may not be suitable for children.
Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service: "The Man With the Iron Fists" (Universal); "Skyfall" (Columbia); "Somewhere Between" (Long Shot Factory); "Wreck-It Ralph" (Disney)