Movie Review Capsules for July 25

Catholic News Service

7/25/2014

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.

"And So It Goes" (Clarius)

The indignities of romance in one's 60s entwine with a mortifyingly weak and implausible script for an aging couple played by Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, he a grumpy real estate agent, she a lissome aspiring singer. Director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Mark Andrus have nothing new to say about either the vicissitudes of aging or the need to connect with family members as Douglas' character learns compassion from his granddaughter (Sterling Jerins) then demonstrates it by aiding Keaton's late-life career. Implied pre-marital sexual activity, a scene of childbirth, a few uses of profanity, fleeting 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.

"Boyhood" (IFC)

In a film shot in 39 days over the course of 12 years, writer-director Richard Linklater sets out to chart "the rocky terrain of childhood" as no one has done before. The result is a unique cinematic experience, as characters age naturally — if not gracefully — on the big screen. This is a work of fiction, however, not a documentary, and its tone of moral indifference ultimately will not resonate well with viewers of faith or with those who cherish the loving bonds of family. We follow a boy (Ellar Coltrane) from age 6 to 18, as well as his sister (Lorelei Linklater) and his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). Mom and Dad's split looms large as the children are forced to deal with both parents' inadequacies and their opposing methods of parenting, a situation made all the more challenging when Mom remarries (twice), and Dad finds another wife. In the end, the bratty kids essentially raise themselves, and decide on their own what is right and wrong. Along the way, the protagonist's journey — which includes drinking beer in middle school, and smoking pot and having sex in high school — is presented to the audience as perfectly natural, even normal. A benign attitude toward drug and underage alcohol use, teenage sex, and contraception, an ambivalent portrayal of religion, occasional profanity, frequent crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

"Lucy" (Universal)

Giddy sci-fi notions pepper this bizarre action thriller in which an unwilling drug mule (Scarlett Johansson) is accidentally exposed to the cutting-edge narcotic that's been implanted in her at the direction of a Taiwanese crime lord (Choi Min Sik). The startling result is that she rapidly begins using more and more of her brain's untapped capacity for thought, a process that not only enables her to escape, but keeps her several steps ahead of the pursuing bad guys (led by Nicolas Phongpheth) who chase her even as she tries to turn her experience to the benefit of science under the guidance of an academic (Morgan Freeman) who's an expert on the subject of evolutionary consciousness. No one can accuse French writer-director Luc Besson of having made a dull film. But, as his protagonist approaches intellectual totality, she gains the ability to control the material world while her ever-deepening insights into the nature of things have more to do with a sort of low-rent Zen Buddhism than with revealed religion. These philosophical factors, together with a steady stream of nasty mayhem, suggest a wary stance would be best, even for adults. Themes requiring mature discernment, considerable gory violence, drug use, a scene of sexual aggression, about a half-dozen crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

The following is a current list of CNA classifications and MP

Copyright (c) 2014 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service: "And So It Goes" (Clarius); "Boyhood" (IFC); "Lucy" (Universal)

Published
Back