NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Closed Circuit" (Focus)
Polished but plodding British thriller in which a hard-driving defense attorney (Eric Bana) and a court-appointed special advocate (Rebecca Hall) investigate the bombing of a crowded London market on behalf of the Turkish immigrant (Denis Moschitto) accused of masterminding the attack. Assisted by a senior colleague (Ciaran Hinds), the pair uncovers evidence that the case has been rigged by the military intelligence service (represented by Riz Ahmed) in a conspiracy supported at the highest levels of the legal establishment (led by Jim Broadbent). Complicating matters is the duo's past adulterous relationship, an ethically disqualifying connection they've both lied under oath to conceal. Director John Crowley's semi-paranoid film -- which portrays UK government spies as routinely resorting to the murder of their fellow citizens -- deals with the sinful bond in the background of its plot ambiguously: Bana's divorced-dad character bemoans the damage wreaked by his unfaithfulness, yet the prospect of a happy romantic outcome based on it remains. Occasional scenes of violence, mature themes, including adultery and suicide, at least one use of profanity, a handful of rough and crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
"Getaway" (Warner Bros.)
Senseless car chase flick about a former racer (Ethan Hawke) whose wife (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped by a criminal mastermind (Jon Voight) and who must obey the villain's orders to get her back alive. The instructions involve using a stolen, souped-up vehicle to cause mayhem on the streets of Sophia, Bulgaria, in order to facilitate a bank heist. Along the way, the auto's teenage owner (Selena Gomez) gets entangled in the situation, first as an unwilling passenger and later as a computer-savvy partner in the driver's efforts to foil his adversary. Director Courtney Solomon places his protagonist in the morally shaky position of endangering hordes of innocent bystanders and innumerable pursuing police officers for the sake of safeguarding a single life. But ethical considerations take a back seat as the wheels squeal and the windshields shatter -- and as viewers run a gauntlet of crashes, collisions and illogical plot developments. Much action violence, a few uses of profanity, considerable crude and crass language, an obscene gesture. 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 World's End" (Focus)
While re-creating an unfinished pub crawl they first attempted in their younger years, five middle-aged friends (led by Simon Pegg) reflect on the conformity of adult life, then, out of the blue, find themselves the last hope for humanity when an invading race of robots ushers in a potential apocalypse. Director Edgar Wright, who co-wrote the screenplay with Pegg, doesn't have a lot of new ideas to toss out there, and the proceedings are occasionally coarse, though never vulgar. But the film -- the completion of a trilogy that began with 2004's "Shaun of the Dead" and continued with "Hot Fuzz" in 2007 -- has intelligent discussions of existential angst, at least when the guys aren't too busy ripping the heads off robots. Some physical violence, two scenes of drug use, references to premarital sex, a few uses of profanity, considerable crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
"You're Next" (Lionsgate)
Brutal bloodletting submerges the initially promising premise of this addition to the home invasion subgenre. Gathered at their affluent parents' (Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton) isolated country home to celebrate the pair's wedding anniversary, a quartet of quarrelsome adult siblings (Nicholas Tucci, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg and Amy Seimetz), together with their accompanying significant others (most prominently Sharni Vinson), find family dissent the least of their worries when they come under sudden attack by a group of masked, crossbow-toting assassins. What the attackers have failed to reckon on, however, is that Vinson's character was raised in unusual circumstances, a background that equips her to offer them fearsomely creative resistance. Instead of showing audiences how a disparate group and a dysfunctional clan might be drawn together by the peril of such an extreme situation, director Adam Wingard revels in ever more gruesome death-dealing, inviting viewers to grow giddy on the spectacle. Pervasive gruesome violence, including torture and mutilation, brief graphic sexual activity, upper female nudity, a perversion theme, premarital and nonmarital situations, much 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 current list of CNS classifications and MPAA ratings:
Copyright (c) 2013 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Movie Review Capsules for August 30: "Closed Circuit" (Focus); "Getaway" (Warner Bros.); "The World's End" (Focus); "Your Next" (Lionsgate)