NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
"Calvary" (Fox Searchlight)
This bleak but powerful seriocomedy, set in rural Ireland, kicks off with a startling premise: In the confessional, a grown victim of childhood sex abuse by a priest tells the dedicated pastor (Brendan Gleeson) of the County Sligo parish where he now lives that in a week's time he intends to avenge himself by killing the innocent clergyman. Writer-director John Michael McDonagh then chronicles the seven days that follow as the cleric, a widower, deals with his emotionally fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly) and with the variety of errant or merely eccentric souls who make up his small flock (including Chris O'Dowd, Orla O'Rourke, Dylan Moran, Aiden Gillen and M. Emmet Walsh), all the while wavering about how to respond to the threat on his life. Gleeson gives a memorable performance as a thoroughly decent but ordinary man confronted by the ultimate challenge, and McDonagh ably explores themes of faith, moral failure, reconciliation and sacrifice. Unsparing yet mostly respectful in its treatment of the contemporary church, the film is nonetheless a demanding experience with a narrow appropriate audience. Brief but extremely gory violence, drug use, mature themes, including clergy sexual abuse, homosexual prostitution and suicide, a few uses of profanity, much rough and 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.
"Get On Up" (Universal)
Director Tate Taylor's portrait of the gifted but volatile "godfather of soul," singer James Brown (1933-2006), features an impassioned performance by Chadwick Boseman in the starring role. But the nonlinear structure of the narrative tends to diffuse the impact of Brown's story as it intersperses events from his impoverished childhood, during which he was deserted by his mother (Viola Davis), with episodes from his burgeoning career, which was nurtured by his good-humored manager (Dan Aykroyd) and by his principal collaborator and long-standing best friend (Nelsan Ellis). As for Brown's seedy personal life which, as portrayed here, included adultery and physical abuse, it makes this musically compelling but morally troubling biography pungent fare even for adults. Scenes of combat, domestic violence, brief semi-graphic nonmarital sexual activity, partial nudity, drug use, racism, prostitution and adultery themes, a few rough terms, frequent 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 Hundred-Foot Journey" (Disney)
Food-themed romantic fantasy in which an Indian clan of restaurateurs (headed by patriarch Om Puri) moves to a small town in France and sets up shop across the road from the region's most venerable eatery, drawing the disdain of its formidable proprietress (Helen Mirren). As cultures clash, Puri's prodigiously gifted son (Manish Dayal) expands his culinary horizons with the help of one of Mirren's sous chefs (Charlotte Le Bon) beginning a spectacular rise into the stratosphere of haute cuisine. Cupid has a field day in this picturesque, stately, thoroughly unrealistic tale adapted by director Lasse Hallstrom from the bestselling novel by Richard C. Morais. Like an airy souffle, the film has an elegant appearance and a charming taste, but not much substance. Probably acceptable for mature adolescents. Scenes of mob violence, implications of an intimate encounter, a single crude term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
"Into the Storm" (Warner Bros.)
A crew of professional storm chasers (led by Matt Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies) along with some of the residents of a small Midwestern burg -- most prominently dad Richard Armitage and sons Max Deacon and Nathan Kress -- find their survival skills tested by an unprecedented series of havoc-wreaking tornadoes. Essentially a found-footage "Poseidon Adventure" for the landlocked, director Steven Quale's old-fashioned, special effects-driven disaster movie does boast helpful touches of humor as well as such unimpeachable values as family solidarity and life-at-stake altruism. Still, the intensity of the building peril -- together with the vocabulary it elicits from the cast -- makes this ride on the whirlwind best for fully-grown thrill seekers. Occasional grim violence and pervasive menace, a few sexual references, a couple of uses of profanity, frequent 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.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount)
Thirty years after bursting onto the comic book scene, the wise-cracking, pizza-loving heroes created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman re-emerge from the sewers of New York City. Their mission, once again: to save the world. This fifth film in the franchise, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, ramps up the 3-D action and destruction (which may be too intense for young viewers) but keeps tongue firmly in cheek, and slips in a few good lessons about honor and family. The reptilian quartet -- Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher and Jeremy Howard -- live beneath the Big Apple with a wise Japanese rat (Danny Woodburn) who has trained them in the martial arts. They emerge from the darkness to fight a seemingly invincible gang of criminals led by a razor-sharp monster (Tohoru Masamune). Helping the turtles navigate the human world are an intrepid TV reporter (Megan Fox) and her cameraman (Will Arnett). Intense but bloodless cartoon violence, some bathroom humor, a few vague references to sexuality. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
The following is a current list of CNS classifications and MPAA ratings:
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: "Calvary" (Fox Searchlight); "Get On Up" (Universal); "The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney); Ïnto the Storm"(Warner Bros. ); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"(Paramount)