NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
"Blended" (Warner Bros.)
That rarity of rarities, a sincere film about two families becoming one, and since it stars Adam Sandler, whose trademark is scatological gags, it's more than a bit of a surprise. Director Frank Coraci and screenwriters Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera hew to a rigid formula now common for the genre: The problems of each of five children are dealt with individually and completely, without condescension. Frank mentions of bodily functions, light sexual banter and fleeting crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
"Fading Gigolo" (Millennium)
A predictably immoral and vulgar comedy about a cash-strapped Brooklyn bookseller (Woody Allen) who agrees to help his married dermatologist (Sharon Stone) find a gigolo to service the needs of herself and her friends, including a sexy Latin bombshell (Sofia Vergara). A lonely florist (John Turturro, who also directed and wrote the screenplay), has only a moment's hesitation to the idea of being a prostitute, and is soon doing a roaring business. Love intrudes in the form of a Hasidic Jewish widow (Vanessa Paradis) who longs to be free of the restrictions imposed by her religion. In the end, the film takes aim at both sex and organized religion, condemning moral values that are regarded as hopelessly out of date and old-fashioned. Nudity, adultery, nonmarital sex, drug use, frequent profane 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.
"Godzilla" (Warner Bros.)
Grandiose special effects, the showcasing of strong family bonds and a few religious undertones compensate for an over-elaborate back-story and uneven tone in director Gareth Edwards' 3-D monster movie. Fifteen years after his mother (Juliette Binoche) was killed in a disaster at a Japanese nuclear power plant, an American Navy officer (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is still trying to convince his grieving dad (Bryan Cranston) to accept the official explanation for the catastrophe and stop obsessively pursuing his own wild theories about it. But an encounter with two scientists (Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins) working in the quarantine zone that surrounds the site of the cataclysm reveals that Dad has been on to something all along. Mayhem ensues for a number of cities, including the seaman's hometown of San Francisco where his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and young son (Carson Bolde) come under threat. The legendary lizard of the title is only one of the outsized creatures rampaging the globe in this latest take on a sci-fi scenario that dates back to Ishiro Honda's 1954 original. But at least the human toll they exact is portrayed in a stylized, bloodless way. Pervasive action violence with minimal gore, brief marital sensuality, a few uses of profanity and of crude 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.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" (Fox)
Time travel meets a gleefully loopy version of American history in the seventh installment of the mutant-superhero series. Director Brian Singer and screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman send Hugh Jackman's Wolverine back to 1973 to intercept Jennifer Lawrence's Raven/Mystique so she can't assassinate an evil inventor, an event that leads to the destruction of the planet by the robot Sentinels. Gun and physical violence, fleeting rear male nudity, fleeting rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
The following are current CNS classifications and MPAA ratings:
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Movie Review Capsules for May 23: "Blended" (Warner Bros.); "Fading Gigolo" (Millennium); "Godzilla" (Warner Bros.); "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (Fox)