Movie Review Capsules for February 28

Catholic News Service

2/28/2014

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

"Non-Stop" (Universal)

A troubled air marshal (Liam Neeson) with a drinking problem finds himself bewildered when an anonymous murderer aboard the transatlantic flight he's been assigned to protect succeeds in making it appear as though he is the one felling his fellow passengers. He enlists the help of a newfound acquaintance (Julianne Moore), the traveler in the seat next to his, as well as that of a veteran stewardess (Michelle Dockery) who is a longtime friend. But mutual mistrust hampers the trio's efforts to identify and stop the perpetrator. The rapid pace and frequent plot twists of director Jaume Collet-Serra's thriller divert attention from its improbabilities. Though the protagonist's habit of severely smacking down all who get in his way -- together with a bit of risque humor -- sets this popcorn movie off limits for kids, most grownups will likely handle such turbulence without much difficulty. Considerable harsh but mostly bloodless violence, brief nongraphic sexual activity between incidental characters, some adult references, numerous uses of profanity, at least one instance of the F-word, several crude and crass terms. 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.

"Pompeii" (TriStar)

The cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. is the backdrop for this swords-and-sandals tale of forbidden love, revenge, and a whole lotta lava, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. In the fabled Italian town on the Bay of Naples, a slave-turned-gladiator (Kit Harington) falls for the daughter (Emily Browning) of a wealthy merchant (Jared Harris). As he fights for love and his freedom, he befriends a veteran of the arena (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and seeks vengeance on the Roman senator (Kiefer Sutherland) who killed his parents and cast him into slavery. A climactic swordfight in the arena is interrupted when the volcano roars to live and all heck breaks loose. Much gory violence and a few brief sexual images. 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.

"Son of God" (Fox)

The life of Jesus (Diogo Morgado) is recounted by the aged, exiled St. John the Evangelist (Sebastian Knapp) in this reverent but uneven screen version of the Gospel story. While director Christopher Spencer's portrayal of the Passion, and the events leading up to it -- with Judas (Joe Wredden), Caiaphas the high priest (Adrian Schiller) and Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks) all assigned believable motives -- is compelling, other aspects of his film range from moving to awkward. Catholic viewers will appreciate the unqualified acknowledgement of St. Peter (Darwin Shaw) as the leader of the Apostles as well as scenes highlighting Mary's (Roma Downey) closeness to her son. The first wide-release movie in nearly 50 years to focus on the Savior's biography as a whole, this outgrowth of the popular History cable channel miniseries "The Bible" offers some solid catechesis and an easy, though sometimes oddly truncated, introduction to the Lord's ministry, teaching, death and Resurrection. As such, it's probably acceptable for older teens, despite an unflinching treatment of the Redeemer's sufferings. Strong gory violence. 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.

"3 Days to Kill" (Relativity)

Director McG offsets a great deal of action mayhem with pro-marriage, family-friendly values in this story of a terminally ill CIA agent (Kevin Costner) whose efforts to reconcile with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and teen daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) are complicated when another operative (Amber Heard) lures him back into the spy racket by offering him a potentially life-saving experimental medicine as his reward. Scenes of domestic life and the protagonist's compassionate interaction with the African immigrants who have occupied his Paris apartment as squatters are interspersed with car chases, explosions, third-degree interrogation sessions and assassinations in an odd mix of genres suitable only for thick-skinned grownups. Considerable harsh violence with some gore, torture, brief rear nudity, images of decadent sensuality, several instances of profanity, occasional 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 PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. 

The following are current 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: "Non-Stop" (Universal); "Pompeii" (TriStar); "Son of God" (Fox); "3 Days to Kill" (Relativity)

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