Movie Review Capsules for July 3

Catholic News Service


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

"Deliver Us From Evil" (Screen Gems)

As exorcism movies go, director and co-writer Scott Derrickson's screen version of Ralph Sarchie's memoir Beware the Night (written with Lisa Collier Cool) is better than most. His tale gains credibility from the profile of its main character: a no-nonsense New York City police officer (Eric Bana) and lapsed Catholic whose investigation of a series of peculiar crimes leads him to suspect that more than ordinary evil is at work in them. Teaming with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) whose ties to the church are frayed, but whose spiritual outlook is orthodox enough, the cop gradually accepts the fact that his main suspect (Sean Harris), an Iraq War veteran, is demonically possessed. Though sensational at times, Derrickson's effective horror film does treat faith seriously. Even so, its dark subject matter and some intense — and bloody — interludes suggest caution for all but the most resilient screen patrons. Mature themes, occasional gory violence, about a dozen uses of profanity, frequent rough and crude language, an obscene gesture. 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.

"Earth to Echo" (Relativity)

About to be separated by the demolition of their suburban Nevada neighborhood, through which a highway is to be built, a trio of young friends (Teo Halm, Brian "Astro" Bradley and Reese Hartwig), bound by their shared status as social outcasts, embarks on a final adventure together. They travel into the desert to locate the source of some mysterious cell phone activity they and others in the doomed community have recently been experiencing. The cause of the disruption turns out to be a small stranded alien whose endearing, petlike personality quickly wins the pals over. They commit themselves to helping him return home, a quest on which they're eventually joined by one of their most popular classmates (Ella Wahlestedt), a seemingly unattainable lass for whom Halm's character carries a secret torch. While its plot is a mash-up of familiar story elements, director Dave Green's gentle film, which employs a found-footage approach to its narrative and conveys positive lessons about loyalty and trust, is not without its rewards, though these are more reliably found in its humorous moments than in its attempts to be touching. Some teen sexual talk and a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

"Tammy" (Warner Bros.)

This saga of a childlike Midwestern woman's (Melissa McCarthy) journey to put her life in order makes a stab at adding pathos to the well-worn genre of road-trip-with-salty-granny, instead coming off as a botched character sketch bogged down in a moral morass. McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with director Ben Falcone, evidently had a sympathetic figure in mind. Yet not only does the title character fail to become any more self-aware as the story — and her outing with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) — proceed, she also lurches through an escalating series of bad choices, including robbery and destruction of property. An implied bedroom encounter, some profanities and sexual banter, pervasive rough and crude 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.

The following is a current list of CNS movie classifications and MPAA ratings:

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Movie Capsule Reviews for July 3: "Deliver Us From Evil" (Screen Gems); "Earth to Echo" (Relativity); "Tammy" (Warner Bros.)