This week's movie releases - Nov 13th 2011

By  Catholic News Service
  • November 11, 2011

Looking for a movie this weekend? J. Edgar, Immortals and Jack & Jill are the three big releases.


"J. Edgar" (Warner Bros.)

Clint Eastwood's polished but taxing biographical drama recounts major events in the long public career of famed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and attempts to reconstruct his enigmatic personal life. As scripted by Dustin Lance Black, the film informatively chronicles Hoover's rise from obscure bureaucrat to power-besotted keeper of the nation's secrets.

Yet its exploration of the three main relationships in Hoover's life, with his domineering mother (Judi Dench), his girlfriend-turned-secretary (Naomi Watts) and his number two at the bureau (Armie Hammer) -- a man who was certainly Hoover's daily companion over several decades and might have been his lover -- feels sensationalized at times and will prove uncomfortable viewing even for mature audience members.

Brief intense but bloodless violence, a scene of semi-graphic adultery, homosexual and transvestite themes, a same-sex kiss, at least one use of profanity, a couple of rough terms. 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. Some material may not be suitable for children.


"Immortals" (Relativity/Universal)

The Greek gods on Mount Olympus watch nervously as the mortals down below go to war in director Tarsem Singh's racy 3-D soap opera that borrows heavily from "300" (2006) and "Clash of the Titans" (2010) in plot and visual style. Centuries have passed since the Olympians vanquished the Titans, bringing tranquility to Greece.

But now an aggressive earthly king (Mickey Rourke) is on the march, vowing the destruction of humankind and "the end of the reign of gods." To close the deal, he must find the Bow of Epirus, "a legendary weapon of unimaginable power," which will allow him to free the Titans (who are in stasis) and become overlord of heaven and earth. Because their code of conduct forbids interference in the affairs of mortals, Zeus (Luke Evans) and his fellow deities look to an ordinary peasant (Henry Cavill) to save the day.

Unfortunately, the good-vs.-evil morality tale behind all this is overpowered -- make that, pulverized -- by persistent mayhem and bloodletting, much of it used for shock value, and not to advance the (rather thin) story. Relentless violence with gore including scenes of torture, upper female and rear nudity, nongraphic premarital sex. 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.


"Jack and Jill" (Columbia)

Half-witted comedy in which Adam Sandler plays both a successful Los Angeles advertising executive and his well-meaning but irksome, Bronx-based twin sister. When Sis comes to town for her annual Thanksgiving visit, the ad man can hardly wait for her to leave again -- until, that is, she artlessly wins the heart of Al Pacino (playing himself), whom he's been trying to convince to appear in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial.

Director Dennis Dugan's grab-bag of potty humor, harsh slapstick and pop-culture gags is too crude for kids and too puerile for their elders. Much violent slapstick and gross scatological humor, brief implied nudity, some sexual jokes and adult references, at least one crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.

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