NEW YORK – The following are capsule reviews from Catholic News Service of new and recent video releases available on DVD and/or Blu-ray – as well as for online viewing. Theatrical movies have a Catholic News Service classification and Motion Picture Association rating. These classifications refer only to the theatrical version of the films below, and do not take into account any extra content.
"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (1979)
An American astronaut (Gil Gerard) gets caught in a time warp and flashes forward 500 years just in time to save Earth from evil invaders sent by a sensuous but immature princess (Pamela Hensley). Director Daniel Haller's gadget-ridden, lighthearted space adventure has a few mild double entendres, but is reasonably diverting pulp for sci-fi fans. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (KL Studio Classics; also available on Blu-ray)
"The Irishman" (2019)
The disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa, who vanished without a trace in 1975, has never been solved. But that doesn't deter director Martin Scorsese from solving the mystery in this epic historical drama, based on the life of union official and erstwhile gangster Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro). Crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) initiates Sheeran into the seedy mob underworld and introduces him to the charismatic Hoffa (Al Pacino). More of a detailed character study than a relentless shoot-'em-up (the body count is still high, but the camera does not linger long on the victims), the film is problematic for viewers of faith in its presentation of three very bad men devoid of conscience and possessing zero remorse for their evil actions, as well as a theologically incorrect, confusing episode with a Catholic priest (Jonathan Morris) on the nature of forgiveness and absolution. Themes requiring mature discernment, occasional bloody violence, implied adultery, pervasive profane 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 rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (Criterion Collection; also available on Blu-ray)
"King of the Mountain" (1981)
Banal and pretentious movie whose anemic plot concerns the empty-headed romance between a woman singer and a young mechanic who loves to race his Porsche down a treacherous California road. Director Noel Nosseck celebrates the teen obsession with death-defying speed and takes a permissive attitude toward casual sex. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (KL Studio Classics; also available on Blu-ray)
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.