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HARRY THE FOURTH
By Sister Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

Q U I C K S C A N

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
YOURS, MINE & OURS
CAPOTE
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
COMMANDER IN CHIEF
CATHOLICS IN MEDIA AWARDS
FILM CAPSULES
CATHOLIC CLASSIFICATIONS

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (A-2, PG-13): Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is hosting the Triwizard Tournament. When representatives from two other schools of wizardry arrive, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) announces that students 17 or older may place their names in the Goblet of Fire: One from each school will be chosen to compete for the world wizard champion. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) are only 14.

Dumbledore reads the names that rise from the Goblet: Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson) from Hogwarts, Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski) from Durmstrang and Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy) from Beauxbaton. Suddenly, Harry’s name rises from the Goblet, and Dumbledore concedes that Harry must compete as well. The adolescents overcome dark and intense obstacles: The dragon chase causes as much of an adrenalin rush as any high-speed car race.

This fourth film based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling novels creates a transitional time for the adolescent characters. The action is intense but generously balanced with humor. The press is making a big deal about the main actors being sexy, which is an exaggeration.

The overall theme is about character development: learning to choose what is right over what is easy, cooperation, cherishing family and friends, growing up, honoring truth, in addition to the value of hard work and fairness. Of all the Harry Potter films so far, I like this one the best. Some frightening images and scenes of intense violence.

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YOURS, MINE & OURS

YOURS, MINE & OURS (A-1, PG) is a rather ordinary heartwarming family film based on a better 1968 original that featured Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. In this contemporary version, Coast Guard Admiral Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) is a widower with eight children moving into a house in Connecticut when he encounters Helen (Renee Russo), a widow with 10 children—four biological and six adopted.

Frank and Helen move into a dilapidated lighthouse near the ocean with the kids, aged about three to 17. Frank runs a tight ship while Helen is more into group hugs. The kids don’t get along, but they soon realize they can accomplish more by uniting against a common enemy: Their parents. Frank and Helen decide to separate.

Both versions of Yours, Mine & Ours are based on the 1965 out-of-print book Who Gets the Drumstick?, by Helen Beardsley. The real Frank and Helen were Catholic, married in 1961 and lived in California. They adopted each other’s children and had two children of their own. Although the new film doesn’t offer any explicit religious perspective, except that Helen wears a cross, there are plenty of family values, including fostering and adopting children from various cultures and backgrounds, learning to get along and accepting one another’s differences with grace, tolerance and a smile.

Directed by Raja Gosnell (Mrs. Doubtfire), this film has some funny moments, but the sequence of events seems scrambled. Linda Hunt’s (Kindergarten Cop) role as the housekeeper, who doesn’t see much and enjoys martinis and TV wrestling, could have been better developed: She’s a wonderful comedic actress. Some mild, crude humor in this nice enough but unremarkable family film.

CAPOTE (A-3, R) is a riveting cinematic look at the story behind Truman Capote’s best-selling 1965 book In Cold Blood. Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is still reveling in his success from the best-selling Breakfast at Tiffany’s when he reads a story about the murder of four members of the Clutter family in an obscure western Kansas town. No one knows who killed them. Capote goes there, interviews people and writes his next book about it.

He asks his childhood friend Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) to accompany him as his assistant. At the time, Lee is trying to get To Kill a Mockingbird published. Capote ingratiates himself with the locals by dropping celebrity names to the wife of Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), head of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), are apprehended. The film recounts the four years it took Capote to glean information for the book, especially the acknowledgment of who pulled the trigger and why. At first, the author tries to help the accused by hiring better lawyers for appeals, but it is always in view of the story over altruism.

Meanwhile, Capote has relationship problems with his partner, Jack (Bruce Greenwood), and pressure from his publisher. Because Smith requested it, Capote is present at the hanging—tears of sorrow, empathy and regret stream down his face, perhaps for the cold-blooded way he dealt with the subjects to get his story. The film notes that Capote never completed another book after In Cold Blood.

Capote is an extremely literary film, a nuanced subjective study of the man and the objective fiction-style crime genre he created with the book In Cold Blood. Hoffman’s work is Oscar-worthy, portraying the high-society Southern author who lived in New York and entertained the rich and powerful at parties with his affected manners.

To see the film and read the book (which I did) is like taking a master class in history, literature and storytelling. The film is directed by a relative newcomer, Bennett Miller. The screenplay is by first-time writer Dan Futterman, who portrayed Vincent Gray in Judging Amy.

Capote is the whole package: Cinema Americana from many perspectives, especially that of the genius who may have sold his soul for a tale that beckons as it repels. Some profanity, crude expressions and a hanging.

EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN, Thursdays): This endearing sitcom is based on the adolescent life of comedian Chris Rock, who narrates each episode. Chris (Tyler James Williams) is the put-upon older sibling who baby-sits the babysitter and comments on life, bullies, friendship, neighbors, adolescence and parents. It’s funny and real.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF (ABC, Tuesdays): Independent Vice President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) becomes president of the United States when the president dies, much to the disappointment of Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland). Mac’s husband, Rod Calloway (Kyle Secor), and their three children face challenges that add to the soap-opera quality of the show. But the series presents alternative ways to handle national, international and family crises that rival those of what continues to be one of my favorite series, The West Wing.

CATHOLICS IN MEDIA AWARDS: Last November in Los Angeles, Catholics in Media Associates (www.catholicsinmedia.org) presented its annual motion-picture award to Hotel Rwanda, the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, who risked his life to save a thousand people during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The television award went to Medium, a realistic and inspiring drama about Allison Dubois, a strong-willed, devoted wife and mother who dreams of people in desperate situations where only she can help. In so doing, her family must often make sacrifices.

Gregory Hines, who returned to the practice of his faith a few years before his death, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously for his work in entertainment. And actor Gary Sinise was honored with the Humanitarian Award for his work in founding Operation Iraqi Children, which has shipped over 200,000 school kits, as well as soccer balls, stuffed animals, shoes and blankets, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The focus of Sinese’s group has shifted to the young victims of Hurricane Katrina.

 

PRIDE & PREJUDICE (A-1, PG): Who would have thought we needed another interpretation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Who could replace Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? This shorter version (127 minutes) feels compressed, but faithful and entertaining. Now, if director Joe Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach can pull off a faithful two-hour adaptation of Jane Eyre, I will die happy.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (Not rated, PG): C.S. Lewis’s classic is interpreted for film in ways that charm, inspire and will delight for years to come. Georgie Henley shines as the youngest child, Lucy. Gentle humor and wonderful talking creatures balance the drama of a majestic lion, Aslan, whose deep magic saves the life of one boy and challenges the reign of the evil and manipulative White Witch. Some scenes might be too intense for very young children.

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO (A-2, PG): Antonio Banderas as Alejandro/Zorro and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena are back, along with their precocious son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso), a young version of Zorro. With the aid of a good Franciscan padre, they help California become a state and enter the Union. There are enough action, explosions, conspiracy theories, treachery, romance and humor to make for an enjoyable film. Sequences of peril and intense action.

A-1 General patronage
A-2 Adults and adolescents
A-3 Adults
L Limited adult audience
O Morally offensive

USCCB Movie Review Line: 1-800-311-4222, www.usccb.org/movies/index.htm

At www.CatholicMovieReviews.org, readers can search Sister Rose's and hundreds of other film reviews.

 


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