At the Movies

Capsule Movie Reviews

“Justice League”

(Warner Bros.)

With Superman (Henry Cavill) dead, and the world threatened by a giant alien (Ciaran Hinds) with a scheme to unleash apocalyptic destruction, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) assemble a team of superheroes or, in DC Comics parlance, metahumans– the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) – to thwart the invader.

Picking up where his 2016 feature, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” left off, director Zack Snyder deploys predictably outsized special effects.

But the meager, been-here-before story laid out in Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon’s screenplay features a crucial plot development that may not go down well with Christian viewers and offers little in the way of human interest, though there are laughs to be had from the Flash’s socially inept persona.

Constant stylized violence, two uses of profanity, a milder oath, several crude and a couple of crass terms, some bleeped-out swearing. 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.


“Lady Bird”

(A24)

Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s sensitive autobiographical account of growing up in Sacramento, California while testing her boundaries with both her family and her parochial school is pleasing in some respects but teeth-grating in a couple of others.

In particular, a sexual encounter in which the title character (Saoirse Ronan) is a bit shy of her 18th birthday necessitates a restrictive classification. There is a redeeming wrap-up, but the problematic material that precedes it, including scenes dealing with homosexuality and the moral status of abortion, requires thoughtful discernment by grown viewers well-grounded in their faith.

Underage Ronan sexual activity, mature themes, a same-sex kiss, a scene of marijuana use, frequent coarse language.

The Catholic News Service classification is nonmarital – 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.


“Coco”

(Disney)

A young Mexican lad’s (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) quest to follow in the footsteps of his hometown’s most famous son (voice of Benjamin Bratt) by becoming a world-renowned musician takes a supernatural turn on the Day of the Dead when he is mysteriously transported to the afterlife as depicted in the folklore associated with the pre-Columbian aspects of that celebration.

There is a good-hearted but slippery character (voice of Gael Garcia Bernal) becomes his guide and agrees to help him obtain the blessing of a deceased relative he will need if he is to return to the land of the living. While free of age-inappropriate content and strong on the importance of family solidarity, the film is full of notions about the fate of the departed that clash with revealed truth and so are unsuitable for impressionable viewers. Thus, this cannot be recommended for the youthful audience at which it seems aimed, though teens and grownups can safely appreciate it. Non-scriptural religious ideas.

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.

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