Happy Feet Two (Warner Bros.)
Penguins are once again tap dancing at the bottom of the world in director and co-writer George Miller's mostly family-friendly, 3-D animated sequel to his 2006 original. The hero of that film has married his true love and they have a cute-as-a-button son. But junior is "choreophobic," as his dad once was, embarrassed by his two left fins and a distinct lack of rhythm. Feeling misunderstood and unloved, the lad runs away, following a maverick adult penguin to the latter's homeland. There he learns lessons in tolerance and perseverance from the colony's leader which come in handy when father and son must join forces to save their native flock from disaster. What the collaborative script lacks in originality is more than made up for by some stunning vistas, a few catchy tunes and an effective use of 3-D technology. A few intense action scenes, some mild innuendo and minimal potty humor. A-II, PG)
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. (L, R)
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. 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. (A-III, PG)
Tower Heist (Universal)
Crude action-comedy in which, abetted by a petty thief (Eddie Murphy), the manager of a luxury Manhattan apartment building (Ben Stiller) and several of his colleagues plan a revenge caper against the Wall Street financier (Alan Alda) who looted their employee pension fund. Rather than mine the topical premise in a genuinely crowd-pleasing fashion, director Brett Ratner and company underestimate their audience by relying on crass stereotypical humor and a steady stream of expletives. Amusing moments courtesy of a talented ensemble are thus squandered. Some profanity, frequent crude and crass language, much sexual banter and innuendo, a suicide attempt, a scene glamorizing alcohol abuse. (L, PG-13)
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (Warner Bros.)
Consistently vulgar, intermittently loathsome comedy sequel in a largely vain pursuit of laughs. Director Todd Strauss-Schulson's insult to the season stoops not only to sexual excess but to anti-Catholic animus and even blasphemy by portraying pornographic images of lesbian nuns, pedophile priests chasing choirboys and a playboy version of Jesus accompanied by topless angels. Sacrilegious humor, graphic nonmarital and aberrant sexual activity, full nudity, a benign view of drug use, about a half-dozen instances of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. (O, R)
Catholic News Service classifications: A-I ---- general patronage; A-II ---- adults and adolescents; A-III ---- adults; L ---- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; O ---- morally offensive. Full-length reviews: www.catholicnews.com/movies.htm.
Prayer of the MonthPapal intentions for November: That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.
Papal intentions for December: That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.