Paulist Father Ellwood Kieser of Paulist Productions had long wanted to bring the life of Dorothy Day, a possible candidate for beatification, to the screen. Eventually, he oversaw the production of Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story. Starring Moira Kelly as Day and Martin Sheen as philosopher Peter Maurin, the movie has now reached video stores. As Entertaining Angels makes clear, Day didn't have an easy life. As a young woman, she joined the socialist movement, working as a journalist in New York's leftist circles. She had affairs, had an abortion and then got pregnant again. This time, she bore a daughter and began a deep spiritual search. This led to her conversion, the establishment of numerous homeless shelters, the foundation of the Catholic Worker newspaper and the organization of a social-justice movement that continues to this day. Although Entertaining Angels isn't a brilliant film, it's a more-than-adequate introduction to one of America's most influential Catholics.

The Rugrats Movie

Young fans of “The Rugrats” will be delighted with The Rugrats Movie, and their parents should get a chuckle or two out of it as well. The film stars the usual toddler denizens of the animated Nickelodeon show the brave Tommy Pickles, the anxious Chuckie, the twins Phil and Lil, and the bossy Angelica — but it adds a new character, baby Dylan Pickles. Although Tommy's parents have carefully encouraged his acceptance of Dylan, the wailing newborn is a distinct annoyance. The twins offer to return Dylan to the hospital, but Tommy knows that he has to keep his brother. Then fate intervenes in the form of a large toy dragon. The motorized dragon carries the pack of “dumb babies,” as Angelica calls them, into the local woods where the toddlers face a series of perils and learn a series of lessons. The Rugrats Movie operates on two distinct levels: One is a relatively simple adventure tale for children (though some sensitive children may find the action too tense); the other is a clever critique of the fads and fancies that obsess the parents of today's young children.

U.S. Catholic Conference rating: general

Tarzan and the Lost City

Based on stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Lost City is an old-fashioned film of jungle adventure updated with a few late-20th-century concerns such as environmental correctness and racial equality. The tale begins after Tarzan (Caspar Van Dien) has returned to Edwardian England to take up his life as a lord and begin preparing for his wedding to Jane (Jane March). A week before the big day, he has a vision of destruction in his beloved jungle. Nigel Ravens (Steven Waddington), an explorer-scholar, has turned violent in his search for the lost city of Opar, the cradle of civilization. He and his henchmen are killing natives, setting fire to villages and decimating the jungle life. Tarzan abandons civilization and Jane, and heads for Africa. He soon puts a spanner in the explorer's works, but Ravens is too tough to let the white ape stop him. Then Jane arrives. The movie is mediocre, but it has plenty of action.

U.S. Catholic Conference rating: adults and adolescents

Loretta G. Seyer