Eight Below: PICK
Mother Teresa: PICK
The Princess Bride: PICK
Eight Below: Intense human and animal peril, fairly mild depictions of predation; fleeting mild crude language (could be troubling to very sensitive children). Mother Teresa: A potentially confusing religious remark (fine family viewing). The Princess Bride: Swashbuckling violence; a stylized torture scene; fleeting reference to suicide; a single instance of profanity (could be okay family viewing).
If Snow Dogs represents the conventional
Loosely inspired by a true story, Eight Below is a survival tale about a team of eight sled dogs stranded at an Antarctic research facility when a sudden blizzard prevents the humans from pulling the dogs out. The filmmakers are willing to let the story be a little rough-edged. Both humans and animals suffer injury and serious risk of death, and survival isn’t taken for granted. Still, this only goes so far. The dogs must eat, but the only quarry we see them hunt (with astonishing resourcefulness) is flocks of gulls. Dog lovers especially will enjoy Eight Below, and family audiences generally could do a lot worse.
Olivia Hussey gives an earnest,
focused performance as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in the reverential
Italian-made English-language production Mother
Teresa (new on DVD). Hussey (Jesus of
Nazareth’s Virgin Mary) credibly evokes the determination, simplicity and
idealistic faith of one of the 20th century’s most revered figures, from her
early growing absorption with the desperate condition of
At only 110 minutes, the U.S. DVD
edition is a whopping 40% shorter than the 180-minute original version screened
Though somewhat reflecting the Hallmark Channel in its approach, Mother Teresa is edifying viewing, and captures something of its subject’s dogged personality and devotion to serving Jesus in the poorest of the poor.
Newly rereleased in a pair of DVD special editions, The Princess Bride is one of those rare satiric gems, like The Court Jester and Galaxy Quest, that doesn’t just send up a genre but honors it at the same time, giving us the excitement and pleasure of the real thing as well as the laughs of a comedy.
Screenwriter William Goldman adapts his original novel, based on a story he created for his two daughters in response to competing requests for a story about either “princesses” or “brides.” The resulting tale, though, works just as well for romance-averse young boys, with the romance of farmboy-turned-swashbuckler Westley and princess-bride-to-be Buttercup more than supplemented by all manner of pirates, kidnapping, giants, life-or-death duels, screaming eels, fire swamps, rodents of unusual size and so on.