The Catholic News Service has established a 900 telephone number called the Preview Line. By dialing 1-900-PREVIEW (773-8439), you'll hear CNS reviews of recent movies and videos. The call costs $1.50 for the first minute and 75 cents for each additional minute.
Thomas N. Lorsung, director and editor in chief of CNS, says his organization is trying to reach a wider audience with its movie reviews, which have been running in Catholic newspapers across the country for years.
The movies reviewed (in about 100 words) carry MPAA ratings as well as traditional Catholic classifications: A-I is acceptable for "general patronage"; A-II for adults and teens; A-III for adults only; A-IV is acceptable for adults, but "with reservations"; and O means morally offensive.
"Home Alone," the top-grossing comedy meant for family viewing (it has a PG rating), got an A-II rating. The review said that "the laughter ebbs and wanes" but the "family message is heartwarming."
CNS tagged "Dances With Wolves" (PG-13) with an "A-III," saying its "sensitive treatment of Indians" compensates for "its excessive three-hour-plus length," "gory battlefield violence" and "minimal, restrained lovemaking."
Not surprisingly, the sexually explicit "Henry and June" (it got the first NC-17 rating, replacing the X) was labeled "O" and shrugged off as "dull and pretentious."