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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Grandma
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015

 

Iris
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Release Date:
May 1, 2015

We Are Your Friends
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

 

Aloha
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

Z for Zachariah
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

 

Big Game
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Grandma

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some drug use
Release Date:
August 21, 2015
grade:
B-

We Are Your Friends

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Release Date:
August 28, 2015
grade:
B+

Z for Zachariah

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Release Date:
August 28, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Iris

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Release Date:
May 1, 2015
grade:
B

Aloha

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B

Big Game

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Release Date:
June 26, 2015

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Worst Accents in Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin Hood:

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Grandma

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some drug use
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2015

Copyright Sony 2015

Copyright Sony 2015

Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order to help her teenage granddaughter. She plays the aptly named Elle (French for “she”), a feminist poet. Her work is respected but that has not translated into financial stability. She has recently cut up her credit cards — and made a wind chime out of them.

As we first see her, she is dumping her much younger girlfriend, Olivia (Judy Greer). No “it’s not you; it’s me.” No, “I’ll always remember the good times.” No lyrical meditations on love and loss. Not even any arguments or accusations. Just “It’s over. Leave.”

And then Elle’s granddaughter arrives. Her name is Sage (Julia Garner), and she has a head of fuzzy, soft curls that make her look like a dandelion. She is young and vulnerable but determined. She needs help, and it is clear that she would not be there if she had any other option. She is scheduled to have an abortion that afternoon, but she needs $630. And so Grandma and Sage set off in Elle’s clunker of a car, making desperate visits to people who might be able to help them. So we see a series of encounters, sad, angry, poignant, romantic, score-settling, each impeccably performed by an outstanding cast of actors in small scenes with deepening impact. We learn more about Elle’s life, the wrenching loss she is still mourning, the kindness and unkindness she has shown, and the way she has and has not dealt with the consequences. Standouts include Nat Wolff (“Paper Towns”) as the father, Laverne Cox as a sympathetic tattoo artist, Marcia Gay Harden as Elle’s brisk businesswoman daughter, and Sam Elliott as Elle’s ex.

Writer/director Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”) has taken a story that could be a parody of the worst nightmares of Fox News fans and made it into a very human story of love, loss, and overcoming the fear of intimacy. It is about the families we create and the perfect love we must feel for imperfect people.

Parents should know that this film has very strong and crude language, drinking, drugs, teen pregnancy, and extended discussion of abortion.

Family discussion: Why does Elle break up with Olivia? Why don’t Elle and her daughter get along? Why is the film called “Grandma” and not “Elle” or “Elle and Sage?”

If you like this, try: “The Daytrippers”

We Are Your Friends

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Movie Release Date:August 28, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Movie Release Date: August 28, 2015

Copyright Warner Brothers 2015

Copyright Warner Brothers 2015


Director Max Joseph brings some of the “Catfish” sensibility to “We Are Your Friends,” with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline about people in their 20’s who have big dreams but not much understanding about how to achieve them or even about the nature of their relationships. Joseph is the quieter co-host of “Catfish,” the MTV series sequel to the film that added its name to the lexicon, meaning an online relationship with someone who is not as described or presented. In “We Are Your Friends” (named for the Justice vs. Simian song) four bros hang out together, trashing each other and everyone else, promoting parties, enjoying easy access to drugs and girls, and reassuring each other that fame and fortune lies ahead. They feel like besties, but it’s just inertia and a shared fear of moving forward. In reality, they are very different.

Cole (Zac Efron) is a talented DJ who knows how to combine “the rhythm of a caveman” with a kickin’ bass line to “get the crowd out of their heads and into their bodies.” His pals are hot-tempered Mason (Jonny Weston), low-key drug dealer and aspiring actor Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) and quiet but thoughtful Squirrel (Alex Shaffer of “Win Win”). They get jobs facilitating real estate deals (calling people in foreclosure) for a wealthy businessman (Jon Bernthal, all rough charm and menace in an excellent performance). And Cole meets James (Wes Bentley with Wolverine-style facial hair), a big shot DJ who has performed all over the world and who has a girlfriend/assistant named Sophie who looks like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, because she is played by Emily Ratajkowski, who is one. Ratajkowski was better in “Gone Girl.” Here she does more posing than acting.

There’s nothing wrong with a coming of age story about a young person with a strong creative drive who needs to learn to develop a singular voice, and Efron is, as always, an appealing actor. But too much of it seems borrowed from other films and the situations and settings (San Fernando Valley, aimless young men who party too much and wear their pants too low, the empty and foreclosed houses and predators who flip them) are washed out and played out. The big lesson for Cole is learning to develop a distinctive sound. But the scene where the scales fall from his eyes — or ears — so that he begins incorporating the sounds around him like that wacky carriage ride scene in “The Great Waltz” is just silly. It never persuades us that EDM is anything but derivative, mostly because the movie is, too.

Parents should know that this film has a lot of adult material including very strong language, crude sexual references and situations, nudity, drinking, smoking, extended drug use and drug dealing including marijuana, PCP, ecstasy, and cocaine, a fatal overdose, and a painful scene of foreclosure.

Family discussion: Why did Squirrel say the best part was before the evening began? What did James mean about the meaning of the word “irreparable?”

If you like this, try: “Magic Mike” and “Echo Park”

Z for Zachariah

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:August 28, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: August 28, 2015

In 1959, a movie called The World, The Flesh And The Devil imagined a post-apocalyptic world with three surviving humans. In the words of the 1960’s television series, “The Mod Squad,” they could be described as “one black, one white, one blond.” Harry Belafonte, Mel Ferrer, and Inger Stevens played characters who might be the last people on earth but who still carried with them the fears, angers, and prejudices of the civilization now destroyed.

Fifty-five years later, “Z for Zachariah” is another post-apocalyptic story about a black man, a white man, and a beautiful younger woman who may be the only survivors following a catastrophic, toxic event that has poisoned the whole world, except, perhaps, for a tiny, edenic farm that appears to be free from deadly radiation. And once again, human frailty creates conflict at the most fundamental level. The themes of the 1959 film reflected post-WWII concerns like the atomic bomb and racial bigotry. “Z for Zachariah,” based on the posthumously and pseudonymously published book.

Ann (Margo Robbie) lives on her family’s farm. She believes her family will return from their scouting expedition. And she believes that she and her dog and her farm were preserved by God. Periodically, she puts on protective gear to go into the deserted town and scavenge from the shelves of the stores. She grows food on the farm and visits the tiny church her father built to play the organ and worship.

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Then John (Chiwetel Ejiofor) arrives. He is also wearing protective gear (it turns out he was one of the engineers who designed it), but foolishly removes it to bathe in a pond that has been contaminated. Ann rescues him and nurses him through radiation poisoning.

They are very different. John is a man of science and rationality. He sees that he can create hydropower through the waterfall, but only if he can use the wood from the walls of the church. Ann believes the church is what has kept her alive; John believes repurposing the planks will enable them to establish a sustainable source of food for…well, with a man and a woman, perhaps there will be more people to feed at some point. In the old world, they would never have met, and if they had, they would have had little to say to one another. But they understanding, respect, and affection are beginning to grow, and the need for connection and comfort is near desperate in both of them. And then Caleb (Chris Pine) — a character not in the book — arrives. He has something John cannot have, a community and cultural connection to Ann. He is young and handsome.

Like director Craig Zobel’s last film, “Compliance,” this is also a tense story of three people in an enclosed, isolated space finding their most profound values tested. Even in the most extreme circumstances imaginable, humans still struggle with morality, trust, honesty, power, forgiveness, and love. It is deceptively understated and quietly compelling.

Parents should know that this film features a disturbing apocalyptic setting, discussion of cataclysmic events, sexual references and situations with partial nudity, brief strong language, homicide.

Family discussion: What do Ann and John have in common? What do Ann and Caleb have in common? What happened when John and Caleb were together? What will happen next?

If you like this, try: “The World, the Flesh, and the Devil” and “On the Beach”

Previous Posts

Worst Accents in Movies
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...

posted 2:13:18pm Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Grandma
Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order ...

posted 5:50:55pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

We Are Your Friends
Director Max Joseph brings some of the "Catfish" sensibility to "We Are Your Friends," with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline ...

posted 5:35:22pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Z for Zachariah
In 1959, a movie called The World, The Flesh And The Devil imagined a post-apocalyptic world with three surviving humans. In the words of the 1960's television series, "The Mod Squad," they could be described as "one black, one white, one ...

posted 5:31:48pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Being Evel
Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960's-70's, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to ...

posted 5:13:51pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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