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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
Release Date:
July 11, 2014

 

The Time Machine
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
NR
Release Date:
1960

Life Itself
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Release Date:
July 4, 2014

 

A Hard Day's Night
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
1964

Snowpiercer
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for violence, language and drug content
Release Date:
July 2, 2014

 

Non-Stop
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Release Date:
February 28, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

posted by Nell Minow

dawnoftheplanetoftheapesceasarAll hail Ceasar!

The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out almost all human life. The assorted apes, led by Caesar, have asserted their primacy over other animals. In the opening scene, we see them hunting with spears they have crafted, killing a bear, and riding on horses. They live in homes they have constructed from logs, communicate — mostly via sign language — teach their children the alphabet in school, and have an organized society, with Caesar as their leader. They demonstrate loyalty and tenderness.  They adorn themselves; Caesar’s mate wears a small crown.

Ceasar is played by the brilliant motion-capture actor/artist Andy Serkis and the CGI work of the geniuses at Weta Digital.  The seamless integration of the CGI characters and the human characters and the subtlety of the apes’ eyes and facial expressions brings us straight into the story, underscored by the immersive 3D.  It is dramatic, not stuntish, with the possible exception of some spear-throwing toward the screen.

The film recalls old-school cowboys-and-Indians westerns, with the apes riding into battle on horses and the humans and their armory holed up in the ruins of San Francisco like it is Fort Apache.  Then the apes get the guns, and everything escalates fast.  The film wisely gives both groups of primates a range of characters, some wise and trustworthy, some bigoted and angry.  Both species have to learn that respect has to be based on character and actions, not on genetics.  The division is not between man and ape but between those who can envision a future with cooperation and trust and those who cannot.

There are some thoughtful details.  The destroyed city tells the story of a decade of unthinkable loss and also of great courage.  A dropped sketchbook conveys information that in a world without mass communications is revelatory.  A long-unheard CD plays The Band and we see the humans react, thinking of where they were the last time they heard it and what the access to electricity could mean for them now.  The humans have the advantage of knowing how to create and use power; they also have the disadvantage of needing it.

In the midst of the battle, there is a quiet moment when a small mixed group hides out together in a location with a lot of resonance from the previous film.  It lends a solemnity to the story, even a majesty, that gives it weight.  Even those who seem from our perspective to be making decisions that are disastrously wrong do so for reasons we can understand.  The action is compelling but it is the ideas behind them that hold us.

Parents should know that this film includes constant peril and violence, post-apocalyptic themes and images, many characters injured and killed, guns, fire, drinking, smoking, and some strong language.

Family discussion: Why were there so many different opinions within both the ape and the human communities? How did they choose their governing structure? Why didn’t Carver want to listen to Ellie’s explanation of the source of the virus?

If you like this, try: the original “Apes” movies to compare not just the stories but the technology used by the filmmakers

Museum Exhibit Explores Illinois Film Censorship Bureau

posted by Nell Minow

Illinois’ Lisle Station Museum has an exhibit about the little-known and less-remembered history of film censorship in Chicago under the direction of what was originally called the Police Censor Board, formed in 1907, the first such oversight organization in the country. It remained in force until 1984, though of course its work had long since been superseded by first the Hays code and then the MPAA.

Titled “Banned in Chicago: Eight Decades of Film Censorship in the Windy City,” it examines the history behind film censorship in Chicago and provides a glimpse into the types of films that were being censored and a broader look at the implications of censorship throughout America.

The Chicago Tribune wrote:

Though this gathering, vividly illustrated with documents and photos and embellished by clear writing, is based on serious academic research, it is wildly, somewhat weirdly and even comically entertaining.

For each film viewed, the board members would fill out censor cards, detailing their complaints. The card regarding the movie “Woodstock” in 1972, for instance, contains notations such as a “hippie cult song festival,” “nudity, free sex and pot smoking.” Efforts to ban that film were unsuccessful.

Not so “Scarface.” That 1932 film, generally regarded as the first gangster movie, starring Paul Muni and written by former Chicago newspaperman Ben Hecht, never did play at any Chicago movie house when it was first released. Such was the clout of the board for a time.

It will be on display through August 16, 2014.

Emmy Nominations: Looks a Lot Like Last Year

posted by Nell Minow

The Emmy nominations are in!  And they look a lot like last year.

Reliable favorites like “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” garnered a lot of nods.  But once again the Academy overlooked Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black,” whose multiple characters should earn her a handful of Best Actress nominations.  And of course Jon Hamm deserves a nomination, but what about Elisabeth Moss?  I agree with New York Magazine that Peggy is the star of the show.

It was good to see outstanding new series like “Silicon Valley,” “True Detective,” and “Cosmos” included, and I was especially glad to see Martin Freeman nominated for two different series, “Fargo” and “Sherlock” and Lizzy Kaplan for “Masters of Sex.”

I was sorry to see “The Americans” and “The Good Wife” were overlooked.  I suppose the bad news there is also the good news.  While no broadcast drama from the three major commercial networks was nominated, that just means that the new media outlets are giving the old school some serious competition.  Go, “Orange is the New Black!”

The nominees are:

Drama series
Breaking Bad, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
Game of Thrones, HBO
House of Cards, Netflix
Mad Men, AMC
True Detective, HBO

Comedy series
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Louie, FX
Modern Family, ABC
Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Silicon Valley, HBO
Veep, HBO

Actor, drama series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (HBO)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
Woody Harrelson, True Detective (HBO)
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective (HBO)
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix)

Actress, drama series
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS)
Kerry Washington, Scandal (ABC)
Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Actor, comedy series
Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)
Ricky Gervais, Derek (Netflix)
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)
William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime)
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Actress, comedy series
Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO)
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly (CBS)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

Supporting actor, drama series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime)
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Josh Charles, The Good Wife (CBS)

Supporting actress, drama series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men (AMC)
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS)

Supporting actor, comedy series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Adam Driver, Girls (HBO)
Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family (ABC)
Fred Armisen, Portlandia (IFC)
Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)

Supporting actress, comedy
Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Anna Chlumsky, Veep (HBO)

Actor, miniseries or movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge (Starz)
Idris Elba, Luther (BBC America)
Martin Freeman, Fargo (FX)
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart (HBO)
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo (FX)

Actress, miniseries or movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor (BBC America)
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero (Lifetime)
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)
Kristen Wiig, Spoils of Babylon (IFC)

Variety 
The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
The Daily Show, Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC
Saturday Night Live, NBC
Real Time With Bill Maher, HBO
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBC

Reality competition 
The Amazing Race, CBS
Dancing With the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Lifetime
So You Think You Can Dance, Fox
Top Chef, Bravo
The Voice, NBC

Reality host
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC)
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night (NBC)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway (Lifetime)
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste (ABC)

Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven, FX
Fargo, FX
Luther, BBC America
Bonnie & Clyde, A&E
Treme, HBO
The White Queen, Starz

Movie
Killing Kennedy, National Geographic Channel
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, HBO
The Normal Heart, HBO
Sherlock: His Last Vow, PBS
Trip to Bountiful, Lifetime

Guest actor, drama series
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey (PBS)
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards (Netflix)
Robert Morse, Mad Men (AMC)
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Joe Morton, Scandal (ABC)
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife (CBS)

Guest actress, drama series
Dianna Rigg, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Kate Mara, House of Cards (Netflix)
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Kate Burton, Scandal (ABC)
Margo Martindale, The Americans (FX)
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom (HBO)

Guest actor, comedy series
Nathan Lane, Modern Family (ABC)
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia (IFC)
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Gary Cole, Veep (HBO)

Guest actress, comedy series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Joan Cusack, Shameless (Showtime)

Animated program
Archer, FX
Bob’s Burgers, Fox
Futurama, Comedy Central
South Park, Comedy Central
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project, Nickelodeon

Trailer: Kevin Kline Plays Errol Flynn in “The Last of Robin Hood”

posted by Nell Minow

Errol Flynn became one of the greatest movie stars of all time, specializing in swashbucklers like “Captain Blood” and “The AdveBeverly Aadland and Errol Flynn pose in costume for a skit they performed on the “The Red Skelton Show” that aired on Sept. 29, 1959, two weeks before Flynn’s death. Photo by The Associated Press.ntures of Robin Hood.”  No one was better than Flynn at playing the dashing, gallant hero.

But the Tasmanian actor became almost as legendary for his off-screen debauchery as for his on-screen triumphs. Peter O’Toole plays a faded movie star who has had too many drinks and too many women, based on Flynn, in the delightful comedy, “My Favorite Year.”

In “The Last of Robin Hood,” Kevin Kline plays Flynn who, in the last year of his life, fell in love with a teenager named Beverly Aadland (he did not know she was underage).  Flynn put Aadland into his final film, “Cuban Rebel Girls.”

They were traveling together in Canada when he died.  Dakota Fanning plays Aadland, and Susan Sarandon plays her mother, who was accused of being unfit for allowing her then-15-year-old daughter to be romanced by Flynn.

YouTube Preview Image

 

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Previous Posts

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
All hail Ceasar! The intelligence-enhanced ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes center stage in this sequel, which begins ten years after the last film. The virus we saw infecting the human population has now wiped out almost all human life. The assorted apes, led by Caesar, have asserte

posted 6:00:03pm Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Museum Exhibit Explores Illinois Film Censorship Bureau
Illinois' Lisle Station Museum has an exhibit about the little-known and less-remembered history of film censorship in Chicago under the direction of what was originally called the Police Censor Board, formed in 1907, the first such oversight organization in the country. It remained in force until

posted 2:25:17pm Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Emmy Nominations: Looks a Lot Like Last Year
The Emmy nominations are in!  And they look a lot like last year. Reliable favorites like "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" garnered a lot of nods.  But once again the Academy overlooked Tatiana Maslany of "Orphan Black," whose multiple characters should earn her a handful of Best Actress nominat

posted 12:15:21pm Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Kevin Kline Plays Errol Flynn in "The Last of Robin Hood"
Errol Flynn became one of the greatest movie stars of all time, specializing in swashbucklers like "Captain Blood" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood."  No one was better than Flynn at playing the dashing, gallant hero. But the Tasmanian actor became almost as legendary for his off-screen debauch

posted 8:00:20am Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

If You're a Big Bang Theory Fan, You Have to Watch this "Blossom" Clip!
A very special episode indeed!  Tonight, on the Hub Network, you can see a very young Mayim Bialik and Johnny Galecki in their pre-"Big Bang Theory" days, on "Blossom." [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/l7k2aAL8gZc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]

posted 7:32:11pm Jul. 09, 2014 | read full post »


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