Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

A Will for the Woods
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Release Date:
May 2, 2014

The Expendables 3
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

 

Bears
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
G
Release Date:
April 19, 2014

Let's Be Cops
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use
Release Date:
August 15, 2014

 

Need for Speed
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Release Date:
March 14, 2014

Frank: The Real Story of the Singer With the Paper-Mache Mask

posted by Nell Minow

One of the handsomest men alive spends almost the entire movie wearing a huge round paper maché head in “Frank,” a moving film inspired by the real-life story of the late Frank Sidebottom.  Michael Fassbender plays Frank, a sweet-natured but very quirky musician who wears his big head mask even in the shower.

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The film is co-written by journalist Jon Ronson, based on his own experiences playing keyboards for Frank Sidebottom, the stage name/head of the late Chris Sievey.

There was something fantastically warped about the act, which was four men assiduously emulating and fleshing out with real instruments the swing-beat chord sound of a cheap children’s Casio keyboard, with a living, slightly eerie cartoon character prancing around at the front, singing in a nasal Mancunian twang, as if he had a swimming peg attached to his nose. Each song ended with the same words: “You know it is, it really is, thank you.”

In those days, the identity of the man under the head was the subject of great speculation. On many occasions, Sidebottom fans would barge into the dressing room before a show and refuse to leave until the real Frank revealed himself. They’d go around the room: “It’s you, isn’t it? No. You’re Frank, aren’t you?” On most occasions, the only person they wouldn’t bother asking was the unassuming Chris [Sievey], who blended into the wall.

The New York Times writes that the film version of Frank includes attributes of several quirky performers.

Thanks to the head, “Frank” the film functions as a biopic mash-up of multiple artists. “We spent a lot of time together hammering out how this hidden character could contain almost any number of influences and traits,” said the director, Lenny Abrahamson. “And as we went on, it became clear that the most exciting thing for us would be to make him stand for and refract lots of these outsider musicians.”

And so Frank is the eccentric Syd Barrett. Frank is Lee (Scratch) Perry. Frank is Brian Wilson. Frank is Roky Erickson. The deeply troubled but beloved Austin, Tex., singer songwriter Daniel Johnston is under that head as well. And when the fictional band decamps to a remote home in the countryside, “That’s a riff on Captain Beefheart’s recording of ‘Trout Mask Replica,’ ” Mr. Abrahamson said, referring to the 1969 classic.

Eliminating the burden of fact freed the filmmakers to explore the madness involved in creating art itself rather than the minutiae of one particular artist. It’s at heart a slapstick comedy, albeit one about extremely messed-up souls. “You’re just going to have to go with this,” a band mate played by Scoot McNairy explains to the fictional Ronson.

Here’s Frank Sidebottom performing Queen covers.

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The real Sievey’s best-known song was with his earlier group, The Freshies.

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What’s Up With My Family? — App Helps Middle Schoolers Navigate Life

posted by Nell Minow

Middle School Confidential™ 3: What’s Up with My Family? is a new IOS app, the next installment of the series for tweens and teens. The third edition continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group of friends in middle school—who are realizing that growing up often means changes at home. What’s Up with My Family? follows the gang as they each work through some difficult family situations and learn to appreciate the people they live with… even siblings!

What’s Up with My Family? is based on Book 3 of the award-winning Middle School Confidential series from Annie Fox, illustrated by Harvey Award-winner Matt Kindt. Designed for 8–14-year-olds, the app gives readers a look at how their peers handle family rules, resolve conflicts, and deal with common challenges of wanting more independence and more freedom to make their own choices. What’s Up with My Family? puts decision-making power into the hands of readers, with eight interactive quizzes that let them choose how they would handle different family situations.

What’s Up with My Family? is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) through the iTunes App Store for $2.99 USD in the Book Apps category. The app will soon be available for Android tablets and phones, including Kindle and NOOK. For more information about the series, visit www.MiddleSchoolConfidential.com where you can download the app icon and hi-res screenshots.

The Simpsons Binge Watch: Every Episode Plus the Movie

posted by Nell Minow

Get your food delivery menus ready.  Unplug your phone.  All 552 Simpsons episodes will be broadcast in order, starting tomorrow. They include scenes cut in syndication that have not been on television since the original broadcast. And of course they include some remarkably prescient moments that predicted the future so accurately we can only watch again to guess what other developments in the series are still ahead of us.

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The new season starts September 28.

Interview: Bo Svenson

posted by Nell Minow

Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation.

Copyright 2014 Bo Svenson

Copyright 2014 Bo Svenson

Svenson was born in Sweden. His family emigrated to the United States and he joined the U.S Marines when he was 17. Honorably discharged after six years of service, he was in pursuit of a Ph.D. in metaphysics when he was ‘discovered’ by Hollywood. He has starred in over sixty motion pictures, including Delta Force, North Dallas Forty, and Inglourious Basterds, and several hundred hours of U.S. network television, including the Walking Tall TV series.

He has competed in world championships, Olympic trials, and/or international competition, in judo, ice hockey, yachting, and track-and-field. He holds black belts in judo, karate, and aikido, and he is a licensed NASCAR driver.  He was honored by the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

In 1961, when he was a U.S. Marine, he earned his first degree black belt in judo at the cradle of judo, the Kodokan in Tokyo.  A year later he heard about a red-haired Jewish American woman from Brooklyn training at the Kodokan (at a time when no women were allowed).  She was Rusty Kanokogi, nee Rena Glickman.  “She took the name from a neighbor’s dog that she truly loved,” Svenson told me.  “After the dog was killed by a car, she wanted the dog’s name to go on, to be embodied, somehow.”  After her death in 2009, Svenson got the rights to tell her story.  He has written and is about to direct a film about Rusty Kanokogi, called “Don’t Call Me Sir.”

Kayla HarrisonIt is a remarkable story.  In 1959, when she was a single mother, Rusty Kanokogi disguised herself as a man in order to compete in the New York State YMCA Judo Championship.  She beat the reigning champion and won the tournament.  While on the podium after having received her medal she was asked if she was a girl.  She admitted that she was.

They took the medal back.

Rusty Kanokogi vowed to change how women were treated in sports.  She got women’s judo accepted as a competitive sport and an Olympic event.  Kayla Harrison will portray Rusty.  She is the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in judo, the first American, man or woman to be Olympic champion in the event that Rusty created.

“There’s not much difference between martial arts and learning how to type, from my perspective,” Svenson told me.  “It’s repetition.  Once you get beyond the mechanics of it, it is personalized by who you are, your being.  Eventually it’s an issue of the person, the person’s ability, focus, needs.  There are people in this world who don’t have a need to conquer someone else.  I don’t have a need to beat someone in competition.  I enjoyed the competition.  I didn’t care if I won or lost.  That outlook becomes a problem if you want to stand on top of the podium.  I enjoyed the people.”

“A hero is someone who does something at great personal sacrifice for mankind,” he said.  “Rusty certainly did.  She worked hard for years to get women’s judo to be a competitive sport and an Olympic event.  She fought against gender and ethnic bias.  She was Jewish and she was a girl and she didn’t feel that either should stand in the way of whatever she was capable of.  She set out to right the wrong across the board, and she did.”

Svenson wrote the screenplay.  He said that when he was supporting himself as an actor to pay his tuition in the PhD program in metaphysics at USC, one of the most important things he learned was that “art is a word that is derived from the first three letters of the word ‘artificial.’  The greater the art, the less noticeable the artificiality.  When it comes to my writing — to everything, really — I am attracted to authenticity, to that which is least contrived.”

He told me that judo is the world’s second most popular sport, with more than 50 million people participating internationally.  He resisted the pressure from Hollywood to put a “name” actress in the story to cast someone who was a judo champion like the woman she is portraying.  “I abhor deceit of any kind.  Kayla Harrison is the most extraordinary young lady.  She has been confronted with challenges that would break any other person.  She is fabulous and I know she will be fabulous as Rusty in the movie.  After all the dumb movies I’ve been in, I’m thrilled to be part of something that has heart, soul, authenticity.  It is about something.  People who see it will have experienced something.  They will be better off than they were before it began.  It is a wonderful, wonderful journey to be on.”

Previous Posts

Frank: The Real Story of the Singer With the Paper-Mache Mask
One of the handsomest men alive spends almost the entire movie wearing a huge round paper maché head in "Frank," a moving film inspired by the real-life story of the late Frank Sidebottom.  Michael Fassbender plays Frank, a sweet-natured but very quirky musician who wears his big head mask even in

posted 9:10:16am Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

What's Up With My Family? -- App Helps Middle Schoolers Navigate Life
Middle School Confidential™ 3: What’s Up with My Family? is a new IOS app, the next installment of the series for tweens and teens. The third edition continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group of friends in middle school—who are realizing that growi

posted 3:59:49pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

The Simpsons Binge Watch: Every Episode Plus the Movie
Get your food delivery menus ready.  Unplug your phone.  All 552 Simpsons episodes will be broadcast in order, starting tomorrow. They include scenes cut in syndication that have not been on television since the original broadcast. And of course they include some remarkably prescient moments tha

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Bo Svenson
Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Tribute: Don Pardo
Don Pardo's face was not familiar.  But his voice was instantly recognizable.  We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96. The cast of "Saturday Night Live," where he served as announcer from the beginning, celebrated his 90th birthday.

posted 12:44:03pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »


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