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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

A Walk in the Woods
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual references
Release Date:
September 2, 2015

 

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

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

 

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

 

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+

A Walk in the Woods

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and some sexual references
Release Date:
September 2, 2015
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

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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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What Screen Time Does to Developing Brains

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright Stylus 2014

Copyright Stylus 2014

As kids go back to school, it’s a good time to establish some rules about screen time.  My recommended rules are below. This is increasingly important as kids are surrounded by screens everywhere — and by adults who themselves have a problem staying away from their own phones and tablets. Psychology Today has a sobering article on the impact of electronic media on kids, making them “angry, depressed, and unmotivated” and causing attention problems. The author, Victoria Dunkley, explores these issues in more depth in her book, Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time.

The Movie Mom’s recommended rules for families:

  • Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. The spirit is nourished by silence. All too often, we try to drown out our unsettled or lonely feelings in noise, instead of allowing them to resolve themselves. Just as important, the best and most meaningful family communication flourishes only in quiet.Plan with your child what he or she is going to watch. You might say something like, “We should have time for one hour of television today” or “Let’s pick something to watch on Sunday afternoon.” Then look at choices together or look through a movie guide to see the options and pick which ones you think are worthwhile. Try to avoid the “let’s see if there’s anything to watch” channel surf, which has a tendency to be numbing rather than engaging or relaxing. Distract the kids with crayons, books, or toys; not screens and digital media. Children spend more time with television and other media than they do in school or with their families — a full workweek of 35 hours a week or more. Most educators think that anything over two hours at that age takes too much time away from the important “work” of playing, learning to interact with others, learning to amuse themselves, and developing their imaginations.
  • Turn the devices off when the program is over, unless there is something else you planned to watch on next. This discourages the idea that we “watch screens” instead of watching particular programs.
  • Watch with the kids whenever possible, and comment on what you see. Encourage them to comment, too. “What do you think he will do next?” “She looks sad. I think they hurt her feelings.” “He’s having a hard time feeling good about himself, isn’t he?” “If you were that kid, what would you do?” “If someone said that to you, how would you feel?”
  • Look for positive role models for girls. Children’s shows produced for commercial networks tend to ignore girls. Producers are asked for shows with “boy appeal,” because the numbers show that girls will watch shows produced for boys, but boys won’t watch shows produced for girls. There is a lot of what I call “the Smurfette syndrome,” a reference to the cartoon show that features 99 highly varied male characters and one girl character, whose sole and defining characteristic was that she was a female. Whether you have daughters or sons, help them to be sensitive to these concerns, asking questions like, “Do you think it’s fair that there are no girls on that team?” “How come only the boys get to go on that adventure?” and commenting positively on good female role models: “She’s brave!” “That’s what I call persistence!”
  • Be alert for issues of race, religion, ethnicity, and class. The media tends to feature Dick and Jane, Ozzie and Harriet suburban families, where Dad works and Mom stays home and does housework and everyone is white and vaguely Christian. Non-whites are often portrayed condescendingly or stereotypically. Make sure your children know that there are many different kinds of families, races, and religions, and many different kinds of homes. Make an effort to be sure they see diverse families in what they watch.
  • Set a good example. Don’t let the kids see you veg out in front of devices, aimlessly surfing. Don’t tell them not to talk to you so you can watch some sitcom. Do let them see you reading, and enjoying what you read.
  • Don’t ever let anyone — parent, grandparent, sibling or friend — tell a child that a program or movie he or she wants to watch is “too babyish.” Respect children’s interest and affection for the shows they like, and their need to return to old comforts.
  • Make sure that children understand the difference between programs and commercials. Saturday morning cartoon commercials are particularly troublesome, with a sort of hip-hop precocity that shows grade-school kids acting like hyperactive mini-teenagers.
  • If you find that you have made a mistake and taken your children to a film that you find inappropriate, leave the theater. You can get your money back. And you communicate an important lesson to your children about your commitment to protecting them. The same is true, of course, for any media brought into the home.
  • Do not be shy about setting television limits with babysitters, friends’ parents, or grandparents. Never leave your children with anyone without being clear about your rules.
  • Be careful with tie-ins, especially cartoons based on movie characters. Just because a Saturday morning cartoon like “Spider-Man” or some fast food gizmo is geared for children does not mean that the associated movie is appropriate for them as well.
  • Use movies as a starting point for developing interests. Go to the library to check out a book or video relating to what you have seen. Read the newspaper for stories relating to what you have seen. Make a craft project inspired by the show. (“Can you draw Mickey carrying the buckets of water?” “Let’s try to find where Indiana Jones went on a map.”)
  • When in doubt, turn it off. Remember that there is no reason to watch any device unless you genuinely feel it is the best use of your child’s time.
  • Every month or so, try a “screen diet” day without any devices at all, and use the extra time for special family activities.
  • When an older sibling is watching media that is not appropriate for a younger child, make sure the younger child has an appealing alternative. It’s a good time for you to do something special together, even if it is just sorting laundry or setting the table.
  • Establish strict limits on viewing, but try not to use limits as a punishment, unless the offense relates to media itself (watching without permission, for example) or time management (“If you don’t finish cleaning up by 3:00, you won’t have time to watch the movie.”) This reinforces the message that we make decisions about media based only on the merits of the shows.
  • Let them know why you like (or don’t like) particular shows. Try not to say that something is “too old” for them, as this will just make them more interested in seeing what it is about. Sometimes it works better to say (truthfully) that it is “too stupid.” Compare it to food; some shows are like healthful food, some are like candy, some are like poison. Model good media behavior yourself. Don’t keep it on as background noise. Don’t watch anything you don’t want them to see if they are around (you’d be amazed — and appalled — at what a three-year-old can pick up).
  • No devices in a child’s bedroom, unless he or she is sick in bed. It is not only isolating, but it makes establishing limits impossible.
  • Never, never, never have media on during family meals. That is your most precious time to share the day’s experiences, challenges, and thoughts, and to let children know how important they are to you. The same goes for rides in the car, minivan, or RV.
  • Watch what you enjoy and enjoy what you watch together. Make these among your most precious family connections and memories.

In Theaters For One Night Only: How to Change the World

posted by Nell Minow
Greenpeace activists protest at the stern of whaling factory ship. (Greenpeace Witness book page 48-49)  (Greenpeace Changing the World page 11 similar photo)

Greenpeace activists protest at the stern of whaling factory ship. (Greenpeace Witness book page 48-49) (Greenpeace Changing the World page 11 similar photo)

How to Change the World, the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary, comes to select U.S. theaters this September 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. local time, presented by Fathom Events and Picturehouse Entertainment. The documentary looks at the very early days of the modern eco-movement. Using never-before-seen footage, it tells the gripping story of a courageous group of men and women, led by Robert Hunter, who set out to change the world and in the process sparked a revolution.

The event will include an exclusive live Q&A from the London premiere event hosted by respected broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup. The panel will feature legendary fashion designer and longstanding Greenpeace supporter Vivienne Westwood, director Jerry Rothwell, Hunter’s daughter Emily Hunter and other special guests to be announced.

A Walk in the Woods

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual references
Movie Release Date:September 2, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual references
Movie Release Date: September 2, 2015

Copyright 2015 Route One Films

Copyright 2015 Route One Films

It isn’t getting to that point where you most often see your friends at funerals. It isn’t feeling stale because instead of promoting a new book, he’s going on some chirpy morning show to promote a reissue of his old ones. Though both of those things are true. But Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) has a different reason for wanting to try one of the longest hikes in the world, the Appalachian Trail. He quotes the pioneering conservationist John Muir, the man who inspired the National Parks system and urged the preservation of the Grand Canyon. Muir said sometimes you just have to “throw some tea and bread into an old sack and jump over the back fence.” And it is just past Bryson’s own back fence that the AT beckoned.

If mortality was bearing down a bit hard, that just meant more “now or never” urgency. The fact that the lead actors are three decades older than Bryson was when he took the walk that led to his book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, vastly overshadows the clutter from the superficial other issues raised by the script, often half-heartedly. Will Bryson write again? Will he re-adjust to living in the US after years abroad? Will he recover his mojo? Where is he from? Will he make it to the end of the trail alive and without inflicting some serious and possibly lethal damage on his traveling companion?

Bryson is, as the movie begins, back in the US and feeling unmoored. He decides to hike the private, non-profit, volunteer-managed Appalachian Trail, stretching more than 2000 miles from Maine to Georgia. His wife (Emma Thompson, bringing her luminous intelligence to an underwritten wife-y role) insists that he cannot go alone. Everyone he knows turns him down. And then he gets a call from his old high school friend in Des Moines, Katz (Nick Nolte, a marvel of shambling decay with a voice more growl than verbal), volunteering to come along. These guys are not exactly up to jumping over the back fence. But the longest journey begins with a single step, and so off they go.

No big surprises ahead — encounters with quirky people along the way (Kristen Schaal is a stand-out as a loony solo hiker and Mary Steenburgen is a welcome presence as always as the owner of a hotel along the trail), spectacular scenery, some historical and conservationist information, some highs and lows in the terrain, the temperature, and the reconnecting of the old friends. But it is a pleasure to see these two old pros swing for the fences one more time.

Parents should know that this movie has some very strong and vulgar language with very crude sexual references. Characters drink and discuss substance abuse.

Family discussion: How would you describe the friendship between Katz and Bryson? What adventure do you want to take and who would you take with you?

If you like this, try: the book by Bill Bryson and other walking movies like “Wild” and “Tracks” and more great books about treks like A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

AJ Hakari, Mack Bates, Betty Jo Tucker and I Talk About the Fall Movies 2015

posted by Nell Minow
Previous Posts

What Screen Time Does to Developing Brains
As kids go back to school, it's a good time to establish some rules about screen time.  My recommended rules are below. This is increasingly ...

posted 3:55:33pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

In Theaters For One Night Only: How to Change the World
How to ...

posted 3:54:25pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

A Walk in the Woods
It isn't getting to that point where you most often see your friends at funerals. It isn't feeling stale because instead of promoting a new ...

posted 5:50:12pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

AJ Hakari, Mack Bates, Betty Jo Tucker and I Talk About the Fall Movies 2015
[iframe width="400" height="370" src="http://player.cinchcast.com/?platformId=1&assetType=single&assetId=7879147" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 5:09:27pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Opening This Month: September 2015
Happy September! Fall is when we see fewer sequels, superheroes and shootouts, more dramas based on real stories or best-selling books. Here's what we have to look forward to this month: September 2 A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson's book ...

posted 3:24:52pm Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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