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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Transporter Refueled
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence & action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference & thematic elements
Release Date:
September 4, 2015

 

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

Learning to Drive
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 4, 2015

 

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

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

 

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:
C-

The Transporter Refueled

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence & action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference & thematic elements
Release Date:
September 4, 2015
grade:
B+

Learning to Drive

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language and sexual content
Release Date:
September 4, 2015
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

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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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Trailer: The Lobster, an Offbeat Sci-Fi Romance with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz

posted by Nell Minow
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This is the most intriguing trailer I’ve seen in ages — a love story set in a world where everyone must be romantically paired and if they don’t get together fast enough they turn into animals.

The Transporter Refueled

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright Relativity Europacorp 2015

Copyright Relativity Europacorp 2015

It must be said. The refueled “Transporter” is very low octane. The original had some of the best chase scenes ever filmed and a star-making performance from Jason Statham. This reboot casts newcomer Ed Skrein who is the lower-priced spread to Statham’s artisanal butter. Skrein has bright blue eyes, cheekbones to die for, cute crooked teeth, and he looks great in a suit, especially when he is taking on a group of thugs all by himself. But neither he nor the storyline are enough to make any of the chases, explosions, or shoot-outs mean enough to hold our attention.

Same character: Frank. Same job: transporting. Same mad skills as a driver and in MMA-style fights. Same commitment to “plausible deniability,” so all clients must play by the rules. No names. No information about what’s in the packages or why they need a ride. No changing the deal after it’s been agreed on.

Frank agrees to transport a woman and two packages. But she changes the deal. She comes out of a bank with two other women, all identically dressed with blond Sia wigs on. Frank refuses to take them until they show him that they have kidnapped his father, played by Ray Stevenson, by far the best thing in the movie, as an unflappably urbane former spy who seems to enjoy everything that happens, from being kidnapped to MacGyver-ing an impromptu spot of bullet removal surgery with sugar and cobwebs. The next day, she’s up and around as though nothing had happened. Don’t try this at home, children. Really.

It would be more fun to watch a highlight reel of chases and stunts from the three previous films than this dull and surprisingly sour film, too lightweight to be referred to as a story and too ugly to be entertaining. A film like this has to have a bad guy who is despicable enough that we want him vanquished but not so nasty that it makes us start thinking too hard about questions like logic and why the police just abandon the chase whenever it is convenient. There are a couple of extra bad guys in this we barely learn enough to make us to pay attention to. If Luc Besson insists on making another one of these, let’s hope it’s “The Transporter’s Father” instead.

Parents should know that this film has constant chases and fight scenes, many characters injured and killed, some disturbing images including graphic wounds, brief strong language, sexual references and situations including prostitution, drinking, and smoking.

Family discussion: Why are Frank’s rules so important? How are Frank and his father different?

If you like this, try: the first “Transporter” movie

Learning to Drive

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date:September 4, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and sexual content
Movie Release Date: September 4, 2015
Copyright 2015 Broad Green Pictures

Copyright 2015 Broad Green Pictures

Katha Pollitt’s wry but bordering on scathing essay about taking her first driving lessons in her 50’s, after her partner of seven years left her for another woman has been turned into a softened but still trenchant film. Patricia Clarkson plays Wendy, a less ethnic and more friendly-sounding name than Katha, and perhaps a reference to the “Peter Pan” character who had an adventure and then returned home to grow up.

Wendy is a New York intellectual who writes book reviews and appears on NPR. We first see her devastated and furious because her husband, Ted (Jake Weber), has taken her to dinner so that he can tell her in a public place that he is leaving her for another woman after 21 years of marriage. Their cab driver, a turbaned Sikh named Darwan (Sir Ben Kingsley) pretends not to hear as he takes them home, or rather takes Wendy home. Ted is not going back there anymore. When she realizes that a divorce will mean they have to sell their home, it is as painful for her as the end of the marriage. “It’s like asking me to move out of me.”

Later, Darwan realizes that Wendy has left an envelope in his cab. He returns it to her, and when she sees that he has a second job as a driving instructor, she impulsively hires him to teach her to drive. She has never had to learn; she lives in Manhattan and her husband drives. But their daughter (Grace Gummer) is living on a farm, and if Wendy wants to visit her, she will have to get a driver’s license and a car.

At first, Wendy assumes that Ted will come back. But, as Darwan tells her, she has to learn to be more attentive to what is going on around her. “Teach yourself to see everything.” He also cautions her to be mistrustful of other drivers. She begins to realize that this applies to her life as well as to driving. Meanwhile, Darwan struggles with his nephew, illegally in the US and living with him, and with his sister, back in India, who is trying to arrange a marriage for him. As Wendy’s marriage is dissolving, Darwan is agreeing to marry someone he has never met, Jasleen (Sarita Choudhury).

Beautiful performances by everyone, especially Clarkson and Choudhury, give this story a luminous glow and touches throughout remind us that this is a story told by women. Director Isabel Coixet (do not miss her exquisite “My Life Without Me”) and screenwriter Sarah Kernochan are wise about the connections women make with one another and how they talk about the men in their lives. That applies to Jasleen as well as Wendy. This is more than a story of a woman learning to pay attention and to “taste” a parking space; it is a story of Darwan and Jasleen as well, who have their own challenges of seeing and tasting.

Parents should know that this film includes very strong and crude language, sexual references and explicit conversations, and brief nudity.

Family discussion: What did Wendy learn about “tasting” and paying attention that helped her beyond the driving lessons? Why did she tell her daughter to go back to the farm? What will happen with Darwan and Jasleen?

If you like this, try: “An Unmarried Woman,” “84 Charing Cross Road,” and “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Tribute: Dean Jones

posted by Nell Minow

When the sad news came about the death of actor Dean Jones, those who remembered him most fondly mostly fell into two separate groups with not much overlap. Many baby boomers remembered him as the eternally fresh-faced star of Disney films like “The Love Bug” and “The Shaggy DA.” And Broadway musical fans remembered him as originating the central figure in the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical “Company.”
YouTube Preview Image

The “hippies” in this clip seem more of a fantasy than the magic car.

Here he is with Dorothy Provine and Hayley Mills in the original “That Darn Cat.”

YouTube Preview Image

Jones appeared in “Company” briefly, but his performance on the cast album is considered a classic.

YouTube Preview Image

He appeared in “Jailhouse Rock” with Elvis Presley and with Jane Fonda in “Any Wednesday.”

He was a committed Christian whose Christian Rescue Fund protects persecuted Christians and Jews.

May his memory be a blessing.

Previous Posts

Trailer: The Lobster, an Offbeat Sci-Fi Romance with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpt0tn1-54k[/youtube] This is the most intriguing trailer I've seen in ages -- a love story set in a world where everyone must be romantically paired and if they don't get together fast enough they ...

posted 8:16:04am Sep. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Transporter Refueled
It must be said. The refueled "Transporter" is very low octane. The original had some of the best chase scenes ever filmed and a ...

posted 5:34:15pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Learning to Drive
Katha Pollitt's wry but bordering on scathing essay about taking her first driving lessons in her 50's, after her partner of seven ...

posted 3:25:11pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Dean Jones
When the sad news came about the death of actor Dean Jones, those who remembered him most fondly mostly fell into two separate groups with not much overlap. Many baby boomers remembered him as the eternally fresh-faced star of Disney films like ...

posted 2:20:21pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The True Story of "The Man Who Saved the World"
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAAky4iJcsQ[/youtube] Many feature films have imagined what would happen if a real or apparent nuclear attack precipitated war. None of them came close to the real-life story told in this documentary ...

posted 11:53:03am Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

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