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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Hail, Caesar!
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking
Release Date:
February 5, 2016

 

Spectre
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and languag
Release Date:
November 6, 2015

The Choice
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some thematic issues
Release Date:
February 5, 2016

 

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

The Finest Hours
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Release Date:
January 29, 2016

 

99 Homes
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Release Date:
October 2, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
B+

Hail, Caesar!

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking
Release Date:
February 5, 2016
grade:
B

The Choice

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some thematic issues
Release Date:
February 5, 2016
grade:
B

The Finest Hours

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Release Date:
January 29, 2016

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

Spectre

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and languag
Release Date:
November 6, 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+

99 Homes

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Release Date:
October 2, 2015

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Beliefnet’s Movie Love Quotes Quiz

posted by Nell Minow

Check out this great quiz about great movie love quotes! If you beat my score (18), let me know!

Trailer: Screenagers, a Documentary About 21st Century Kids and Their Devices

posted by Nell Minow
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Every parent should see “Screenagers,” which explores the unprecedented challenges families face over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Insights from authors and brain scientists provide a context for thoughts about how to best empower kids to navigate the digital world.

The People and Movies That Inspired “Hail, Caesar!”

posted by Nell Minow

The Coen brothers love old movies, and we see evidence of that in many of their films, including “Barton Fink,” about a hapless playwright who come to Hollywood to write movies in the 1940’s, and with their remakes of the heist films “The Ladykiller” and “Gambit.” With “Hail, Caesar!” they pay loving tribute to the last days of the Hollywood studio era in the 1950’s, where studio executives controlled — or tried to control — every element of their stars’ lives and especially the way those stars were covered by the press. The characters in the film are fictional and the stories are exaggerated, but many of the details and all of the films we see in production are based on real life examples.

There really was a well-known studio executive named Eddie Mannix, the name of the character played by Josh Brolin in the film. His story is told in Karina Longworth‘s terrific Hollywood history podcast, “You Must Remember This.” And, like the character in the film, he did make deals with cops, scandal magazines, and gossip columnists on behalf of the studio.

Tilda Swinton plays twin gossip columnists based on Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper (played by Helen Mirren in last year’s “Trumbo”), who wielded enormous power through their columns. Scarlett Johansson plays a musical swimming performer inspired by Esther Williams, one of the biggest stars of the era, with films like “Million Dollar Mermaid” and “Duchess of Idaho.” She introduced the Oscar-winning classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

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She was so popular that she inspired an affectionate parody sung by Janis Paige in the Cole Porter musical remake of “Ninotchka,” “Silk Stockings.”

Alden Ehrenreich plays singing cowboy star Hobie Doyle, inspired by Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, and especially Roy Rogers.

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George Clooney plays a leading man currently filming one of the Biblical epics that were very popular in this era, along the lines of “The Robe,” “Ben-Hur,” and “The Silver Chalice” (and a lot like the upcoming “Risen” with Joseph Fiennes, the brother of Ralph Fiennes, who plays a director in “Hail, Caesar!”).

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Channing Tatum plays a Gene Kelly-like musical star currently filming a sailor story.

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Veronica Orsoio is terrific in a small part inspired by singing and dancing star Carmen Miranda, “the lady in the tutti fruiti hat.”

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And the entire movie is reminiscent of behind-the-scenes dramas of the era like “The Bad and the Beautiful.”

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Interview: Francis Gary Powers, Jr. on his Father, the Cold War, and “Bridge of Spies”

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright Touchstone 2015

Copyright Touchstone 2015

Bridge of Spies, out on DVD/Blu-Ray this week, tells the story of the tense negotiations for the exchange of a Soviet spy for an American U2 pilot and a graduate student. The pilot was Francis Gary Powers, who was flying a camera-equipped plane on a top secret reconnaissance mission for the CIA when he was shot down over the Soviet Union.

His son, Francis Gary Powers, Jr., talked to me about the film and about his work in educating people about his father’s legacy and about the Cold War era.

What led you to create the Cold War Museum?

I founded the Museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history and educate future generations about this time period. I found that in the early 90s right after the end of the Cold War. I’d be giving lectures to high school students in the Washington DC Fairfax County area, and nine times out of ten I would walk into a classroom to give a talk on the U-2 incident and I would get blank stares from the kids. The students thought I was there to talk about the U-2 rock band. And so that was the catalyst, that was a light bulb that goes on, that said, “Oh we need to create a Cold War Museum to preserve this history and educate the students.” That’s how it all transpired.

Copyright Francis Gary Powers, Jr. 2015

Copyright Francis Gary Powers, Jr. 2015

It was opened in November 2011, 2000 square feet of Museum space, an addition 2000 square feet of storage space adjacent to the Museum. It is in Vint Hill, Virginia, 40 miles from Washington DC, in an authentic Cold War historic site that was used throughout the Cold War by NSA, CIA, ASA – Army Security Agency – to electronically monitor and intercept communications primarily from the DC embassies. And so it was functional up through the mid-90s at which time it was closed down by BRACT – the Base Realignment and Closure Act. The government of Virginia had appointed a Vint Hill task force to oversee some developments of homes and businesses and make it a residential area and a business complex. So that’s what they’re doing now. It’s opened on weekends, midweek by appointment for school groups and the vision that we have is to grow on site, to become a state of the art museum.

I think even adults will learn something from the movie. Does it tell the story accurately?

I am hearing very good reviews from friends and peers, and people I have interacted with over the last few months like the movie. My personal take is that the movie is very well done. In the big scheme of things, the overall movie hits the historical accuracy spot on, the feelings of the 1950s and 60s, the fear of the Soviet Union, the civil defense drills and duck and cover drills that people would do are all accurately portrayed, including the feelings towards my father, towards [Soviet spy] Rudolf Abel, and towards James Donovan [played by Tom Hanks], the attorney representing the Soviet spy but also brokering the exchange between my father and Rudolf Abel. So the feelings felt towards these individuals sometimes throughout the movie were not so flattering. I mean it was the time period and these were the feelings that were felt, so overall in the big picture it’s historically accurate.

Now you get to the details of each scene. It’s Hollywood, a little embellishing, a little dramatic effect, a little artistic liberty in all the scenes. At the very end of the movie, they do honor my father, though. They helped to set the record straight, acknowledge him as a hero to our country through the medals he received posthumously.

In the film’s climax, as your father is being released, the Americans bring someone there who knew him and could identify him. Is that how it happened?

In reality there is a gentleman name Joe Murphy and he was responsible for ID-ing my father at the bridge. So that is historically accurate. The movie takes some liberties with the role that Joe Murphy plays. In the movie Joe Murphy is a second lieutenant U-2 pilot along with my father, one of his colleagues. In reality Joe Murphy worked for the CIA in their security division and he was tasked to bring the pilot home. So in the movie it seems like dad and Joe knew each other very well, they were pilots together, in reality they did not know each other very well until after he came home.

But you had also have to remember this time period. Abel was caught in 1957-ish. There was a sting operation set up by the FBI for about two years in order to capture him. So between 55 and 57 they’re looking for Rudolf Abel. My father got shot down on May 1st of 1960. His his trial was August 60 then he got exchanged in February 62. So there’s about a 5 to 7 year time period that the movie has to condense into a two hour block so as a result some things are left out, some things are left unanswered. It’s not Gary Powers-centric, the movie is Donovan-centric. He is the hero of this movie, James Donovan. So there are a couple of things that I would have done or added in to clarify which there wasn’t time for.

Where should people go if they want to learn more?

There are three books out there that talk about this part of American history, or world history. My father’s book, Operation Overflight, that he wrote and had published in 1970. There is that of one James Donovan’s book called Strangers On A Bridge published in 1965. And there is a third book with the same title of the movie called Bridge of Spies that was written by Giles Whittell out of the UK. The movie is not based on any one book. It is based on, as they say in the movie, inspired by historical events. So between the historical records, the declassification conferences and files, the news reports at the time, the books that were written about it, the Coen brothers put together this movie script.

What did you know about all of this when you were growing up?

I was actually born in 1965, two and a half years later. So my father got shot down on May 1st of 60, spends 21 months in the Soviet prison, three months solitary confinement going through the interrogations, 3 days trials in August of 60 and then another 18 months Vladimir prison. The first prison he stayed in for the three months of interrogation was Llubyanka, the infamous KGB prison and then after the trial he was transported to three hours outside of Moscow to Vladimir prison where he serves out another 18 months as a sentence, a total of 21 months in captivity. His exchange on February 10th at the Glienicke Bridge, Potsdam Germany. It’s a cold dark foggy morning right out of a le Carré novel, these two spies were on each side of the bridge with their entourage, they are positively ID-ed and they walk home with their respective freedoms. So as a kid I was very well aware of this. I knew my father had been shot down and I knew he had been imprisoned.  We talked about this, when I was reading his book. He would come in at nights and answer questions I would have. But for me as a kid 10 years old or so reading this book I thought this was normal, I thought everybody’s dad did something like this. That perception changed on August 1st of 77, I’m 12 years old my father dies in a helicopter crash while working for NBC television out of Los Angeles and that’s when the last light bulb goes on. That’s when I realized ‘Oh, not everybody’s dad gets struck down, imprisoned exchanged, buried at Arlington, news reports about him,’ that’s when it really hit home. But by that time had passed away and I couldn’t ask any other questions.

What is it that you think the Cold War era has to teach us about the geopolitics issues of our day?

The Cold War needs to be studied and analyzed so that people, including students and scholars understand the world we live in today. The War on terror has its origins in the Cold War. For example, the Afghan war in 1979 – 1980, when the Soviet Union is fighting Afghanistan in a guerilla type of war in that country. The CIA is helping to supply the rebels with the weapons and instructions to fight the Soviets. Well the head of the rebel organization that the CIA was backing to fight off the Soviets was none other than Osama bin Laden and so from his training, from the CIA, in the 1970s, late 70’s and early 80’s, the Afghan war evolves into over the next 10+ years into him using that technology, that training it against us. And so in this war on terror it’s very important to realize what the roots are, where it comes from. To understand what’s happening in the world today you have to understand how the Cold War contributed to it. And so one of the very important things that I like to reach out to my students about is that it’s not just two separate conflicts, it’s overlapped.

Previous Posts

Beliefnet's Movie Love Quotes Quiz
Check out this great quiz about great movie love quotes! If you beat my score (18), let me know! ...

posted 8:00:59am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: Screenagers, a Documentary About 21st Century Kids and Their Devices
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posted 8:00:20am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

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posted 3:57:20pm Feb. 07, 2016 | read full post »

Interview: Francis Gary Powers, Jr. on his Father, the Cold War, and "Bridge of Spies"
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