Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

Love is Strange
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language
Release Date:
08/22/2014

 

Moms' Night Out
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Release Date:
May 9, 2014

The November Man
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Release Date:
August 27, 2014

 

Draft Day
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Release Date:
April 11, 2014

If I Stay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Release Date:
August 22, 2014

 

Blended
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language.
Release Date:
May 23, 2014

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?

posted by Nell Minow

It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That’s what a Chinese theater is experimenting with in what they are calling “bullet screens.” The idea is that what you are there to enjoy is not the film made by actors, cinematographers, costume and production designers, the editors, and the director, but instead to enjoy the wisecracks made by whoever felt like buying a ticket. It’s sort of like paying to watch “Sharknado” in a theater and read everyone’s texts instead of tweets.

Bad idea.

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media

posted by Nell Minow
  • 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.

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS

posted by Nell Minow

The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS.

Two upcoming films about people with ALS should help bring attention to ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases and the people and families who are struggling with them. The Theory of Everything is based on the real-life story of Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientists in history. Here is the real Professor Hawking in a guest appearance on “The Big Bang Theory.”

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And double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank plays a musician with ALS in the upcoming “You’re Not You.”

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Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film

posted by Nell Minow

This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday.

TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is Dr. Eric Goldman, an expert on Yiddish, Israeli and Jewish cinema, and founder and president of Ergo Media, a video publishing company specializing in Jewish and Israeli video. Goldman is also the author of The American Jewish Story Through Cinema (2013) and Visions, Images and Dreams: Yiddish Film Past and Present (2011).

The screenings are divided into themes, which air each Tuesday beginning on September 2 at 8pm with The Evolving Jew, featuring two versions of The Jazz Singer, the story of a young American performer who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. Al Jolson starred in the revolutionary early sound version from 1927, and Danny Thomas took over the role in the lesser-known 1953 remake. That same night, The Immigrant Experience focuses on Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street (1965) and Barry Levinson’s Avalon (1990), telling of Jewish families from Europe and Russia who settle in, respectively, the Lower East Side of New York City and a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland.

Among films dealing with The Holocaust on September 9 are two powerful classics from the 1960s: Stanley Kramer’s all-star Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), about the trial of war criminals in 1945-46; and Sidney LumetÕs The Pawnbroker (1965), starring Rod Steiger as a concentration-camp survivor. Also screening are Orson Welles’ The Stranger (1946), in which he plays a Nazi fugitive, and Edward Dmytryk’s The Juggler (1953), with Kirk Douglas as a Holocaust survivor.

September 16 sees Israeli Classics including two TCM premieres, Thorold Dickinson’s Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955), the first feature film produced in Israel; and Ephraim Kishon’s Sallah (1964), a satire that became the most successful film in Israeli history. Also showing are a pair of films focusing on The Jewish Homeland: George Sherman’s A Sword in the Desert (1949, TCM premiere), which deals with the immigration into Mandatory Palestine during the mid-1940s; and Otto Preminger’s Exodus (1960), which concerns the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

Tackling Prejudice on September 23 are three absorbing films based on novels about anti-Semitism: Laura Z. Hobson’s GentlemanÕs Agreement (1947); Crossfire (1947), based on John Paxton’s 1945 novel The Brick Foxhole; and Arthur Miller’s Focus (2001, TCM premiere). A fourth film, The House of Rothschild (1934), was taken from George Hembert Westley’s play about the celebrated Jewish banking family and its struggles for dignity and equality in the European financial world.

Among Coming-of-Age stories on September 30 are The Young Lions (1958), with Montgomery Clift as a soldier coming to grips with anti-Semitism during World War II; The Way We Were (1973) with Barbra Streisand as a Marxist Jew who shares a bittersweet romance with a handsome Gentile (Robert Redford); and Hearts of the West (1975), with Jeff Bridges and Alan Arkin in a comedy about a young writer who stumbles into a career as a cowboy star.

Previous Posts

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?
It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That's what a Chinese theater is experimenting with in what they are calling "bullet screens." The idea is that what you are there to enjo

posted 3:59:17pm Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media
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 fe

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS. Two upcoming films about people with ALS

posted 7:00:17am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »


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