Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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Black or White
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

 

The Book of Life
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

Black Sea
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Release Date:
January 30, 2015

 

The Judge
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Release Date:
October 10, 2014

Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

 

Fury
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Release Date:
October 17, 2014

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies?

“Ça Plane Pour Moi” has appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and last week’s “We’ll Never Have Paris,” from “The Big Bang Theory’s” Simon Helburg. I first noticed it in “Ruby Sparks.” It’s also on the soundtrack of “Eurotrip,” “Beerfest,” “127 Hours,” and “Jackass 3.5,” as well as TV’s “Gossip Girl.” It was covered by Sonic Youth and Vampire Weekend, and by The Presidents of the United States, whose version was featured in a Pepsi commercial. Here’s the original version.

And here’s the Pepsi commercial.

The lyrics are nonsense words and the title is French slang for “it’s going well for me.” It’s going pretty well for Plastic Bertrand, nearly four decades after the song was released.

The Kitten Bowl 2015: You Can Win A Set of Kitten Cards

posted by Nell Minow

The most-anticipated sporting event of the weekend — in some circles anyway, is this year’s Kitten Bowl, Su-Purr Sunday, February 1 (12/11c) only on Hallmark Channel!

Copyright 2015 Hallmark Channel

Copyright 2015 Hallmark Channel

You can win a set of adorable Kitten Bowl player cards! Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Kitten Bowl in the subject line and tell me your favorite pet. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only). I’ll pick a winner at random on February 5, 2015. Good luck!

Una Gran Noticia! Disney’s First Latina Princess

posted by Nell Minow

Copyright Disney 2015

The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series “Sofia the First” before starring in her own series on the Disney channel. Disney says she is “a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.” Her voice will be provided by Dominican Republic-born Aimee Carrero of ABC Family’s Young & Hungry. I’m really looking forward to it.

Black or White

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright 2014 Relativity

Copyright 2014 Relativity

Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive “The Upside of Anger,” Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually shnockered, a role well suited for Costner’s loose-limbed, naturalist wryness. Binder’s strengths are evident here. He creates complex, unhappy characters who are articulate without being artificially quippy. He casts superb actors and gets outstanding performances (“The Upside of Anger,” flawed as it was, is worth seeing just to watch Joan Allen work through so many variations on ferocity, loss, and doubt). And in this film, he takes a highly charged situation that could easily be overly melodramatic, formulaic, or polemical and gives it nuance and dignity. No matter what your inclination on the custody dispute over a biracial child at the center of the film, you will rethink it.

Costner plays Elliot, a lawyer who learns in the first moments of the film that his wife Carol (Jennifer Ehle) has been killed in a car accident. She has had most of the responsibility of caring for their granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell), who has lived with them since she was born, because her mother, then just 17 years old, died in childbirth.

Elliot is so overwhelmed by loss that the next morning he takes Eloise to school without telling her what happened. He has no idea of what the morning routine is, how to fix Eloise’s hair, or even where exactly the school is located.

That afternoon, with some bolstering of his courage via alcohol and his law partner, Elliot finally tells Eloise that her grandmother has died. He is committed to continuing to care for her. But her other grandmother, Rowena (a terrific Octavia Spencer) wants to have a bigger role in Eloise’s life. She files for joint custody. Her brother Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie), a successful litigator, tells her that if she wants to succeed, she will have to have a more powerful argument than her rights as the child’s grandmother. She will have to claim that Elliot is not a suitable guardian for a black child. “Do you want what is best for the child?” asked Jeremiah. “Then [Elliot] has a problem with black people.” Elliot’s counsel urges him to be aggressive. “Are you okay getting ugly?” Rowena and Elliot respect, even have some affection for one another. Each knows the other is far more than the extremes alleged in the court filings. But the system is not set up for anything but extremes. Jeremiah is successful in getting the case before a black woman judge (the excellent Paula Newsome), and both sides think she will be inclined to give Eloise to her black relatives.

But both sides are vulnerable, and, as the judge has warned them, once a child is in the system it is within her power to decide that neither grandparent should have custody. Elliot and Rowena both understand that the litigation will bring them to the brink of mutually assured destruction. But things heat up. Rowena brings in her son Reggie (André Holland), Eloise’s father and amends the suit to call for full custody, saying Elliot is not fit to raise Eloise because he drinks.  While his legal claim is stronger on paper because he is her parent, his claim is also weaker because he has a record of drug use and criminal behavior and has never cared for or even spent time with his daughter. We see the contrast between Elliot’s big, luxurious, but empty house and Rowena’s crowded, chaotic, but loving home. Elliot is white and male. Can he understand Eloise? Both of Eloise’s grandparents are still struggling with their failures as parents the first time around as well.

Binder continues to be better with the small moments than the big ones, and there are affecting one-on-one moments with Reggie and his mother and uncle, and with Elliot and Rowena. But he still has trouble with finding a good way to end a story, and he has no idea of how to write for a child. Estell has a likeable screen presence, but is asked to deliver some unforgivable lines that are far too idealized and age-inappropriate for her character. It is too bad that a film that shows exceptional sensitivity to its adult characters so badly fails the girl on whose behalf they are fighting.

Parents should know that this film includes some strong language, including racist epithets, drug and alcohol abuse, and sad offscreen deaths.  The family issues and custody battle may be upsetting to some viewers.

Family discussion: If you were the judge, where would you put Eloise? Why does Duvon write so many papers? Why does he learn so many languages?

If you like this, try: Clover and “Losing Isaiah”

Previous Posts

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? "Ça Plane Pour Moi" has appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and last week's "We'll Never Have Paris," from

posted 3:40:03pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The Kitten Bowl 2015: You Can Win A Set of Kitten Cards
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5sO4NoaF89Y?rel=0" frameborder="0"] The most-anticipated sporting event of the weekend -- in some circles anyway, is this year's Kitten Bowl, Su-Purr Sunday, February 1 (12/11c) only on Hallmark Channel! [caption id="attachment_3263

posted 12:00:45pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Una Gran Noticia! Disney's First Latina Princess
The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series "Sofia the First" before starring in her own series on the Disney channel.

posted 9:19:37am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Black or White
Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive "The Upside of Anger," Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually

posted 5:58:45pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Black Sea
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. "Outside is just dark, cold, and death," says one. "We all live together or

posted 3:51:06pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »


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