Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movie Mom™


New in Theaters
  New to DVD

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material
Release Date:
November 21, 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

Foxcatcher
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Release Date:
November 21, 2014

 

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Release Date:
August 22, 2014

Rosewater
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for language including some crude references, and violent content
Release Date:
November 14, 2014

 

Into the Storm
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film

posted by Nell Minow

Fandango has a great interview with the stars of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence?  Singing!

Exclusive Clip: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

posted by Nell Minow

Writer, director and producer Tyler Perry presents the unpredictable tale of a successful woman’s life “gone downhill” when Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned – The Play is showcased on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and Video on Demand November 25 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Taped in front of a live audience, the popular play sold out performances in more than 50 cities across the U.S., and features fan favorite Patrice Lovely (TV’s “Love Thy Neighbor”) reprising her role as Miss Hattie. Also starring Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley (Madea’s Big Happy Family, Madea Gets a Job), Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned features newcomers Muhammad Ayers, Monica Blaire, Zebulon Ellis and Ray Lavender, who will have you laughing and crying with their performances.

A successful, single woman has it all – a great job, a loving family, and the ability to pay for her baby sister’s wedding. According to her best friend, however, there’s only one thing missing…the love of a good man. At her friend’s insistence, she meets the seemingly perfect man online and all seems well, until he convinces her to get married in Las Vegas and her life quickly spirals out of control. Can she regain the upper hand, or will the tides turn for the worse?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

posted by Nell Minow
Copyright 2014 Lionsgate

Copyright 2014 Lionsgate

It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly helping to organize a rebellion against the fascist dictator President Snow (Donald Sutherland), we begin this first half of the final installment with Katniss gripped by anxiety and terror, listening to the voice of someone we cannot see, calling her “Miss Everdeen,” which sounds respectful, even deferential, but still delivering orders. Is this more of the same? Just another version of the world of Panem where the thinnest gloss of rhetoric about ideals and values is used to disguise the vilest abuse, corruption and even genocide.

No, this is District 13, thought to have been exterminated, but in reality literally driven underground, as much as 40 stories down, as they work to find a way to overthrow President Snow’s totalitarian regime. They are led by Alma Coin (a somber Julianne Moore), President of the rebel forces. Coin can be abrupt, but it is a manifestation of urgency and decisiveness, not dictatorship. Snow dresses in spotless white, surrounded by lush white roses, and the capital city of Panem is a riot of garish, decadent colors. District 13 is all in gray, evoking its uniformity in dedication to its goal and seriousness of purpose. Coin is not cynical, but she is realistic, constantly establishing priorities, understanding the consequences but willing to pay the price.

Coin and Heavensbee believe Katniss is what they have been waiting for, a symbol who will communicate to the other districts that the time has come for rebellion. She is the Mockingjay, named for the distinctive birds creation through genetic manipulation mating with natural species. Katniss is a figure whose sacrifice and resilience lend her enormous national credibility. She was made into a celebrity by Snow through the original Hunger Games. Now Coin wants to use that as a weapon against Snow’s regime. They try to make a “propo” (propaganda) video with CGI effects, but realize that Katniss is too honest to be effective unless she is telling the truth. So, they take her to see what has happened to her home community in District 12. It has been reduced to rubble, with an enormous pile of skeletons of those who died there. And so Katniss is able to produce the outrage and resolve Coin’s forces are looking for in the video.

Katniss agrees to serve as symbol, on condition that the rebel forces rescue the Hunger Games competitors who were left behind, and pardon them for whatever they have done. She believes Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is dead, but then he appears on a televised broadcast hosted by Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), the game show emcee with the sepulchral smile. Her joy turns to horror as she hears him plead for her to stop any opposition to Snow. Has he been tortured? Does he know something she does not?

That seems more likely as the initial attempts at rebellion result in enormous losses, including the firebombing of a hospital. With support from Haimish (Woody Harrelson), now reluctantly sober, and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), whose adjustment to live without wigs, make-up, and fashions that would make Lady Gaga say “too much” provides much of the film’s comic relief, Katniss struggles with PTSD and with the painful moral dilemmas of asking others to risk their lives for a cause that may be doomed.

The series is a respectful adaptation of the books, but its real strength is not the writing of Suzanne Collins but the performance of Jennifer Lawrence, who is to the film all that Katniss is to the rebellion and more. Once again, Katniss is the heart of the story and Jennifer Lawrence is the heart of the film.  In a plot that has her devastated and horrified much of the time, she manages to give a performance that is moving but never an atom out of control. Her conviction and presence is what anchors the film and makes the wildest absurdities of the storyline work. While I am not in favor of splitting the book in two just to double the box office, this version skillfully finds a story arc that comes to a satisfying conclusion while making us eager to see what happens next.

Translation: Brutal dictatorship relying on military force, bombing (including bombing unarmed civilians), shooting, executions, hundreds injured and killed, disturbing images including wounded civilians and piles of skeletons, torture (off screen), some teen kisses

Family discussion: What made Katniss the best choice to symbolize the rebellion? Why was it necessary to have a symbol? Why did President Snow refuse to use the word “rebel?”

If you like this, try: the first two “Hunger Games” films and “The Maze Runner”

Foxcatcher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
Copyright Sony Pictures 2014

Copyright Sony Pictures 2014

John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic team, and a murderer who died in prison in 2010. Steve Carell, almost unrecognizable, does a better job of erasing himself than of creating a different character. He has a hawkish nose, a set of small, inbred-looking teeth, a clenched posture, and the aristocratic delivery of a prep school graduate used to deference from everyone but his mother. But he is never able to make it all into anything but a cipher. Director Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) and screenwriters Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye wisely stay away from simple explanations and Lifetime Made-for TV-style histrionics.  Miller’s pallette is drab and his presentation is spare, in contrast to the opulence of the Du Pont estate and the training facility. But the film overcorrects, as though underplaying and long, silent stretches without even a musical score can somehow convey seriousness and import.

It begins promisingly as we see Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz (a somber Channing Tatum) stumbling his way through a talk to some bored schoolkids about character and America, and then waiting awkwardly for his pay, $20. And one of the best scenes of the year is his practice session with his brother, best (and only) friend, and coach, David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), also a gold medalist. There is enormous tenderness in David’s touch as he pushes on Mark’s arms to stretch him, and even as it seamlessly turns into a wrestling match that eloquently conveys intimacy, trust, dependence, and some competition as well.

Mark gets a call from some Du Pont factotum, inviting him to come to Delaware to meet John on his luxurious estate, called Foxcatcher because of the fox hunting history of the Du Ponts, a rare family that has been wealthy since the earliest days of American history.

On the surface, John conveys an easy noblesse oblige as he introduces himself, and Mark is nowhere near worldly enough to see the arrogance and instability under the surface.  Mark has been listening to coaches all his life.  When John says he likes to be called “Eagle,” Mark sees leadership. When John says he wants to help Mark be the best in the world, Mark sees a chance for something he did not let himself realize he wanted, a chance to be more independent.  And independence is what John is looking for, too.  He is an adult dependent in many ways on his mother, bitter about her focus on horses and her obvious feelings for him, somewhere between indifference and contempt.

John builds a lavish training facility (in real life for more sports than just wrestling).  “Foxcatcher” is emblazoned everywhere.  The athletes are polite, even respectful, but no one thinks John has anything but money to contribute.  Mark loves being seen as special and gets caught up in John’s decadent lifestyle.  But then John, who has the attention span of a mayfly, decides he needs to bring Dave in, too.  Dave’s lack of interest only makes him more determined.  Soon, Dave and his wife and children are at Foxcatcher.  Mark is resentful.  John is increasingly unstable and there is no one there to stop him until it is too late.  When it’s over, he is affectless.  The problem is, too much of the movie is as well.

Parents should know that this film has tense and disturbing confrontations, some violence including murder, strong language, drinking, and drugs

Family discussion: What was John hoping to achieve by sponsoring wrestlers? How did he feel about John? How did he feel about Dave? Why?

If you like this, try: “Capote” and “Reversal of Fortune”

 

Previous Posts

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film
Fandango has a great interview with the stars of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence?  Singing! [iframe id='ifplayer' name='ifplayer' frameborder='0' marginwidth='0' marginheight='0' width='620' height='349' scrolling='no' src='http://www.fanda

posted 8:40:25am Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned
Writer, director and producer Tyler Perry presents the unpredictable tale of a successful woman's life "gone downhill" when Tyler Perry's Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned - The Play is showcased on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and Video on Demand November 25 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment

posted 8:00:26am Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
It seems no different at first. While the second in the "Hunger Games" series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise th

posted 5:59:24pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Foxcatcher
John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious

posted 5:55:57pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Pitch Perfect 2 -- The Pitch is Back!!
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KBwOYQd21TY?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Acca-can't wait.

posted 11:01:45am Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.